Picture this: You’re doing a Celtic cross reading with your tarot cards but you’re new to tarot. You’re trying to look up the meaning of each card online and decipher the meaning of the card alongside its position in the spread. It’s essentially a big puzzle you’re trying to work through without an actual answer key.
Beginners to tarot often feel overwhelmed when they first submerge themselves into the worlds of tarot reading. It’s best to do your research and pick out a trusty guide to keep by your side as you read your first few (or fifty) spreads.
Check out these 16 best books to learn tarot for beginners (and even advanced tarot readers!).
Our team tests, researches, and carefully curates all our recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. We may receive commission on purchases made from our links at no additional cost to you.
1. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Tarot Journey to Self Awareness by Rachel Pollack
Best for Novice Tarot Readers
Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom really does seem to pop up in every recommendation for tarot beginners. It could be considered something or a tarot reading classic. This book is best for those who approach tarot for self-development and divination purposes.
This is one of the many books on tarot that is available on audiobook. If you’re pressed for time or want to make your metaphysical book collection more discrete, a service like Audible could be for you.
Seventy-Eight Degress of Wisdom has a conversational tone and goes into the story of each card and gives you a deeper look than you’ll get in just an accompanying guidebook. You’ll really learn about the cards and what they mean in your reading at a deeper level.
This is an excellent foundational book for tarot readers who aren’t quite beginners but aren’t yet experienced.
The major problem with Pollack’s book is that she tends to be long-winded which can lead to confusion for complete beginners. If you already have a grasp on tarot then you should be okay and should be able to look beyond any fluff in the writing itself.
Some also state that they found her writing to be biased and steered toward a more negative view and interpretation.
This will likely come down to your individual perception as a reader. I recommend checking out the preview of the book before purchasing to ensure you’ll enjoy reading Pollack’s writing style.
2. Modern Tarot by Michelle Tea
Best for Gifting
Can we begin to talk about how visually appealing this book cover is? Honestly, that alone makes me want to pick it up. But we’re here to judge more than the cover and Modern Tarot by Michelle Tea does bring quality content to the table.
This is a perfect option for a tarot newbie and one that I recommend as being quite giftable.
What we like about this book is that the author offers personal examples to showcase the situations you can expect with each card’s presence in a spread.
Each card is explained in accordance with how it relates to events, a person, or another area of life. Because tarot cards are so nuanced, having a deep understanding of each card’s many facets is excellent.
Some have found the illustrations in the book to not properly align with the Rider-Waite-Smith deck on which it is based. While the cards are labeled, if you want exact visual examples of the cards in the book then this may not be a good option for you. It’s a tiny gripe in my opinion but to each their own.
3. How to Deal: Tarot for Everyday Life by Sami Main
Best for Younger Tarot Readers
Let me be upfront in saying that this tarot book isn’t going to be well-received by those who are legal adults or those who already have a strong presence in the world of the metaphysical. This is a fun introduction to tarot for those who aren’t familiar with witchcraft, divination, or other similar areas. It is fun and entertaining without being overwhelming (as tarot can often be).
This tarot book for beginners is cute, fun, and youthful. It makes the concepts easily digestible without too much woo.
This isn’t for those who have a solid understanding of tarot or those who do not like cutesy approaches. If you’re an adult this book probably isn’t for you but your younger cousin may adore it!
4. Queering the Tarot by Cassandra Snow
Best for a Diverse Interpretation
Queering the Tarot is excellent if you want a more culturally, spiritually, and sexually diverse look at interpreting tarot.
This book eliminates the hetero-normative interpretation of tarot often found in other more traditional tarot guides.
A lot of this book’s interpretations of tarot focus on activism. For those who don’t want to focus every part of their identity on the activism side of things, this may not be the best book for you.
5. 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card by Mary K. Greer
Best for Step-by-Step Guidance
If you want to learn the practical ways to approach reading tarot then this is the best book for you. You pick up 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card not because you want pages upon pages of card interpretations but because you want a straight up answer to how you should be reading your cards.
This book breaks into two styles, ‘The Way of the Apprentice’ and ‘The Way of the Adept’. This makes it perfect for newbies and experienced readers alike.
Some ways represented in this book may seem repetitive. There also seem to be mixed opinions on if this book is too basic or too confusing. (I don’t really think it can be both so it’s up to you to decide if either of these applies.)
6. The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals by Mary K. Greer
Best for Reading Reversed Cards
Also by Mary K. Greer, The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals gives you an easy guide to understanding the meanings of reversed tarot cards in your readings. Not everyone reads reversals during their tarot readings, but if you are someone who does then this guide in invaluable.
This is a fairly niche topic and it gives you quick access to a better understanding of reversed meanings. The explanations are easy to follow and the book is beginner-friendly.
Some found the formulaic nature of this book’s structure to be a hindrance. Because each reversed card is broken down and explained using the same categories, it may not give you the full breadth of knowledge you need to best interpret all your readings.
7. Guided Tarot by Stefanie Caponi
Best for Complete Beginners
This brightly colored tarot book easily catches your eye on bookshelves and is packed with plenty of beginner-friendly tarot knowledge. Caponi approaches tarot reading as a blend of understanding the cards, using your intuition, and following your heart. This book gives you guided exercises to worth through to improve your interpretation and intuition. The profiles of each tarot card are especially in-depth, providing numerological, elemental, and astrological meanings alongside the more common love, career, and spiritual meanings.
This is a robust guide for beginners with in-depth card profiles and actionable exercises you can complete to improve your card reading abilities. It’s essential tarot reading and perfect if you are looking for one single book that has it all (or as close to having it all as you can get).
Some readers claimed there are incorrect meanings in this book, however tarot can be interpreted widely with slight variation. There is no one single word that describes each card with no other rival meaning. The information can be found for free on the internet, which is another point that is truthful. However, most anything can be found on the internet for free at this point. Books remove the need for lengthy research and Googling on our parts.
8. How to Read Tarot: A Modern Guide by Jessica Wiggan
Best All-Purpose Reference Guide
This is a basic yet comprehensive look at everything you’ll need to get through your first foray into reading tarot. It covers tarot basics, gives card breakdowns, and includes a few spreads to get you started.
This is a go-to if you want a handy reference guide on hand. It is definitely written with the absolute beginner in mind or as a basic reference guide.
As can be expected, and has been mentioned previously, there is nothing in this book you can do the research and find on your own.
9. A Little Bit of Tarot by Cassandra Eason
Part of the Little Bit series, A Little Bit of Tarot gives you a look at personal tarot reading for beginners. This is a smaller book that gets right to the meat of the tarot reading process. You won’t get hung up reading through tangents or irrelevant information that should be reserved for intermediate or advanced readers.
This book is a nice quality hardcover with a colored interior. The design of the books in this series is particularly pleasing and makes for an easier reading experience.
This is a smaller book so you may not find as much additional information if you’re looking for a hefty tarot guide to get you from beginner to advanced reader.
10. The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings by Brigit Esselmont
Best for Biddy Tarot Fans
You may not know Brigit Esselmont by name but you’re likely familiar with Biddy Tarot. The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings was written by none other than the founder of Biddy Tarot. This book takes a modern and practical approach to the tarot. If you find yourself constantly referencing the Biddy Tarot site during readings then it may just be more convenient to invest in this book from the founder to have all the tarot meanings right under your fingertips.
This book is quite practical, giving just enough information without getting to into the weeds but not glossing over the important details. You’ll get both the reverse and upright meanings of the cards.
The interior design of this book may cause problems for some readers as it is printed in a very light gray font that could be difficult to read.
Additional Tarot Books
None of the above strike your fancy? Here are a few additional tarot books designed for beginners.
- Runner-Up Best Series: The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot by Skye Alexander
- Best for Intermediate Tarot Readers: In Focus Tarot: Your Personal Guide by Steven Bright
- Best to Learn Kabbala: The Ultimate Guide to Tarot by Liz Dean
- Best for Spreads: Classic Tarot Spreads by Sandor Konraad
- Best for Learning Tarot Interactions: Tarot Interactions: Become More Intuitive, Psychic & Skilled at Reading Cards by Deborah Lipp
- Best for Those Who Don’t Like Reading: The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot—Ever!! by Dusty White