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Learning the Tarot: A Tarot Book for Beginners
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Learning the Tarot: A Tarot Book for Beginners

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  784 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Learning the Tarot is a complete course on how to use the tarot cards for personal guidance. The 19 lessons in the course cover the basics and then move gradually into more advanced concepts. Exercises and sample responses for each lesson help you learn and practice. For simplicity, only one easy layout is used throughout the course the Celtic Cross Spread. Learning the Ta ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published 1998 by Weiser
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  784 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Dec 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Best book to understand TAROT easily. If you want to learn Tarot and want to learn everything u need in just one book, this is "The Book".The best thing of this book is its simplicity and lucid language (no mumbo jumbo to confuse),this I feel is a great sign of an author and a Tarot reader (Joan) who is so clear about the explanations and interpretations, fantastic explanations with examples, a book for even advance tarot readers,a book that wants you to follow ur heart too, &which author would ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I went into this book with a working knowledge of the Tarot, but wanted to refresh since I haven't used the cards in a few years. This book is clear, concise, perfect for beginners, and has a section of exercises useful and fun for any experience level. I borrowed it from the library, but will eventually buy a copy for my shelf. ...more
Devon Pelto
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book to understand what Tarot truly is. It saddens me it still carries a stigma because it has deepened my relationship with Source and is truly amazing. This book has helped me learn the traditional meanings of the cards, learn spreads and even important details like writing your question out. I highly recommend to anyone interested in tarot!
Jordan Lombard
Title/Author: Learning the Tarot by Joan Bunning
Series/Standalone: standalone
Subject/Topic: nonfiction, how to read tarot cards
Book Format: print/website (
Length: 320 pages
Well Written/Editor Needed: Well written, but organized funny, in that I would have preferred the exercises to be at the end of each corresponding lesson, as they were on the website. It is helpful to know that the author’s website ( came first and the book came second but is the exact same thing.
Johny Thomas Kariath
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I first found this booking in a shack called Laughing Buddha in Hampi, India. At that time I had little to no idea of tarot card except that it was somehow related to occult. Two years later after seeing Eva Green spread tarot cards in Penny Dreadful I was reminded of this book. This was followed by a messy but reward attempt at creating my own Rider-Waite Deck to purchasing my first tarot deck.

I never found this book listed as one of the top books to learn tarot reading, but nevertheless this b
Maggie Gordon
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Damn this is a fantastic book if you are a beginner at tarot. Her description of the cards and her suggestions for learning how to do readings have been endlessly helpful to me! Bunning is clear, but still leaves a lot of room for you to let your intuition guide you. I definitely understand why this is considered a bible of the tarot world!
Samantha Strong
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully complete book with exercises, explanations of cards, practical examples of the classic Celtic Cross spread, and card interactions. As a tarot beginner myself, I couldn't ask for a better starting point. ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
An old classic, the book I learned Tarot with. Still a great reference and a solid guide to learning how to build a relationship with the cards as a reflection/storytelling tool.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My go-to tarot reference book
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great reference book. Gives you the info straight, not too woo. If you want to know about Tarot because you're a writer, or artist, and need a simple resource -- here it is. For the record, this is a great book if you want to know about Tarot for any reason.
Bunning actually's had all this information on her website, for free, all along. It's an O.G. website. She even has/had the whole thing available for download. However, for some applications, a book that you can hold is a better format than a
Alexandra  Schlomer
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
While 'Kitchen Table Tarot' is interesting and accessible, as a beginner learning to use tarot in a Jungian introspective sort of way I found Bunning's book to be more informative and helpful. Her exercises and emphasis on introverted rather than extroverted use was much more my style. ...more
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
My favorite book on the subject. It leaves more up to your interpretation. It gives a solid foundation without overwhelming or imposing too much on the reader.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Well, I'm finished with the part of the book that's actual reading. What's left is exercises and card descriptions and the section on the Celtic Cross.

This was a decent entrance into the subject and I have started to feel like I'm learning the ins and outs. However I only just now noticed how out of date it is and have found a more modern book of interpretations.

What I like most about this book is that its way of reading cards isn't as -- in the most polite terms I can find at the moment -- "new
Chiem Vu
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The must-have book for Tarot beginners and experienced readers alike. Unlike Liz Dean's "The Ultimate Guide to Tarot", which gives too specific and sometimes questionable details for both upright and reversed cards, Joan Bunning describes only briefly the essential meanings of each card, leaving room for personal interpretation and further discovery. Naturally the descriptions are short, as this book is intended for beginners, but they suffice.

Aside from this fundamental book, I would highly rec
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is such an excellent beginner's book. I owned this book when I first got into tarot (about 15 years ago), then sold it on eBay because I felt like I didn't need it anymore, which was clearly a mistake because I just rebought it after spending some time away from tarot and feeling like I needed a little bit of a fresh start again. That should be an indication of how useful and educational this book is. ...more
Mark Edwards
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the perfect book for teaching tarot to others. If you are wanting to teach others about tarot use this book. I could see this as a classroom text book for tarot class. There is a reference to each card with keywords, phrases and relating card. The first part of the book was like doing class exercises for learning tarot. I use this book as a reference for doing tarot readings.
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
certainly a more traditional/ fastidious approach to learning the tarot and much more of a handbook than a book you passively read; but the practices abs exercises really helped so much! very usual for practical and hands on learning, especially if you are delving into the world of tarot on your own.
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
True to its name, a good read for beginners though lacking in reading of reversed cards.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great information and still leaves room for your own interpretation.
Stephanie Rebel
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent starting point for anyone wishing to learn to read the Tarot
Feb 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting and informative but also easy to digest book for beginners.
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Super easy to understand and not confusing for a beginner. She's queen for this. ...more
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I took my time with this, treating it like a textbook and a reference manual. I, like most everyone else here, find it extremely useful. I imagine I will be returning to this book again and again for reference as I progress with the cards.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I still reach from this from time-to-time if I'm really stuck in a reading and need some keywords to jumpstart my thinking. I've recently acquired a ton of new tarot books and wanted to just refresh myself on some of the basics before diving into more advanced topics, and where better to do that than with the first book I found on Tarot at my local library? (Though has long since been a part of my personal collection.) I'm going to keep my initial 4-star rating of the book as it reflects my thou ...more
Lee L.
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tarot
This is one of the best beginners' guides for Tarot that I have come across. Nowhere else will you find a more comprehensive yet simple approach to putting together the Celtic Cross. Ms. Bunning gives key words for each position, and she looks in detail at the pairs within the Celtic Cross. Her detailed descriptions of both the positions and position pairs is a great way to learn the individual position meanings and how they relate to each other.

Ms. Bunning uses a lesson format, with lessons tha
Anne Smith
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'd recommend this as the best beginning go-to book for tarot, and a staple for anyone's tarot library.

As soon as I picked up tarot again a few years ago (literally picking up an old Ryder Waite Smith deck that I had acquired at least twenty years ago) I wanted to know where it all CAME from and immediately started delving into the more scholarly books that could give me the real history of the thought and iconography behind the cards - notably The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination by Ro
Nathaniel Nathaniel
Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it
I translated this book for Polish edition few months ago, and this is a expanded review of the book I've made on Amazon.

Let's start with what's wrong with the book - and the book lacks safety rules regarding magical work, and I believe that Tarot is, among many things, a magical tool and it does require some magical safety rules to be implemented in your own practice. I get this feeling that Bunning consider the Tarot to be a toy, or at least a New Age set of cards, and not a magical tool. Lack
Nov 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: tarot fans
the perfect book for beginners. the basic meanings and symbolism of each card. not a lot of ancient history to confuse a newbie. i also love this book because joan is so optimistic with her tarot meanings. not a lot of old world doom and gloom and plague and pestilence like some books throw in. refreshingly modern. a good book to keep next to you for quick reference during a reading. easy to get to each card's section. this book covers everything you want to know to get started and it's even eno ...more
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An excellent resource that I continue to come back to years later. This book breaks down the theory of tarot, the archetypes and elements, the basic significance of the cards, and then detailed interpretations of each card, including major characteristics, opposing cards, enforcing cards and a narrative. Highly recommended for those looking to learn more about reading tarot, need a refresher, or just want to continue their studies.
Shita Dewi
Nov 26, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Who's interested in learning Tarot
Hmmm,..quite ok for someone who's beggining to try his/her lesson about Tarot. This book will give you detail description about every card so you'll be able to understand the wisdom behind them.
So,..what are you waiting for??
Grab & buy this book right away,..but be careful on its binding.
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