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As someone new to the study of the Tarot, I found Eden Gray's "A Complete Guide to the Tarot" to be the best general introduction to this fascinating divinatory system. Gray writes with a confident but accessible authority that makes her book very appealing.
Gray devotes one or two pages to every card in the classic Rider-Waite Tarot deck, and lists possible divinatory meanings. She shows how to use various spreads of the cards in order to give readings, and she also discusses the use of the Tarot as an aid in meditation. She also explores the connections between the Tarot and other systems of occult wisdom: numerology, astrology, and the Kabalah.
The book includes a bibliography for those interested in further study. Overall, I found this to be a useful and enjoyable book.
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VINE VOICEon February 12, 2002
This was the first book that I bought, or read, to help me interpret the tarot. As the years have passed I have come to realise that it is also the best. There are too many mundane, cookie cutter, tarot references out there. This book truly explains the deep meanings behind the hermetic symbolism of the Waite-Rider deck. With the systems and symbolism section it becomes a comprehensive text on metaphysical thought- a true book of Thoth, or Hermes. My only complaint is that there is no deluxe copy with leather binding and vellum pages. I would gladly pay extra for it, for this is the kind of book you will refer to again and again over a lifetime. Of course, if the tarot is no more than a new-age parlor game to you, you might want to look elsewhere. If you are prepared to meditate on the meaning of deeper things, then you have found your guide.
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on July 8, 1999
I got a my copy in 1985... the same day i got my first deck. It is a perfect guide for beginners as well as an excellent convenient reference for more experienced readers of tarot cards. I've seen many books aimed at those new to tarot, none are as complete and most are confusing to novices. This book clearly and concisely explains the divinatory meanings of the cards as well as the symbolism behind each one. Its illustrations are of the popular and easily accessible Rider-Waite deck, but it can be used with most standard decks. Gray also provides information on some systems of thought that can illuminate the tarot experience. This book's low price is a big bonus. One wishing to dabble in tarot can easily afford this excellent guide. One who is experienced can easily afford to add this to a reference set.
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on November 7, 2005
I've referred to this book often over the years before I started reading professionally. I would highly recommend it to any beginner because it is very easy to understand.

Since I started teaching Tarot classes, I purchase this book for every student! It really is a "must have" book. It describes each card in detail and gives divinitory and reversed meanings. It describes and gives examples of different spreads in the back of the book as well as giving a small "key" to the meanings of each item on the cards (which I find very helpful to learn). This complete guide also discusses numerology, astrology, and the Kabalah and how it relates to the Tarot!

If you are just starting out and interested in learning the tarot, this book is for you! [...]
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on September 6, 2004
I've been reading the Tarot for about 15 years. This is the very first book I bought and I have yet to find a book to surpass it. When I wore the book into the ground (missing cover, yellow pages, all kinds of torn and ripped), I bought a new one because I just couldn't bear to be without it. If you want to learn tarot AND you are using a Rider-Waite-Smith type deck this is the perfect book for you. It gives simple and concise divinitory meanings and reversals that let you throw away the useless booklet that comes with the deck. You'll want more complex books when you're more famillar with your deck and you want to explore the meanings more thouroughly, but this is a great basic book that you'll want to keep on hand. Oh and just one other thing- don't fall for books that promise to teach you tarot in just 10 or 15 minutes, cause that ain't gonna happen. It's worth spending time with your deck to learn it right.
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on May 30, 2000
I started reading the Rider-Waite deck when I was 8 and this is the first guide to tarot I ever read. To this day, it's the only book I consistently refer to. For my money this is the only guide to the tarot that both beginners and seasoned readers can learn from.
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on May 12, 2007
Yes the book does not have colorful pictures and glossy pages, which would definately enhance the appearance of the book, BUT the information in this book makes up for it. This is my number one references, and I have many references that sit on the shelf and collect dust. If you read this book, you will understand the tarot. I recommend buying this book with the rider waite deck (if you don't have one already), and if you're a total newbie at this, I also recommend you buy " The Everything Tarot Book". Read that first to gain knowledge about the Tarot, which will help you to remember at least the basic meanings of each card when your playing tarot. Then read and use Eden Gray's Tarot book for your main reference. Mark my words, I am not leading you astray, this is the best reference book!
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on December 11, 2000
This book is one of the best introductory books to tarot reading (another excellent book is Joan Bunning's Learning the Tarot).
The book contains a short section about the history of the tarot (mediocre - for a good intro check 'Tarot - History, Mystery, and Lore), an excellent chapter about the Major arcana, a good chapter about the minor arcana, a very good section on reading the cards with three spreads (the classical Celtic Cross, a cabalistic Tree of Life spread, and an astrological zodiacal spread), three goof sections about the connection of tarot to Numerology, Astrology, and Cabala, a section about the Fool's journey, and a short glossary of symbolic terms.
I warmly recommend this book to anyone who starts studying the tarot with the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, as the book gives all the basics and puts the reader on the right track to continue from there.
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on July 11, 1998
I first bought a copy of this book back in 1989, and I've had one ever since. This is the book I learned to read the cards with. For a beginner this is a very detailed, and, as the title says, complete guide to reading Tarot cards. The book uses the Rider-Waite deck for illustations, but one can use the meanings and methods of readings with any deck of Tarot cards. If you want to learn, this is an excellent guide. If you already do read the cards, and you don't have this book, pick it up, because either way, it is an excellent reference work on Tarot cards.
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on February 2, 2003
This book is The Book to use if you want to learn to read Tarot Cards.
Gray begins with a brief overview of the history of the cards, which not only allows the reader to understand the tradition of the deck, but appreciate the tradition the practitioner is taking on.
She then takes the time to describe each card, highlighting important symbolism within the paintings and explaining their meaning. Each card's meaning, both standard and reversed, is given with enough detail to provide meaning, yet allow the practitioner room to interpret properly given the spread, environment, and recipient. I have yet to read a Tarot book that gives this much detail without the author wandering off into their own personal beliefs for pages on end.
Gray also provides details of different spreads that can be utilized by the practitioner, depending upon their own needs and wishes. The most popular and standard Celtic Cross spread is given first billing, with good description of placement meaning and overall interpretation. An astrological spread is also detailed and summarized quite well. She does an excellent job of including the Tree of Life spread within just a few pages while still grasping the overall meaning and not getting bogged down in the details of this Qabalistic tradition.
If you own a Tarot deck, you should own this book.
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