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About the Author

For Josephine Ellershaw, the Tarot has been a constant life companion on a personal journey that spans more than three decades. Alongside her business background she has many years of experience providing readings, healing, and metaphysical guidance to an international clientele and is the author of the international bestseller Easy Tarot: Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All. Ellershaw lives in North Yorkshire, England, with her family and a large menagerie of pets, including waifs, strays, and rescues.

Ciro Marchetti (Florida) is an award-winning artist from the United Kingdom. He studied art in London, followed by a career working in Europe and South America before settling in the United States where he opened a design agency in Miami. In addition to managing his company, Ciro also gives workshops and lectures on digital imagery and illustration at the Fort Lauderdale Art Institute, and continues to create his own visionary art.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

step 1


It all starts with you . . .

I feel it is important for you to understand your own reasons
for wanting to learn Tarot. You may not have really considered
this before. Perhaps you just feel attracted to the cards
sufficiently enough to want to learn more about them. That’s
fine, nothing wrong with that, but your reason is probably
the main thing that will keep you going. Being able to receive
personal guidance is quite a good reason-and I can honestly
say, the Tarot has never let me down.

So if you can, identify your reason or reasons now-and
write them down! Having a goal to aim for will help you
achieve your objective, rather than aimlessly drifting along. It is
your underlying reason that will encourage your perseverance.
Since this is a rather one-sided conversation, I shall assume
that you are a complete beginner to the world of Tarot. So forgive
me if you have traveled this road before, but this way I
can ensure that nothing is left out or left unexplained, leaving
you dangling in mid-air somewhere.

Perhaps your first introduction to the Tarot was through
actually having a reading yourself, but in whatever way you
came into contact with the cards, their mysterious images resonated
somewhere deep within and beckoned you to follow.

No history lesson

There seems to be an endless supply of theories over the origin
of Tarot cards, and most books usually include some version
of their history. However, I won’t go into detail about
that here, as it is an issue of continuing debate.

The history of the Tarot appears to be as mysterious as the
cards themselves, with many different cultures laying claim to
some connection, along with varying theories and speculation
as to how they evolved. I find it most apt that their universal
appeal can be traced to so many cultures. No matter which civilization,
continent, or timeline we examine, there appears to be
a common thread; a theory that emerges throughout-that the
Tarot was created using a secret code of symbols and images, to
preserve the knowledge of a secret doctrine.

Factual history traced so far leads to fourteenth-century
Italy, and while the Tarot in whatever form may have existed
centuries before, there is considerable conjecture (but inconclusive
evidence) to support these theories at the present time
. . . perhaps it will always remain so. If you are interested,
many books explore the history of the Tarot in depth.

Our concern here is in learning the cards in order to
receive their guidance and, thankfully, knowledge of their history
won’t improve your ability to read Tarot cards any better.

The most important fact is that they work! The rest of this
book is laid out in such a way as to show you how they work
and how to gain access to their knowledge.

About the Tarot deck

Firstly, let us consider the actual Tarot itself, how it is ordered,
and what it consists of. The Gilded Tarot contains a total of
seventy-eight cards, of which twenty-two are known as the
major arcana, using Roman numerals 0–XXI. The remaining
fifty-six are referred to as the minor arcana.

The minor arcana is then broken down into four different
suits—wands, cups, swords, and pentacles. Each suit contains
an ace through a ten, followed by a page, knight, queen,
and king (known as court cards). Each of the suits represents
one of the four elements:


The cards contain archetypal images, pictures, and symbols that
make a connection with one’s subconscious mind. The major
arcana focuses on the higher matters of life, while the minor
arcana indicates situations in our daily existence. But both are
important. Think of the major arcana as the bricks and the
minor as the mortar that fills the spaces, holding it all together.

Introducing the Gilded Tarot

Somehow I have the sneaking suspicion that you have already
unwrapped your new Tarot cards to take a peek—and who
could resist such a temptation?

I have purchased a great many cards over the years; in fact,
my home is littered with unused Tarot decks. There is nothing
more disappointing than thinking you have found the deck,
only to discover that you can’t work with it. There have been
quite a number that have fit into that category for me—once
laid out, the cards all appeared muted, with no solar plexus
reaction, or the interpretations that I’m happy with just didn’t
fit with the images.

Like most people who love Tarot, I was constantly searching
for the "perfect" working deck, like the search for the
Holy Grail . . . and finally I found it in the Gilded Tarot,
created by Ciro Marchetti and published by Llewellyn. Now
I use nothing else. I believe they are the most visually stunning
Tarot cards available and they immediately became the
favorite deck for many in the Tarot community, readers and
collectors alike.

The Gilded Tarot is breathtakingly beautiful; the magic
and mystery of its images instantly transport you into another
dimension. This is really most important, for your cards should
provoke an instant inner response, regardless of whether
you understand it. With each image presented, it is akin to
becoming immersed in the scene and merging into the story.
How I wish these cards had been available when I first began
to learn!

Most people learn with what is termed "a beginner’s
deck," and then transfer to one they prefer later. There is a
huge number of Tarot decks available, but many of the images
and interpretations vary, so if you do change it can be like
learning all over again. By using the Gilded Tarot, you will be
saved from major frustrations from the beginning and if you
don’t feel the need to transfer to something else afterward, you
get the best of both worlds—a double whammy!


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Product Details

  • Cards: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; Slp Tcr Pa edition (May 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738711500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738711508
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (363 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

145 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Christine on July 28, 2007
Format: Cards Verified Purchase
I purchased this set a few months ago and am really enjoying both the book and the deck. I have numerous decks that I have collected over the years, one or two of which I have consistently gone back to as they have felt most comfortable for me. However, since receiving this set I very rarely use any of my other decks - I simply love the artwork of the Ciro Marchetti deck and really connect with the images.

In addition, although I've been reading for many years, I enjoy exploring others' interpretations of the cards as I feel I am often able to gain additional perspectives and insights into the images, and I believe that really understanding and connecting with tarot is an ongoing, ever-expanding journey. Josie has done a wonderful job of explaining the cards' imagery, interpretations, and inter-relationships, as well as covering other very important topics that can really benefit those students new to tarot, as well as those of us looking to deepen our knowledge.

This book has definitely reignited my enthusiasm for and connection with the cards. Many thanks to Josie and Ciro!
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204 of 226 people found the following review helpful By Janet Boyer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 3, 2007
Format: Cards
"When the time comes and you have someone sitting in front of you for a reading, the bottom line is this--they don't care how much technical knowledge you may have. They don't want to be blinded by science or your amazing knowledge (however great it may be). What they want is an accurate reading...end of story." - From the Easy Tarot Handbook

Using the popular Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti, U.K. resident Josephine Ellershaw teaches Tarot newcomers how to learn the cards step-by-step using her own method she calls The Tarot Technique. Stressing the importance of maintaining a Tarot diary and getting to know the cards one at a time, Ms. Ellershaw leads readers by the hand in the Easy Tarot Kit, encouraging patience and focus along the journey.

Divided into twenty-two steps, the 223-page Easy Tarot Handbook bypasses the oft-customary history lesson, as well as complicated esoteric systems, in favor of simply--and thoroughly--explaining how to prepare, care and connect with the cards. Explaining, "one card does not a reading make", Ms. Ellershaw reminds readers that the art of Tarot reading relies on associations among cards, where surrounding cards influence and inform the best interpretation for a card.

For example, Ms. Ellershaw relates a story where an inconsiderate reader told a woman that she'd be getting a divorce--based solely on the 3 of Swords absent of any supporting cards (i.e. the surrounding cards showed a happy marriage and home life). Confused and distraught, this woman turned to Ms. Ellershaw for guidance.
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133 of 146 people found the following review helpful By Naomi on September 26, 2009
Format: Cards Verified Purchase
I ordered this card deck with the book in August ('09) and I was so pleased when i received the deck! It's beautifully designed with compelling artwork that depicts the interpretation of each card so clearly. The deck is easy to manuever and shuffle ... and the glossy finish feels rich yet not slippery in your hands when shuffling. Now here's the problem... I decided to COUNT the cards in my deck this morning... just some nagging feeling that's been on my mind for a few days so since it was a saturday and i had a few extra minutes i decided to count all the cards in the deck and discovered to my horror that i am missing (YES ...MISSING!!) 6 cards: the KINGS of each suit as well as the Queens from the Pentacles and Swords. I'm horrified. I've been using these cards for a month and NOW i learn that the deck is not complete... and not just missing ONE card.. it's missing 6!!! So if you purchase this deck which i would highly recommend doing because it's worth it... i would just double check once it arrives that you have all 78 cards... lay out each suit and the major arcana and make sure you have every card. I hope your luck is better than mine!
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By J. F. Mulvaney on January 22, 2010
Format: Cards
Ciro Marchetti's 'Gilded Tarot' earns 4 stars easy. Josephine Ellershaw's book on the other hand, probably 3 stars. If you are a true beginner than this set will definitely get you interested in further developing your tarot reading, but you should really use the book as a guide rather than the definitive word on the meaning of the cards. She does teach some very important techniques and concepts that other authors tend to ignore. Such as the importance of a Tarot Diary, I can not express how crucial this little notebook will be to you and your study of the Tarot. I did mine digitally by using a wordpress blog that only a logged in Administrator can read. Another useful nugget of information is that you have to understand how the meaning of the cards play off of each other and how they associate not only to each other but to the person you are reading for as well. The reason(s) why this is not a 5 star set, is because of the way she dictates information to you, and how she very clearly forbids you from deviating from her teachings. Now, if you know anything about the occult then you understand the effect of doing what you feel is right for you. If you are not comfortable then it probably wont work for you. So learn the concepts and techniques you can from the book and expand on it, do not let this be your first and only jump point. Listen to your instincts.

Although the deck is beautifully rendered, there are a few symbols and imagery that I take issue with, especially if you know the Fools Story from the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) classic deck that will be necessary for a beginner to know...

The Fool - the cliff and the little pack is missing.
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