Interested in learning more about tarot? Maybe want to become a reader yourself? This page is where I stash links to useful websites, book recommendations, and other tarot-related awesomeness.
Books Worth Reading
A Cultural History of Tarot: From Entertainment to Esotericism by Helen Farley (I.B. Taurus, 2009)
An academic treatment of tarot from 15th century Italy through the American New Age. Concise, very clearly written, and mostly accessible to those without a university background. Unlike most other history-of-tarot books available, Farley actually has the necessary credentials to write an academic text. She gets right down to dispelling the various and sundry mythologies surrounding tarot origins and assembles a clear lineage from the Viscontis through to whatever cat tarot is currently on the market.
Places to Learn Tarot
The Tarot School is based in New York City and operated by Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone, both of whom are Certified Tarot Grandmasters (if you find such a thing meaningful). There are a number of options available to students through Tarot School, from the free (awesome) newsletter Tarot Tips to the psychotic, life-eating correspondence course (also awesome). The Tarot School also hosts the annual Readers Studio in New York, which is a massive three-day conference full of spectacular-looking shit that I hope to be able to afford to attend one day. The Amberstones have tarot titles through Weiser and Llewellyn. Study materials rely on audio recordings (available on disc or mp3 download), e-mail, and telephone.
Run by Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin, the Tarosophy Tarot Association is based in the UK, but caters to a worldwide member base. A number of both short and comprehensive courses are available covering many tarot-related subjects, as well as printed materials. Periodicals are available to members. Study materials rely on online video modules, live teaching sessions, and e-mail. Katz and Goodwin have a number of excellent titles available through a variety of publishers.
A good, inexpensive resource for readers in the US and elsewhere. The ATA offers a newletter, free readings and free practice for readers, mentoring, correspondence courses, and about a gazillion links to other resources online. Correspondence courses are mostly self-directed and mentored largely by other students in special programs. A good option for meeting others and participating in wider conversations. Relies on Yahoo Groups (yuck), e-mail, and snail mail.
Founded by Paul Foster Case, the BOTA is way more than just tarot. Here is an organization dedicated to the Western Mysteries and “building the Holy of Holies within.” Don’t be put off by the spooky front page—-the materials distributed to members is not only fascinating for learning the tarot (which you’re expected to color as you study), it’s also a super neat way to experience esoteric philosophy more broadly. Great if your dream has always been to call yourself an “occultist” and practice the sort of magic that involves some of the weirder versions of Christianity and Judaism (*cough*). Paul Foster Case is amazing all on his own, and his work is definitely worth reading. The BOTA still mails its materials via snail (which I love), and, if you’re in the US, there’s a fair chance that there’s a local study group nearby to help you on your way. It’s pretty sweet.
Places to Buy Tarot
Excellent resource for out-of-print and hard-to-find decks, as well as small press releases, popular decks, and, well, pretty much anything. I mostly like this site because I can keep abreast of reissues, goings-on with favorite artists, and tidbits on what other people are buying. Awesome for doing weird sociological research on the spending habits of tarot people. Plus you’ve gotta love the 90’s-style website complete with garish sidebar and header.
I make it a point to periodically search “tarot deck” on Etsy, which used to be an online market for handmade items (but is now that plus a resting place for mass-produced crap peddled by people who don’t want to deal with eBay or Amazon Marketplace). I’ve found all kinds of cool decks doing this, from artists I never would have known existed. It’s also a good way to find vintage decks, though usually a bit on the steep side pricewise. Also fantastic for tarot bags, reading cloths, and all kinds of tarot crap that you didn’t know you needed (but god do you ever).
Places to Find Tarot People
Many of the above websites have forums, e-mail groups, or even social networks. In addition to those, check out Meetup (which allows you to search in your area by interest) and scroll through the tarot hashtags on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, or Wordrpress (just for a start). As always, if your locale has metaphysical shops, health food stores, Yoga studios, and other sorts of businesses that appeal to woo people, check their message boards and talk to their owners.