When people first open a tarot book, many of them will idly skim through, checking out the pictures and looking for key words and phrases. Then when they finally do go back through and read the book, they start with the first chapter after the introduction. Because honestly, who wants to read the introduction anyway, right?

The Transformational Truth of Tarot has an introduction that is really worth reading. Tiffany Crosara talks about her journey, but not just the wonderful, magical parts of it. There’s the part where she tricks herself into believing the tarot is telling her exactly what she wants to hear, and her dismay—and later hope—in realizing the truth.

I was especially moved by her description of how the cards predicted a miscarriage for her, and after it happened, how she put them away only to eventually allow the tarot’s wisdom to help herself and others through healing, empowerment, and positivity. I saw myself in many parts of it. It was personal and powerful.

The layout of the book is pretty standard for many in the field: Introduction, major arcana, minor arcana, and a few spreads.

One of the best parts of this book for me is the description of the major arcana cards, and an in-depth look at the symbols that are on them. Tarot students often ask me about them, and for a beginning tarot student this kind of information is especially useful. Sometimes as a reader I notice different parts of the card, and it’s helpful to have a reference.

The minor arcana have less to offer, but there is some valuable material nonetheless. One of my personal pet peeves is the use of one word to describe a tarot card. Crosara lists one above each tarot card image, and while I agree with many—the Six of Swords listed as “Moving on” is one I could definitely get behind, for example—there is always the danger that a beginning tarot student could latch so hard onto that word without considering other options.

Crosara makes no secret of the fact that she is always looking for the positive in readings, and clearly, based on her own experiences she is not someone who only sees the good in the messages of the cards. With that said, some of the minor arcana of the Swords I felt were spun in a little too positive a way for me. But these were the exception rather than the rule, and every tarot reader is different.

I also liked the section on each of the court cards by element, and I would have loved to see more from it. I was disappointed when it was over. But it gave some excellent qualities to consider when reading the court cards, an area that puzzles and confuses a lot of tarotists.

Overall, this is a decent introduction to the tarot, and if you’re looking for a book written by a tarotist who really lives their craft, I’d suggest The Transformational Truth of Tarot by Tiffany Crosara.

~review by John Marani

Creator: Tiffany Crosara
Dodona Books, $24.95