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Book Review: The Complete Tarot Reader by Teresa Michelsen

This is one of the first books I got early on, and it’s a book that I keep coming back to over and over again. The reason is because it’s really that good.

It is, in fact, excellent for studying the tarot and learning to read the cards like a pro.

Title: The Complete Tarot Reader
Author: Teresa Michelsean
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide
Who is this book for: Have some familiarity with your tarot cards and want to learn how to read intuitively
Rating: 4/5

To learn what others say about the book, read the official blurbhere.

My personal review


Before I tell you who this book is for, I want to stress out who this book is NOT for.

If you are already reading tarot cards intuitively or if you are a psychic reading tarot cards without even looking at the meanings of each card,  then this book is not for you.

Also it might not be for you if you want to start learning from a deck and a companion book. You should then start with something else, such as the Tarot Plain and Simple by Anthony Louis, which works with the Robin Wood Tarot (a very popular deck in the tarot circles)

Having said that, everybody can benefit from this book, but the people who will get the most out of it are those who have a tarot deck that they’re sort of familiar with, they know a bit about the meaning of tarot cards and they want to learn something more.

Learning To Read Intuitively


This is what the book is really about. While it speaks at a beginner level, The Complete Tarot Reader focuses on teaching you how to read your tarot cards (no matter what deck you’re holding in your hands) intuitively.

In fact the book assumes that you are already familiar with a tarot deck, as it doesn’t go into much detail on the specific on any deck.

This is a good thing, however, because you can use the book with any deck you might have around, even the Raider Waite, or something so esoteric as the Osho Zen Tarot.

It doesn’t matter what you have.

The book really helps you develop your own style of reading the cards, it tells you how to read them instead of simply giving you the common meanings that many other books do.

Before going into further details on what the book really is about, let me tell you that something this book really helped me with was getting started with journaling.

Keeping a journal of your tarot readings (and meditations upon tarot) is a wonderful way to learn tarot in leaps and bounds. You get much better at it than the average reader who mainly learns the given meanings of the cards.

What You Will Learn


The book is rich in sections (at heavy 300 pages) including symbolism, reversals, elements, numerology, dignities and of course, spreads.

When I first read the book it felt like I was back in college, studying. Except that I was studying at home, from a self-study course. And I loved every bit of it!

Each chapter starts with Study Goals, followed by an explanation of what you will learn in that chapter. Then you get tons of exercises that teach you how to get really good in what the chapter is teaching, and finally, there is a short homework in evaluating your progress.

Even though I actually bought the book 2 years after I’ve started with tarot, The Complete Tarot Reader taught me quite a lot. In fact, I think this is the very book that changed the way I was reading the cards. It gave me the key to read intuitively for myself (and others), and it gave me the push to start keeping a journal.

Note: If you don’t have yet a tarot journal, I strongly urge you to get one and keep journaling. It’s just like a dream journal. Don’t forget, tarot is deeply connected with imagination. Just like dreams, fairy tales, even modern sitcoms and soap operas. And there is no better, faster and easier way to unlock the door to your imagination than keeping a tarot journal.

Teresa Michelsen teaches you how to develop your own keywords and she gives you several tools that help you bring your intuition into learning. For example, she uses storytelling as one avenue, also free associations and elemental associations to the actual suits.

Another aspect that I quite liked in this book was that it touches quite a lot on other aspects of esoteric, such as astrology and numerology. There are chapters that help you see the connection between each of these, and how to include them in your intuitive reading of the tarot.

Final Words


It is quite a big volume with a lot of material to go through. While it is easy to read, it’s not a light, summer reading. But if you are serious about learning tarot and getting beyond the basic ‘learn to read the meanings of the cards and you’ll do ok’, then you need to get this book.

My copy is a rather heavy trade paperback which sits nicely on my ‘esoteric bookshelf’. It is one that I wouldn’t part with for anything.

About the author


Teresa Michelsen is a tarot reader, author, and teacher with more than 25 years of experience reading and teaching tarot.

Teresa is the webmistress of the ComparativeTarot discussion list, teaches on-line tarot courses for beginning and intermediate tarot readers, published her first book on Designing your Own Tarot Spreads in 2003, and published The Complete Tarot Reader in 2005, both with Llewellyn.

Where to get the book


If you don’t have the book yet, click the link below to get it it now from Amazon:

The Complete Tarot Reader by Teresa Michelsen


If you already have it, leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from what you honestly thought of the book!

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