Book Review: Kitchen Table Tarot

26 April 2017

A while ago I had the opportunity to preview a new book aimed at tarot beginners. Kitchen Table Tarot came at the perfect time for me - after an introduction to tarot via The Wild Unknown, I wanted to get to grips with more 'traditional' decks and the standard meanings. This little 240 page book helped me to do exactly that, and is being released next week. 

Kitchen Table Tarot by Melissa Cynova, published by Llewellyn Worldwide.
Available to pre-order from Amazon (affiliate) in Paperback and Kindle editions.

Aimed at complete beginners with no prior knowledge, Melissa Cynova (of Little Fox Tarot ) goes step-by-step through everything you need to know to get started. The tone is informal, which one might expect from the title, and it does indeed feel like sitting down with a friend who is happy to share the wisdom gained from tarot-reading since 1989. 
I started teaching tarot to my friends at my kitchen table. We would have a few beers and I'd hold up a card and pull out every pertinent detail I could about the card. Where I'd seen it in readings, what was happening next, who it reminded me of. That's why this book is called Kitchen Table Tarot. Because we're about to become friends, you and I. And I have a lot to show you. - Melissa Cynova
With such an engaging style and accessible cultural references, Kitchen Table Tarot contains everything a beginner needs to know and brings the individual card meanings up-to-date. In fact, the meanings are presented in a way that is both humorous and memorable, for example: "Usually, when a fish pops out of my cup, I'm a bit put out, but this guy loves surprises" (the Page of Cups). 

Without being too lengthy, card meanings are very clear and reversals are also included. I found it particularly helpful to have the meanings presented by number, not by suit. So all the aces are together, all the twos together and so on. Some previous books have left me confused between the different court cards, but reading about them as a set helps to distinguish them. It highlights their similarities and differences. 

The Llewelyn classic deck is referenced throughout, including clear (black and white) pictures so you can follow along without having a deck to hand. If you already have a Rider-Waite (or variant) deck, the commentary will work perfectly well too. I was using the Radiant Rider-Waite and the images were close enough to follow the interpretations of all the imagery. The author states that learning the meanings of a basic deck like these is the best way to help understand other diverse decks (a selection of which are listed).

As well as providing meanings and reversals for all cards, there is guidance on picking a deck, getting started with tarot reading for others (a big tip is not to be afraid to work from a book!), and a list of further resources, as well as other miscellaneous advice and tips. 

I would definitely recommend Kitchen Table Tarot for beginners who want to learn the traditional meanings in a clear and informal way. The book is available from May 1st 2017. In the meantime, you can read more about the author on her website and follow her on Instagram

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