INTRODUCTION TO TAROT
by Susan Levitt
Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Illustrated with both Waite-Rider-Smith and Crowley Thoth tarot decks. 246 pages.
Winner of the “People’s Choice” Award, Iconic Books, 2016 Nineteenth Annual COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources). I’m proud that it’s a book of the people!
My book Introduction to Tarot is included in The Complete Tarot Kit. But so many people told my publisher that they wanted the book alone because they already had tarot cards (The Kit includes cards). So Introduction To Tarot was published separately in October 2003. Thank you to everyone who supported my book!
Introduction to Tarot is a beautiful four-color book, richly illustrated, and offers detailed explanations of both the Waite-Rider-Smith and Crowley Thoth decks — the two best-selling tarot decks of all time.
People tell me that Introduction To Tarot is their perfect companion to refer to when reading tarot cards and learning more about them. With Introduction to Tarot, you really can learn how to read tarot cards for yourself and others.
RAVE REVIEWS for INTRODUCTION TO TAROT
“This is my Tarot Bible! It is well loved and well worn. After almost 9 years of love. I’ve tried taping the side of the book back many times, but after just as many times it kept coming off. I’m now keeping it on one of my many Moon in Cancer keepsake boxes because The Complete Tarot Kit really is, and always will be, one of my greatest treasures! Thank you for continuing to share your amazing gift for teaching with all of us, Susan.”
– Jennifer London, tarot card reader, Nashville TN
“This book is an excellent introduction to the tarot for those of us who want to study this ancient art but do not know where to embark. It is written in such a way that it stimulates the imagination and gently opens the door to the world of archetypes and magic.”
– Candis Canton, author and creator of Herbal Tarot
“Susan Levitt’s charming book offers newcomers a gentle and creative introduction to the tarot. Neither oversimplified nor overcomplicated, Introducton to Tarot contains good basic ideas presented in an accessible and attractive way.”
– Cynthia Giles, author of The Tarot: History, Mystery, and Lore and The Tarot: Methods, Mastery, and More
“Of all the tarot books I’ve reviewed, and I’ve looked at over fifty of them, Introduction to Tarot is the clearest and easiest to understand and apply.”
– Diane Conner, collage artist, San Francisco CA
“I was recently given your book “Introduction to Tarot” as a present by a friend tarot reader. I keep referring to it – can’t put it down. Thank you for writing such a great guide. I am a latecomer to Tarot, having recently retired and hoping the memorizing of the cards will help keep my mind clear and active into old age, and at the same time, eventually give help to others. ”
– Bob Jowett, retired teacher, Seattle WA
“This book is just magnificent. You must be very proud of it. The size is perfect, the colors spectacular and the text is engaging. I especially liked your dedication as I am one of your past/present/future students! Thank you.”
– Gavin W. Young, Jr., tarot card reader, life coach, and counselor
“I recently got given your Introduction to Tarot for my birthday by my best friend. I have always been very interested in astrology, meditation and wanted to learn how to read tarot so much. Your guide was the ideal introduction. Our summer break is coming to an end here in Paris and I have now completed the 30 day 3 card spread journal. Now that I can recognize most of the cards, I hardly need to look at the book. It feels great to have accomplished something I’ve always wanted to do. I wanted to thank you for making such a good kit for beginners. Every single card is extremely well explained and I look forwards to discovering the many, many different spreads! Thanks again and keep it up!”
– Lindsay, age 14 years, tarot beginner, Paris France
PREFACE from INTRODUCTION TO TAROT
I was 17 years old when I first sought answers from the tarot. I inquired about working as a florist to support myself while I studied painting at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The final outcome card was the 8 of Cups. It showed a dissatisfied person walking away, wearing a heavy cloak. Because I had already paid a deposit for classes, I ignored the tarot’s prognosis and attended floral arts school for the summer, received certification, and got a job at the Bismarck Hotel that autumn.
My experience working as a florist did not fulfill my expectation of working with the beauty of nature. All bouquets were copied from a floral delivery book. Creativity and sculpture with flowers (like the Japanese art of ikibana) was discouraged. After handling hundreds of roses, I learned to watch for thorns instead of admiring the blossoms, which had no scent because they were hothouse buds.
Adding to my dissatisfaction was my irritable boss. When I tried to talk to him about his bitter disposition, he screamed at me for the last time and I quit. I left the hotel as the cold Chicago wind blew down the street. I headed to the subway station, and was putting up the collar of my heavy winter coat when it hit me – I was reenacting the exact picture on the 8 of Cups! I was actually living the tarot.
Because the reading came true, I had to have my own tarot deck and learn to read the cards. I went to the only place I knew of that sold tarot cards in Chicago, the Occult Bookshop located on North State Street. I entered the store, which I can only describe as witchy. It was stocked from floor to ceiling with every imaginable occult item, from pure and healing to negative and creepy.
There were astrology maps, candles, oils, brews and elixirs, costumes, capes, and what appeared to be stuffed and mounted animals. I asked to see the tarot decks, and the large Thoth deck intrigued me. Its shamanic imagery perfectly mirrored the energy of the Occult Bookstore.
I purchased the Thoth deck and Aleister Crowley’s Book of Thoth. I read the book cover to cover that night. I understood it because of my childhood interest in fairy tales, mythology, Egyptian archeology, and my hobby (bordering on obsession) foreign languages. I attended Hebrew school as a child, studied Latin in high school, and was reading Ezra Pound’s translations from the Chinese when I was a teen. But, for me, Crowley resonated more than Pound, for he used symbols in a practical manner.
I enjoyed researching tarot, but I discovered that one could understand what the cards meant simply by looking at the pictures.
My newfound interest in tarot was not well received. I was told that tarot was “the work of the devil.” People actually said to me “You will burn in hell!” and “Get thee behind me, Satan!” I felt like a pioneer keeping alive the ancient mysteries.
I didn’t mind the “you will burn in hell” curses because hell was the accuser’s personal vision, not mine. But the unsolicited and unwelcome attempts to cast out my demons really did upset me.
In 1980, I moved to Tucson, Arizona to attend graduate school. People were even more anti-tarot there than in Chicago. I finished my studies and then pulled tarot cards to determine a better place for me to live where my soul would be content.
My choices were either New York City or San Francisco. New York was the Wheel of Fortune. San Francisco was the Ace of Cups. Both are excellent cards. But I chose the Ace of Cups because I am a Pisces with a grand water trine in my birth chart (Sun in Pisces trine Jupiter and Uranus in Cancer trine Saturn in Scorpio) I followed my heart. Ace of Cups is Ace of Hearts in a playing deck.
On New Year’s day 1983, I moved to San Francisco during my first Saturn return. The reaction to my interest in tarot cards was the opposite of what I experienced in Chicago and Tucson. Many people asked me to read tarot for them! Then they wanted me to do their astrology charts.
So in 1986, I resigned from my job working at an architectural firm and became a professional tarot card reader. Soon my clients asked me to teach them how to read tarot cards. I typed up a few notes and passed them out in my classes. Eventually the notes grew and ended up as this book.
I invite you to join me and share the mystery.