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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot With Confidence


Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot With Confidence
written and published by Brigit Esselmont
Publication Date: September 2012

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

This is, without question, a comprehensive, thorough guide to reading the Tarot. For the most part, if you are just getting into Tarot, you really can't go wrong with Tarot Foundations. Not only will you get the basics, you'll be guided through specific exercises and activities that will help you internalize the symbolism, significance, and sense of each card. Brigit Esselmont's engaging, conversational writing style makes reading a pleasure.

I like the fact that Brigit deliberately omits astrological correspondences from this introductory-level book. She writes that this is "due to the complexity of astrology." I appreciate that! It really bugs me when someone presents a specific set of Tarot-Astrology associations (usually the system developed by the Golden Dawn) as if it were the only existing set of correspondences, often without even saying where that set of correspondences came from or revealing that there are other systems out there. If you are going to get into astrological associations, I feel you need to cover more than just one system, and that really does become quite complex.

I also like that Brigit's learning system combines both rational and intuitive learning. The system presented in this book is highly organized and "left brain" in many ways (which I personally appreciate), but students are also encouraged to let their subconscious mind and intuition become involved in interpreting the cards.

Another "plus" from my point of view is Brigit's comment that the Celtic Cross spread is not necessarily the best spread to use for everything. In her words, "I don’t know why, but so often, the Celtic Cross is taught as one of the first Tarot spreads to use. Yet this spread is highly complex and often inappropriate for the question in mind." I also appreciate Brigit's comment that it's perfectly okay to purchase your own deck, rather than waiting for someone to "gift" it to you.

One thing I feel I need to take issue with: The section on selecting a Tarot deck lists "some of the more popular Tarot decks" to help the student "get started." Listed are the Rider Waite, Crowley Thoth, Osho Zen, Robin Wood, Enchanted Tarot, and the Golden Tarot. I am concerned that students reading this book might think these decks are being recommended for beginners to use with the Tarot Foundations eBook. Unfortunately, several of them would probably be very confusing and difficult to use with this book. For example, someone might buy the Osho Zen deck only to discover that it has different names for the Major Arcana cards and suits. I think it might have been more helpful in this situation to list decks specially suited to a beginner who is using Tarot Foundations -- i.e., decks based on the Rider-Waite tradition (which Brigit uses to illustrate the book) in terms of Major Arcana titles, suit names, court cards, and so forth.

Overall, I heartily endorse Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot With Confidence. It is comprehensive and provides a structured yet engaging approach to learning to read the cards.

(a combination of statements from the Tarot Foundations web page)

"The Tarot is a powerful tool we can use to access our subconscious and tap into the wisdom and answers that reside in all of us. You can learn the Tarot just as easily as I (or anyone else) and become equally as skilled. Yes, it takes time and yes, it takes practice…but it’s all really very simple. I have taken everything I’ve learned in my 15 years’ experience as a professional Tarot reader and broken it down into one, easy to use system. In this practical, hands-on learning system I’ll show you how to become a successful and confident Tarot reader in just 31 days. It truly is that easy."


Brigit Esselmont is a professional Tarot reader, blogger, self-published author and mentor who started reading Tarot when she was 18 years old. She started her first website in 1999 and later created her first eBook. In 2009, she updated the eBook and re-titled it The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings. Brigit views the Tarot as "an excellent tool for analysing problems and identifying solutions," adding that Tarot readers do not have to be a "fifth generation psychic or see auras around people" as long as they are open to connecting with their intuition and the energy around them. She firmly believes that "Tarot can be learned. It doesn’t have to be a ‘gift’."


With its professional layout and design and color illustrations, Tarot Foundations is easy and pleasant to read.

This 145 page eBook is divided into 31 lessons and over 60 activities that you can work through in your own time. The lessons are grouped as follows:
  • Days 1 – 5: Getting Started
  • Days 6 – 18: Learning the Tarot Card Meanings
  • Days 19 – 23: Deepening Your Tarot Knowledge
  • Days 24 – 29: Learning to Read Tarot with Confidence
  • Days 30 – 31: Establishing Your Networks

Brigit provides more detail about each of these sections on her Tarot Foundations web page: http://www.biddytarot.com/tarot-guides/tarot-foundations/

Examples of subsections within the chapters are:
  • Day 1: Learn About the Tarot
  • Day 8: Learn to Create Keyword Charts
  • Day 16: Understand Basic Numerology
  • Day 23: Create Tarot Card Combinations
  • Day 28: Discover Timing Through Tarot
  • Day 31: Practice Your Tarot Reading Skills
In Brigit's words, "Each day you’ll be given in-depth instruction on a specific area of the Tarot that is essential to reading Tarot with confidence. Every lesson is followed by something to DO and to put your knowledge into action."

The book continues beyond Day 31 with a section called Where to From Here? and an Appendix that contains Tools and Templates (for example, keyword charts and card profiles).

When you purchase Tarot Foundations you are invited to join other readers in the Tarot Foundations (TF) Community Garden, where students can learn from and connect with each other as you progress through the program.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.


  1. Hi Zanna,
    Thanks for a fantastic review of my eBook, Tarot Foundations. I really appreciate it!
    And thank-you also for your comment about the different deck types. I'll definitely take this on board for further editions/updates of the eBook as I think you have a really valid point here.
    Warm regards,

    1. You are most welcome, Brigit. Thank you for putting together such a marvelous introductory Tarot book!


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~ Zanna