Going Beyond the Little White Book: A Contemporary Guide to Tarot was published in 2016 and is one of the best and most readable Tarot 101 books I’ve come across. It’s the book I’d give my sister, along with a tarot deck, if she asked me for a book that will teach her tarot.
(True story: Actually I gave my sister a copy of my own book, Holistic Tarot, but she never touched it and now it collects dust. When I called her out on that, she defended herself by saying she just wanted to know what the Three of Cups means when she pulls it for a question about a guy she’s dating and she isn’t out to earn an advanced doctorate degree in tarot or become the next great tarot master. Ergo, a more palatable and practical guide to the tarot is needed, such as Going Beyond the Little White Book.)
Going Beyond the Little White Book is by Liz Worth, a Toronto-based author, tarot reader, and astrologer. She’s also published previous works of nonfiction (specifically on the Toronto 1970s punk scene), fiction, and poetry. Worth brings that command of language to explaining how to read tarot. It’s incredible. She’s such an incredible writer and it’s a treat to have someone like her teach tarot in a comprehensive, meaty, yet easy-to-read, user-friendly manual.
Using the book to learn tarot doesn’t get any easier than this. You’ve got an upfront section titled “Start Here.” A preliminary chapter, “How to Use This Book,” covers the A to Z of tarot reading in a nutshell and sets the tone and presents the outline for how to learn tarot. The text comes in short, succinct paragraphs, lots of sub-headings to keep you organized and on track, and brought to you with a straight-to-the-point writing style. No flowers, no big words, no esoteric occult mumbo jumbo, and perfectly digestible bits of knowledge. By the way, you do know that that is the hardest form of writing, right? It means you seriously know what you’re talking about, and that’s Liz Worth.
Then we get into the tarot card meanings. First we get the Major Arcana, and I love how each Major Arcanum includes a tagline, right there in the table of contents. For example, The Fool is “The Fool: Carpe diem!” The Magician is “As above, so below.” Strength is “Trust in yourself.” The Devil is “Free your mind.” The Tower is “Surrender to the storm.” That presentation factor is one of the book’s great selling points for me.
Now let’s use the entry for The Fool to showcase how this book is organized. You’ve got lots of bold-faced sub-headings to track the milestones of your learning. We open with the intentions of The Fool and a mantra for the card.
Multiple facets of the card’s meaning is covered, from how it applies in career-related readings, a relationship reading, when the card is in a challenging position, and many other possibilities for The Fool appearing in your reading. Tangible, concrete examples are given. About four pages is devoted to each Major Arcanum.
Like a textbook, the end of each section closes with a list of questions that help you as prompts for your tarot journaling, for deepening your relationship with the card, and for personal spiritual reflection on how the card’s archetypes and dimensions can teach you lessons about your own life. So this how-to book is also a workbook that inspires you to keep a tarot journal, one that will help you through personal development.
I love the book size. Roughly (very roughly), it’s about 8 inches by 10 inches, and about 1 inch thick. It’s a weighty, substantive workbook, but opens to any page spread easily, like you see above, and handles effortlessly.
Tarot beginners will definitely want this book to get a hold on tarot reading. It’s also indispensable to intermediate readers, who can deepen their relationship with the tarot by following the question prompts for each card. This book is a perfect companion guide for tarot journaling. If you have a tarot group meet-up or tarot club of any sort, I recommend working through Liz Worth’s Going Beyond the Little White Book. The group can work through the question prompts weekly and convene to talk about their individual responses to each prompt.
The taglines are provided for every card, even in the Minor Arcana. The Queen of Swords (by significator card) is “What you see is what you get” and Hubby’s, the King of Pentacles, is “Rise to the top.” The King of Wands is “I did it my way.” Page of Swords? “Free your mind.” Queen of Pentacles: “Take care of what’s most important – you.” King of Cups? “A trusted advisor.”
If you’ve got a friend who has suddenly decided to dip a toe into the pond of woo and wants to learn tarot, Going Beyond the Little White Book plus a Rider-Waite-Smith based tarot deck is what I’d get for that friend. (Oh, by the way, yes, this book is keyed to the Rider-Waite-Smith system, i.e. noting Key 8 as ascribed in the book is Strength and Key 11 is Justice.) Worth has self-published the book through Lulu, so you can order your copy through any of the links below.
FTC Disclosure: In accordance with Title 16 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 255, “Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” I received Going Beyond the Little White Book from the author for prospective review. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of the book.