Public Domain Tarot Books

<< Tarot Worksheets: Free Downloads

There are a few public domain books that are worth adding to your personal library. The following are considered seminal works in tarot studies that the serious practitioner should be familiar with:

  • Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A. E. Waite (1911). Download by CLICKING HERE (Source Credit: SacredTexts). Recommended: Great starter book keyed to the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.
  • Oracle of the Tarot by Paul Foster Case (1933). Download by CLICKING HERE (Source Credit: TarotWorks).  Note: Keyed to the Knapp-Hall Tarot.
  • Book T by MacGregor Mathers and Harriet Felkin (1888). Download by CLICKING HERENote: Although not keyed to the Rider-Waite-Smith and perhaps unreasonably dense reading material for the novice tarot practitioner, Book T provides a good introductory foundation into the Golden Dawn system of tarot interpretation.
  • Tarot of the Bohemians by Papus (1892). Download by CLICKING HERENote: References the Tarot de Marseille and Oswald-Wirth Tarot (which is a Marseille-based tarot deck, with some changes).

If you’re a beginner reading this, start with Waite’s Pictorial Key and Case’s Oracle. The other two books won’t make any sense to you until after you’ve reached an intermediate level of practice.

That said, neither Waite’s nor Case’s books are my preferred beginner’s manual. It’s kind of a given that I’m going to want to recommend my own book, Holistic Tarot, but here are the books that taught me beginner’s tarot: Eden Gray, Mary Greer, and Anthony Louis. I later perused through Joan Bunning and Barbara Moore and find both their texts to be phenomenal foundational resources as well. Now, these listed books are NOT in the public domain, so you will have to purchase them. They are valuable additions to your tarot library, so I strongly recommend.

<< Tarot Worksheets: Free Downloads

7 thoughts on “Public Domain Tarot Books

  1. Bruce Babcock

    Thank you so much for the PD books and sheets! Your book is very well taken from reading the Amazon reviews. I’ve added to my wishlist.


  2. Hi Benebell,

    As a fellow tarot writer, I am a great fan of your work which resonates with my own somewhat academic approach. I have quite a large online teaching site which has been steadily building since 2012. I began to focus more and more on tarot writing since 2012 due to health issues interfering with client bookings and class teaching. I now feel more comfortable as a writer/teacher of tarot, rather than reader. I have provided my work free of charge offering a donation facility for those who wish to support me. However, I am at present compiling a serious of Books focusing on in-depth analysis interpretation for love and relationship readings. These will be ‘purchase only’ content. I am currently half-way through the Wands’ Book. Due to the sheer volume of content involved, I will be releasing the Book in installments. My dilemma regards the use of Rider-Waite-Smith card imagery to accompany my written content. I understand the use of the coloured images are prohibited because of copyright protection by US Games, but believed the black and white ink ones from The Pictorial Key to The Tarot, to be in the Pubic Domain. I felt safe in using them, but on recent research have become perplexed and confused. You have listed this book and its contents as in the Public Domain, and I would be thrilled if it were so as this means I can use the images. However, I live in Ireland (Europe) and wonder if I might be breaking copyright laws here. I notice in your wonderful book ‘Holistic Tarot’ you give information pertaining to permission granted from US Games Systems to reproduce cards from Golden Tarot by Kat Black in chapter 13 but there is no mention of the Rider-Waite images used for individual card analysis. Perhaps you did not need it.

    I would appreciate any advice you may have on the matter. Thanking you in advance.

    Vivien Ní Dhuinn


  3. Your style is really unique in cmparison to othuer folks I have read stuff from.
    Many thanks for posting hen you have the opportunity,
    Guess I will just bookmark this site.


  4. Maikaru

    The PDF for the Tarot of the Bohemians cuts off at Page 104. I don’t know if anyone else has also had this problem. Thank you for posting these. Absolutely amazing. It was interesting for me to read Waite’s take on not just the individual card meanings, but also the significance of the tarot in general. Cool stuff.


  5. Pingback: Tarot Bootcamp Class 1 Recap | Filloria

  6. Pingback: Explore Books & Book Collections in the Public Domain – Inspired Public

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