I must admit I'm always concerned when I see a number of days to accomplish a huge task in a title of a nonfiction book. "French in 10 Minutes a Day" is a book I have seen around, and while we're obviously talking about two very different topics, it sets a very unrealistic expectation and my inner skeptic runs to the forefront, shouting "NO WAY!"

When I took a closer look at this offering, I was reassured somewhat; the title talks about building confidence with the tarot in a month, a goal that is certainly achievable. Brigit's Esselmot's e-book is simple yet methodical, and addresses one tarot topic a day for an entire month, starting from Day 1, "Learn about the Tarot", all the way through Day 31, "Practice your Tarot Reading Skills". The table of contents also reinforces this message with its calendar format as well as a more traditional one.

There’s a lot here to like. The message of the book is a very encouraging one: You can read the cards, and here’s the plan to do it. The author really breaks down the keys to reading the cards very well, and a month is a length of time that many people can reasonably see spending on a topic that you can spend a lifetime working on. 

Some of the lessons were a very pleasant surprise. "Cleanse and Care for your Tarot Deck" on Day 3 is a step many new readers may miss. I also especially liked Day 29's "Avoid the Six Mistakes of Reading Tarot for Yourself" quite a bit; by far it was one of my favorite chapters, for the simple reason that it doesn't discourage the novice reader for reading for themselves but provides guidelines to consider.

With only a cursory look, many of the chapters seem like they would be too overwhelming, like Day 16's "Understanding Basic Numerology", but they're not. Esselmot gives just enough information to be helpful, but not too much to scare a novice reader into thinking the whole thing is too much. She also provides resources, including names of other books and online tools, to connect with the larger tarot community.

One of the few parts of this book I don’t like is the price. A $27.00 US e-book is a little steep for me. The Web site has a picture of a print book, but they say in multiple locations that it is an e-book. Even for a hard-cover book, I would have difficulty seeing my way clear to paying that much. With most decks at around $20-24 and many tarot books being sold for less than that, I’d definitely hesitate.

Please don’t misunderstand me: “Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence” is an excellent tool for many would-be tarot readers who lack the motivation or organizational skills to plan out a training program to progress forward quickly in their tarot studies. At $27 US, however, I’m not sure how many newbie readers are going go to for it.

~review by John Marani
first published in the ATA Quarterly Journal, Winter 2012 issue

Author: Brigit Esselmot
$27 US, e-book (PDF)