Posted Under Tarot

Llewellyn's Classic Tarot

Llewellyn's Classic Tarot

While Llewellyn's Classic Tarot has my name on the cover, I did not so much design this project as direct it. Llewellyn wanted a deck that was designed to be faithful to the traditional tarot images, symbols, and meanings recognizable to most modern tarot readers and students. Creating a faithful yet new expression of timeless tarot imagery is quite a challenge. Eugene Smith (the artist) and I had to discover a distinct voice within the structure of traditional tarot, one that represented Llewellyn rather than myself or Eugene. This was not an easy task. In writing the book, I wrote not as myself but as the voice of Llewellyn. The approach is still accessible, clear, and easy to understand, but not quite as conversational and personal as my usual work.

Because this deck is based firmly on the foundation of modern tarot, this book also focuses on classic interpretation. The part that I really like and that I think readers will find useful are the individual card interpretations that provide meanings for the symbols used in the cards. I think this approach will be very helpful to beginners who may not know what some of the traditional symbols mean, since some are rarely used in our culture they have become obscure, although when they were originally used in the early 1900s, people were probably more familiar with them.

We call what we do with the cards "reading" them. So, by providing the meanings of the items in the pictures, we give the reader the ability to read the cards more easily. The symbols act as triggers, so instead of memorizing paragraphs of interpretations, you see the symbol and remember what it means. One of the great things about this method is that while some of the symbols are obscure, many of the symbolic choices (in items depicted and composition) make sense so if you read them once, you are likely to remember them quite easily.

Here are two examples, one from the MajorsJustice—and one from the Minors—the 3 of Pentacles.


Woman: virtue
Between two pillars: the way of balance
Upright sword: truth, justice
Sword in right hand: active hand dispenses justice
Scales: seeking fairness
Scales in left hand: passive hand receives and weighs information
Purple drape: sovereignty, spirituality, a higher justice
Justice from Llewellyn's Classic Tarot

3 of Pentacles

Sculpture: physical expression of creative idea
In a church: working together for greater good
Woman: Intuition and creativity
Man: Rationality and planning
Sculptor: physical skills
Sculptor elevated: using skills for a higher goal
Flower and Cross: the uniting abilities to manifest inspiration
3 of Pentacles from Llewellyn's Classic Tarot

The book includes instructions for conducting a reading as well as several classic spreads. Because we know that this kit will be the first for many beginners, we've included an annotated reading list. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, you'll find these cards clear and easy to read. Eugene did a fantastic job of making them attractive and dynamic.

About Barbara Moore

Barbara Moore (Saint Paul, MN) has studied and read tarot since the early 1990s. She wrote the bestselling Tarot for Beginners and more than a dozen other books, and she has contributed to many bestselling tarot kits, ...

Related Products

Please note that the use of Llewellyn Journal articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions
Link to this article: