The Tarot Reading Companion

The Tarot Reading Companion is an eBook guide and companion on your journey with tarot cards. Discover the meaning of all 78 upright and reversed cards, illustrated with the Sacred Isle Tarot, spreads, and instructions on how to read your cards.

By Thirteen

eBook - 292 pages - Published by Aeclectic Tarot

Review by Bonnie Cehovet

The Tarot Reading Companion is exactly that – a companion on your journey of Tarot reading. Included are both upright and reversed meanings for all 78 cards, instructions on how to read the cards, sample spreads (including one card readings, past/preset/future readings, relationship readings, and the Horseshoe Spread), and a resource guide.

Note: The Tarot card images in this e-book are from the Sacred Isle Tarot, by David Higgins.

The book starts out by noting that the best way to use it is to take in what seems important to you personally. In other words, start wherever you want to start, and go from there. This encourages Tarot students of all levels to make best use of this material. Perhaps you are a beginner, unfamiliar with how to do a reading, and unfamiliar with the card meanings. There is a section on how to read, and sections on both the upright and reversed card meanings. Perhaps you want to go straight to the reversed meanings, or you want to check out the templates for a diverse group of spreads. Or perhaps you want to check out the Tarot resources section. There is no one way to work with this book!

The card meanings are basic meanings, meant to be built upon as you continue your work with the Tarot. It is suggested that the cards have a range of meanings, rather than one specific meaning. The student is encouraged to trust their intuition, and proceed with their studies at their own pace.

Each card is presented with a beautiful, full color illustration, a listing of the common symbols, the basic story, the basic meaning of the card, and Thirteen’s observations about the card.

For The Fool, the common symbols are listed as the Fool in colorful motley, the pack tied to a staff, a small dog, and a cliff. The basic story talks about the journey that the Fool is on. The basic meaning of the card is one of infinite possibilities. In Thirteen’s observations of the Fool, she talks about the Fool ultimately standing for new beginnings, with the Fool representing the querent. The Fool can also be naive, or overly optimistic.

In the section on reading the cards, Thirteen talks about reading with and without a spread, specific card positions within a spread, sequences and patterns, and using the right spread. She then addresses asking the right question, and how Yes/No questions can be limiting. “How”, “What”, and “Why” questions tend to open things up a bit more.

I love that Thirteen addresses doing the same reading over and over again! I feel the same way that she does … you will annoy your cards big time! She also makes the very astute observation that it is best to wait to read for others until you have a good understanding of the card meanings, and feel comfortable working with them.

She also notes that the Tarot reader’s job is to deliver the Tarot’s answer to the querent’s question, not the reader’s answer. Certainly our own perception can act as a filter for interpreting the cards, but the reader really needs to get out of their own way and deliver the message within the cards, the message that spirit wants delivered. Thirteen advises that the reader trust their instincts, and trust their cards. She notes that the cards show the future that the querent is creating for themselves.

Each spread is presented with a sample reading – which is accompanied by full color images of the cards drawn. The deck used, the Sacred Isle Tarot, is absolutely gorgeous! Under reading reversals, Thirteen notes that three of the most common ways to read them are opposite (the opposite energy to the upright meaning), blockage (the energy of the card is blocked or diminished), and upside-down image.

The resource guide includes asking Thirteen questions on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum, suggested decks to use with this book, and sending feedback to Aeclectic Tarot about the book.

I found this to be an easy to use reference book that covers the basics, and will open the door to anyone who wants to learn to read the Tarot.

© Bonnie Cehovet

Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.

Review by medusawink

So you have a shiny new tarot deck in your hands then the question hits you “Where do I start?" There is a huge number of books about tarot currently in publication – guides to specific decks, books about tarot and astrology, numerology, psychology, layouts and readings, advanced tarot reading, and of course tarot for beginners. Not all tarot for beginners books are reliable, nor would I recommend them; some are too simplistic, others to idiosyncratic, and yet others just straight-up inaccurate. The Tarot Reading Companion by Thirteen Is both accurate and reliable, with clear, unambiguous instruction.

The Tarot Reading Companion is divided into six sections: Major Arcana, Minor Arcana, Court Cards, How to Read Your Cards, Easy Spreads To Try, and Reversed Tarot Cards.

The Major Arcana chapter deals with these cards in numeric order. Each card has a description of its Common Symbols – symbols that appear in many tarot decks especially classics such as the Rider Waite Smith. There Is the Basic Story which is also known as the Fool's Journey which describes how the Fool moves from the somewhat naive adventurer through meetings with many teachers, and learning experiences, to enlightenment. It is the tale of the Major Arcana. Thirteen then gives us the Basic Meaning which could also be called commonly ascribed or classic interpretations. Finally we come to Thirteen's Observations and this is outstanding information. Thirteen takes outmoded and staid perceptions of the cards and gives them a contemporary contexts. At the same time Thirteen eliminates frequent misinterpretations ; Death does not mean death, The Moon is not a card of evil, and Justice is not about punishment and reward etc.

The chapter on the Minor Arcana clusters the cards by number rather than suit. Each card has a description and meaning which is explored thoroughly, often with several possible angles for interpretation.

The Court Cards are grouped by title not by suit. Thirteen acknowledges the interpretation difficulties that Courts often present for readers, and offers a clear delineation of possible meanings. Pages can be read as a Message, a Time or Environment. or as an actual Person, Knights as Travel, as Changes or Movement, or as a Person. Queens offer the possibility of being a Development or Person, and Kings as a Motivation or a Person.

In the How To Read chapter Thirteen tackles subjects such as Spreads, and how they function, What To Ask - how to phrase a question for the clearest possible reading. There is some really sound advice about Reading For Yourself and why you should do it, and Reading For Others and why you probably shouldn't do it (while you are a learner). Common mistakes made by novices such as predicting a fixed outcome are addressed in Seeing the Future. Then we come to how to Shuffle and Draw Cards and a collection of easy layouts ideal for novice tarot readers. In these sub-chapters most of the fundamental questions the new tarot reader may have are answered with common sense and a refreshing lack of drama and superstition.

Finally we come to the chapter on Reversed Cards. Firstly Thirteen addresses some of the issues surrounding reversed cards - why do experienced tarot readers interpret reversed cards in some decks and not in others? Are there decks that are designed specifically using or decrying reversed cards, and are all reversed cards negative? Thirteen sees tarot reversals as fundamentally negative but essential life lessons that offer opportunities for personal growth. Having taken this position Thirteen offers three ways of interpreting these cards – Opposite of upright meanings, Blocked energy, and the Upside Down image. Mary K Greer also employs the upside-down image device in her book Tarot Reversals, with significantly different results. Thirteen does not stint on the reversed interpretations but does keep this chapter entirely separate from the Upright meanings. This gives the tarot learner space to decide if they wish to learn tarot reversals at all, if they wish to learn tarot reversals in tandem with upright meanings, or tackle them at a later date.

The Tarot Reading Companion is well laid out, fully illustrated with the beautiful Sacred Isle Tarot. Thirteen's voice and approach is personable and engaging, and the information given is thorough and knowledgable. For experienced readers this book has plenty of ideas to add to your repertoire and expand your perspectives. The Tarot Reading Companion gives clarity to a complex and multilayered subject that can be extremely daunting to one starting out on this path. Thirteen gives the reader the benefit of a life-time of experience reading tarot cards with ideas and interpretations that are insightful and original. Tarot reading is an ongoing learning experience and Thirteen has certainly added new knowledge to the pool of information available.This book is a really worthwhile addition to your tarot library, and a fantastic starting point for any novice tarot reader.

Review by Mythic Silence

Thirteen’s eBook, “The Tarot Reading Companion,” is presented by Aeclectic Tarot as an introductory text for learning to read the cards.

In this 292 page eBook, Thirteen examines the entire Tarot deck, providing meanings and insights for both upright and reversed cards. She also shares tips for giving readings and a selection of spreads with examples. The book is well organized and has a detailed table of contents, so it’s easy to look up a specific card.

The author discusses the themes of the cards in a conversational way. She explores possibilities and presents ideas that relate to traditional Tarot imagery and associations. The descriptions of the individual cards are vivid, and the meanings incorporate practical applications as well as more spiritual concepts. Thirteen’s approach is accessible – she does not overwhelm the reader with numerous esoteric systems.

For each Major Arcana entry there is a list of common symbols found in the card and the corresponding section of The Fool’s Journey. The card’s basic meanings are described, and Thirteen provides her own observations to give an even fuller interpretation. One of my favorite insights from Thirteen is her description of the High Priestess as a “restful librarian of information” – a marvelous and concrete musing.

An overview of the qualities of the Minor Arcana suits precedes the individual card entries. This concise introduction does a great job describing the energies of each suit. Thirteen has organized her discussion of the Minors by number, so the Aces of each suit are covered, then the Twos, and so on. The author relates the numbered cards of the Minors to the corresponding Major Arcana card or general concepts of numerology for additional information. I like how this method emphasizes the connections within the Tarot.

The Court cards are handled in their own section, and Thirteen does an excellent job of presenting some of their potential meanings and core themes. The individual card entries are divided into headings that describe the card as a person as well as other possible interpretations, such as messages for the Pages. I especially appreciate Thirteen’s emphasis on being flexible when assigning a Court Card to a querent. She states that “we are more than just our Sun Signs” and I couldn’t agree more.

Thirteen presents the use of reversed cards as a matter of choice and explains a variety of ways to interpret reversals if one decides to use them. She explores reading a reversed card as the opposite of its upright interpretation and as blocked energy. She also examines how the illustration itself is changed by being reversed and what meanings this can potentially indicate. Every card is analyzed a second time in this section, and often several of the methods for reading a reversal are explored for a single card.

Throughout the book, Thirteen refers to cards that were discussed previously in order to address their nuanced differences. This clarification is excellent for minimizing confusion in the novice reader. For example, the Two of Wands and the Lovers can both be about making a choice, so Thirteen addresses this and explains how to differentiate the meanings of these cards.

The introduction to reading cards provides some short spreads for the new user and guidelines for asking the right questions. Important topics, such as how often to do a reading on the same topic and how to read well for others, are also covered for the benefit of the newcomer to Tarot. I love that the spread examples build upon the evolution of the same hypothetical situation. It’s a fantastic way to illustrate how the information from a reading can be put to practical use and guide the querent’s progress through a challenging situation.

Target Audience:

This book is perfect for someone who is just starting out with Tarot. It touches on all of the basics without overwhelming the reader. Those who have more experience with the cards may also find some new insights, or just some good ideas to review.


The writing flows well and feels sociable while maintaining an informative tone. I enjoyed its thoughtful layout; the grouping of the suits by number and Court Cards by rank is an excellent way to highlight similarities and differences among the cards. The addition of color images from the Sacred Isle Tarot also gives this book a very polished presentation.


Thirteen’s eBook is a great resource for the novice Tarot enthusiast. It includes all of the basic information that you need to get started, plus additional details, insights, and examples for extra substance. If you are seeking a well-rounded and practical overview of traditional Tarot meanings, this eBook is an excellent choice.

Quality: *****
Content: *****
Target Audience: (N/A)
Overall Score: 5 out of 5

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