Book Review: Going Beyond the Little White Book.
When Liz Worth reached out to me asking if she could send me a review copy of her book, Going Beyond the Little White Book, I was hesitant before agreeing to review it. I’m not a huge fan of most how-to tarot books, and I didn’t want to agree to take a freebie and then be unable to, in good faith, write a good review (and I would never write a dishonest review).
So can I just say: I’m SO glad I decided to take her up on her offer and give it a shot because this book is awesome, and I have zero qualms in saying so.
Going Beyond the Little White Book is a unique, lively take on teaching the Tarot. On the surface, it seems like a typical example of a good how to read to read tarot book: a massive list of each card and in-depth explanations of their meanings. But it doesn’t take long to figure out why this book is different—in a very good way.
Worth warns at the get-go not to try and memorize the contents of the book, which is a good thing because at 335 pages, that would be no small undertaking. Rather, she encourages the reader to take in each card’s description, spend time with it, and consider each angle. She asks the reader to get a “full-spectrum view of the card” (p. xv) and that is exactly what this book delivers.
Each card is accompanied by around a 4-5 page explanation of its potential meanings and contexts. But what really makes this book shine is its inclusion of examples, mantras, and questions for each entry. It offers insight not only into a general understanding of each card, but ways the card may challenge you or manifest in everyday life situations. As Worth points out, some cards are easy to make sense out of in just about any situation, but others can be difficult to interpret depending on where in a spread they appear. How do you interpret a card about prosperity if it appears in a challenging position in your spread? How do you interpret a card about intuition in a reading about careers? These are often the stumbling blocks for new tarot readers, and Worth expertly examines the many ways these cards can manifest. Each entry looks at general and challenging meanings, and what it might mean in career, relationship, and “other [possibility]” readings. These give context to a new reader in ways that not many tarot books achieve.
Additionally, each entry includes an intention, which works a kind of magic in personifying the card. My experience reading it was almost like these bits helped form a relationship or conversation with the card. This is complemented by the mantra for each card Worth includes—it gives the reader something on which to meditate when spending time with a given card. I can see this aspect being particularly useful when engaging in a daily card draw practice. Finally, each entry concludes with a series of questions to consider when a given card appears in your reading—these questions serve as useful little prompts. For instance, if the King of Wands appears in your reading and you’re not sure what to make of it, these questions give you an “in” for exploration. They don’t dictate your interpretation for the answer, but they prompt you to consider context and concepts that push you in the right direction. They’re a little like if those “critical thinking” questions at the end of your eighth-grade social studies textbook were actually cool and helpful. Like, really cool and helpful.
Finally, it isn’t often that a tarot book gets brownie points for lacking pictures, but Worth makes the intentional decision not to include them. And I love it. She purposefully decides not to include any illustrations so the book can be used with any tarot deck. There are so many decks out there, and they are all so unique that too often, tarot how-to books lose their usefulness if your deck doesn’t match the imagery from which the book directly pulls. Instead, Going Beyond the Little White Book explores meanings based on the Rider-White-Smith system without marrying it to any specific single image. The book leaves room for the reader to bring their own unique deck to the party.
So, in case you can’t tell, I’m a fan of this book. If you’re a tarot newbie looking for a nice, comprehensive, friendly way into learning the tarot, check out Going Beyond the Little White Book. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Interested in reading it for yourself? You can buy your copy of the book here.