Beginners Guide to Tarot (Cards & Book Set) by Juliet Sharman-Burke

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A boxed set containing the Sharman-Caselli Tarot cards and a guide book. This set of cards was a collaboration between Giovanni Caselli (who illustrated them) and Burke. There are the normal 78 cards for tarot deck and also a thorough 192 page illustrated paperback handbook.

On the Box:
If you are a first-time tarot user, Beginner's Guide to Tarot is for you. The Sharman-Caselli deck has been specially designed for the novice, with every card illustrated in clear and distinctive style.

Juliet Sharman-Burke's teaching method introduces you to the Minor cards first. A practice layout is used for each suit - Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles - and then a bigger layout for all 56 Minor cards. Once you are familiar with these cards you will meet and practise with the Major Arcana. Finally, you are ready to use all 78 cards of the complete deck. 

Getting to know the cards is easy and fun. And from beginner you will quickly progress to expert tarot reader! 

  • The perfect introduction to the tarot
  • 192-page illustrated book plus full deck of 78 cards
  • Includes fold-out layout templates to use as part of the structured learning programme

Size of Cards: Approximately 70 x 120 mm

Author: Juliet Sharman-Burke & Giovanni Caselli

About Juliet Sharman-Burke

Juliet Sharman-Burke was born in Nairobi, Kenya and has spent over 20 years practising astrology and tarot and has written a number of books on these topics, both for beginners and the more advanced. Her fascination with the tarot began in the early 1970s, but it wasn’t until 1976, when she did a course at the Franklin School in London, that she decided to focus more intently on her passion for the tarot, as well as her interest in psychology and astrology. She has successfully combined all these interests into her life and work, through teaching, working and writing books.

Juliet qualified as an analytic psychotherapist and runs a private practice in the city of London. Alongside this, she’s taught and supervised at the Centre for Psychological Astrology since it began in June 1983. She currently runs the administration and organisation sides of the Centre.

Juliet has gone on to write a number of highly acclaimed books on astrology and tarot subjects, plus a book of stories for children. She’s co-authored a couple of titles with Liz Greene, including The Mythic Tarot and The Mythic Journey, the former of which included a tarot deck and was based on Greek myths.

She’s also co-created the Sharman-Caselli Tarot Deck, along with Italian illustrator Giovanni Caselli. Originally produced as part of The Beginner’s Guide to Tarot, the deck has since been released on its own and uses more traditional symbolism on the cards, which is drawn from a mixture of influences, including the Waite, Visconti and Marseilles decks.

Guest Review by Vernon Marshall

As a great lover of tarot decks I never cease to be excited about the different range of decks and I am constantly surprised at the ingenuity and creativity of the artwork. Reinterpretation is a good thing even though some of the modern decks sometimes fail to instigate my intuition. If I were a beginner today I would not know where to start. Nevertheless, for those out there who are beginners, there is a good place to start. The Sharman-Caselli deck, sold as The Beginner’s Guide to the Tarot, is perfect for those new to Tarot who may be put off by anything too complicated. It is the deck I used to learn to read the Tarot and it made the learning of it as manageable as it was fun.

It is not at first clear that the box contains a deck of cards as it just markets itself as a “guide.” The reference to the cards is in small print on the box’s cover. The box also refers to it, though only on the side of the box, as “a new classic” deck. This is perhaps an inappropriate statement. Before pursuing the Tarot seriously I had attempted to have a go with a real “classic” deck, the ancient one that has no real pictures for the Minor Arcana. The Rider-Waite deck, with its lovely artwork for all the cards, Minor Arcana as well as Major Arcana, was a great innovation and my discovery of it inspired me to learn the Tarot seriously. The Sharman-Caselli deck is a reworking of the Rider-Waite deck, though there are other sources of inspiration too, and I hope that others are not discouraged by the reference to it as “a classic.”

This deck works well because of the clarity and easy presentation of the book, written by Juliet Sharman-Burke, as well as by the well-designed artwork on the cards, produced by Giovanni Caselli. The book is written with sufficient detail to be really useful, but staged so that the reader is not overwhelmed. For example, and this is a novel idea, the Minor Arcana is dealt with first. The writer explains how each suit is depicted in a different prominent colour to represent the four different elements of earth, air, fire and water. Each of the twelve court cards represents one of the signs of the Zodiac. The four suits represent the different character types of feeling, intuition, thinking and sensation. In order to become familiar with the different suits the reader is asked to engage with them in a reflective manner. For example, with the suit of Cups one should reflect on how one’s feelings “ebb and flow.” One should imagine how it feels to witness water flowing through different containers or to recall the feelings of being splashed with cold water on a hot day. The reader should then examine each card of the suit of Cups to look for watery symbols such as fish or mermaids.

The text in this first part of the book includes sample readings, using only the Minor Arcana, based on a five-card horseshoe spread, followed by a sample reading using a Celtic Cross spread, using ten cards. Again, only the Minor Arcana cards are dealt with at this stage. I must admit that I have never before considered using only the Minor Arcana cards for a reading but, giving it a try myself, I have found that there is something to be said for it. For a learner, it is a useful way of becoming more accomplished before adding the extra perceptions acquired from the rest of the deck. The Major Arcana is introduced to the reader towards the end of the book. Again, there is a sample reading but this time using a seven-card Star spread with the Major Arcana cards only. It is only at the end of the book that a sample reading is given using the whole deck, but this time using only a five-card Horseshoe Spread. I am glad to say also that the traditional archetypes for the Major Arcana are used. The serious Tarot user will be able to make sense of newer and more radical characters when they are competent. For a learner, it is helpful for many reasons to master the use of the Fool, the Hierophant, the Wheel of Fortune and so on.

The cards themselves are very well designed and full of clear symbolism. The King of Pentacles, for example, depicts the castle with great clarity, meaning, according to Sharman, “wealth and status.” The goats that represent the sign of Capricorn, are clearly visible, as are the grapes, indicating sweetness. The Rider-Waite deck version of the card is a little gloomy and the symbols are unclear and imprecise whilst the Classic Tarot just shows us a man in blue holding a large disc.

There are a few things about the Sharman-Caselli deck that I would question, but they are not massively significant. The 192-page book is excellent, but it is a pity that the printers did not use black ink. The blue is a little tricky when reading the words surrounding the illustrations of the cards and the symbols on the cards are just a little indistinct for those of us who are short-sighted. Also, for a beginner’s deck I would have preferred the Major Arcana cards to have been numbered, as they are in the Classic Deck and in the Rider-Waite Tarot. Also, it is a little unimaginative to have no illustration or device on the back of the cards. But I am perhaps being needlessly picky.

In conclusion, this is an excellent deck for beginners. It worked for me some years ago, it works just as well for me now that I am an experienced Tarot user, and I am sure it will work well for others. For those who are not beginners, who prefer something less experimental and closer to Rider-Waite, this works very well indeed.

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13 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 5
    Delighted with this pack

    Posted by Stephanie, Cornwall on 25th Apr 2015

    I have had a pack of Tarot Cards for years, consulted many books and publications but have never been able to firmly fix in my mind what each of the cards represent. To say I am delighted with my beginners pack is an understatement!! The cards arrived within 36 hours of ordering and I could not wait to open the box. The book beautifully and simply describes each suit and then looks at the cards individually. It explains all aspects of each card and gives so much information, and although so far, I have only looked at a few cards at a time, (in order not to overload my mind) I am already feeling very confident that within a short space of time I am really going to understand Tarot at long last.

  • 5
    Set is lovely

    Posted by Kelly, Newcastle on 10th May 2013

    Very quick delivery like my previous orders. This set is lovely, looking forward to learning from these cards and also future purchases. Thanks again.

  • 5
    An excellent product

    Posted by Lyndon D on 10th Jun 2011

    First class service, excellent product. The cards are a work of art, easy to understand which is very important to a beginner. Some products are very difficult, the book is great too.

  • 5

    Posted by Brenda on 27th Mar 2010

    The cards I purchased were for a gift so they haven't been used yet, but I was delighted with the transaction, vey quick,well packaged and I will most def use this site again, and highly recomend it. many thanks.

  • 5
    Follow Your Instinct, I Love These

    Posted by Laura, Yorks on 20th Jun 2009

    I got this book and card set yesterday and I'm very impressed.  They come together in a box that's handy for storing them in and both the cards and the book are good quality. I'm glad I chose these cards as for someone totally new to tarot they're clearly illustrated and it's easy to see the meanings in each card.  The book gives detailed meanings but not so detailed that it's overwhelming, and overall the author encourages the reader to use their intuition and to link the situations and feelings expressed in the cards to things they've experienced in their own life. If you find these cards appealing then go for it; I followed my instinct when choosing these and I'm glad I did. Great service from this site again with very fast delivery.

  • 5
    These are a must have!

    Posted by Anna T on 1st May 2009

    I purchased the beginners guide to tarot on 29th April 2009 and they arrived on the 30th April 2009 I was very impressed with how fast they arrived! excellent service, I have already read most of the book and done a couple of readings on myself and found this very easy to follow and interperate the meanings! If you are looking to buy your first set of tarot cards I would recommend these as a must have!

  • 4
    An Informative Deck, Might Not Be for Beginners

    Posted by Maurice on 5th Jun 2008

    An above average starter deck with superb imagery. The book I thought was a bit Intense for a beginner, but very informative concerning the deck!

  • 5
    Excellent for Beginners

    Posted by Bannin J on 6th Jun 2007

    This is a fantastic set especially for the beginner. I had put off getting involved with Tarot, being nervous of its infamous reputation but eventually fascination with the imagery and meanings behind it meant I took the plunge. This was a fantastic choice - non-threatening, easy to connect with, FABULOUS book (192 pages) and A5 size so that you can actually read it without going blind and contains lots of valuable information and tips on enhancing your intuition. I am very impressed with this set. The artwork is nice and clear and the cards feel nice. I would have liked a more jazzy reverse to the cards instead of the plain red but other than that, they are very easy to get to know. Well recommended.

  • 4
    Great for Beginners

    Posted by Michael on 1st Mar 2006

    I recommend these highly for beginners and advanced readers alike. The book that comes with the deck is well written and very helpful. For any reader, the card images are excellent and easy to read intuitively.

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