THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF TAROT

Secret Language of Tarot cover by Wald Amberstone and Ruth Ann Amberstone
978-1578634163 / 304 pages
Weiser Books (April 2008) $24.95 US


The Secret Language of Tarot sets itself apart from other tarot books by teaching you how to translate the pictorial symbolism from one deck to another, strengthening your ability to recognize specific icons in any deck and in the world around you. The Secret Language of Tarot can be used as both a reference book and as a series of guided meditations on the individual symbols. Each of the seven chapters contain a set of symbols that share a common theme.

Extensive research provides you with the lore and mythological meanings of the symbols to help foster intuitive powers. The explanation of imagery is both insightful and eclectic. When read from beginning to end, The Secret Language of Tarot reveals a hidden current of understanding and connection between the individual cards of the deck. Each chapter ends with an "Integration Lesson" and a special "Symbol Spread" to deepen your understanding of the cards.

The Secret Language of Tarot brings imagery and intuition into a course of study of the tarot. It is a must-have for any serious tarot reader that is written in accessible language for the novice as well.

Corrine Kenner

The Secret Language of Tarot is the book the tarot world has been waiting for. It's an introduction to the symbols and images of the cards—but it's also a guide to incorporating these symbols in your everyday life.”

Corrine Kenner, author of Tarot Journaling and Simple Fortunetelling with Tarot Cards


“Just finished Secret Language of Tarot and WOW! I received my first Tarot deck when I was ten years old and have been reading off and on since high school. The last 10-15 years I've been studying pretty intensely and feel your book to be nothing less than ground breaking! I've been reading at psychic fairs and new age shops in central Florida for several years now with very good results but your book really filled in gaps. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!”

Tj Mckeown, Florida


How the Book is Organized

Unlike standard symbol dictionaries, The Secret Language of Tarot is a course of study and is not organized as an alphabetical listing of symbolic images. Symbols are organized in seven chapters, each containing a set of symbols which share a common theme — the first six chapters contain three symbols each and the seventh chapter contains four, for a total of 22:

      Crowns, Pillars, The Rose and The Lily

      Paths, Mountains, Crosses

      Moons, Stars, Pools

      Horses, Suns, Banners

      Armor, Blindfolds, Feathers

      Castles, Clouds, Gardens

      Rivers, Towers, Angels, Temples

The concepts that tie each set together may not be obvious at first but will be developed in an “Integration Lesson” which follows each group of symbols. Capping off each chapter is a special “Symbol Spread” created especially for that set.


Marcia Masino

“Symbolism is one of my favorite subjects and the book The Secret Language of Tarot has increased my tarot symbolism vocabulary significantly. The metaphysical meanings concealed within the tarot images are skillfully revealed by authors Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone. The book's extraordinary gift lies in the way they convey the beauty of the real heartfelt journey toward evolution that the mysterious tarot symbolizes.”

Marcia Masino, author of Easy Tarot Guide


“I read your new book (in one evening), and that I thought it was incredible. In fact, the only critique I have of it is that it could easily have been 3 or 4 (or 5, 6, 10) times longer and I wish it had been. I hope there’s a volume 2 in the works (hint)! The Secret Language of Tarot was fascinating. I obviously read it quickly, as I tend to do, because I’m so ravenous for the next page… then, of course, I’ll read and reread the book interminably. But I loved it. Bravo! It was delicious enough that I literally was able to read (devour) it in one evening. It is now in my top 3 Tarot books ever.”

Ben J., Tarot student


Six different ways to use this book:

    Just read it for the pleasure of the exciting and unexpected knowledge it contains. It's a good read for anyone, but especially for tarot people.

    Use it to strengthen your intuition when doing readings. It contains solid information that will add to your intuitive response to the pictures in the cards. Anyone can look at a tarot card and get a sense of what the card is about in general, but very few actually have any real knowledge of what they're looking at.

    Use it to translate pictorial symbolism from one deck to another. A crown or a mountain in one deck will carry a very similar connotation in any other deck.

    Use it as its own divination device, as bibliomancy. Ask a question and open the book to any page for a valid, interesting and useful answer. It works beautifully!

    The knowledge and perspective this book contains will increase your enjoyment of the real, everyday world around you. You'll see things like clouds, gardens, pillars and tall buildings in a very different way, and your appreciation of them will be much enhanced.

    You may be among the many tarot enthusiasts who are considering creating a new tarot deck of your own. If so, you will find the ideas and detailed information contained in this book immediately helpful as well as suggestive of new and fruitful directions for further research.


Janet Berres “I finished your book The Secret Language of Tarot and had to write to tell you how much I enjoyed it! (I kept wanting to write you before I finished the whole book, but I waited :-).

I have several book cases filled with tarot books and I must admit I haven't read them all because they are either boring or hard to plow through or just plain uninteresting. So it was to my great delight to delve into your book and to enjoy every word of it. After 30+ years of reading the cards, when I have access to new information, or a new way of looking at the cards, I am just thrilled. I have been recommending your book to everyone.”

Janet Berres, author of Textbook of the Tarot


From the Introduction…

    The special contribution of this book to the quest for meaning is focus. It narrows the eye's focus and the mind's attention to the separate significant images that compose the picture as a whole. Then, each detail of every picture is seen to contain its own treasure of knowledge and to create and transmit its own wealth of meaning. — Wald Amberstone


Dr. Elinor Greenberg

“A brilliant and engrossing book that is destined to become a classic. Everyone from the beginning tarot reader to the most experienced psychotherapist can use it to enrich their understanding of symbols. It made me look at tarot imagery with fresh eyes.”

Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPR


“Got your new book…just delicious!!!! I have recommended it to all members of my weekly Tarot Circle.”

Robert Hahn, Tarot enthusiast


From the Preface by Mary K. Greer…

This is a practical book. You will learn to use symbols in your readings in several ways:

    Symbols that repeat in more than one card in a spread suggest an important theme in your situation. Several suns, for example, can remind you that life means having the power to act consciously.

    A symbol that jumps out at you and draws your attention has a message for you. When you notice the horse more than the rider, then it might be urging you to follow your animal instincts.

    A symbol you've never noticed before, once your attention is brought to it through this book, can be key to something unnoticed or blocked within yourself but now ready to be revealed.

    The meanings suggested by Wald and Ruth Ann can be turned into questions to ask yourself. For instance, by wearing a symbolic blindfold, how or where are you keeping ordinary distractions from interfering with deeper insights?

    You will also learn how to discern these symbols in yourself by looking within.


Rachel Pollack

“For years, Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone's deep work on the symbols and esoteric traditions of the Rider-Waite-Smith cards has been a legend, the learning and inspiration available only to their students. This book is useful in the deepest possible sense.”

Rachel Pollack, author of Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom



Beth Owl's Daughter

“Although I rarely read with a strictly R-W-S deck anymore, I am finding the Amberstone's new book an outstanding, and much-needed resource.

While you can find all kinds of symbol encyclopedias, few are specifically for Tarot people. And let's face it — most of the decks on the market today are derivative of the R-W-S system, even if the artwork and symbolism is radically different.

So, I find this book to be incredibly useful in a number of ways.

I think they have done an amazing job of weaving together qabalah, freemasonry lore, Tarot history, alchemy and history in a very readable, understandable format.

Ruth Ann and Wald are consummate teachers, so they present their information in a format that makes the book, not just a text of scholarship, but a valuable teaching tool.

In fact, even if your decks of choice do not include lilies, roses, pillars, crowns, etc., this book offers rich new ways of understanding and appreciating the importance of symbols in general.

It is a breath of fresh air and understanding that, as both a teacher myself, and a long-time practitioner, I am delighted to receive.”

Beth Owl's Daughter, Organizer, Raleigh-Durham Tarot Meetup


Special Bonus!

Purchase your copy of The Secret Language of Tarot through this website and not only will we personally inscribe and autograph it especially for you, we'll give you private access to the mp3 recording of our Tarot School class on Pillars!

Get your autographed copy and free class today!

order here


booksigning at Borders in Dallas, TX

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