The 2-Hour Tarot Tutor by Wilma Carroll
Review by Chris Asselin

If you would like to purchase this book, click here.

At the heart of The 2-Hour Tarot Tutor is a method of teaching tarot that is very valid.  I should know, as it's part of the same method that helped me get started in tarot. However, I wasn't impressed by some of the secrets that this author "reveals" to us about what professional readers do and don't do.  Likewise, I found some of her statements about people in general to be unimpressive.

The "2-Hours" that is referred to in the title of this book refers to the exercises that the author instructs the reader to go through.  This will form the foundation of how the reader will eventually read the cards.  If you are like me, you will find the title deceptive; I couldn't possibly read an entire book in two hours.

The author describes her tarot beginnings that will be familiar to many readers. Carroll was eager to start reading the tarot, but she was overwhelmed by all the books and meanings, spreads, card positions, etc. She learned through experience and offers the following message: you should keep tarot simple, and don't get hung up on all meanings found in different books. These messages are strong and ring true with me, as I'm sure they do with others. 

I was bothered by some of the 'secrets' that the author claims to reveal in this book. One illustration: Carroll states near the beginning of the book that "Skilled readers are not thinking about the cards' position in a spread." I can only shake my head and wonder at this.  I know a lot of experienced readers, and I think a good many would disagree with her on that point. Granted, there are times when it is good to go beyond positions in a spread, and take a macrocosmic look at a reading, observing how the cards are positioned and/or possibly interacting with each other.  But I would never completely dismiss spread positions.  Carroll doesn't completely dismiss them either, as she spends part of the book discussing them, so I feel that earlier statement is a bit contradictory.  A beginner, unless they are unusually intuitive and loose about things, is going to depend on the ground rules until he or she gains experience.

I did enjoy Carroll's chapter showing sample readings.  It's very helpful for beginners who don't have the opportunity to attend classes and observe how the different cards from a reading are pieced together.

The author really encourages the beginning reader to trust their instincts. She even uses that loaded word, "psychic." Good for her, I say. I believe that some people are psychic, and there is certainly no reason to shy away from calling yourself this, if you are.

It was nice to see in Chapter 3, Are We Having Fun Yet? that the author answers many of the typical questions that beginning readers ask. This includes a great discourse about the Death card and what it's really all about. It is in this chapter, though, that the author says something that I had to re-read several times to make sure I read it correctly.  When answering the question, "If I shuffle the cards again, will I get the same answer?", she begins with the line, "This is something men frequently ask me; they like testing the cards."

Huh?  Men?  I'm sure I noticed it more because I am a man, and it doesn't take a scientist to notice the ratio of male readers to female readers, but I felt like it was a blanket and causeless comment. In this case, I am sure it could easily be applied to women as well as men.

She also helps to propagate the idea that there is "something" (my word, not hers) about the Thoth Deck by Aleister Crowley, perhaps because the deck came from a "notorious and reputed nefarious magician" (her words,  not mine). It's another deck, people. Make of it what you will.

My criticisms of The 2-Hour Tarot Tutor aside, I think it can be a good book for beginners.  It will really get their hands dirty quickly.  There will be some though that don't like this technique--individuals like the ones I see going to classes that don't really want to investigate the cards themselves, but just want a teacher to tell them what the card means.  But such is life.  We all learn differently.

The 2-Hour Tarot Tutor by Wilma Carroll
Publisher:  Berkley
ISBN #:  0425196186

If you would like to purchase this book, click here.

Chris Asselin is a confirmed Tarotholic living in Toronto Canada with his partner Tony, and two cats.  Chris bought his first deck almost 15 years ago, and the rest is history.  He is both a member of the American Tarot Association and the Canadian Tarot Network, and recently acquired his Certified Tarot Reader level with the latter.

Review 2004 Chris Asselin
Page 2004 Diane Wilkes