IMG_4340 (2)The Little White Book(let)s that come with decks of Tarot cards. They’re the specific instructions and card definitions that the decks’ creators had in mind when they brought forth their works from out of the realm of the theoretical and into your 3-D, meat-world hands. Anyone at all into Tarot is familiar with the LWB.

Familiarity, however, is not the same thing as enthusiasm. Some Tarot fans revere the LWB’s, and swear by them, trusting each one to be a guiding voice that can help with navigating the sometimes turbulent vagaries of a unique deck. Other Tarot people, though, have nothing but scorn for the LWB. Still more are indifferent, or take this question on a case by case basis.

I ask all this because I just cracked open the LWB for the RWS (A-OK!). The definition included for The Moon card, which I was checking out at random after not having looked at this LWB in literally years: “Hidden enemies, danger, calumny (sidenote: what the hell is ‘calumny’…?), darkness, terror, deception, error.” Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong for all these years, but I see The Moon as way more positive than this. To me, it’s a card about mysticism and intuition, dreams and psychic experiences, the subconscious and the instinctual. I see it as pretty positive, actually. I tend to love The Moon. And this is why any LWB can be a blessing and/or a curse.

How about you — do you love, hate, or just sort of shrug at the LWB?


11 thoughts on “LWB’s!

  1. I generally don’t use the LWB’s unless absolutely stuck on an interpretation and think maybe the abscurity of the LWB might be just what I need. Some LWBs have nothing to offer (Black Cats Tarot just describes the minor arcana cards with no divinatory meanings), so I’ve learned to trust myself and several “go-to” books when looking for interpretation inspiration. However, LWBs can offer one point of view, I really don’t use them much personally. (PS: I’m not sure what ‘calumny’ is either!)

    1. I pretty much approach LWB’s the way you seem to do. I appreciate them when they accompany one of those decks where the creators have renamed everything, but aside from that, I don’t use them very much at all. And I had to look up “calumny” — I don’t believe it has anything to do with The Moon!

  2. I only use them to get to know a new deck that’s a little different. Medieval Cats Tarot has some explanations that are slightly different as does my Halloween Tarot. I like reading the little stories behind each card when I get a new deck. But for interpreting a reading, I usually don’t use the booklet.

    1. Yes, I agree with you here: when it’s a deck that isn’t strictly RWS or Thoth in its set-up and meanings, then the LWB can (hopefully) be helpful…otherwise, I don’t refer back to them.

      1. Every Halloween, people start to flood their social media feeds with that Halloween deck, and every Halloween, I think to myself that it looks really fun and clever…and then I forget about it until the following Halloween… I should really give it more of a look!

  3. I sometimes refer to the LWB when I’m stuck on something with the card, especially with the Tarot of Delphi’s Court Cards since they’re a little all over the place. I also like to check out the artist’s meaning for each card when I get a new deck as well! My favorite is Siolo Thompson’s LWB for her Linestrider deck. It’s so loving with its meanings and she mentions herblore, astrological and numerological associations, and her inspiration for the card.

    I have an issue with that meaning for the Moon card, too! I love the Moon card! It’s way more loving than deceptive, I think. Definitely an exploration of our inner depths. I guess I can see the “lunacy” connection but still – I believe it’s a positive card!

    1. I don’t know the Tarot of Delphi *or* the Linestrider, Katzi! I’ll have to surf up some card images now. That Linestrider LWB does actually sound pretty good!

      And I’m so happy to hear that you see The Moon largely as I do — Moon solidarity! I agree that I, too, can understand the whole “lunacy” thing, and that’s a part of how I see the card, but it’s only a subset of the meanings, and not even the predominant one at that. Mostly, I associate The Moon with a mystical vibe that, as you said, is more loving than deceptive or cruel in any way. But as always, this is very subjective stuff, so this isn’t to say other viewpoints are “wrong” — I just don’t share them, is all.

      Let’s have a Moon card party sometime!

Leave a Reply