A Beginners Guide on How to Read Tarot Cards
July 3, 2020
Are you intrigued by the kinds of mysteries hidden behind the wonderful world of Tarot cards? Being a Tarot reader is an adventure in which you connect with the cards through your intuition. However, without knowing your deck and the basic principles of a reading, you will not be able to interpret the cards or reveal information by arranging cards in spreads. To help you with this, here is our beginner’s guide on how to read Tarot cards.
Choose your deck
You cannot perform a Tarot reading without a deck, that’s a given, and choosing one is a necessary start. Many readers believe that you should not buy your own deck, but it should be given to you as a gift. However, this is not the case anymore, because there are so many various decks available to choose from.
You can buy a deck online or in the store, the latter being the preferred option. When you buy your cards in person, you can feel the material, study the imagery, and feel the cards in your hands. However, if there is no way for you to purchase your deck from a physical store, order one online before checking customer reviews.
Remember when choosing your deck that you will need to know how to read Tarot cards to interpret them correctly. That’s why it is so important to pick the cards with artwork that is clear and appealing to you. If the deck is beautifully drawn but has confusing images that you cannot understand, it is most certainly not the right one for you.
If you are unsure of where to begin, you can also start with the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith deck. It is the most popular Tarot card deck out there.
Get to know your cards
Now that you have your deck, it is time to familiarize yourself with it. Remember, this deck will be your partner and friend for many Tarot readings to come, so you should know it like the back of your hand. Creating a connection with your deck is important because it can be difficult at first to work with 78 cards that are all so different from each other. You will need to memorize a lot of information, so start getting to know your cards right away after you choose your deck.
As a beginner in Tarot reading, you should not shy away from reading the manual that came with your deck. It is the best reference that will help you learn the cards and their meanings. As your reading skills become sharper, you will not need to rely on this reference anymore, because then you will be guided by your intuition. However, a manual is a good start.
Each time you do a reading, think about how the meanings of cards in the books correspond to your situation. This will help you realize how flexible interpretations of Tarot can be. While learning how to read Tarot cards, try to not simply interpret one card after the other, but tell a story with the cards you see in front of you.
Major Arcana vs. Minor Arcana
While getting to know your cards, make sure that you understand the structure of the deck and the meanings of each card in it. Tarot cards carry many representations of people, places, and events, creating a whole world inside a single deck. Images of these appear on both Major Arcana and Minor Arcana cards. While learning how to read Tarot cards, try to understand the differences between cards and their symbolism. This will help you in your future readings.
Cards in the Major Arcana reveal powerful influences, life-changing situations, and everything related to your life journey, its beginnings and cycles. Major Arcana is about great transformations and its cards often appear when you are at crossroads or a major transition is waiting for you. Through chronological order of the cards in the Major Arcana, your journey through life and the passing of time are revealed.
As you learn how to read Tarot cards, you will notice that the Minor Arcana speaks about more trivial, day-to-day matters. It is about everyday activities, which can have small influences in your life, but can also be rather insignificant at other times. The Minor Arcana has fourteen cards, each in four suits, with numbered cards representing a beginning (the Ace) and an end (the Ten). Court cards in the Minor Arcana often mean actual people in a Tarot reading.
There are four suits, each of them corresponding to nature elements and spheres of life.
- Cups-symbolize water and emotions
- Wands – fire and passions
- Pentacles – earth and practicalities
- Swords – air and intellectual matters.
By combining the interpretations of the symbols, imagery, and the meanings of the suits, you can reveal more about the spheres of life under influence and receive guidance.
Learn Tarot spreads
You will need to know at least a few basic Tarot card spreads to perform readings.
- Three-card tarot spread
A simple but powerful spread is a classic three-card Tarot spread. You lay three cards on the table, from left to right, and interpret their meanings for various aspects of your life. The three cards can represent your past, present, and future. Or, they can mean a situation, action, and outcome. There are many more meanings you can assign to the card positions, which is what makes this spread so versatile and great for beginners.
- Celtic cross spread
As you move on with learning how to read Tarot cards, you can also try the Celtic Cross spread. It is more complicated than the three-card spread but is also one of the most popular spreads among Tarot readers. It has ten cards, so the information you receive about a question or situation will be very rich and will cover many aspects of your life. Look for ways to understand how cards interact with each other rather than just focusing on their individual meanings and positions.
Ask a question
Every Tarot reading starts with a question or situation. Every person looking for a Tarot reading most likely already knows what that question or situation is. How can I meet my soulmate? Is this the right time to change my career? What are the energies in my relationship with my partner? When you are facing some sort of uncertainty, you can turn to the help of cards to get more clarity on those confusing issues.
Tarot cards connect to the energies of your question and reveal various perspectives on your situation. Think about what you would like to learn through your reading and focus on your question as you lay the cards out in a spread. Remember that during the reading you probably won’t get a clear answer to your query, but the cards will tell you about the energies surrounding the issue.
Many people mistakenly believe that Tarot cards tell the future. Yes, you can get a glimpse into the possible futures through Tarot, but the cards will never tell you what to do. Knowing how to read Tarot cards also means knowing that the future is not fixed and can change depending on a person’s thoughts and actions.
Clear your cards before and after the reading
Treat your cards with respect and care and clear them each time before you start and after you end a reading. To do that, simply shuffle the cards for as long as you need, to feel that the cards are clear from any residual energies. Shuffling the cards also helps you create a physical connection with your deck by letting the cards recognize your energies.
When you clear your cards before the reading, you can focus on your situation to transfer the energies to them. And if you are reading for someone else, this can be a good moment for you to help them formulate their questions and better understand their situation. Make sure that your focus is on cards and the energies surrounding them, so that outside energies do not disturb your reading.
Performing the reading
During the reading, there are many things you can take note of while you are still learning how to read Tarot cards. Think about your first impressions when you turn over cards in the spread – do their colors or imagery evoke a certain emotion in you? These can all be important clues for the rest of the reading. Before your mind joins the process of interpretation, your intuition is at its strongest.
Do not only consider your emotions, but also physical sensations, and say card names out loud. This will help you access new insights and reach the information you have not thought about before. Study the cards in your hand very carefully, including the color palette of the card, the action happening on it, and which characters and symbols are present. These are all small details that can help you uncover the hidden meanings of Tarot cards.
More tips on how to read Tarot cards
Now that you know the basics of how to read Tarot cards, it is time to practice reading for yourself and others. But before you dive deeper into the practical side, here are some tips that will be helpful for you down the road.
Simplicity is the key
You might think that Tarot readings all involve complicated spreads and interpretations. In truth, this is not like that. When you are starting out, there is no need to complicate things and try to learn all systems of Tarot. Keep it simple at first by practicing easy spreads and techniques before you can move on to something more complex.
Draw a card for yourself
You have already seen how important it is to create a meaningful connection with your Tarot deck. One of the ways you can achieve that is by drawing a card each day with the goal to understand what energies you should focus on or which experiences await you. By drawing a card each day, you will quickly learn the meanings and interpretations of all cards in the deck.
Trust your intuition
Yes, all Tarot cards have assigned meanings, but you do not have to follow them if your intuition says otherwise. The most powerful tool you should use to interpret the cards in the spread is your intuition. If something does not feel right, leave the books and simply tune in to the energies of the Tarot. Let the cards guide you in your reading.
Many beginners in how to read Tarot cards make the mistake of asking the same question several times in hope to get a desired response. This approach does not work. Treat your cards with respect and be mindful about what you are asking and what you want to achieve through your reading. Keep your mind clear and open to new experiences.
Read for yourself
Knowing how to read Tarot cards is one thing, but practicing is another. If you do not have a close friend you can read for, then do a reading for yourself. Ignore anyone who says that you should not perform Tarot readings for yourself. Instead, treat it as a great way to hone your skills and get acquainted with your cards.
Hopefully, this beginner’s guide to reading Tarot cards will help you understand the world of Tarot better. Know that the most important part of any reading is tuning in to your intuition and trusting the energies of the cards to guide you. Approach your cards with respect and an open mind and create a strong bond with your deck, so it will never let you down. Knowing the techniques of how to read Tarot cards is already eye-opening, but you will discover a whole new world once you start putting your knowledge into practice.