How to Read Tarot Cards for Beginners

As a beginner, learning 78 tarot cards and their symbolism can be challenging.

But it is possible with practice and time.

When starting, it is advisable, to begin with the fundamentals, which we’re going to cover in this article. 

A short Tarot history

While tarot cards are used all around the world today, research tells us that they date back to 14th century Italy where there was originally a card game rather than prediction.

The oldest surviving tarot card is from 1440 and can be found in Milan.

It wasn’t until 1800s when people began referring them as divination tools after their popularity spread across Europe quickly at end of 15th century beginning of 16th century.

tarot reader

The New Age movement of the 1970s and 1980s brought a surge in interest to Tarot cards, with thousands upon thousands being produced annually.

The current methodology for interpretation started around this time as well- using tarot cards alongside psychoanalysis techniques has been popularized by many mystics and philosophers since then.

What Is A Tarot Deck?

Today, people who are seeking to predict the future make use of tarot cards.

These cards are 78 in number, and each one has its symbolism and imagery.

Choosing a deck is the first thing you need to consider.

What Tarot Deck is best to start out?

There are many benefits to using multiple decks of cards.

For one, you will know your deck is the right fit for you and not just a random choice because it feels good in your hands or looks aesthetically pleasing on the shelf.

Other reasons include:

1) You have room for growth if something doesn’t feel comfortable 3-6 months down the road

2) If someone else owns that particular card set then they can lend their wisdom while still keeping some privacy

3) Maybe after 6 months with this new deck things might change and an old friend may be more appealing than ever before

4). Another benefit? When these other people see how much free time I am spending reading my cards every day they put me out! 😉

There are two categories: 56 Minor Arcana cards and 22 Major Arcana cards.  

Minor Arcana Cards

The 56 Minor Arcana cards represent the daily challenges of life.

These cards relate to our current situation, beliefs, thoughts, experiences, and feelings.

They are associated with the temporary energy that affects our life at the moment, which could be easily influenced.

Four tarot suits make up the Minor Arcana, and they include:

Cups: This represents feelings, emotions, and intuition. It is the suit of love.  

Wands: These cards represent sexuality, passion, creativity, and energy. 

Pentacles: This suit offers guidance on our material possessions, career paths, and finances. It recognizes the material world. 

Swords: The swords represent our actions, thought and words. They are intellectually driven.

Each suite has a Queen, King, Page, and Knight, which can interpret circumstances differently with an increasing level of wisdom and understanding. 

Major Arcana

This includes 21 numbered cards and a single un-numbered card known as the Fool.

Major Arcana is also known as Trump cards.

The Fool card plays a major role in the Major Arcana; he learns lessons when he moves through each card in what is known as the Fool’s Journey.

Major Arcana cards represent groundbreaking, monumental influences.

They penetrate our journey, and each card has a powerful message or represents life-changing events that define the beginning or ends of cycles.

The numbered cards represent stations in our life journey, and their chronological order reveals the passing of time.

minor major

The Rider Waite deck

In 1909, the Rider-Waite tarot deck was published by Pamela Colman Smith and A.E Waite after many years of research into pre-Renaissance Europe’s religious traditions.

The cards were drawn to depict a universal symbolic language that could be interpreted using Jungian psychotherapy with roots in mysticism through examining one’s own dreams or drawings during their most intense moments.

Rider Waite

Since its publication over 100 million copies have been printed around the world.

This has led it to become immensely popular among people who want an alternative way of viewing themselves psychologically without relying solely on Freudian psychoanalysis for analysis purposes

The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck is considered as being widely used because they are easy enough for beginners but still complex enough where experienced

Tarot decks help people access the subconscious and bring to light deep understanding of themselves.

For a beginner though, it is good to start with Rider Waite because most descriptions are based on that deck which offers both classical interpretations as well as unique ones for more insight into your own unconscious mind.

How to Read Tarot Cards for Beginners

Reading tarot cards involves learning the cards’ meanings, using your intuition, and developing a deeper understanding of the cards.

Your personal experiences also matter and should be part of your readings because a deep knowledge of the card comes from your personal spin.

If you’re learning how to read for yourself or others, do it consistently and you will grow and become better at reading.

Step 1: Get a Tarot deck

You must buy a deck that feels special to you. If you can, make a google search on decks or go look at the decks in person.

Do not buy a deck because you are told that one is good; buy a deck because it lights you UP.

You can also try out different decks.

tarot deck

Step 2: Find Tarot Resources and Books

Your tarot reading will likely be a combination of the different books and resources you learned from, your intuition, and your experiences.

You must read and study as many books and resources that you can find. You shouldn’t take one book or teacher as the end-all-be-all.

Take any teaching that resonates with you and add to what you already know.   

Step 3: Get Used to Your Deck

You should get acquainted with your deck. Start by cleansing your deck by putting it in a bowl of salt or with sacred selenite or smoke.

Once you’re done, hold the deck for a minute, shuffle it and then do a spread.

If you don’t know how to do a spread, try the one below or create your own.

  1. Tell me about you
  2. What are your strengths?
  3. Your limitations?
  4. What’s our relationship?
  5. What work do we do together?
  6. Which card can be my teacher right now?
  7. How can this card help me go deeper?

Step 4: Form a ritual

You need to find a small ritual to perform before every reading as this will help you get in the present.

Tarot ritual

Here are some suggestions you can pick and add to your ritual.

Get your space ready: You should prepare your space by either spraying a cleansing room spray, light a candle, or set yourself up with tea or coffee.

Ground yourself: Wash your hands before you start, and then sit comfortably. Check all your senses by tuning into your body.

You can listen to a song or take deep breaths without distractions.

Connect to your guides: Spend a minute inviting your guide; what you feel connected to.

Whether it’s God, the universe, spirit guides, angels, the goddess, or anything you feel connected to.

Choose a phrase, word, or feeling: This will set an intention for your reading.

Shuffle your deck and pull your card:

  1. Begin to shuffle and pull your card while asking the tarot your questions.
  2. Once you pull a card, write the question and the initial response in your journal.
  3. Consult your resources and books and write down anything that resonates with you.

Step 5: Practice Daily or Weekly

Practice makes perfect even when reading tarot.

Ensure that you set time aside to practice each day or week but practicing every day is good for those who want to be serious about reading cards.

Tarot cards

Each time you practice, ask different questions.

This will help you learn about the cards and how they show up in your life.

Learn Some Tarot Spreads

The tarot spread is a layout of cards that will give you insight into your questions.

Each position in the spread reflects an aspect to consider when exploring your question, and it doesn’t have to be used for every reading.

A popular one consists of 10 cards called the Celtic Cross Tarot Spread.

However, this isn’t great place for beginners because there are so many things they need learn about first before using such as card spreads with more than 2 or 3 positions- much less ten!

When someone wants to explore their past, present or future with a tarot card reading, the 3-Card Spread is perfect.

This spread will tell you about what’s going on in your mind and body as well as show you where they’re headed next!

the hierophant

What do people want when it comes to Tarot Card readings?

A good understanding of how things are currently shaping up for them physically AND emotionally right now OR an idea of how that could change in one month OR even three months from now.

That’s why I recommend using this quick yet insightful Three-card Tarot Reading before making any major life decisions.

How to Pull the Cards?

  1. Open up the tarot box.
  2. Take out the cards, take deep breaths and talk to your guides.
  3. While holding the cards, tap or knock on the cards several times to spread your energy into the deck.
  4. Shuffle thoroughly.
  5. Divide the cards into three piles and put them back in one pile again.
  6. You are ready to start the reading.
  7. Spread the cards on a table or floor.
  8. Select the cards you are drawn to.
  9. Consult your intuition or guidebook.

What do tarot cards represent?

Tarot cards are a wide world of magic and guidance, as shamans say.

They can tell you more about what is happening in your personal orbit: like love, money or even career goals.

the lovers

As well as the general path that will be laid out for you to follow through life.”

Tarot Cards give only one perspective on how things may go.

They’re not perfect but they’re helpful!

Interpreting the Cards You Pull

As earlier said, you need to read books and resources to become familiar with the cards and their symbolism.

10 of swords

When you’ve done that, you need to stay calm and connect with your intuition during a reading.

After you pull a card, what do you do?

OPTION 1: It is perfectly fine to put the card back in the deck once the reading is done.

OPTION 2: While you are contemplating the message that was received, it’s fantastic to leave them out somewhere close by and refer back later on. Just don’t lose them!

Pull one card or multiple?

Real Beginners: You’re going to need training wheels at first.

Your mind will be racing as you work through the meaning of your card, but don’t let this overwhelm you.

the tower

You’ll find that with each new reading it becomes clearer and easier for both yourself and those around you who might want help understanding what they receive from a tarot deck reading.

10 speed: The 10-Speed card indicates that you are in a place where your speed and creativity is not being challenged, or it may be time to change gears.

You might find the best way to start would be by picking one card from the deck and looking up its meaning in our guidebook before practicing with others.

(Before choosing out loud or silently: “What message do I need today?)

Read for yourself before starting any spreads as there are many different tarot configurations available and all of them have their benefits depending on what resonates most with you

Can you start with a reader, or can you read for yourself?

Tarot cards are a valuable tool for understanding the past, present and future.

That is why I recommend that you get in touch with an experienced tarot reader to learn more about their process of reading these cards at your next opportunity.

tarot readings

They can help answer any questions that you may have about yourself or others through this ancient art form!

How to Keep Your Tarot Deck Healthy or Charged

Even though you have several decks, you need to have a dedicated one for reading that nobody touches. If you plan on doing professional readings for clients, have a personal deck and a working deck.

Here’s how you maintain your deck:

  • Sage it.
  • Place it on your altar.
  • Keep crystals on the deck top.
  • Keep your cards safe in a box or bag, so they don’t get dusty or thrown.
the empress

How to read tarot cards for beginners – Summary

When you start learning how to read tarot, there will be an urge to memorize the card meanings.

Do not try to stick all the meanings in your head; let go of trying to memorize instead focus on finding a technique that will help you interpret them using your intuition.

After a while of consulting resources and books to know the meaning of these cards, it sticks.

You will then be able to use your intuition and understanding to explain the symbolism of these cards.

Whether you begin with Minor Arcana cards or major arcana remember that we are all different.

Everyone has a unique style for reading their tarot cards.

With all the tarot decks available, we hope this beginner’s guide has give you insight into the right path to take and help you as a future tarot reader.