How to Read Tarot Cards: A Clear and Knowledgeable Guide

Tarot cards have been used for centuries as a tool for divination and self-discovery. The practice of reading tarot cards involves interpreting the images and symbols on each card to gain insight into a situation or question. While tarot reading may seem intimidating at first, it is a skill that can be learned by anyone with an open mind and willingness to practice.

To begin reading tarot cards, the first step is to choose a deck that resonates with you. The most popular and widely used deck is the Rider-Waite deck, which features 78 cards divided into the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. Each card in the deck has a unique meaning and symbolism, which can be interpreted in a variety of ways depending on the context of the reading.

Once you have chosen a deck, it is important to familiarize yourself with the meanings of each card. This can be done by studying the traditional interpretations of each card, as well as developing your own personal associations with the images and symbols on the cards. With practice and patience, anyone can learn to read tarot cards and tap into their own intuition and inner wisdom.

Understanding Tarot Cards

Tarot cards are a tool for divination and self-discovery. Each card has a unique meaning and can be interpreted in different ways depending on the context of the reading. Understanding the meaning of each card is essential to reading tarot cards effectively.

Tarot cards are divided into two groups: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, each representing a major life event or archetype. The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards, divided into four suits (Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles), each representing a different aspect of life.

Each card in the tarot deck has a specific meaning and symbolism. For example, the Fool card represents new beginnings and taking risks, while the Death card represents transformation and change. It is important to understand the meaning of each card to be able to interpret the reading accurately.

In addition to the individual meanings of each card, the position of the card in the spread also affects its interpretation. The spread is the layout of the cards used in the reading. There are many different spreads, each with its own unique purpose and meaning.

Overall, understanding tarot cards requires a combination of knowledge, intuition, and practice. By studying the meanings of each card and practicing with different spreads, anyone can learn to read tarot cards effectively.

Choosing Your Tarot Deck

When it comes to choosing a tarot deck, there are a few things to consider. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned reader, it’s essential to find a deck that resonates with you.

New or Used Deck

One of the first decisions to make is whether to purchase a new or used deck. While a new deck may be more expensive, it will have a fresh energy and no previous history or energy attached to it. On the other hand, a used deck may have a unique energy that can be beneficial for some readers.

Choosing by Imagery

Another factor to consider is the imagery of the deck. Different decks have varying artwork and symbolism, so it’s important to find a deck that speaks to you visually. Some decks may have more traditional imagery, while others may have more modern or abstract designs.

Choosing by Energy

Finally, it’s essential to consider the energy of the deck. Each deck has its own unique energy, and it’s important to find one that resonates with you. Some decks may have a more gentle or nurturing energy, while others may be more intense or challenging.

Ultimately, the most important thing when choosing a tarot deck is to trust your intuition. Take your time and explore different decks until you find one that feels right for you.

Getting Familiar with Your Deck

Before diving into tarot readings, it’s important to get familiar with your deck. This means touching the cards, studying the imagery, and feeling the energy.

Touching the Cards

One of the best ways to get familiar with your tarot deck is to simply touch the cards. Shuffle them, hold them in your hands, and feel their weight and texture. This helps to establish a connection between you and the cards.

Studying the Imagery

Each tarot card has its own unique imagery and symbolism. Take some time to study each card and its meaning. Look for patterns and connections between the cards. You can also use a tarot guidebook or online resources to help you understand the meanings of each card.

Feeling the Energy

Tarot cards are believed to hold energy, so it’s important to attune yourself to the energy of your deck. Take a few deep breaths and focus your attention on the cards. Pay attention to any sensations or feelings that arise. This can help you to establish a deeper connection with your deck and enhance your readings.

By getting familiar with your tarot deck, you’ll be better equipped to perform accurate and insightful readings. So take some time to touch the cards, study the imagery, and feel the energy of your deck.

Learning the Card Meanings

When it comes to reading tarot cards, one of the most fundamental skills is learning the meanings of the cards. This can be a daunting task, as there are 78 cards in a standard tarot deck, each with its own unique symbolism and interpretation. However, with practice and dedication, anyone can become proficient in reading tarot cards.

Major Arcana

The Major Arcana is a set of 22 cards that represent significant life events and archetypes. These cards are often seen as the most important cards in the deck, as they deal with major life themes such as love, death, and transformation. Some of the most well-known cards in the Major Arcana include The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, and The World.

Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana is a set of 56 cards that are divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Each suit has 14 cards, including ten numbered cards and four court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King). The Minor Arcana cards deal with everyday events and situations, and can provide insight into the querent’s thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Learning the meanings of the Minor Arcana cards can be a bit more challenging than the Major Arcana, as there are more cards to remember. However, there are some helpful tips and tricks that can make the process easier. For example, the suits can be associated with different elements and energies: Wands represent fire and passion, Cups represent water and emotions, Swords represent air and intellect, and Pentacles represent earth and material possessions.

In conclusion, learning the meanings of the tarot cards is an essential part of becoming a proficient tarot reader. By studying the Major and Minor Arcana, and practicing reading the cards in different spreads and contexts, anyone can develop their intuition and gain insight into their own lives and the lives of others.

Creating a Sacred Space

Reading tarot cards is a spiritual practice that requires a sacred space where you can connect with your intuition and the divine. Here are some tips to help you create a sacred space for your tarot readings.

Choosing a Location

The first step in creating a sacred space for your tarot readings is to choose a location. This can be a room in your home, a corner of a room, or even a special spot outside. It’s important to choose a location where you feel comfortable and can focus on your readings without any distractions.

Cleansing the Space

Before you begin your tarot readings, it’s important to cleanse the space to remove any negative energy and create a positive, sacred space. There are many ways to cleanse a space, including burning sage, using essential oils, or playing calming music. Choose a method that resonates with you and use it to cleanse the space before each reading.

Setting the Mood

Once you’ve chosen a location and cleansed the space, it’s time to set the mood for your tarot readings. This can include lighting candles, burning incense, or playing soft music. You can also decorate the space with crystals, tarot cards, or other spiritual objects that inspire you.

Remember, creating a sacred space for your tarot readings is all about setting the intention to connect with your intuition and the divine. By choosing a location, cleansing the space, and setting the mood, you can create a peaceful, sacred space where you can connect with your inner wisdom and receive guidance from the universe.

Preparing for a Reading

Before starting a tarot reading, it is important to prepare yourself and the deck. Here are a few steps to follow to help you center yourself, formulate your question, and shuffle the deck.

Centering Yourself

Tarot readings require a calm and focused mind. Before starting a reading, take a few moments to center yourself. Find a quiet space where you will not be disturbed. Take a few deep breaths and clear your mind of any distracting thoughts. You can also try meditation or visualization exercises to help you relax and focus.

Formulating Your Question

To get the most out of a tarot reading, it is important to have a clear and specific question in mind. Take some time to think about what you want to ask the cards. Your question should be open-ended and focused on yourself rather than others. Avoid asking yes or no questions, as they do not provide enough information for a meaningful reading.

Shuffling the Deck

Shuffling the deck is an important step in preparing for a tarot reading. It helps to clear any energy from previous readings and to establish a connection between you and the cards. There are many ways to shuffle a tarot deck, so choose the method that feels most comfortable to you. You can shuffle the cards face down, face up, or a combination of both. Some people like to shuffle the cards while focusing on their question, while others prefer to shuffle with a specific intention in mind.

Overall, preparing for a tarot reading is an important part of the process. By centering yourself, formulating your question, and shuffling the deck, you can create a clear and focused space for a meaningful reading.

Performing a Reading

Performing a tarot reading can be an enlightening experience, but it takes practice and patience to become proficient. Here are some tips to help you perform a successful reading:

Choosing a Spread

Before you begin, you’ll need to choose a spread, which is the pattern in which the cards are laid out. There are many different spreads to choose from, each with its own unique focus and purpose. Some popular spreads include the Celtic Cross, the Three-Card Spread, and the One-Card Spread.

Interpreting the Cards

Once you’ve chosen your spread and laid out the cards, it’s time to interpret their meanings. Each card has its own unique symbolism and can be interpreted in a variety of ways, depending on its position in the spread and the question being asked. It’s important to remember that there’s no one “correct” interpretation for any given card, and that the cards should be read as a whole rather than individually.

Connecting the Cards

Finally, it’s important to connect the cards to each other in order to form a cohesive narrative. This can be done by looking for patterns and connections between the cards, as well as by considering the overall theme and tone of the reading. Remember to stay open-minded and receptive to the messages that the cards are trying to convey, and to trust your intuition when interpreting their meanings.

Practicing Regularly

To become proficient in reading tarot cards, it is important to practice regularly. Here are some ways to incorporate tarot practice into your daily routine.

Daily Draw

A great way to practice tarot reading is to do a daily draw. This involves pulling a single card from the deck each day and interpreting its meaning. This can be done as part of a morning routine or at any other time during the day. It helps to keep a journal to record the cards pulled and their interpretations.


Journaling is another effective way to practice tarot reading. After a reading, take some time to reflect on the cards pulled and their meanings. Write down any insights or revelations that come to mind. This can help to deepen your understanding of the cards and their symbolism.

Group Readings

Practicing tarot readings with others can be a great way to improve your skills. Consider joining a tarot group or attending a workshop. This can provide opportunities to practice readings with others and receive feedback on your interpretations.

By practicing tarot regularly, you can develop your skills and gain confidence in your ability to read the cards. Whether you choose to do a daily draw, journal, or practice with others, incorporating tarot into your daily routine can be a rewarding and enlightening experience.

Ethics of Tarot Reading

Tarot reading is an ancient practice that requires a great deal of skill and sensitivity. As such, tarot readers are expected to adhere to a strict code of ethics to ensure that they do not cause harm to their clients. Here are some of the key ethical considerations that tarot readers must keep in mind:

Respecting Privacy

Tarot readers must respect the privacy of their clients at all times. This means that they must keep all information shared during a reading confidential. It is important to establish clear boundaries with clients from the outset, and to make it clear that any information shared during the reading will not be disclosed to anyone else.

Avoiding Harmful Predictions

Tarot readers must be careful not to make predictions that could be harmful to their clients. While it is important to be honest and straightforward during a reading, it is equally important to avoid making predictions that could cause unnecessary worry or anxiety. Tarot readers must use their intuition and experience to determine when it is appropriate to share certain information with their clients.

Being Honest

Tarot readers must be honest and truthful in all aspects of their work. This means not manipulating the cards or giving false interpretations in order to please the client. It is important to be upfront about the limitations of tarot reading, and to make it clear that the cards are simply a tool for gaining insight into a particular situation. Tarot readers must also be willing to admit when they do not have an answer to a particular question, and to encourage clients to seek guidance from other sources if necessary.

Overall, tarot reading is a powerful tool for gaining insight and guidance, but it must be practiced with care and sensitivity. By adhering to a strict code of ethics, tarot readers can help their clients to navigate difficult situations and make informed decisions about their lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best beginner Tarot deck to use?

There are many Tarot decks available, and the best one for a beginner will depend on personal preference. However, some popular options for beginners include the Rider-Waite Tarot, the Morgan-Greer Tarot, and the Universal Waite Tarot. These decks have clear and detailed illustrations, making it easier for beginners to understand the meanings of the cards.

How many cards should I pull for a Tarot reading?

The number of cards to pull for a Tarot reading will depend on the type of reading being done. For a simple three-card reading, the reader will pull three cards to represent the past, present, and future. For a more complex reading, such as the Celtic Cross spread, the reader will pull ten cards. It’s important to remember that the number of cards pulled should be based on the question being asked and the type of reading being done.

Can I safely use Tarot cards without any negative consequences?

Tarot cards are a tool used for divination and self-discovery. While some may believe that using Tarot cards can have negative consequences, there is no evidence to support this claim. As long as the reader approaches the cards with respect and uses them for positive purposes, there should be no negative consequences.

What are some tips for reading Tarot cards like a pro?

To read Tarot cards like a pro, it’s important to practice regularly and develop a deep understanding of the meanings of the cards. Additionally, it’s helpful to trust your intuition and allow the cards to guide you. It’s also important to create a comfortable and sacred space for your readings and to approach the cards with respect and reverence.

Is it possible to do a love Tarot reading for yourself?

Yes, it is possible to do a love Tarot reading for yourself. The cards can provide insight into your current relationship or offer guidance on finding love. It’s important to approach the reading with an open mind and to be honest with yourself about your feelings and desires.

When should I avoid reading Tarot cards?

It’s important to avoid reading Tarot cards when you are feeling emotionally unstable or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Additionally, it’s important to avoid using the cards to make major life decisions or to rely solely on the cards for guidance. Tarot cards should be used as a tool for self-discovery and should never be used to manipulate or control others.

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