Tarot Card Reading: A Simple 10-Step Guide

Reading tarot cards is, for beginners, both rewarding and frustrating in equal measure. You think you can see the possibilities in the cards you’ve drawn, but you struggle to access the subtle messages they present.

I understand! Everyone has to start somewhere and reading tarot cards is no exception. So I’ve created a 10-step guide to reading tarot cards accurately for all beginners. Even some of the more seasoned readers may find some helpful tips as well. This is primarily aimed at those who want to read tarot for themselves, but you’ll find that many of the points can just as easily be applied to reading tarot cards for someone else. I hope you find my simple guide useful.

1) Reading tarot cards is easier when you are relaxed and open to all the messages that come your way. It is often said, but not so often explained. The reason this is so important is because it is very tempting to check the cards when you are hoping for a certain outcome. Unfortunately, this will only harm your interpretation of the cards and therefore completely miss the wisdom they offer. Wishes don’t count as reading I’m afraid. If you’re worried or anxious about a problem, no matter how tempting, try to wait until you feel calmer to keep an open mind.

2) Tarot cards belong to the Major Arcana or Minor Arcana divisions. If you are a beginner, you probably have a book handy to help you with the meaning of the cards. This is a great idea, but don’t lose sight of the meanings a card’s group association can have. For example, the Major Arcana usually have a more powerful message, and it can mean you have to sit up and take notice if one of these cards comes up. Cups, in the Minor Arcana, often hint at emotional problems. Familiarize yourself with these general rules, as well as focus on individual meanings, as they can subtly change the message of your reading.

3) When reading tarot cards for a specific purpose, for example a love reading, you may find it beneficial to try different formats. A tarot spread means placing the cards in an order and place according to the rules of the spread you have chosen. The place of a card will represent an aspect of your life such as past or present etc. and yes, that’s another way the meaning of a card will subtly change! A popular tarot spread is the Celtic Cross, but you can look for adaptations.

4) Not everyone has a strong psychic gift. However, everyone can build on the latent skills we all have. Reading tarot cards daily, or at least very regularly, will significantly strengthen this skill. You may find that certain images or symbolism come to you every time you ask about a certain topic, or that particular cards always come up regarding specific areas. Learn to recognize this new ‘voice’ – it’s yours and it’s unique to you. Psychic intuition is often the first and strongest reaction to a question, so learn to trust the associations you begin to form and you’ll be on the right track.

5) Choose your tarot carefully. The most popular is the Rider Waite cover and it’s certainly reliable and clear, making it an excellent place to start for beginners. The Marseille Tarot is another popular one. The most important factor is that the image should speak to you. Have you always been attracted to fairies? Maybe a deck with fairies representing the individual cards would be better for you? The same in case you have always identified with the ancient goddesses. Remember that reading tarot cards is personal, so move towards things you like and understand. Feel free to keep several decks on hand so you can pick a deck based on your mood.

6) You can use tarot to ask quick questions or to get instant insight into a situation, but keep the question you ask very simple and only pick 1 card. For example, this is perfect for “How will my day be?” for a quick morning read.

7) Although tarot cards are primarily used for divination, did you know that you could also use the cards in a simple spell? Spell candles derive their power from their color, emitting beneficial energies for certain difficulties, for example. Orange is good for creativity. To increase this power, place a tarot card next to the candle, repeating the name of the tarot card 3 times. We have information and instructions on which tarot cards work best with which color candles on our site.

8) Write down. This is the best way to look for consistent patterns that come up again and again in your readings. If you’re reading tarot cards for yourself, it’s easy to get too close and miss important messages. If you write down some of the issues that have come to your attention, as well as the cards that come up, you can better spot a consistent problem area to see if it was part of your original questioning or not.

9) Have fun! Many approach tarot with a very reverent and serious attitude and while that is not wrong by any means, the natural world is made up of many emotions and states of being. Humor is as welcome as any! Enjoy and you’ll relax more, so it’s a win/win situation.

10) Observe as many professionals as possible. Look for different styles, methods and ways of interpreting the cards. Seeing an experienced expert at work is always enriching, whether it’s cooking, painting or plumbing, so you’ll be able to pick up some useful tips from those who do it every day.

So here is the 10 step guide to reading tarot cards! I hope you find enough information to give you the confidence to start one of the most exciting journeys you will ever embark on.