How to Use Tarot Cards: A Guide for Beginners


I. Choosing Your Deck

Types Decks

Connecting with your Deck

Cleansing a New Deck

II. Understanding the Basics

The Major Arcana

The Minor Arcana

Numbers & Symbols

III. Preparing Reading

Creating a sacred space

Connecting with your Intuition

Formulating a Question

VI. Shuffling Rechniques

How to draw cards

V. Tarot Spreads for Beginners

One-Card Pulls

Past, Present, Future Spread

Celtic Cross

The Horseshoe Spread

5-Card Relationship Spread

Custom Spreads

VI. Interpreting Cards

Reading Individually & Combined

Drawing Conclusions

VII. Developing your Skills


Growing Intuition

VIII. Ethics and Responsibilities

Privacy and boundaries

Compassionate Guidance

What to Avoid

IX. Conclusion

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Welcome to the enchanting realm of tarot! If you've been intrigued by the idea of learning how to read tarot cards, you've arrived at the perfect destination. In this all-encompassing blog post, we will explore the foundations of tarot reading and the fascinating history of tarot cards and supply you with essential tips and methods to embark on your tarot adventure.

Typically comprising 78 cards, the tarot deck is at the heart of tarot reading. These cards are divided into two primary categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards that symbolize significant life events, spiritual lessons, and profound psychological archetypes. On the other hand, The Minor Arcana cards are separated into four suits, each reflecting distinct aspects of everyday life: Cups (emotions), Wands (action), Swords (intellect), and Pentacles (material).


A person shuffling a gold tarot deck while doing a tarot reading


The mysterious world of tarot cards has captivated the curiosity of countless individuals seeking guidance, self-reflection, and spiritual development. Tarot reading is an art form that weaves intuition, symbolism, and knowledge together to help you traverse life's challenges and enigmas. In this beginner's guide to tarot card reading, you will begin uncovering how to harness the power of tarot cards as an impactful tool for insight and self-discovery. By understanding the rich symbolism and deep meanings hidden within each card, you'll be well-equipped to embark on a transformative journey of personal growth and spiritual exploration. With patience, practice, and an open mind, you are well on your way to conquering the art of tarot reading and unlocking the mysteries of this ancient divinatory system, enriching your life with newfound wisdom and clarity.



I. Choosing Your Own Deck


A tarot deck is a personal deck of cards and tool that bridges your intuition and the wisdom contained within the cards. With so many tarot decks available, choosing one that resonates with you is essential. So what's a good choice for a first brand new deck when there are so many decks to choose from?


Types of Tarot Decks

There are numerous tarot decks, each with unique artwork and interpretation of the tarot system. Some popular options include:

  1. Rider Waite deck: This classic tarot deck, known as the Rider Waite tarot deck, was created by Arthur Edward Waite and illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, is one of the most popular decks for beginners due to its clear symbolism and rich imagery.

  2. Thoth deck: Designed by Aleister Crowley and painted by Lady Frieda Harris, the Thoth tarot deck is known for its intricate symbolism and connection to various esoteric systems.

  3. Oracle decks: These decks differ from traditional tarot decks in that they often have a specific theme or focus, such as angels, animals, or crystals. While they may not follow the traditional tarot structure, they can still provide valuable insights and guidance.

The Rider Waite deck is known for being the most straightforward tarot deck to learn due to how much information is out there for it. For Advanced readers, learning more about Hermetic Teachings further to understand the meanings and alignments of the cards, but this deck is perfect for beginners for its easy-to-understand visuals and interpretations. Browse our collection of interpretations to help you get started!


Connecting with your deck

When selecting a tarot deck, pay attention to your intuition and feelings. Are you drawn to the tarot deck's imagery, colors, or overall vibe? Choose a deck that speaks to you and fosters a connection with your inner wisdom.


Cleansing and blessing a new deck

Once you've chosen your new deck, it's essential to cleanse and bless it to remove any residual energy from its previous environment and establish a connection with your energy.

  1. Full moon ritual: Place your new deck under the full moon overnight, allowing the moon's energy to cleanse and charge your cards.

  2. Palo santo or sage smudging: Light a stick of palo santo or sage and waft the smoke over your new deck, visualizing any negative energy being dispelled.

  3. Using crystals: Place a crystal, such as clear quartz or selenite, on top of your new deck to absorb and transmute any unwanted energy.



II. Learning Tarot: Understanding Tarot Card Basics

There are two main groups of cards in a 78-card deck of tarot cards: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.


The Major Arcana poster. The fool, magician, high priestess and the empress tarot cards are on it.


A. Major Arcana

The 22 Major Arcana cards serve as the backbone of the tarot deck, embodying crucial life events, spiritual lessons, and profound psychological archetypes. These powerful cards often signal significant transitions, personal growth, or transformative experiences in a tarot reading. As you learn how to use tarot cards, understanding the symbolism and messages contained within the Major Arcana can offer valuable insights into the overarching themes and patterns at play in your life or the lives of those for whom you're reading.

A few cards that are well known within the Major Arcana include The Fool, representing new beginnings and unlimited potential; The Lovers, symbolizing relationships, choices, and personal values; and The Tower, a card of upheaval, sudden change, and ultimately, liberation. When these cards appear in a reading, they serve as a compass, leading you toward deeper self-awareness, spiritual growth, and clarity. As you progress on your tarot journey, familiarizing yourself with the unique attributes of each Major Arcana card will enrich your understanding of the powerful lessons and transformative energies they convey, ultimately enhancing your tarot readings and your connection with your intuition. 


The minor arcana are pictures - wands, cups, swords and pentacles.


B. Minor Arcana

The 56 Minor Arcana cards represent everyday life situations and experiences. They are divided into four suits – Cups, Wands, Swords, and Pentacles – and include numbered cards from Ace to Ten and four Court cards: Page, Knight, Queen, and King. Each suit corresponds to a specific element and aspect of life:

  1. Cups: Associated with water, Cups represent emotions, relationships, and intuition.

  2. Wands: Connected to fire, Wands signify creativity, passion, and inspiration.

  3. Swords: Linked to air, Swords symbolize thoughts, communication, and conflict.

  4. Pentacles: Tied to earth, Pentacles represent material possessions, finances, and practical matters.


C. Number and symbol meanings

Each card in the tarot deck carries a unique combination of numbers and symbols contributing to its overall meaning. As you learn to read tarot, you'll begin to decipher the rich symbolism in each card and apply it to your readings.


D. Using a tarot book or online resources for reference

While your intuition plays a crucial role in interpreting tarot cards, using a tarot book or online resources can provide valuable insights into each card's traditional meanings and symbolism. As you gain experience, you'll develop your unique interpretation of the cards, informed by intuition and knowledge. We have full comprehensive articles about each tarot card meaning to help you out! View here for the complete list of cards!



III. Preparing for a Tarot Reading

Before you begin a card reading, it's essential to create a sacred space and connect with your intuition.


A. Creating a sacred space

Designate a quiet, comfortable area for your tarot readings, free from distractions. You can enhance the energy of your space by incorporating scented candles, crystals, or other spiritual tools that resonate with you.


B. Grounding and connecting with your intuition

Allow yourself to take a few deep breaths to become present in the moment. You may wish to meditate briefly or call upon your spirit guides or personal deities to support you in the reading. Trust that your intuition will guide you to the messages and insights that you need.


C. Formulating a question or intention for the reading

When asking a question or setting an intention for your reading, try to focus on open-ended inquiries that encourage self-reflection and growth. Avoid questions that seek to predict specific outcomes or relinquish your power and decision-making abilities.



IV. Shuffling and Drawing Tarot Cards


A. Different shuffling techniques

Thankfully, shuffling your new tarot deck comes down to your personal preference. Experiment with various techniques until you find one that feels natural and comfortable for you. Some popular shuffling methods include:

  1. Overhand shuffle: Hold the deck in one hand and use the other to pull small sections of cards from the top, dropping them onto the bottom of the deck.

  2. Riffle shuffle: Divide the deck into two halves and riffle the cards together, similar to shuffling a regular deck of playing cards.

  3. Cutting the deck: Cut the deck into three piles and then restack them in a different order.


B. How to draw cards

There are several methods for drawing tarot cards during a reading:

  1. Single card draw for daily guidance: Pull a single card each day as a focal point for reflection and growth.

  2. Multiple card draws for complex questions: Draw several cards to gain insights into specific aspects of a situation or explore various perspectives.

  3. Spreading cards face down and using intuition to select: Spread the cards out and allow your intuition to guide you towards the cards that hold the most significant messages for you.



V. Popular Tarot Spreads for Beginners

Tarot spreads are specific layouts of cards designed to address different questions or themes. As a beginner tarot reader, you can start with simple spreads and gradually explore more complex ones as you gain confidence in your tarot reading skills.


A one card tarot spread picture


A. One-Card Pulls

The process of a single card spread involves pulling a single card from your deck and interpreting its meaning. This simple reading is a quick and easy way to gain insight into a specific question or situation, or to receive guidance on a daily basis.

To perform a one card pull, focus your mind on your question or situation and shuffle your deck. Once you feel ready, draw a card from the top card of your tarot deck and examine its imagery and symbolism. Consider the card's traditional meaning, as well as any personal associations it may have for you.

This type of reading is particularly useful for gaining daily guidance and inspiration, as well as for quick insights into specific situations. It can also be used as a way to deepen your connection with your tarot deck and intuition, allowing you to become more comfortable with interpreting the cards.


3 card tarot spread infographic.


B. Three-card: Past, Present, Future Spread

This simple yet effective spread involves drawing three cards representing the past, present, and future. This classic spread can provide insight into how past experiences influence your current situation and the potential outcome if you continue on your current path.

To perform this simple reading, shuffle your deck and pull three cards, placing them in a row from left to right. The first card represents past influences, the second symbolizes the present circumstances, and the third reveals possible future developments. By interpreting the meanings of these cards together, you can gain a deeper insight into the story unfolding in your life and make more informed decisions as you move forward.


A celtic cross tarot spread infographic - Learn how to read a tarot cards using a celtic cross spread.


C. Celtic Cross: A classic 10-card spread for in-depth readings

The Celtic Cross is one of the most well-known tarot spreads, offering a comprehensive look at various aspects of a situation, including internal and external influences, challenges, and potential outcomes.

This classic spread consists of ten cards, each representing different aspects of the querent's life or situation. To perform the Celtic Cross, shuffle your deck and draw ten cards, placing them according to the traditional layout and placing the remaining cards in one pile to the side. As you interpret the meaning of each card in its designated position, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the situation at hand, exploring the past, present, and future possibilities. The Celtic Cross is particularly useful for complex situations, providing a more detailed and holistic perspective on the querent's life.


A 7 card horseshoe tarot spread infographic.the right direction.


D. The Horseshoe spread: A 7-card spread for advice and guidance

The Horseshoe Spread is an insightful tarot spread that provides a snapshot of your current situation and offers guidance on moving forward. It covers topics like past influences, present challenges, and future possibilities, making it an excellent choice for those seeking advice in various aspects of their life.

This spread consists of seven cards laid out in the shape of a horseshoe. Each card represents a different aspect of the situation, beginning with the past influences on the left and moving toward the potential outcome on the right. As you interpret each card, consider how it relates to the position it occupies within the spread and how the cards interact with one another. Pay attention to the meaning of each card, using your intuition to discern the significance of the cards in relation to your question or situation.

The Horseshoe Spread can help you navigate various aspects of your life, offering clarity and direction. It is especially useful during full moons or new moon when many readers believe the energies are heightened, and the cards can provide more profound insights. As you become more experienced in reading tarot cards and use different spreads, you may find that the Horseshoe Spread becomes an essential tool as you grow as a tarot reader, helping you to make sense of the complexities of everyday life and providing you with a clear perspective on how to move forward.

When using the Horseshoe Spread, it's essential to shuffle your deck thoroughly and focus your mind on your question or situation. Depending on your preference, you can use various shuffling techniques, such as the overhand shuffle or the riffle shuffle or splitting the cards into different piles. Once you feel ready, lay out the seven cards in the shape of a horseshoe, with the first card representing the past and the last card representing the potential outcome.

As you interpret each card, consider how it relates to the position it occupies within the spread and how the cards interact with one another. Pay attention to the symbolism and imagery on each card, as they can offer additional insights into the situation at hand. Take deep breaths and trust your intuition as you move through the spread, allowing the cards to guide you toward greater clarity and understanding.


A 5 card relationship tarot spread infographic - Learn how to read a tarot cards using a 5 card relationship spread.


E. The Relationship spread: A 5-card spread to gain insights on relationships

This spread is designed to explore the dynamics between you and another person, whether in romantic, platonic, or professional relationships. It can reveal underlying issues, strengths, and areas for growth.

The Relationship spread consists of five cards, each representing different aspects of the own relationship, such as the foundation, connection, challenges, and potential outcomes. To perform this spread, shuffle the deck and draw five cards, laying them out in a cross pattern and leaving the remaining cards in one pile to the side. As you interpret the cards' meanings, consider how they relate to your relationship dynamics and what insights they might offer for strengthening the bond or addressing any challenges.


D. Creating your own custom spreads based on specific questions

As you become more comfortable with card reading, you may wish to create your own spreads tailored to address specific questions or areas of concern. This personalization can help you connect more deeply with your intuition and the messages from the cards. The good news is that there's no right or wrong way to pull cards, so have fun with it!

Start by considering the question or issue you'd like to explore, and then design a layout with positions corresponding to the situation's different aspects. For example, you could create basic spreads that examine your career, with positions for your current job satisfaction, challenges, opportunities for growth, and potential future paths.

Experimenting with different layouts and incorporating your own symbolism can lead to unique and meaningful readings that resonate with you much more profoundly than a traditional layout. Remember, there are no strict rules when it comes to creating your own spreads – trust your intuition and let your creativity flow. As you continue your tarot journey, you'll likely find that your spreads become an invaluable tool for self-reflection, decision-making, and spiritual growth.

In conclusion, tarot spreads offer a structured approach to interpreting the cards, providing a framework to help you uncover insights and guidance relevant to your situation. By experimenting with various spreads such as classic three-card basic spreads, the intricate Celtic Cross, or even designing your own custom layouts, you'll be able to delve deeper into the messages and wisdom contained within the tarot. With practice and an open mind, you'll find that tarot spreads can become an essential tool for personal growth, self-discovery, and navigating the complexities of life.



VI. Interpreting Tarot Cards in a Reading


A person meditating with tarot cards on the table. There is blue calcite in a dish as well as a peacock feather.


A. Reading cards individually

  1. Understanding the upright and reversed meanings: Each tarot card carries unique meanings when drawn upright or reversed. Familiarize yourself with both interpretations to gain a comprehensive understanding of the card's message.

  2. Integrating intuition and traditional meanings: While knowing the traditional meanings of each card is essential, your intuition plays a crucial role in your interpretation. Trust your gut feelings and personal insights when reading tarot cards.


B. Reading cards in combination

  1. Considering the relationships between cards: Look for connections, patterns, and themes among the cards in a spread. How do the cards interact with and influence one another? These relationships can provide deeper insights into the overall message of the reading.

  2. Looking for patterns and themes in the reading: Pay attention to recurring symbols, numbers, or themes throughout the spread. These patterns can offer valuable clues to the underlying energies at play.


C. Summarizing the reading and drawing conclusions

Take a moment to reflect on the messages and insights revealed by the cards. How do these messages relate to your initial question or intention? Consider the practical applications of the reading in your everyday life and any actions or changes you may need to make moving forward.



VII. Developing Your Tarot Reading Skills


the fool tarot card and ten of cups tarot card on a display beside a tarot deck. 


A. Practice, practice, practice

  1. Daily draw and journaling: Commit to drawing a daily card and reflecting on its meaning in a journal. This practice can help you develop a deeper connection with your new tarot deck and strengthen your intuition.

  2. Reading for friends and family: Offer to read tarot cards for friends and family to gain experience and receive feedback. Remember to approach these readings with an open mind and a willingness to learn from each experience.

  3. Participating in tarot communities: Engage with tarot communities, both online and offline, to share insights, ask questions, and learn from others who share your passion for tarot.


B. Learning from tarot experts and mentors

  1. Reading tarot books and articles: Immerse yourself in tarot literature to deepen your understanding of the cards' symbolism, history, and interpretation.

  2. Taking workshops or courses from professional tarot readers: Enroll in workshops or courses led by experienced tarot readers to gain knowledge and insight into tarot reading techniques and best practices.

  3. Exploring different tarot decks and systems: As you progress on your tarot journey, experiment with various tarot decks and systems to broaden your perspective and develop your unique tarot reading style.


C. Trusting your intuition and personal growth

  1. Honing your intuitive skills through meditation and other practices: Cultivate your intuition through regular meditation, mindfulness exercises, and other spiritual practices.

  2. Embracing your unique tarot journey and learning style: Recognize that your tarot journey is personal and unique. Trust that your intuition and experiences will guide you toward the insights and growth you seek.

  3. Overcoming self-doubt and embracing your inner tarot reader: Have faith in your abilities and intuition. Remember that each reading is an opportunity to learn and grow as a professional tarot reader.



VIII. Ethics and Responsibilities of a Tarot Reader


A. Respecting privacy and boundaries

  1. Keeping readings confidential: Treat the information shared during a reading with respect and confidentiality, understanding that personal details may be sensitive or private.

  2. Respecting boundaries and personal autonomy: Encourage clients to make their own decisions and respect their boundaries, avoiding any attempt to control or manipulate their choices.


B. Providing compassionate and non-judgmental guidance

  1. Offering empathy and understanding: Approach each reading with compassion and empathy, recognizing that clients may be dealing with difficult emotions or situations.

  2. Maintaining a non-judgmental stance: Refrain from judgment or criticism, and instead, focus on providing supportive guidance and insights.


C. Avoiding predictions or guarantees

  1. Focusing on self-reflection and growth: Tarot readings should be centered on self-reflection and personal development, not on predicting specific outcomes or events.

  2. Acknowledging the power of choice and free will: Remind clients that they have the power to choose their path and that the future is not set in stone.




Embarking on the journey of learning to read tarot cards with your new tarot deck can be a transformative experience that allows you to deepen your connection with your intuition and gain insights into the mysteries of life. By understanding the basics of tarot, choosing a new tarot deck that resonates with you, and developing your reading skills through practice and personal growth, you can harness the power of tarot to guide you on your unique spiritual journey. Always remember to approach tarot readings with an open mind, a compassionate heart, and a commitment to growth and self-discovery.

P.S: Find out how practicing tarot daily can help you in your everyday life:
Tarot Card of the Day: Unlock the Power of Daily Tarot Readings for Insight & Healing

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