Beginners Guide To Tarot Cards & Reading

Beginners Guide To Tarot Cards
Written by Steve

Tarot Cards & Reading

 

What is Tarot?

Tarot which has previously been known as Trionfi, Tarrochi, Tarock among other names, is a pack of cards that have been used for centuries.

As per a usual deck of cards, Tarot has four different suits which vary depending on the region they originate from.

Tarot can be used to play card games or for spiritual readings and cartomancy.

History of Tarot cards

History of Tarot Reading

Tarot Cards have been used throughout history, starting from the middle of the 15th century. It wasn’t until the 18th century, however, that they were used for divination and cartomancy.

There is a belief that the Tarot cards can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt, but no hard evidence can support this.

Originally Tarot cards were created for the purpose of a game.

Check out the full history of Tarot Cards here.

Tarot for Beginners

What do I need to start Tarot Reading?

 

To begin reading Tarot you won’t need a lot and the investment is tiny, especially for what you get in return from the hobby.

I’ve made a little list of what you need to start with, it’s only the Tarot Cards that are mandatory and anything else is optional.

  1. Tarot Cards (Mandatory)
    You will need a pack of Tarot cards, the next section after this list will explain how to choose tarot cards that are right for you. (Check Tarot Cards Price on Amazon)
  2. Tarot Dictionary (Optional)
    As a beginner, a good Tarot dictionary will help you learn all of the meanings of the cards and can be used as a great reference when looking up meanings. You, of course, do not need to purchase one if you are working with a budget as the information is available online. That being said it’s nice to have a book at hand.
  3. Candles (Optional) 
    Using a colored candle, appropriate to the reading can help create energy for your reading and create a more relaxed aura, making the reading more accurate. Check out this candle colors and correspondences guide. If you are stuck for the color to use, using white is quite general.
  4. Crystals (Optional) 
    Crystals can be used to “recharge” the cards and to help with cleansing. You should store your cards in a container or bag with the crystals. This is, of course, optional and not mandatory.
  5. Container for your Tarot Cards (Optional)
    Your cards should be respected, kept in the original box, you can also opt for a special container or bag to keep your cards in to protect them.

How do I choose a Tarot Deck?

Choosing your first tarot deck can be an overwhelming process with so many types available. Each has their own artwork, stories, energy and such like.

With the way in which we do our shopping changing, the process has also changed. Some people prefer buying online but with some, they like to keep it authentic and want to physically see and feel the deck.

My personal opinion on this is as long as you are drawn to the cards it doesn’t really matter. It’s just about feeling a connection.

Some good tips when choosing your first beginner’s tarot deck to follow:

Connection

The main aspect when choosing your first tarot deck is to try to feel a connection. One that intuitively grabs you.

Try to feel the energy from the cards if you are doing this while shopping online browse the deck images to see if you feel any kind of connection if you’re in an actual shop then pick up some decks in your hand. Does any of them feel right? Always trust your instinct.

Experience

If you have arrived here and are a complete beginner with little to no experience of Tarot or decks then a great starting Tarot deck is the Rider-Waite deck.

The Rider-Waite deck is probably the most basic and simplest to understand with the most information available.

Usage

With there being a large range of different Tarot decks this means you can find one that is more suitable for what you will be using Tarot for.

Here are some examples of different decks and their purpose. If you are unsure on a Tarot deck you have found Google has a wealth of information available in an instant.

Types of Tarot Decks

Osho Zen deck – Helping find an inner peace and tranquillity in life.

Druid Craft – Earth-based rituals and practices.

Goddess Tarot – Connecting you with your inner Goddess.

If you intend to become a professional Tarot reader then you should have numerous decks for alternative purposes so you choose the most relevant for your situation and client.

Choosing a Tarot Deck Summary

There are more factors that you can consider, the size of the cards with Giant, Mini and standard available. Traditional or modern? Imagery and more.

Do not let the choices become overwhelming above all you should follow your intuition.

If you don’t like the cards you are choosing simply replace them.

Don’t spend too much time thinking about it, it should be a spontaneous purchase that is guided by emotion and feeling.

Best Beginner Tarot Spreads

When just starting out in Tarot it is the best practice to keep things as simple as possible, don’t run before you can walk.

You should not try to begin with elaborate and complex spreads, this will not help you learn and may even put you off the Tarot hobby.

Beginner Tarot readers should choose the most basic of spreads to begin. This will help you learn and help your progress.

The following spreads are very simple and are perfect for beginners.

Past, Present, Future

Three Card Tarot Spread

Past, Present & Future tarot spread is a 3 card spread and is a very popular beginners tarot spread.

Drawing your cards place them from left to right directly in front of you. The card to your left is the past, in the middle is the present and to the right the future.

It is important that although we know what has happened in the past that this card is present, the past card allows us to have a deeper understanding of the bigger picture. It tells us who we are and what’s occurring in the present.

The present card tells us where we are now in our lives and can give us clues and an indication of where we will be going in the future. Both the past and present card give us a deeper insight of the future card.

Finally the future card, this card tells us where we are going with our life right now. The future card is not set in stone and can be changed by the choices we make in the present. That being said, the future card shows us where the energy is flowing and the time of the card reading.

This is a great beginners tarot spread as it is simple and effective. It allows us to get a great deal of information concerning life right now and where we are heading in regards to the question we have asked. From this reading, we can make choices about what we need to do to move forward.

Card a day

A very basic and simple tarot spread, as the name suggests it is as simple as drawing a single card per day.

Before drawing the card for the day you will need to focus your energy and asking a question like “What’s in store for me today?” later on before you go to sleep try to relate your experiences that day to the card you pulled.

The Card a day tarot spread is perfect for a beginner because it gives you chance to build intuition and learn more about the cards.

Situation/action/outcome

Another great 3 cards spread for the beginner is the situation-action-outcome tarot spread. It’s a perfect spread for guiding people through situations which may be confusing.

As per the past present and future spread you will draw three cards from the deck starting from the left through to the right.

Draw your first card from the deck this will be placed to your left, then draw a card in the middle this is your action card and finally place a card to the right for the outcome card.

Keep your mind open when drawing the cards, the situation card may not be what you expect it to be in regards to the situation you are going through but often or not what is happening in our lives is not what we think is happening.

The action card is the action the cards are telling you to take in order to get to the card on the right, the outcome card.

Check out this video for some basic Tarot spreads.

Reading Tarot Cards

So now you have an idea of the basic spreads for beginner tarot readers we now need to know the fundamentals of how to read those spreads.

Firstly, we need to understand what the Tarot deck of cards is made up of.

In a standard deck of Tarot cards, they are made up from 78 cards, each one of these cards has a different picture, story and meaning.

There are 22 major Arcana cards, 56 minor Arcana cards and 16 Tarot court cards.

Located in the Minor Arcana cards there are 16 court cards, each showing us different characteristics.

There are also 40 cards which are numbered and organised into 4 suits, swords, pentacles, cups and wands. The 10 cards per suit show us daily encounters or situations.

Major Arcana Cards

The Major Arcana cards are lessons of karma and spirituality. Representing the path to self-awareness and showing us the different points in life that we encounter as we try to grasp a deeper understanding.

Major Arcana cards teach us deep and spiritual lessons.

Minor Arcana Cards

A reflection of the choices and trials that we face each day.

The Minor Arcana cards give us a deeper understanding of current problems or choices in day to day life, they may also be connected to present issues that perhaps have a small influence on life.

Individual Tarot card meanings and insights

For a deeper insight and meaning into what each card represents I have found a fantastic tarot website.

It is simple to use simply hover over the card and it will present you with a meaning.

You can view all the individual meanings of the cards on the Biddy Tarot website here or alternatively use the Tarot Dictionary book as a reference.

Tarot Card Reading Tips

It’s easy to overcomplicate Tarot and to feel like you aren’t capable of becoming a Tarot reader. These handy little tips should help you through.

  • Study the cards not a book – While learning to read Tarot you should not rely heavily on books and articles to find out what the cards are telling you or what they mean. The cards give a unique reading to the questions asked and for an individual person. What does the picture on the card tell you? What connection does the card have?
  • Learn one way from the start – At the very beginning of your tarot reading journey, you should make a decision between learning the reversal meanings from upside down cards or not learning them. If you are a complete novice learning the reversal meanings can be overwhelming and will take you a lot longer to grasp. I would advise not learning the reversal if you want to be able to read Tarot sooner, focus on the images and energy connection of the cards.
  • Practice on family & friends – A huge part of learning tarot is the practical and not the literature. Don’t be afraid of doing free readings for your family & friends. Use your intuition, focus on the energy of both the card and the question asked. Remind them that you aren’t an expert yet and you appreciate any feedback.
  • Respect your Tarot Cards – Treat your cards as you would your best friend, after all, you are going to be relying on and trusting the advice that they give. Keep them clean and in the original box. Store them in a special place, some even use crystals for healing, cleansing and recharging the cards with energy. Amethyst is the number one choice.
  • Bless and cleanse your cards – When you first receive your cards you should perform a blessing ritual on them and after each use, you should clean them. You can find more information on blessing and cleansing cards here.
  • Take notes – Taking notes in a Tarot journal is a popular practice if you perform a daily one card draw you should write your observations and what you interpret from the card. This is a huge part of learning Tarot.
  • Memorise the cards with keywords – Don’t try and learn all the cards and their meanings straight away this will give you a huge headache, over complicate and perhaps even damage your confidence in being a Tarot reader. A very good method for learning Tarot is to learn 2 keywords for each card. Then elaborate on the keywords.
  • Connect with the cards – Making tarot personal and doing a daily reading for yourself is a great way to connect with the cards. Connect your day to day life and experiences with the cards. Go through the cards and look at the images, forget the actual meanings, for now, connect images with your personal life.
  • Stay confident – Have faith in yourself and your connection with the cards, if you get stuck with what a card means, or the connection talk or think more about the imagery or official meaning of the card you may be surprised and stumble across the connection. Remember it is ok to not understand at the beginning it is all part of the learning process. Keep your confidence.

Mistakes to avoid while Tarot reading

  • Do not read while overly emotional – Reading when overly emotional is a bad idea, you’re likely to draw the cards you are most scared of drawing, which will make you more emotional. Give yourself time to calm down, clear your mind and wait before asking the cards questions.
  • Do not look up all of the card meanings – Of course, as a beginner, you will need to use references for meaning but do not rely too heavily on them. You will need to find your own interpretations using the imagery and your gut as well and incorporate this into the card meaning.
  • Do not overcomplicate the spread – To begin with, a maximum of a three card spread will suffice. Don’t jump straight in and complicate things or else you will find yourself overwhelmed.
  • Do not interpret the cards to see what you want to see – A common mistake is to take what you want to hear or see from the Tarot cards not what they are actually telling you. If you are reading for yourself or a friend then you may be emotionally invested, it is a good idea to use tarot forums or other tarot readers for their interpretation.

Beginners Tarot Reading Overview

Tarot reading is not something that somebody can teach you, it’s something that you have to learn yourself.

I hope this guide gave you enough of the basic information to help you with your Tarot reading journey.

Remember to be patient, to rely on your gut and not books or literature. Connect with the cards and create your own interpretation, have faith in your spiritual energy.

If you have any more questions about beginner tarot then please feel free to leave a comment below and I will try to help you as much as I can.

Tarot FAQ

How many cards are in Tarot?

In a standard deck of Tarot cards, there are 78 cards in total made up of 22 major Arcana cards and 56 minor Arcana cards these are divided into four suits.

Can anyone read Tarot?

It is possible for anyone to read Tarot cards, that being said psychic abilities and using intuition is not the same. Reading Tarot cards is a skill and with practice, learning and dedication anyone can develop it.

Does Tarot predict the future?

I do not believe the Tarot predict the future, what I believe is they give you advice. Your future is yours and the Tarot give you enough advice and insight for you to change it through the choices you make.

Do Tarot cards always have the answer to a question?

No, they do not, sometimes the answer will not be available or it will give a very vague or complicated answer.

 

About the author

Steve

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