Your Step to Step Guide on How to Do Tarot Reading
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
Tarot reading is making a come back as trendy and spiritual. However, when you're just starting out the whole thing could seem intimidating. With all the materials out there, it is not uncommon that one could find it confusing and challenging. If you want to study the art of tarot reading but don't know where to start, you're at the right place. In the #TarotBeginner series I am going to tell you how I studied the tarot and walk you through the steps on how to systematically start studying tarot. In this blog post, I am going to share some general information, which is also the framework of the series. If you like this article, subscribe to my blog because in the future there will be more detailed discussion on each of the topics, and I will be sharing my tips and tricks to how to master the art of tarot reading.
Step 1: Finding the Right Deck
This might seem silly but you'll be stunned by how many people actually have this question in mind. And it is the right question to ask! As a tarot reader, it is important that you find a deck that resonates with you and is easy to work with. For beginners especially, I would always recommend the Rider-Waite tarot, even if it doesn't resonate with you. It is the 'text-book deck' for most if not all tarot readers out there. A majority of tarot decks are based on the Rider-Waite system. Therefore in my opinion, every tarot reader should have at least one Rider-Waite tarot. If the original Rider-Waite tarot doesn't resonate with you, that's all right. In that case, find a tarot deck that you like, as long as it's based on the Rider-Waite system, and get an original Rider-Waite tarot as well. In this case, you can have a deck that you love to work with, while you can refer back to the original RW deck as you do the readings. Another good thing of doing so is that when you encounter some challenges, you are more likely to find help online because the RW is the most used tarot system in the world. Once you are more advanced, you can use decks that are more abstract (such as the Hidden Waters Tarot, one of my favourites) or even try something that's not RW based, such as the Tarot of Marseilles and the Thoth tarot . More often than not, I find tarot decks that pictures people (a good example would be the Rider-Waite, which is what I recommend) easier to read than say the animal totem tarot, which doesn't involve people. So when you're choosing a deck, that might be something to keep in mind with.
Step 2: Understanding the Major Arcana
There are 22 cards in the Major Arcana, which is probably also the most famous cards in the world. These are the cards that people hears and talks about the most when they talk about the tarot, for example, the Death, the Lovers, the Magician etc. Compared to the minor Arcana, the major Arcana is more abstract, more dynamic and contains more information within each card. It often represents major events as compared to the minor Arcana. The 22 major Arcana cards are also known as the Fool's journey, symbolizing the life journey of the fool (card 0). From card 1 to card 21, a lesson is learnt from each card; and eventually the fool completes a life circle (card 21, 'the world'). Understanding the major Arcana requires one to understand a wide scope of knowledge, therefore a there will be a dedicated blog post coming soon that explains how the major Arcana works and the meaning of each card will be explained in details.
Step 3: Understanding the Minor Arcana
Besides the Major Arcana, the tarot card also has another set of cards that's known as the minor Arcana. Consisting of 56 cards of the 4 suits, these cards often reminds me of the poker deck. In fact, some believe that the modern poker cards have their roots in tarot of medieval times . There are 4 suits in tarot card, the swords (corresponding to the element of air), the wands (corresponding to the element of fire), the cups (corresponding to the element of water), and the pentacles (corresponding to the element of earth). In each suit, there are ten numbered cards and 4 court cards. Numerology plays an important role in tarot, and each of the numbered card correspond to each of the number ranging from 1 to 10; combining with the corresponding suit, each card represents unique energy and was given a specific meaning. In contrast to the numbered cards is the court cards. Unlike any other cards in the tarot deck, a court card often represents an actual person, or the energy of a specific personality. In each suit there are four court cards, the knight, the page, the king and the queen. Each of these characters represents a specific type of energy which is intertwined with the energy of the suits. If the major Arcana is a book, each of the cards form the minor Arcana represents a chapter. Unlike the major Arcana, the minor Arcana provides the reader with a lot more details and is often useful in analytical readings. I will dedicate a specific blog post on the minor Arcana so stay tuned if you want to know more about it!
Step 4: Reading with spreads
When we first get into tarot, the one famous spread that comes up in our mind is the wonderful 10-cards Celtic Cross. The Celtic Cross spread is a great one as it provides insights into a question from multiple perspectives. However, for a beginner, the Celtic Cross is a lot, and is probably to much to handle. The fact that it has 10 cards mean that it provides a lot of messages which could be challenging to interpret as you will need to put all the messages together and construct the whole cohesive story. Therefore, for beginners I would suggest starting with something easier and more manageable, such as a 3-cards spread. A 3-cards spread is one of the most popular and fundamental one. In most cases, each of the 3 cards represent an aspect of the question being asked. For example, each of the 3 cards could represent past, present and future; or body, mind and soul. Each aspect only contains one card and it is much easier to understand the message that is being delivered. Once you got used to reading with something simpler in structure, you can then move on to working something more advanced and complicated, such as the famous 10-cards Celtic Cross.
It takes years if not decades of hard work and practice to master the art of tarot. It is however a valuable tool that could be used to solve problems and answer questions. I know in this article I have barely scratched the surface of the subject, but I promise you that more of these blog post are on the way and if you are interested in walking through this journey with me, stay tuned and you will not regret it.
1. de Keller, D. G. (1999). U.S. Patent No. 5,975,529. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.