How to Get Started Reading Tarot Cards

Have you ever wanted to learn to read Tarot, but you didn't know where to begin? I know it can be overwhelming when you're new to the cards (or new to anything!). This post will walk you through some of my recommendations for beginners. Remember, there is no one right way to work with Tarot cards, I hope this guide can help you find your own way!

Choosing a Deck

You don't need much to become great at reading Tarot, but you will need a deck of cards! If you want an extensive comparison of decks with advice and tips, check out my blog post on How to Choose a Tarot Deck. Additionally, here are some of my tips for choosing your first deck:

  • A Tarot deck will always be called a Tarot deck. Today there are tons of oracle decks and other types of inspirational decks available, these are great but, they are not Tarot. Tarot decks have 78 cards, 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana, in some cases a Tarot deck may have one or two extra cards but never fewer.

  • Many decks are inspired by the Rider-Waite deck, so this one is a good deck to learn from. However, if you are more drawn to another deck you will still be able to learn well! My first deck was not a Rider-Waite deck or one inspired by it.

  • Each deck has its own feel: not only the literal feeling of the cards in your hand, but also an energetic feeling that comes from the aesthetic and imagery shown. Really loving the look and feel of your deck will mean you use it more and ultimately learn faster.

  • If you're picking out a deck online, google it and read reviews! This will help you get an accurate idea of what the cards will actually feel like when you receive them.

Remember, there's really no wrong deck to start with as long as you find one you like! Over time you may end up collecting several decks, but one is all you need to start out!


Preparing for a Reading

So you've got your deck, now what? After first bringing your deck home, spend some time getting to know it. Look at each of the cards, shuffle the deck, and read through the guidebook. This not only helps you begin to learn your Tarot deck, it also strengthens the energetic connection between you and your cards.

Next, create a reading ritual. This can be pretty much anything that helps you to feel centered, calm, and receptive. You can make yourself tea, put on ambient music or sounds, sit in meditation, take a quiet walk, or do a 10 minute dance practice. Really, anything that helps you feel focused and clear will work. Repeating your ritual each time you read your cards will strengthen the power of your readings. Your ritual is about your own energy, performing it frees you from your daily baggage, as much as possible anyway!


Finally, it's time to set up your space. You will need a large clear surface and somewhere comfortable to sit. As a practicing yogi, I often set up an area with a large blanket on the floor with a cushion to sit on, I also equally enjoy doing a reading on my couch or at the kitchen table. You can use a silk scarf or similar clean cloth as a foundation for your cards, and use incense, crystals, or your own personal power objects to help you set the mood.


Just do it!

If you've got a deck and a space to read, you're ready to get started! You might feel intimidated by so many cards that you're unfamiliar with, but the only way to learn is to start. Your deck likely includes a spread in the guidebook, or the Celtic Cross Spread is a good one to learn. Truthfully though, I recommend beginners start by pulling one card per day, or three cards at a time. You'll get a lot of powerful perspective with just one or a few cards, and it will be much less confusing to put the messages together than with a multiple card spread.


Practice makes progress, so keep it up! The more you include Tarot in your day to day life, the sooner you'll be comfortable with your cards. Everyone starts off not understanding, only through regularity can you break that barrier and feel like your readings "click." If you keep up regular practice, you will soon be amazed at how clear and accurate your readings feel!



Do you want extra help starting out? I offer one on one virtual Tarot lessons for beginners, these lessons can include a personal reading or offer a space for you to ask questions and receive immediate answers. Find more information on the Services page.

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