An Ultimate Guide to Reading Tarot Cards, According to a Spiritual Expert

Plus, the tarot decks you can buy if you're a beginner.

Reading tarot cards isn’t as complicated as it seems. In fact, there are multiple ways to comprehend tarot cards with ease that will allow you to do your own readings for yourself or others. Below, we connected with professional tarot reader and witch, Sarah Potter, to find out how you can read tarot cards, what each of the cards means, and which tarot cards for beginners you should buy.

How to read tarot cards:

1. Find a deck that you connect with.

There are many tarot decks available, which is why it’s important to vibe with a particular deck of cards. Below is a selection you can choose from if you’ve never read tarot cards before.

Tarot cards for beginners:

how to read tarot cards

Thoth Tarot Deck

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For the astrology lover, the Thoth Deck gives interpretations connected to the planets and signs.

how to read tarot cards

The Rider Tarot Deck

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The classic Rider Waite Deck is an essential deck to start with.

how to read tarot cards

True Heart Intuitive Tarot

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Rachel True’s True Heart Intuitive Tarot, Guidebook, and Deck blends personal memoir and beautiful cards together.

2. Set the mood before you start reading tarot cards.

Find a place or space that you feel comfortable in. Meditate for a few minutes before pulling cards to connect with your spirit guides. They’ll help to guide the reading by tapping into your intuition and the energy at large. Your spirit guides will also help to give you the larger messages at play, which will dictate the answers to the quandaries during the reading.

3. Shuffle the cards while focusing on the topic or question that you want to ask about.

Remember that the cards tell a story. It’s best to ask open-ended questions, as yes or no questions may not give you all of the information that’s needed to be heard. When you feel as though you’ve given all of your energy to the cards, start pulling cards out of the deck.

4. Pull a tarot card.

If you’re a beginner, then it’s advisable to start pulling one card a day to familiarize yourself with the cards. You can ask what the general vibe is for the day or what pertinent information or vibe you need to adhere to. Record your daily tarot pulls in a journal to understand what the cards mean. Potter iterates this sentiment by encouraging newbies to “spend some time journaling about the card in the morning and what they mean to you. Then before bed, spend some time reflecting on how the lesson of the card came through to you during the day.” This will help you to ignite your “intuition and create a lovely, helpful tool you can return to over and over again throughout your Tarot journey,” Potter tells HelloGiggles.

How to read a three-card tarot spread:

The easiest way to start reading cards is by doing a three-card tarot spread. The first card represents the past, where you’re coming from. The second card will show the present situation. The third card will signify the future, where you’re going and headed.

If you’re feeling like trying a traditional Celtic Cross spread, then go for it. The caveat is that you may find the simpler the reading, the easier it is to interpret the cards.

Tarot card meanings:

There are 21 Major Arcana or Trump Cards, which are numbered 0 to 21. These cards start with the Fool (which signifies new beginnings) and end with the World (completion of the task or sentiment) card. When reading the Major Arcana Cards in a reading, you can attest to the fact that it implies something major is happening, as these wield more power than the Minor Arcana.

The Minor Arcana Cards are divided into suites that are the essential elements of life (wands are fire, pentacles or disks are earth, swords are air, and cups are water) and are numbered 1 to 10. The first card in the suite represents the spark of the vision, while the 9th card indicates the end of the goal or task. The tenth card can mean the goal has been completed and will resurrect itself in some form.

How to understand tarot cards:

The easiest way to understand the cards is to reflect and meditate on the imagery of the cards. In tarot, the relationship that the reader has with the cards dictates the flavor and vibe of the reading. Practice makes perfect! Pull cards for friends, family, or yourself while you learn.

Potter suggests: “Look at the illustrations of each card. Notice the story being told in each individual card as well as how each one interacts with the cards surrounding it. What is the overall story?” By gaining insight into the imagery, Potter says you “can think more creatively and critically while building a personal connection with the cards.”

Remember, you are the reader and interpreter of the cards. You make the rules and set the tone for the reading. The connection and understanding that you have with the cards are all that matters. The traditional meanings are important guidelines, but you can paint the broader brush strokes on the canvas yourself with your comprehension of the imagery on the cards.

How to cleanse tarot cards:

When you’re done with your reading, make sure that you cleanse your cards. Start by putting the cards back in order. You can place a smokey quartz crystal on top of the deck, use the smoke from a lavender smudge stick to detox the energy, or place the deck under a full moon to allow the lunar energy to heal and give the cards their power. Also, keep your tarot deck in a safe and clean space, such a pouch to protect them from getting dirty or ruffled. Respecting your cards is pivotal and key, as they hold the spiritual answers to your questions.