Your cart is currently empty.

How to Read Tarot Cards: A Comprehensive Guide

July 2023 | Steve Travels

How to Read Tarot Cards: A Comprehensive Guide

Unlock the mysteries of Tarot cards with this detailed guide. Whether you’re a beginner or someone looking to deepen their knowledge, this article will equip you with the essential skills to read Tarot cards effectively.

Introduction to Tarot Cards

Tarot cards are a form of divination that has been used for centuries to gain insights into the past, present, and future. A standard Tarot deck consists of 78 cards, split into the Major Arcana (22 cards) and the Minor Arcana (56 cards). Each card holds symbolic meanings and can offer guidance in various aspects of life.

Preparation Before Reading

Acquiring a Tarot Deck

Select a Tarot deck that resonates with you. The Rider-Waite deck is a popular choice for beginners due to its clear imagery and symbolism. Other options include the Crowley-Thoth deck or the Wild Unknown deck.

Creating a Sacred Space

Find a quiet and comfortable space for your readings. Some people like to create an altar or use candles, crystals, or incense to set the mood.

Grounding Yourself

Center yourself through deep breathing or a short meditation to clear your mind and focus your intentions.

Understanding the Tarot Cards

The Major Arcana

The Major Arcana cards represent significant life events and lessons. They range from The Fool (0) to The World (21). The term 'Arcana' is derived from the Latin word 'Arcanus' meaning secret or mystery. The Major Arcana’s imagery is rich with symbolism, depicting various characters, animals, objects, and scenes. These cards often signal substantial transitions, inner development, or changes in one’s life journey.

In a Tarot reading, when a Major Arcana card appears, it often signifies an important aspect of the querent’s life. Pay special attention to these cards as they can shed light on deeper life themes and offer significant lessons. The position and surrounding cards in the spread will also contribute to the meaning and message of the Major Arcana cards.

The Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana comprises 56 cards and represents the more practical and everyday aspects of life. These cards are divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Each suit contains ten numbered cards (Ace through Ten) and four court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King).

While the Major Arcana represents significant life events and lessons, the Minor Arcana reflects day-to-day activities and the details that make up the fabric of our daily lives. Both are essential for a well-rounded Tarot reading, and understanding the symbolism and meanings behind these cards can help provide a more comprehensive insight into the questions at hand.

Shuffle and Drawing Cards

Shuffle the deck while focusing on the question or topic you would like guidance on. There are various methods to draw cards, such as the three-card spread or the Celtic Cross spread. Choose a method that feels right for you.

Interpreting the Cards

Analyzing the Imagery

Carefully observe the imagery on each card. Notice the colors, symbols, and characters. What emotions or thoughts do the images evoke?

Understanding the Meanings

Each Tarot card has traditional meanings. Familiarize yourself with these meanings through books or online resources.

Considering the Position and Spread

The position of a card within a spread and its relation to other cards can alter its meaning. For example, in a past-present-future spread, the card in the past position sheds light on historical influences.

Intuitive Reading

Listen to your intuition. Sometimes a card might evoke a feeling or thought that doesn’t align with traditional meanings. Trust your inner voice.

Common Tarot Spreads

The Three-Card Spread

This simple spread involves drawing three cards, representing the past, present, and future.

The Celtic Cross Spread

A more advanced spread that uses ten cards to provide in-depth insights into a situation.

Ethical Considerations

When reading Tarot cards, especially for others, it’s essential to practice ethical guidelines:

  • Always ask for permission before reading for someone.
  • Do not provide medical, legal, or financial advice.
  • Be compassionate and non-judgmental in your interpretations.

Practice Makes Perfect

Like any skill, reading Tarot cards takes practice. Keep a journal of your readings, and don’t be discouraged by initial confusion. Over time, you will develop a deeper connection with the cards.


Reading Tarot cards is a mystical and rewarding experience that opens doors to self-discovery and introspection. Through understanding the symbolism, practicing different spreads, and trusting your intuition, you can harness the wisdom of the Tarot to guide you on your life’s journey. For those eager to delve deeper into the world of Tarot, our curated collection titled 'The Ancient Key to The Tarot - 21 Books' is an invaluable resource. This compilation encompasses a wide range of Tarot knowledge, from historical insights to advanced reading techniques. Embark on your Tarot journey with an enlightened mind and a heart open to the boundless wisdom these ancient cards hold.