A Beginner’s Guide to Tarot Cards – This post may contain affiliate links. You can view my full disclosure here.
In recent years, tarot cards (along with other witchy things) have become very popular again.
For some people, tarot cards are just a hobby or something done for fun – but for other people, tarot cards are a sacred part of their life.
Then there are other people, like myself, who think that they can be insightful and sometimes give you advice and direction.
But whether you think tarot cards are actual magic, or you just think they can help you see things from a new perspective, tarot cards can be a super useful tool.
It can be confusing to know where to start with tarot cards, though. Which deck should you get? What does each card mean? What spreads should you try? How do you memorize everything? The list of questions can go on and on!
That’s why I wanted to share this post today!
Here’s a beginner’s guide to tarot cards:
What do I need to get started?
1. You’ll need a tarot deck, of course. There are almost endless options out there but I’ll speak about a few popular ones here:
- I would say that this Rider Waite Tarot deck is the most popular out there. It was created in 1909!
- I have The Wild Unkown Tarot deck and it’s another popular one. I was drawn to it because of the artwork.
- Another one I have is The Modern Witch Tarot deck. I love how modern it is and it also has great artwork.
- There are even fan art tarot decks, like this Nightmare Before Christmas one.
When it comes to choosing a deck, there’s no wrong option. It’s important to choose one that speaks to you personally, or that you can identify with. You’re the one who will be using them, so they have to fit YOU. You’ll learn that your intuition is important when it comes to tarot!
2. I recommend keeping a journal. I just use this Moleskine journal. It’s good to use the journal to write down what you learn as you go. Write down how you personally identify the meaning of each card, what spreads you’re learning, and anything else. It’s nice to have it all in one space with your personal interpretation. In my opinion, this helps you learn things more deeply and easily.
Keep in mind that tarot is an art, not a science. Everyone can have a slightly different interpretation of a reading or even each card’s meaning.
3. A good book on Tarot reading is super helpful. I recommend Tarot: No Questions Asked. This book is a great choice because it doesn’t teach you other people’s meaning of the cards, it teaches you to step inward and interpret the cards intuitively. This is so important when it comes to tarot reading!
What do the different cards mean?
The designs are different from deck to deck, but the cards are the same. Each deck has 78 cards that are divided into 2 groups: the major and minor arcana.
The major arcana are the first 22 cards in the deck. They’re 21 numbered cards and the Fool card. The major arcana reveal messages about the bigger picture of your life.
The minor arcana are the other 56 cards in the deck. They are 40 numbered cards and 16 court cards. The 40 numbered cards are divided up into 4 suits: Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands. There are numbers 1-10 in each suit. There are also 4 courts (or faces) in each suit – page, knight, queen, and king.
Cups: emotion, feelings, intuition, relationships
Pentacles: security, wealth, stability
Swords: logic, ideas, intellect, communication
Wands: energy, drive, willpower, creativity
1: Opportunity, beginnings, potential, inspiration
2: Choices, balance, union, harmony
3: Completion, growth, groups,
4: Foundation, stability, manifestation
5: Conflict, instability, change, movement
6: Solution, adjustment, harmony
7: Reflection, introspection, reevaluate
8: Achievement, rebirth, changes
9: Nearing completion, transition, plateau
10: Completion, coming full circle, going forward
Page: Fresh starts, new lessons, learning
Knight: Action, goals, growth
Queen: Connections, wisdom
King: Master, leader, solutions
So if you get a 7 of cups, one possible meaning would be that you need to reevaluate a friendship.
You can take notes on this stuff (and other stuff you learn) in your journal. But as with most things in life, the best way to learn and memorize everything is to practice!
How do I deal or spread the cards?
First, I want to say that it’s good to break in a new deck of tarot cards and kind of make them yours. Here’s a great post from Practical Magic on 10 ways to break in a deck of tarot cards.
When it comes to preparing your deck for a reading, there are certain things that a lot of people do. But in my opinion, as with most things when it comes to tarot, I think it’s all about what feels natural and right to you.
But here is how it generally goes: If you’re reading for yourself, keep in mind the area of your life that you’d like clarity on. If you’re reading for someone else, ask them specifically what they want the reading to be about. Focus on this as you’re shuffling the cards.
You can shuffle the cards as many times as you feel you need to in order to clear them and reset them for this reading.
Rituals can be important, so it’s a good idea to follow a ritual each time you do a tarot reading. But like I said, the most important thing is to do what makes sense and feels right to YOU.
Where do I go from here?
Here are a few extra tips to help you get started with tarot reading:
1. Try to make a personal connection with each card. Like I’ve said more than once in this post, the biggest tip I can give about tarot is to make it personal, to follow your intuition, and to do what feels right to you. And that goes for the meaning of the cards. Connect each card to a personal meaning for you because that can help you draw information more easily and learn to read the cards more intuitively – which is important.
2. Practice as much as you can. As with pretty much everything in life, you get better with practice. Try to practice tarot every day, or a few times a week. Also, spend some time just thinking about the meanings of the cards and writing in your journal.
3. Learn different spreads. There are so many different spreads you can do with a tarot reading. It’s interesting to learn new ones and explore all that you can do. If you want to learn some of my favorite tarot spreads for beginners, you can download my FREE guide below if you sign up for my newsletter! 🙂
Click the image above to sign up for my newsletter and get instant access to my guide to tarot cards spreads for beginners + other freebies!
What are your thoughts on this guide to tarot cards? Let’s chat in the comments!