Beginner’s Guide To Tarot

Get Started With Tarot With Our Simple Guide

Welcome! So, you are here to learn how to read the tarot, and I am happy to tell you that you have arrived at the right place. I will go over some essential pointers that will give you an introduction to the tarot, and I will also go over how you can get started on your tarot journey.

And if you are wondering if you must be psychic to be able to learn or use the tarot, the answer is no.

However, you do need to learn to tap into your intuitive side. And do not worry; everyone has intuition. I will go over that with you soon. Let’s begin by giving you an overview of the tarot.

What Is Tarot?

Tarot Cards

Tarot cards are a deck of 78 cards that are used in tarot games, fortune-telling, and self-reflection. Each of the 78 cards has its symbols, story, and illustration. And they come in two sections, the Major and Minor Arcana. In the Major Arcana, 22 tarot cards represent life-changing situations and anything significant that plays a role in your life. In the Minor Arcana, 56 tarot cards represent the mundane in life.

And 16 of those cards are court cards that consist of the pages, knights, queens, and kings, representing people or personalities that are relevant to you. 

I will now go over a history lesson regarding the tarot. Did you know you can trace the tarot to around 1430 AD in Italy As Marziano da Torona’s secretary to the Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti likely founded the Tarot. As an astrologer and scholar, he was an expert. Filippo Maria Visconti instructed Marziano to design a game that looked like a deck of cards instead of the standard suits of swords, pentacles, wands, and cups. Besides the Page, the Knight, the Queen, and the King, he also wanted the King and Queen to be trump cards.

The tarot was originally a game, so people wonder how it became a divinatory tool. Find out more in our guide to tarot history.

Cards became a divinatory tool in the 18th century. [1] According to Antoine Court de Gebelin’s ‘Le Monde Primatif,’ the Tarot has hidden meanings. His interpretation of the cards led him to believe they were used for divination by the ancient Egyptians. The Order Of The Golden Dawn, a group of magical traditions and mystics, pointed out that the Tarot had ancient roots. In addition, those seeking enlightenment believe that the tarot offers cryptic wisdom.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the popularity of the tarot skyrocketed. The Golden Dawn deck was created by Arthur Edwards Waite and Pamela Colman Smith in 1910.[2] It contained cryptic images and numerology. Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot is still widely used today.

Since then, several tarot enthusiasts have created their decks. Some decks depict urban cultures, modern times, and cats and dogs. In the world of tarot, there are countless possibilities. Tarot nowadays goes beyond fortune-telling, as you can use it for self-reflection, decision-making, and inspiration.

If you find the history of tarot interesting, you’ll also enjoy learning about tarot and the Bible and Christianity.

Curious about having a reading? Check out our list of the best tarot sites for 2022.

That said, anyone can read the tarot, which means you can too! So let’s break down how you can learn how to read tarot now that you know what tarot is and its history.

How Can You Get Started With Tarot?

Holding Tarot Cards

So you want to get started with reading the tarot. That is fantastic, and I am happy that you are expanding your horizons by learning to read tarot cards. The first thing you need to do is to start shopping for a tarot deck, one that speaks to you. You want to find one that is easy to learn, as many tarot experts advise you to begin with the Rider-Waite-Smith deck because it is a teaching deck. The imagery is easy to decipher, making it easy for you to understand the symbolism of the tarot cards. Therefore, you will have an easier time allowing the cards to tap into your intuition if you use the first deck that is easy to learn in addition to you gravitating to it.

However, not everyone wants to use the Rider-Waite-Smith deck because some people don’t find that they gravitate to it. That is okay, but you do want to find a deck that is easy to learn. According to Bustle, there are several other beginner tarot decks if Rider-Waite-Smith is not the one for you.

Once you find your deck, you will want to clean it by putting it on your window sill overnight to allow it to bathe in the moonlight. Or, if you buy the deck during a New Moon, where there is no moonlight, you can place it on your window sill for about four to eight hours, so the sunlight soaks it.

If you happen to get your deck of tarot cards during the New Moon and the day is rainy, where there is no sunlight, there are other ways to cleanse your cards. You can place the deck of cards in a bag of sea salt overnight, as salt is very cleansing. You can also cleanse your cards with crystals such as clear quartz and use other crystals with your cards once you read them. That is entirely up to you.

By the way, if you’re wondering if tarot cards are safe you can find out more here.

Once you have your cards cleansed, you will want to choose an area of your home or bedroom to begin working with the tarot cards. Choose an area you find relaxing and where no one will interrupt you. If you have kids, you will also want to work with your cards when your kids are in school, napping, or after bedtime. You may wonder what the next steps are: have your cards, cleanse them, and choose an area to work with. Can you learn tarot on your own?

Can You Learn Tarot Independently?

Can you learn to read tarot on your own? In a nutshell, yes, you can. You do not have to take classes if you don’t want to go that route, as tarot is one of those things that you can teach yourself. It is not the same as you wanting to learn to become a doctor or a lawyer because those are fields you cannot learn independently! So you get the idea! Most tarot decks, particularly the beginner decks, come with guides that give you a history of the tarot, which I just did for you here, and the meanings behind all 78 cards.

However, I recommend not relying on those booklets that come with the decks. There are books such as Tarot for Beginners: A Practical Guide to Reading the Cards by Barbara Moore, as well as The Ultimate Guide to Tarot: A Beginner’s Guide to the Cards, Spreads, and Revealing the Mystery of the Tarot by Dean Liz, and Guided Tarot: A Beginner’s Guide to Card Meanings, Spreads, and Intuitive Exercises for Seamless Readings by Stefanie Caponi. There are plenty of other tarot books you can buy that will teach you how to use the cards. However, those books are excellent for learning about how to read tarot.

It is also highly recommended that you join some tarot groups to connect with like-minded people. There are so many tarot groups on Facebook that you can join that will support your tarot studies. One excellent group you may want to join is the Tarot Nerds Study Group.

There are also tarot practice subreddits, such as Tarot Practice, if you use Reddit. There are plenty of tarot study and practice groups to join for free while you are learning.

It is essential to know the meanings behind the cards. However, you need to develop your meanings as well. You must trust your intuition to pick up the cards’ meanings.

That is also why you will want to get yourself a tarot journal. It does not have to be a fancy one. You can get a notebook from Walmart to use for that. Journaling your tarot work will help you develop as you become more of an experienced reader.
It’s also a good idea to learn how to shuffle tarot cards.

That also means you will need to start learning some spreads to begin to read for yourself and eventually begin practicing tarot readings for others in those groups.

By the way, watch out for some common tarot myths (which we’ve debunked!).

Which Spreads Should Tarot Beginners Learn?

You may have heard a lot about others using the ten-card Celtic Cross tarot spread, and you may have the urge to begin trying that out. I highly recommend not thinking about it because you need to work up to that. However, here is a secret that you may be surprised to learn. Not every tarot professional uses the Celtic Cross spread, so that is not a mandatory spread to learn.

What you want to do, as a beginner, is to start giving yourself one tarot card reading a day. So pull a card a day, and allow your intuition to provide you with the message that the card you pulled is giving you. There is no right or wrong answer. And whatever intuitive message you get from the card, jot it down in your tarot journal. The more you do this, the more comfortable you will be when it comes to learning the tarot.

Once you are comfortable with your cards by pulling one a day and understanding what they tell you, you can learn three-card spreads. Many three-card spreads go beyond the past, present, and future. Here is also a secret that you will want to learn. Many professional tarot readers use three-card spreads because they can offer invaluable insight. Examples of three-card spreads can be:

  • Card 1 – Past, Card 2 – Present, Card 3 – Future
  • Card 1 – Situation, Card 2 – What to do, Card 3 – Outcome
  • Card 1 – Energy of the day, Card 2 – What to focus on, Card 3 – What you need to avoid
  • Card 1 – Mind, Card 2 – Body, Card 3 – Spirit
  • Card 1 – The problem, Card 2 – The cause for it, Card 3 – Your solution
  • Card 1 – What to embrace, Card 2 – What to accept, Card 3 – What to let go
  • Card 1 – First option, Card 2 – Second option, Card 3 – Third option
  • Card 1 – Strengths, Card 2 – Weaknesses, Card 3 – The best advice
  • Card 1 – You, Card 2 – Your partner, Card 3 – Your relationship

You can do so many more three-card readings; it is best to stick with a few until you are comfortable reading more. But you want to get there and keep moving out of your comfort zone. The best way to do that is to practice reading with members of those groups. They are learning like you and will not judge you. Then, once comfortable with moving beyond three-card spreads, you can learn about other spreads online, in those books, in groups, and eventually create your own. After that, the sky is the limit to what you can do with tarot.

Interested in more spreads? Check out our guides to:

However, you are a fresh beginner, green, and want to take it one step at a time. It is also essential to know how to store your cards, as you want to keep them in the box they came with, or in a wooden box, and store them somewhere safe, like in a drawer or your closet. Then, cleanse your cards using the methods I mentioned earlier in the guide every week. You want to keep the energy fresh and positive while using your cards. Eventually, they will be your best friends, and card-reading will be second nature and become a big part of who you are.

[2] Dummett, Michael A. E; Mann, Sylvia (1980). The game of Tarot: From Ferrara to Salt Lake City. ISBN 9780715610145.

[3]  Jensen, K. Frank (2010). “A Century with the Waite–Smith Tarot (and all the others…)”. The Playing-Card. 38 (3): 217–222.