I have always been fascinated with Tarot cards, but it wasn’t until last year around the holidays that I finally got my hands on the beautiful deck we were selling by The Wild Unknown. Ever since, I have been trying to practice and learn the basics of Tarot readings. It can seem overwhelming at first — there are so many different cards and meanings, and a variety of ways to read them. Today I wanted to share some of the beginner’s tips that I have found most useful, and three common spreads to practice with.
If you have any tips or advice for learning how to read Tarot cards, please share in the comments!
Choose a deck that speaks to you. There are a number of different Tarot card decks. You will naturally be drawn to one, whether it is because of the imagery or some subconscious pull. I was immediately drawn to the Wild Unknown deck and its gorgeous illustrations by artist Kim Krans.
Spend time with your deck. Get to know the cards, spend time studying them and getting to know their individual meanings. Learn about the different suits, which vary depending on the deck. My deck has Pentacles, Wands, Swords, and Cups.
Major vs. Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana speaks to the deeper and more spiritual aspects of life situations and the Minor Arcana speaks to smaller, day to day matters. The Major Arcana includes the “trump cards” of the deck — the ones we are more familiar with hearing about like The Sun, The Moon, The Lovers, and The Fool.
Practice. Practice by starting your day with a daily reading. Draw one card from the deck — choose the one you are drawn to. Study the card, think about its meaning, and ask yourself questions about how it applies to you and your current situation.
Once you have familiarized yourself with the cards and their meanings, start experimenting with different spreads. Here are three common spreads you can try!
The 3 card spread is a great starting point. Ask yourself a question, and spend some time sitting with the deck, transferring your energy to the cards. When you draw the cards, select the ones you are subconsciously drawn to. If you draw a card upside down, keep it that way — this is referred to as a “reverse” card, and affects the reading. The first card symbolizes the past, the center card the present, and the third card the future. Look for a story or pattern in the cards you draw, and think about how they relate to each other — trust your intuition. This spread is great for daily readings, and a good way to get some quick insight into a certain situation.
The 7 card spread is similar to the 3 card spread but a bit more complex, with two cards in the past and future, and three in the present. Once you have become more familiar with your cards and how to read them, this spread can help offer further insight into a situation, beyond what the 3 card spread offers. The cards in the past speak to past past issues, the three in the center speak to present situations, and the two on the right speak to the future outcome.
The Celtic Cross Spread is an even more complex and in-depth reading. This spread definitely takes practice and I am not there yet, but this diagram demonstrates the spread and each card’s meaning. Here is a rundown of what each card means:
Self: This is you at your core, your being.
Opposing Forces: This represents something that is working against your true self, and challenging your being.
Background/Foundation: This card speaks to the origin of your question and why you asked it, which could relate to your background, your childhood, or an event that has shaped who you are.
Recent Past: This card represents recent events leading up to your current situation.
Near Future: This card represents events that are currently forming and about to occur.
Higher Power: This card can represent a person of extreme importance in your life, or an overseeing power of some sort — it can even represent you at your highest power.
Issues/Fears: This card symbolizes your fears or hesitancy about upcoming events, or the situation you are inquiring about.
Allies and Supporters: This speaks to your family, friends, and close acquaintances. The card demonstrates how your current situation affects those around you, or how they affect your current situation.
Advice: This card offers you insight into how to act next, and how to proceed with your situation.
Outcome: The end result of your query, this card speaks to the long-term outcome. You can affect this outcome by heeding the advice in the prior card, or taking a different approach to your issues or fears with the situation.