How to Read Tarot Cards for Beginners

Written by robin reichert
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How to Read Tarot Cards for Beginners
Tarot cards are a new-age card game used for fortunetelling. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Tarot cards resemble early game-playing cards. They were found in Europe as early as the 14th century. The first use of tarot cards was to play a game called "tarocchi." The card deck consists of 22 major arcana cards and 56 minor arcana cards that are organised in "suits." Each of the four "suits" of tarot cards has 14 cards compared to standard playing cards that have 13 cards per suit. The major arcana cards have been compared to the Kabala. Some people use tarot cards to provide "readings" about the future or to help their clients make decisions.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Tarot cards
  • Pencil and paper

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  1. 1

    Choose a tarot card deck that you find pleasing. Use your intuition to select a deck design that holds some kind of symbolic meaning for you in the images on the cards. Examine the cards carefully before selecting your tarot cards.

  2. 2

    Memorise the names of the 78 tarot cards. Arrange the cards by major and minor arcana cards. Arrange the minor arcana cards according to the suit and place each suit in the same order. Associate the image on the card with the name and suit of the card to help you remember its name.

  3. 3

    Write down your feelings associated with each card. Repeat Step 2 until you remember the name and symbols associated with each card without hesitation. Associate one or two meaningful words with each card and write them down on your list.

  4. 4

    Practice reading a simple five-card spread that is used to seek direction for a decision. Place the cards down own at a time, face up. Place the first card in the centre; the second card to the left of the centre card; the third card on the right; the fourth card below the centre card and the fifth card above the centre card. Practice "reading" the five-card spread until you feel prepared to move to more expansive card spreads for more in-depth readings.

Tips and warnings

  • 5-card spread meaning for each card:
  • Card 1: The present
  • Card 2: The past and past influences
  • Card 3: The future
  • Card 4: The reason for the question
  • Card 5: The potential
  • Do not rely on tarot card readings to help you make important life experiences.

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