Reading Tarot Cards: A Beginners Guide


This is a strange thing for me to be writing, because reading tarot is not something that I have a huge amount of experience with, but it’s something that I feel comfortable doing (and my readings so far have been accurate!) so I wanted to share some advice that I would’ve found helpful a few months ago.

Earlier this year, I visited Glastonbury and had my cards read by a man there. The first thing he said whilst shuffling the cards was that he thought I was psychic, and he told me that I could read tarot. I had never touched a pack of tarot cards before, so I told him that (obviously) that couldn’t be true. He insisted that I should buy a pack of cards that I felt like I connected with and just go for it. He said that I shouldn’t read any ‘how-to’ books because I could use my intuition to read the cards. I did. He was right.

Here are a few tips, from a complete amateur, that might aid you if you want to start reading tarot. After I’ve laid out my personal tarot rules, I’ll run you through my basic process of tarot reading, as it’s quite a simple way of starting to read.

  • Don’t read the how-to books / websites. Tarot is a very intuitive thing, and if you read something that tells you a certain picture has a definitive meaning, then you’re not going to be able to give an accurate reading. Sure, certain images do have certain connotations – swords, for example, usually imply a degree of conflict. But, when all of the cards are laid out, your sword card may link to the others in a totally different way. It might be a physical conflict, an emotional conflict, or maybe the sword is just representing conflicting opinions or thoughts. This leads me onto my next point:
  • Use your intuition. Focus on the energy that the cards hold. When I’m doing readings, I always ask the person to think about what they’d like me to focus on beforehand, and I think their concentration really effects the cards and the ones that are dealt. Like I said, each card will have a different meaning for each person; don’t think about what the cards are supposed to mean, let your intuition take control.
  • Always use your own tarot cards. I’ve had a few people asking to borrow or use my tarot cards but, in the least selfish way, you should really only use them yourself. There is energy attached to cards, and I like to treat mine with respect and care. I personally feel like cards attach themselves to their owner, and I like to leave mine in direct sunlight or sit crystals and gemstones by them to kind of charge them in a way. In my opinion, using someone else’s cards or having someone else use yours runs the risk of different energies getting mixed up and readings coming out mixed or confused.

Like I said, these are just things that I personally believe, and I bet if you scoured the internet you would find tons of conflicting information, but like anything, tarot is something that is individual to each person. All I know is that, so far, I haven’t done a reading where I have felt lost or that I have no clue what the cards mean. Trust yourself, trust your instincts, trust your psychic energy, and your readings have more chance of being confident and accurate. So, bearing all of this in mind, this is basically a step-by-step of how one of my tarot readings will go.

  1. Set up the room so that it’s quiet and relaxed. I usually sit cross-legged on the floor facing the person who’s tarot I will be reading. It tends to be better to just have the two of you in the room so you can focus on the energy of a single person, but I don’t find it too difficult having someone else watch, too.
  2. Shuffle the cards, thoroughly, and talk to the person about what they’d like to explore in the reading. This can be anything from love life, to career, to a particular friend or family member. If they say something vague like ‘the future’, try to get them to narrow that down a little bit for you, especially if you’re a beginner.
  3. Get the person to shuffle the cards, all the while thinking about the subject they’d like to focus on. This is a great way of building up the transferable energy.
  4. I like to lay the cards out as five in a cross shape: three across, three down. I then lay one card to my right (I always, jokingly, call this one the ‘wild card’).
  5. The card in the middle of the cross is always the one that I feel is closest to the person – whether this is the closest to the emotions they are currently feeling, or the situation they are currently in, etc. I always turn over this card first, and the ‘wild card’ last.

There’s no way to tell you how to read tarot – and I’m not sure it’s something that you can teach. All I can suggest is that if you’re interested in reading tarot or you feel particularly connected to or energised by the idea, go for it. Buy yourself a pack of tarot cards (if you’re just starting off, grab some Rider Waite cards from Amazon, they’re fairly cheap) and try and give someone a reading. Important: pick someone you don’t know well. You’d be surprised how easy it is to just integrate information you already know about a person into the reading.

Anyway, I hope this was mildly helpful or insightful, and I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts and opinions on tarot reading! Good luck!



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