Tarot For Beginners - This Is How To Read Your Cards

Richi Who is the verified author of this post.

In these free, tarot for beginners, lessons you will learn how to read the cards while developing your sense of intuition. Even without a developed psychic sense you will still obtain a useful and accurate reading by following the specific divination meanings of the cards.

Reading tarot cards is the more complex of the divination/prophecy arts. However it is one of the most fulfilling. Tarot cards are many things to many people. In fact for many people, reading the tarot is a complete way of life!

In the hands of a skilled psychic reader, a deck of tarot cards is little short of a magic wand. And the art of reading tarot cards is often used by psychic teachers as the best method of expanding a person’s intuitive and psychic abilities.

Tarot For Beginners Quick Links: The Deck | Acquaint | Read | Meanings

The Art Of Tarot For Beginners

I have gone to some lengths to de-mystify the reading of tarot cards for the purposes of this tarot for beginners tutorial. The amount of mystique you wish to apply is up to you.

Tarot For Beginners - The Tarot Deck

There are a huge number of different styles of tarot decks. However, all modern tarot decks will conform to the following pattern.

There are a total of 78 cards in a pack, and each deck consists of two sections :

  1. The Major Arcana comprising 22 trump cards.
  2. The Minor Arcana comprising 56 cards in 4 suits.

The suits are:

  • Wands (Rods,Batons)
  • Cups
  • Swords
  • Pentacles (Coins)

Each suit is similar to normal playing cards (ace to ten), with the addition of an extra court (face) card, the Page.

The playing card equivalents to the Tarot suits are :

  • Wands - Clubs
  • Cups - Hearts
  • Swords - Spades
  • Pentacles - Diamonds

The Rider-Waite deck is regarded as the de-facto 'standard' for modern tarot decks and the most suitable for the study of tarot for beginners. Many tarot readers begin with this pack before progressing to a deck of their own preference.

Note:  The Tarot is a portal to the psychic realm. It is not a game! As you embark on a course of tarot reading you are entering the psychic's realm. Expect to attract unusual and odd coincidences and events to yourself.

Tarot For Beginners - Get Acquainted With Your Cards

Begin by getting acquainted with the major arcana.  Arrange the majors into order, they are numbered by roman numerals from 0 (The Fool) through to XXI (The World) Examine each of the major Arcana cards one by one and read the meaning. There is no need to learn the explanations by rote; however you do need to develop a good impression of the meaning of the card and the relevance of each of its items. Familiarity with each card is the best I can explain it. Notice first the most obvious element of the card; now notice the least obvious element.

The least obvious element will probably change for each different reading, and as such is an important indicator. Somewhere between the explanation of each card and your own impressions you will reach your own understanding of each card. If you can create a story-line for each card by using your imagination it will help to explain the application of each card. After all, when you are actually doing a reading, it is your imagination which is the channel for your psychic impressions.

It is then a good idea to run through the same acquaintance exercise with each of the four minor suits.

Note:  your understanding is what is important here. What the card means to you over-rides all else. 

During my explanations, my preferred term for the person who the reading is for is the subject. However, in some instances I have used the terms the person, client or seeker. All are interchangeable. The traditional term "Querent" (one who queries), is normally used to represent the person receiving the reading. However my preferences are for "Subject" or "Client".

Tarot For Beginners - Card Reading Instructions

These tarot card reading Instructions are designed to give you an overview of the process for a typical reading. Of course all readers have their own style and method. I'll give you give you a few examples and situations as I would perform them when reading for a client. 

However what works for you is what you should follow as each reading is a highly intimate association between you and your client.

Some readers like to surround their readings in mystique and symbolism and for others it is simply a straight forward casting of the cards.

I preferred for lighting to be a little on the low side to make aura reading easier. And I would always record each reading for my clients for future reference.

Many readers keep their tarot deck wrapped in a cloth which usually doubles as a tablecloth whilst reading. Unwrap the cards and lay the cloth out on the table. Pick up the cards and shuffle thoroughly. Because the cards are usually on the large side, it may help to shuffle end on rather than side on.

I like to be sure that the cards are all right side up, and I keep them that way through my readings

Hand the deck to the subject and ask them to hold them for a minute or so. We want the deck to reflect their vibes. (This is sacrilege to some readers who allow only their own touch on the cards.)

When I receive the deck back, I hold it for about 30 seconds or so to see if I can obtain a psychometric* reading from the deck. Usually I will receive an impression of their state of mind from doing this.

* Psychometry - Psychic sense from holding an article familiar to someone. Sometimes quite vivid impressions can be gained.

Now I spread the deck face down out across the cloth in an arc and ask the subject to select and hand me a card. Naturally if you do not allow others to handle your pack you will have to select the cards for them. Of course before this point you need to know what type of spread you want to work with. As your subject hands you each card turn it over and lay it down in its order/position in the spread. Continue until the spread is complete.

Now start interpreting the spread. Don't think, don't analyse, just let it flow. It may not make sense to you - it doesn't have to - It is not your reading!

These tarot card reading instructions are a broad guide only. Actually, you will find that most readings take on a life of their own. Of course you will tailor the reading to the person you are reading for, but be warned, appearances can be deceiving, so let the cards do the talking.

It is all very well to have a tarot reading chart by your side, but when it come to a real reading, you are reading for people, and usually people you do not know. An understanding of people is most important because your clients have come to you for advice. Whilst the advice is in the cards, its delivery is in your hands. This tutorial can get you as far as the reading, then you have to deliver!

If you find that you need clarification on a card, don't hesitate to ask your subject to draw another card to expand on the card in question.

A personal quirk of mine is to have the subject draw a "character" card at the start of the reading. From this card I give them an overview of their character or situation. This for my own confidence, just to be sure, that I have made a connection with my subject. (There have been one or two times when for whatever reason I simply could not make a connection with my subject and have had to call the reading off.)

On some occasions I have also had my client draw cards for the past and future outcome for the same reasons. Whatever passes into your consciousness during the reading is part of the reading. Don't expect it to make sense! It doesn't have to.

It is often more difficult to read for friends and acquaintances than for strangers because we think we know them so there is the chance of skewing the reading to meet expectations, both ours and theirs.

When reading performing a tarot reading your clients will expect you to be :

  • A clairvoyant.
  • A confessor.
  • A counselor.
  • An oracle.
  • A listener.
  • A best friend.
  • A confidant. - What transpires in a reading stays in the reading. 

You are acting as a counselor when you are reading someone’s cards. A certain level of detachment is important. Empathy is great, sympathy is not!

When you are reading for someone else, the impressions you receive are not yours, you are simply the mouthpiece! The information and impressions you receive for someone else are for themselves. So give them away and don't own them! Carrying around a client's problems is a sure recipe for disaster in your own life. In your reading you will surprise yourself at just what you come up with.

Your interpretations of impressions you see on the cards will amaze the person you are reading tarot cards for. "How could you have known that!", is often a reaction you will receive. (However, you may have no idea what they are talking about. After all it is their reading).

Don't put your reality in there - it is your clients reality you are describing when you are reading their tarot cards.

I hope my tarot for beginners tutorial is of some help to you in what is such a fascinating field.

Tarot For Beginners
Quick Meaning Locator

You can get each card's meaning quickly here. Ideal when learning tarot for beginners. Simply click your chosen card from the lists below to display the essence of that card. This list contains interpretations based on the Rider Waite deck for all 78 cards of the major and minor arcana.

In the course of a reading the figure represented on each major arcana card can either be representing your subject themselves or someone influencing your subject. This will of course depend upon the context in which the card has been drawn.

Meanings Of Tarot For Beginners- Major Arcana

Meanings Of Tarot For Beginners - Minor Arcana

Author - Richi Who


The Late: Richi Who

I first met 'Richi Who' (AKA Richard Philippe) in 1986 when I had moved to Magnetic Island in Queensland. Richi was leading a mystical, monkish, life at the time. He was living alone while caretaking the solitary house at Arthur Bay for its owner, the late, Sid Ward.

Richi became an integral part of my own spiritual initiation and was to become my psychic guide. His late-night mystic sessions on Arthur Bay filled my life with wonder while opening doors to other worlds.  

Richi later became the first psychic reader I retained at my Ancient Wisdom Center and we stayed friends ever since.  Sadly Richi Who passed away in 2013 while on holiday in Europe.

Read more by, and about, Richi Who > >



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Richi Who's Free Tarot Reading Tutorials


Tarot For Beginners -This Is How To Read Your Cards
In this free tutorial you will learn how to read the cards while developing your intuition. Even without a developed psychic sense you will still obtain a useful and accurate reading by following the specific divination meanings of the cards. Learn more > >


All Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings
This list contains interpretations based on the Rider Waite Tarot for all Major Arcana Cards. Great when learning tarot for beginners, it includes relevant comments from other packs and commentators. Each card tells a story about your subject or someone influencing them. Learn more > >


How To Unlock The Minor Arcana Meanings Of The Tarot
This tutorial helps you unlock the minor arcana meanings of the tarot by suits and numbers. Each suit refers to a specific area of the subject’s life represented by the astrological signs of Fire, (passion), Water, (emotions), Air, (ideas), and Earth (physical). Learn more > >


All Your Cups Tarot Card Meanings Are Here
Each card tells a story in this list of cups tarot card meanings. This is the suite of emotions. The cup is a symbol of pleasure and fulfillment, happiness and joy. You can use these explanations as a guide to build your own story lines in your own readings. Learn more > >


The Swords Tarot Card Meanings Are Listed Here
In the suit of swords tarot card meanings, you find the attributes of leaders and warriors. Swords represent courage, authority, aggression, boldness, force, strength, desire, and ambition. A sword can be used for either attack or defense. Learn more > >


The Full Wands Tarot Card Meaning List
The suit’s theme found in all wands tarot card meanings is about laboring and work. And as such, in a reading, the wands usually stand for the subject’s ambition, career and creative endeavors, passions, ideas, inventions, advancement, growth and progress. Learn more > >


Complete List Of Pentacles Tarot Card Meanings
Pentacles tarot card meanings, and symbols, are best known as being the suit of the physical. Representing health, money, and anything to do with work, a job, a task, or a craft. These are the cards of fortune - good and bad luck. Learn more > >


Learn My Tarot Reading Spreads To Get Amazing Predictions
This collection of tarot reading spreads will help you unlock outstanding predictions with your own cards. Whether you refer to your card placement as a layout or as a spread, there is a discipline or method which accompanies each. Learn more > >



The Tarot Junkie Article Hub

The Tarot Junkie Article Hub

Can you write great tarotology, cartomancy and oracle card articles?
Do you know how to conduct a great tarot reading? When you are interpreting the cards, what method gives you best results? Your tarot articles are better seen here. Read more > >