A beginner's guide to tarot: How to start reading tarot cards intuitively

A beginner's guide to tarot: How to start reading tarot cards intuitively

beginner's guide to tarot

So, you want to learn to read tarot cards?

We’re here to help you get started.

Tarot is a wonderful life tool. It’s a repository of centuries of human wisdom, answering any and all of life’s big questions and themes, and available to you around the clock, whenever you need its help and advice.

This week, I’ll be sharing a beginner’s guide to tarot, with five articles walking you through the easiest, fastest, no-faff way to start reading tarot cards for yourself.

Lesson one lets you get stuck in right away, with a guide to reading tarot cards intuitively.

If you get the right deck, you don’t need any special prep to start reading tarot cards – you just use your intuition.

What do I mean by reading intuitively? Simply by going off what the imagery of the cards triggers and stimulates in your own mind (more on this in a bit).

And what do I mean by the right deck? Well, this is the most important decision you’ll make in your tarot journey: choosing the right deck of cards. It’s vital and here’s why.

You need to have an affinity with, a liking for, and an attraction towards the imagery of your cards. They need to speak to you personally and please you. Your deck should feel like a toy you can’t wait to play with.

Importantly, every one of the 78 cards should ideally have a full, unique image (representing its meaning).

Obviously I am biased, but the tarot deck I have created (The Good Karma Tarot) is designed to make tarot reading easy. The Occult Tarot, The English Magic Tarot and The Mystical Dream Tarot are also visually arresting and spookily themed, if that’s your bag. The Wild Unknown Tarot has been an incredibly popular contemporary deck.

There are so many decks out there now that whatever your aesthetic, hobbies, cultural favourites, must-see TV or movie franchises, or artistic leanings, you can find a deck! Great sources to browse include Kickstarter, Amazon, Little Red Tarot and Llewellyn.

So, let’s assume you have your perfect tarot deck, and you’re ready to begin doing readings. Your first step is to try intuitively. This gets you going immediately, helps you ‘warm up’ to your deck, and will give you confidence that you can do this.

What is intuitive tarot reading?

In short: reading the cards without having had to memorise (or keep looking up!) their meanings.

Look at the artwork of the cards you draw and assess your gut reaction and interpretations (in response to the question you had in mind), because most decks have been illustrated to give people a clear impression of the card’s meaning through art alone.

How to do intuitive tarot reading

Firstly, think about your question. Make it singular (or you won’t know which bit of it your card is answering!) and clear. Write it down, ideally, so it’s there without you having to keep repeating it mentally.

Shuffle your cards (however you like, there is no right or wrong way) and draw a card. Hold it in front of you and gaze at it.

Don’t think about your question, just take in the symbols, colours, picture, characters, arrangement, and tone of the card in front of you. Dive into the scene, place yourself ‘inside’ the card.

What are your first impressions about the mood, message, story or emotions depicted? Does it remind you of anything or anyone? What do you think is going on in this scene? Note all of this down if it helps you to write things out (I often do).

Now consider how it relates to your query. Drag the card’s intuitive meaning and messages back to the question you raised with the card, and tie the two together.

This is the (tough) fun bit. This is the leap from just looking at the cards to using them. It requires lateral thinking and mental gymnastics and it will feel forced initially, but just keep doing it. Trust your instincts. This is forcing you to do just that.

It’s useful to keep a journal so you can write your thoughts and impressions down and take your time over coming to a conclusion. As you practice, you’ll get faster but, at first, this might take a while, and that’s okay.

A beginner’s tarot spread idea

The week ahead is always a firm favourite, and you can do it regularly enough as a practice spread to get comfortable with the process, and with your own flair and quirks.

  • Card one: The energy around you in the week ahead
  • Card two: An opportunity to seize
  • Card three: An obstacle to overcome
  • Card four: How to help others this week
  • Card five: What will change in your life this week

Keep a journal of your weekly readings (the actual cards and your overall interpretation), because then you can reflect on whether, and how, they ended up being an influence or reality in your life that week.

Kerry Ward is the creator of The Good Karma Tarot Deck, which you can buy through Amazon.

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