How to Read Tarot

Image by All Tarot

A tarot deck is an exceptional tool that can help you in your spiritual journey. If you’re open to working with tarot cards, using them and incorporating them into your daily life can be a wonderful experience. For many, the idea of tarot is stereotypically linked to sinister cult practices, or women in dim tents, pulling cards and warning of imminent misfortune.

This conception of tarot is not only inaccurate but it takes away from all of the potential benefits tarot can offer. The tarot deck, like a friend, is always ready with advice, offering different ways to think about issues in our lives, or can provide a safe space for reflection through its different tarot card meanings.

Keep reading to learn more about tarot decks, the different spreads, and ideas for incorporating this unique tarot magic into your daily life.

Choosing Your Deck

If you don’t yet have a deck of tarot cards, then the first thing to do is think about the right deck for you. There are hundreds of tarot deck designs available. The most iconic and well-known deck is the Rider Waite pack. Other decks will usually have the same seventy-eight cards, but the images will be depicted differently, sometimes using alternative iconography. There is no right or wrong answer when making a selection: choose the set of cards that speaks to you. This could be a connection you feel with a certain style, or you might want to make a selection based on a link to something in your life.

There isn’t one prescribed method to choose your tarot deck. There are so many different kinds of decks with such a variety of uses that it merely depends a great deal on your personal preference. 

How to Use Your Cards

To begin using your tarot cards, simply spend some time with them, looking at the images and getting a feel for each card. Think about which cards you are drawn to, and follow the path, in your mind, of any stories they suggest. Consider connections between the cards and points of similarity between them as well.

For tarot beginners, a great way to start is to simply choose a single tarot card as the focus for your day. This can be done either by selecting a random tarot card or by looking through your tarot deck and picking the tarot card that you’re drawn to.

Meditating with a tarot card is also a beautiful way to start your day. Concentrate on the image and the details within it. Go deeply into the picture and let everything else fall away from your mind.

Basic Tarot Spreads

A tarot spread is a way of laying out the cards for divination purposes or to find a new way of thinking about a situation. One of the most basic is the ‘Past, Present, Future’ spread.

Mix your cards and then choose three. Settle your mind, focus, and turn each card to reveal its image.  The first card represents the past, the second card the present, and the third card, the future. Depending on your intention when mixing and choosing, these cards could indicate a general situation or a specific issue for which you would like guidance.

Three Card Spreads - Mood, Love & Career Advice

There are simple spreads that can be laid out for advice around mood, love, and career. These readings can be done daily, if desired, to find focus and offer potential pathways to consider. The easiest tarot spread, in this case, would be to pull three cards for each. Each card represents something different, where you are now, where you want to go or what you want to achieve, and, lastly, what you need to focus on to get there. If required, you could pull what is called a ‘clarifying’ card for each spread, to provide further detail on the advice being offered.

Two Card Spreads - Situation & Advice


Another basic spread is the two cards, ‘Situation and Advice’ reading. Mix your cards, and draw two from the deck, keeping in mind the particular situation for which you would like advice, such as a love tarot reading. As an example, perhaps you might be wondering what to do about a new love interest; maybe you’ve been dating for a while and you’re considering whether it’s the right time to take the next step. Or maybe you need guidance on whether or not to make your next career move, or how to overcome a personal challenge, if yes, then a two-card spread is a great deck to use.  

Using the example of love, let’s say, you draw the Seven of Cups in the situation position, and The Hermit for advice. The Seven of Cups typically indicates imagination and the use of a vision to create a new future that contrasts with your present life, reminding us that things aren’t permanent. The Hermit typically refers to the need for you to self-reflect and meditate.

When these cards are paired, in the specific positions mentioned, they could be read as the situation being complicated by an underlying resistance to settling for one option, as you realize that this closes off other romantic possibilities. The Hermit, therefore, suggests, in this case, that you take some time out, even withdraw for a while, to contemplate what it is you want and why. When you can find a peaceful place, away from the dazzle of the everyday world, you will be able to see his lantern in the darkness – which is your inner light – and this will guide your actions.

Card Practices for Daily Life

The more you work with and explore your tarot cards, the deeper the relationship you will build with them. Try to make time, every day, to sit with your tarot deck, either to divine with them, or to contemplate any of the images you are drawn to. Over time, reading tarot images will become intuitive – just as we can effortlessly read the emotions and moods of our closest, dearest friends.

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