A Beginner’s Guide To Tarot Cards, According To An Expert

A Beginner’s Guide To Tarot Cards, According To An Expert

Tarot cards are a divination tool that has been used for many years to connect people to source energy, God, or the universe at large (whatever you believe in). Tarot cards are said to have originated from a North Italian game called Tarrochinni, and it wasn’t until the 18th century that they began to be used for divination and occult purposes.

Today, tarot cards are used in many spiritual practices and can be used for your own personal use for some extra guidance when you need it. Your intuition and divine insight are always the strongest tools for you to use, however, tarot cards are a medium that can help you get there.

What Type of Tarot Deck Should I Get?

For those who already know some basics about tarot cards, have had a reading before, or understand the gist of things, working with the original Rider-Waite Deck would be a good starting point for you. Some images of this deck are a bit more graphic and could scare some beginners away, but if you already understand the meaning of them, then the messages won’t be as shocking when they come.

If you are completely new to tarot cards, I would recommend starting with an Angel Tarot Card Deck, an Animal Tarot Card Deck, or a Modern Tarot Card Deck rather than the traditional Rider-Waite Deck. The images on the modern versions of the original tarot cards are easier to take in, especially if you are more of a visual person or just beginning your tarot journey.

After some time, and when working with different decks, you will have your favorites and have other decks you use on certain occasions. The perfect tarot deck will vary between each reader, and if one deck doesn’t feel right for you or the messages aren’t clear, go for a different one.

Almost every deck comes with a booklet of the meaning of each card, and this component is essential, as it will help you study the deck and the cards so that you can understand the messages when they come.

The Meaning of the Tarot Cards: What Do the Tarot Cards Represent?

Every tarot card deck comes with 78 cards, each with a different meaning. The cards are divided into Major Arcana cards and Minor Arcana cards. Major Arcana cards hold a strong significance, and if you pull one of these cards, you know something major is happening right now or soon to come. The Minor Arcana cards come up for more everyday issues and day-to-day events. There are 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards.

The Major Arcana cards are cards 0-21. Each of these cards stands alone and doesn’t belong to any of the four suits. The Major Arcana cards begin at 0, 0 being the Fool Card, representing the beginning of a journey. The last card of the Major Arcanas is 21, The World Card, representing the end or culmination of a journey.

The Major Arcana deck also involves the infamous Devil Card, which does not, in fact, mean what you may think it does. It really represents unhealthy habits, addictions, relationships, or fears. Same with the Death Card, which, if you pull it, does not mean you are doomed soon- however, it can mean you are going through a transitional phase right now and will be experiencing some closures in your life.

The Minor Arcana cards are divided into four suits: Wands, Swords, Pentacles, and Cups.

  • Wands: creativity, passion, action, consciousness, and ego.
  • Swords: communication, words, intellect, and conflict.
  • Pentacles: finances, money, job, career, and sense of abundance.
  • Cups: emotions, love, relationships, and heart energy.

Where Do I Start With Tarot?

Now that you have your deck, it’s time to begin your reading. Creating the right space, environment, and table setting is very important when it comes to reading tarot, and you want to set the right vibe. Make sure the area in which you will be placing your cards is clean, and also preferably put down a tarot cloth or table cloth in which the cards will go on top. It is also important to cleanse the tarot cards as well, and you can do so by waving incense over the cards or even taking a crystal quartz or amethyst crystal and waving it around the cards as well.

Before you begin to pull your cards, take a deep breath, center your mind, and open your heart. Intention is everything when reading tarot cards, and before you begin your reading, set your intention for what guidance you are looking to receive right now or what questions you want answered. If you are reading for someone else, keep the question they have in your mind while pulling the cards, and also ask their guides and angels what message they need to hear right now.

Finally, begin shuffling the deck and mixing the cards. Some prefer to separate the deck into threes before beginning a tarot spread, others feel shuffling the cards is enough. It is imminent to come up with your own practice that you do when you are pulling your cards, to activate the beginning of your reading.

How To Do Beginner Tarot Card Spreads

The tarot spread you use will depend on what you are reading for or what you want to know. If you are looking for some guidance for the day, have one question, or just need a simple pick-me-up, a one-card spread will do. If you want to look at your past, present, and future, then a three-card spread would work best, the past being on the far left, the present being the center card, and the future being the far right card.

Another common tarot spread that is used is the Celtic Cross Spread, which is a little more advanced and involves ten cards, each card representing your present, past, future, hopes, dreams, fears, and everything in between. A good tarot spread to do to start the year, on your birthday, or to see what the next 12 months have in store for you would be a 12-card spread, laying out a card for each month of the year to give you an energy forecast of what you can expect from each month of the coming year.

How To Read Tarot Cards: A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Messages

Using your intuition when reading tarot cards is key to understanding the message. Typically, the first thought or instinct you have when reading a card is the right one and one that isn’t tainted by preconceived notions or judgments.

Remember, tarot isn’t about getting the answers you are looking for, it’s about getting the answers you need. Through shuffling and doing readings often, you will notice that some of the cards will be upside down when you pull them. If you pull a card and it’s upside down, that is a message in itself. The way you read a card that is upside down is you take its original message and assume its opposite.

So, say you pull the Hanged Man, and it’s upside down. Then, the original message of the Hanged Man which is to pause, wait for better conditions and have patience- is reversed. The message for you here would be that the wait is over, and you will be moving forward again and out of stagnation. Not everyone prefers to read upside-down cards when they come up, and it will be up to you if you choose to read your cards in that way.

As you work with tarot cards more often, you will notice more about how your own intuition comes about, what messages you see, and what practices work best for you. Divination is used to help you see what path you are currently on and what path you are headed towards. Tarot cards are less about “seeing the future” and more about understanding it and what you can do now to create it.

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This article is in partnership with SheaMoisture

Skylar Marshai is known for her extravagant style, and her hair is no exception. But now, she’s giving her hair a break and focusing on hair care with SheaMoisture’s Bond Repair Collection. “I feel like my hair has always been an extension of my storytelling because I know it's so innately linked to my self-expression that I've been thinking a lot about how my love for crafting my hair into these different forms and shapes has honestly never given it a chance to just be,” Skylar explains.


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