Tarot Tutorial: How to Do a Tarot Reading for Yourself

Tarot cards arranged in an organized spread on a white table with crystals lying close by.

Tarot Tutorial: How to Do a Tarot Reading for Yourself

There’s no denying the number of reasons to invest in learning how to read tarot cards. They can be a valuable tool in building a relationship with your present and past self, tapping into your intuition, and helping you align yourself with the life you have and the life you want. A lot of the power of tarot comes from the relationship you have with the cards, and what you make of it.

This is also reflected in the cards’ journey —  they didn’t start out with inherent ties to the occult but actually, as a card game in 15th century Italy called “tarrochi”. Their fortune-telling associations can only be traced back to the 18th or 19th century. 

Don’t be daunted by the long history of these special cards. You can definitely do your own tarot readings, and let the tarot reading guide we’ve compiled below help you be on your way!

1)    Get To Know Your Cards

image of some of the cards in a minor arcana deck, arranged face up diagonally on a white surface

There are many tarot decks in the market that are available to you. As with any aspect of tarot practice, you should let your intuition guide you. However, for reading tarot for beginners, the  Rider Waite deck is easily the most widely used out there and might be the most accessible for you to get started.

In this deck, you’ll see two broad categories of cards: the first is the Major Arcana, a set of 22 cards including a Fool Card and 21 numbered cards. These have to do with overarching journeys and themes in our lives, ranging from adventure, karma, renewal and achievement (typically culminating in the number 21 “World” card).

The Minor Arcana are the 56 cards that govern themes of everyday life. They can be helpful in consulting daily decisions and understanding the day-to-day journey in your life. They also tend to be more literal than the Major Arcana.

2)    Ask the Right Questions

To get the most out of your tarot journey, it’s best to remain open to the possibilities of the cards’ (and your) wisdom. If you ask questions that limit you, such as “yes or no” questions, you might only be using the cards for straight-up fortune telling. This won’t allow you to claim the power to tap into your own intuition. You’re leaving a lot up to fate, and while there’s value in understanding the universe’s plans, it’s always important to see where your own agency fits in as well.

So, opt for more curious questions: try asking “how” or “what” questions instead.

3)    Understand Spreads:

As with most things tarot, the number of spreads you can do with your tarot deck are limitless. It’s good to understand the basics of some of the standard spreads, though, such as the three-card spread.

·        How to do a 3-Card-Spread

After you’ve asked the cards your question, you simply select any (again, use your intuition!) three cards from a deck and lay them out in front of you sequentially. The first represents your past, the second, your present, and the third, your future.

You can play around with the 3 card spread and split it according to “situation/obstacle/advice” or any number of variations of this split.

Eventually, you could progress to more complex spreads like the Celtic Cross.

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