Unlocking the Mysteries: A Beginner’s Guide to Tarot Card Reading


Tarot card reading is a fascinating and ancient practice that has captivated the minds of people for centuries. It’s an art that combines symbolism, intuition, and psychology to provide insights into one’s life and future. If you’ve ever been curious about tarot or have recently picked up a deck, this tarot card reading beginner’s guide will help you unlock the mysteries and embark on your tarot journey.

What Are Tarot Cards?

Before diving into the world of tarot, it’s essential to understand what tarot cards are. Tarot cards are a deck of 78 cards divided into two main categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. Each card has its own unique imagery and symbolism, and together, they create a rich tapestry of meanings.

Major Arcana

The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards that represent significant life events and spiritual lessons. These cards are often considered the most powerful and influential in a tarot reading. They include iconic cards like The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, and The World.

Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana is divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles (or Coins). Each suit has 14 cards, including ten numbered cards (Ace through 10) and four court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King). The Minor Arcana deals with everyday matters and represents the various challenges and experiences we encounter in life.

Getting Started with Tarot

Now that you have a basic understanding of what tarot cards are, let’s explore how to get started with tarot card reading.

Choosing a Tarot Deck

One of the first steps in your tarot journey is selecting a tarot deck that resonates with you. There are countless decks available, each with its own theme, artwork, and energy. Take your time to explore different options and choose a deck that speaks to you on a personal level.

Familiarize Yourself with the Cards

Once you have your deck, spend time getting to know each card. Start by examining the imagery and symbolism on each card. Consider keeping a tarot journal to record your impressions, thoughts, and feelings about each card. This will help you establish a personal connection with your deck.

Learn the Basics of Tarot Card Reading

Tarot card reading involves drawing cards from the deck and interpreting their meanings. While there are many ways to read tarot cards, here are some basic steps to get you started:

  1. Shuffle the Cards: Begin by shuffling the deck while focusing on your question or intention.
  2. Draw Cards: Draw a specific number of cards, typically three to ten, depending on the complexity of your question.
  3. Interpret the Cards: Examine the cards you’ve drawn and their positions in the spread. Refer to tarot resources, books, or your intuition to interpret their meanings.
  4. Trust Your Intuition: Tarot reading is not just about memorizing card meanings; it’s also about trusting your intuition and allowing your subconscious to guide you.

Conducting Your First Reading

When you’re ready to conduct your first tarot reading, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Set the Mood: Create a quiet and comfortable space for your reading. Some people like to light candles, play soft music, or meditate before starting.
  • Formulate Clear Questions: Before drawing cards, formulate clear and specific questions. The more focused your question, the more precise your reading is likely to be.
  • Keep a Tarot Journal: Record the cards you draw, your interpretations, and any insights or revelations that come to you during the reading. Over time, this journal will become a valuable resource for your tarot practice.
  • Practice Patience: Tarot reading is a skill that develops with practice. Don’t be discouraged if your initial readings feel vague or confusing. With time and dedication, you’ll become more proficient.

Understanding Tarot Card Meanings

Interpreting tarot card meanings is at the heart of tarot reading. Each card has multiple layers of symbolism and can have different interpretations depending on the context of the reading. Here are some key principles to keep in mind when interpreting tarot cards:

Trust Your Intuition

Your intuition is a powerful tool in tarot reading. While it’s essential to learn the traditional meanings of the cards, don’t hesitate to rely on your gut feeling and the imagery in the cards themselves. Your intuition can provide unique insights that go beyond the standard interpretations.

Consider Card Reversals

In tarot readings, cards can be drawn upright or in reverse (upside-down). Many readers incorporate reversed card meanings into their readings, which can add depth and nuance to the interpretation. Reversed cards may indicate blockages, delays, or a need to pay special attention to a particular aspect of the card’s meaning.

Learn Symbolism

Tarot cards are filled with symbolism, and understanding these symbols is crucial for interpretation. Symbols can vary between decks, so it’s helpful to study the specific symbolism in your chosen deck. Common symbols include animals, elements, colors, and geometric shapes.

Explore Numerology

The numbers on tarot cards also carry significance. Each number has its own energy and meaning, which can influence the interpretation of the card. For example, the number 3 often represents creativity and collaboration, while the number 7 is associated with introspection and spiritual growth.

Tarot Spreads

Tarot spreads are layouts or patterns in which you arrange the cards for a reading. Different spreads are used for different types of questions or insights. Here are a few popular tarot spreads to get you started:

The Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross is one of the most well-known tarot spreads and is used for in-depth readings. It consists of ten cards and provides insights into the past, present, and future, as well as the influences and outcomes surrounding a situation.

Three-Card Spread

The Three-Card Spread is simple yet versatile. It’s excellent for quick, focused readings. The first card represents the past, the second the present, and the third the future or advice.

Relationship Spread

If you have questions about your relationships, consider using a Relationship Spread. This spread examines the dynamics between you and another person, shedding light on strengths, challenges, and potential outcomes.

The Horseshoe Spread

The Horseshoe Spread is a seven-card layout that offers a more detailed perspective on a specific issue or question. It explores factors such as the past, present, future, and hidden influences.

Ethics in Tarot Reading

As you delve deeper into tarot reading, it’s essential to uphold ethical guidelines to ensure that your practice is responsible and respectful. Here are some ethical principles to keep in mind:

  • Confidentiality: Respect the privacy of those you read for. Tarot readings often touch on personal and sensitive topics, so it’s crucial to maintain confidentiality.
  • Informed Consent: Always obtain consent before conducting a tarot reading for someone else. They should be aware of the process and agree to participate willingly.
  • Empowerment: Use tarot readings to empower and guide individuals, not to instill fear or dependency. Encourage personal growth and self-awareness.
  • Non-Judgment: Approach each reading with an open mind and non-judgmental attitude. Tarot is a tool for reflection, not a platform for criticism.


Tarot card reading is a captivating journey of self-discovery, intuition, and symbolism. As a beginner, take your time to learn the cards, trust your intuition, and practice regularly. Tarot can offer valuable insights, but it’s also a tool for personal growth and reflection.

Remember that tarot reading is a deeply personal and individual practice. There is no one “right” way to read tarot cards, and your unique approach and interpretations will make your tarot journey all the more rewarding. So, grab your deck, set your intentions, and unlock the mysteries of the tarot one card at a time.