How To Do a Tarot Card Reading

Here are the basic steps you will go through in carrying out a Tarot reading. You should think of this as your starting point, because over time it is likely you will develop your own methods and rituals that work for you.

1. The questioner decides on an issue they are seeking guidance with. The questioner is the person for whom the reading is done. This could be you, the reader, but bear in mind that reading tarot for yourself can be more difficult and less reliable than reading for someone else.

2. The questioner then shuffles the deck whilst contemplating their question or issue. Let them take as long as theyHow To Do a Tarot Card Reading need and avoid directing them too much about how to shuffle. Just let them do what comes naturally.

3. The cards are handed back to the reader face down. Make sure the questioner is happy that the cards are shuffled to their satisfaction. Remember when the deck is handed to you not to rotate it because this would make some cards come out upside down and cards that would have been upside down will come out the right way up.

A card that is upside-down from the point of view of the reader is called a reversal and it affects the way the card is interpreted. Generally speaking the meaning of a reversed card is lessened, reduced or blocked. So for example the Tower card usually refers to an upheaval or dramatic change.

A reversed Tower therefore could be interpreted as being a more minor disturbance or slight disruption, or something blocking a change which needs to happen. How reversals are interpreted is very much a matter of personal intuition for the reader. Some Tarot readers prefer to take no heed of reversals whilst some others will see them as actually reversing the meaning of the card. The main thing is to remain consistent with your own approach and let your intuition guide you.

4. The reader places the cards in position face up. Some readers like to place the cards face down so as to focus on each card as it is revealed. This can add to the drama but it means you don’t get to see an overview until the last card is turned over. Experiment and see what works for you.

The positioning of the cards depends on the ‘spread’. A spread is simply an arrangement of cards designed to address a particular issue. The simplest example of a Tarot spread is a three card ‘Past, present and future’. In this case lay three cards out from left to right. These cards represent what has happened to the questioner in the past, what’s happening now and what may happen in the future. You can also lay a fourth card above these to represent advice to the questioner.

5. Now give the interpretation starting at the first card and finishing with the last card; and taking into account both the cards’ position and meaning. So for example, the Death card in the future position may indicate that something will be coming to an end. You also need to take into account the questioner’s question.

If in this example the questioner was asking about a difficult relationship in the workplace then the Death card may be indicating that the relationship will come to an end, possibly because of a change of staff. Once you have read all the cards, try tying them together to see any underlying messages. Look for any connections between the cards. Are they all Major Arcana?

This would suggest the reading is addressing big life issues. Or perhaps you might notice several Fives in the reading, which refer to difficulties or things being out of balance. You will get better at seeing the overview with experience. Remember to keep checking in with the questioner, as their intuition about what a card might be saying can be very valuable and help point you both in the right direction.


Keep An Open Mind

When you receive your reading try to look at the advice and see it from different perspectives. This way you won’t close your mind off to interpretations you may not have thought of otherwise.

Treat The Tarot Like a Friend

Like all good friends the tarot may be telling you where you are going wrong – which is difficult to hear but needs to be said. Remember also that friends can give us insight and information, but it is up to us to do the interpreting.

Keep a Journal of Your Readings

As we change and grow so will our tarot readings. Look out for cards which keep appearing in your readings at different times in your life. Remembering these coincidences will help you to look back over the past with a broad overview of different stages of your journey and the lessons you were learning at these times.

Listen To the Wisdom

The tarot holds a lot of wisdom which can be found in all religions. It speaks of love; taking responsibility; the importance of work; persistence; following your ‘inner voice’ and many more concepts and issues which can be found in many religious texts. Tarot can be seen as a way of presenting this wisdom which captures your interest and can raise your awareness.

Even if you are sceptical about the ‘chance’ aspect to the tarot, you will still be able to gain a lot from reading the messages behind the various cards.

Don’t Be Fatalistic

Some people like to give in to the ‘inevitability’ of the tarot. They believe that it will not only predict what will happen to them, but will make that future unavoidably come to pass. Not great if you turn up a card you don’t like!

The truth is that a card turning up in the ‘future position’ does not refer to a particular event that is destined to happen to you and from which there is no escape. Rather, it asks you to be aware of tendencies in your behaviour that could manifest and affect you in the future. The tarot is best used when we can take full responsibility for our lives and the choices we make (several of the cards in the tarot even provide this message!) so try to bear this in mind as you pick the cards for your problem or situation.

Embrace The Negative

Some of the cards in the tarot, such as Death or the Devil, may make you feel uncomfortable when you first come across them. Though some of these cards look a little intimidating none of them are to be feared. The cards themselves have no power. The interpretation is the important thing. Turning up the Death card does not mean therefore that you will die soon! In fact in means that a change is coming (in other words ‘death of the old’). The Devil signifies a situation of being trapped. It does not tell you you will be trapped; it asks you be aware of situations in which you may feel trapped so that you can take steps to become more in control.

P.S: For personalised readings in Counseling, Astrology, Tarot, Numerology, Cartomancy and Feng Shui, you can find me here or here

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