There are many different methods people use to learn to read Tarot, but I thought I would throw my two cents in on the learning system I used to really get a handle on these cards. It can seem daunting at first, looking face to face at 78 cards and knowing each of them means something different. But, it doesn’t need to be that difficult!
Here are some steps you can use to learn Tarot easily and without much stress.
1.Get a Book on Tarot
Before you can give crazy accurate readings to yourself and your best buds, it is helpful to have some background on how the cards work and what they could mean. This is where a trusty Tarot book comes in handy.
In this modern era, you shouldn’t have any problem getting your hands on a tarot book. Local libraries usually contain a variety of sources (even my library in the middle of the bible belt has books on tarot) and there are plenty of free online sites that offer definitions (or, again I recommend your local library’s ebook collection).
The amount of Tarot books on the market now is staggering. You could spend a full paycheck just buying all the great books and then never have enough hours in the day to read them all.
But…I have a secret for you…you really only need one book. That’s right. The purpose of a Tarot book is to get your footing in the world of tarot. To really learn tarot and utilize it as the tool it is meant to be, you need to develop your own definitions, not depend on the words and meanings ascribed by other (even though they are stellar) authors.
That’s right. I am saying you only need to get your hands on ONE book.
Now, I should also preface it by saying that it will be helpful if that book is a source that contains a bit of history, some information on the card’s structure, the meaning of the cards, and maybe a few spreads. That is really all you need.
You may be wondering “well, what one book would you recommend?”.
Of course, I am going to tell you that you should pick up The Only Tarot Book You’ll Ever Need – this book contains everything you need to know in one package. But…there are some other great books on the market as well. I learned tarot with a ratty old copy of 78 Degrees of Wisdom and many newcomers to Tarot are loving Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot which will no doubt become a classic one day.
So – step 1 – find yourself one solid Tarot book that will give you a decent foundation.
2. Journal Card Meanings
Once you have that book and have read through a majority of it (I’m not expecting you to read through every card definition at this point), it is time to start figuring out what each card means to you personally.
Yes, I am saying that what your favorite Tarot author says is the definition of the Queen of Cups may not actually be your definition of the Queen of Cups. Each card will means something different and unique to you…and it may change over time.
To get you started, go through each card and write out what you think it means. It would be helpful to leave enough space to include additions as you use the cards more. You can even just start off summarizing what your favorite books says. Just something to get you started.
When I was starting out learning to read Tarot, I kept an electronic version of what I believed each card meant. I remember starting out with pen and paper, but quickly realized that the computer was my friend in this process. I had one document for each card. Each page started with what my go-to book at the time said the definition was. Then, as I progressed, I would add my own definitions and meanings.
Here is another little secret for you. Your card meaning can be totally different than what any other person says the card means. And that is okay. When I first looked at the Three of Pentacles, I thought it was a picture of a baby being baptized in a church, not that of craftsmanship. So, for me, the Three of Pentacles sometimes speaks to birth, even though that is in no way what the traditional definition means.
Step 2 – write out your own definitions of each card.
Now, this is the step that will really cement the definitions and card meanings for you – you have got to practice. That means actually using the cards on a daily or semi-regular basis. It will also be helpful to keep notes on these practice session to see how the predictions and associations the cards speak of turn out.
I was frustrated when I was first learning the cards because it felt like I would never truly understand what each card meant. But, I was only looking at them once a week or so, and that really isn’t enough time. It wasn’t until I started pulling cards daily and just playing around with the cards during my free time that I really understood what they meant.
The best way I have found to practice Tarot is to pull a card a day. Or, if you want to up your game a little more, pull three cards a day. Every morning I will lay out cards for my energy that day, advice for me, and the outcome of the day. These (along with a little psychic insight) help me to plane and shape my day.
But, you can also practice – and should practice – using your tarot cards in other ways, using spreads that are more involved. Predict the outcome of the big sports game before it starts. You don’t need to tell anyone what you find, just try it out and see what happens. Do a Tarot reading for your favorite character in a show or a book. Try out a new romance spread for them and see if that angsty romance that is building up in the story is going to last.
Basically – step 3 – use the cards until you get a good handle on what they mean.
4. Put everything away
Once you have read one Tarot book, come up with definitions for all the cards, and practiced to your heart’s content, it is time to put all the extra stuff (the book, that journal, those notes) away and just keep the cards out.
Yep, once you know the meanings and how you want to interpret them – you don’t need anything else but the cards. There comes a time when writing out the definitions for each card – when journaling your practice readings – when all that just gets in the way of your own intuition.
Tarot is meant as a tool to help you tap into your psychic abilities, and if you keep depending on the mundane aspects of learning this tool, you won’t be able to pay attention and listen to those clairs to see what it is these cards are really saying.
I remember reading Bernadette Brady’s Predictive Astrology and having this concept of learning and then trusting really click. In this book, she talks about how it helps to learn everything you can on the subject and then just let go and release. To trust the wings you have built to carry you forward. To trust yourself.
So, yes, you can buy a bajillion tarot books and create a massive library of definitions for each card. But, if you don’t put away those mundane trappings and just trust what the cards tell you, you won’t be tapping into your full potential.
What tips would you give people wanting to learn Tarot? What is your favorite Tarot book?