Learning how to read tarot cards is a process. Some people would even call it an art form. Eventually, you’ll develop your own style. I’ve been reading cards for years, and here’s a collection of my best tarot tips to help you along your journey.
Tarot Tips: Buying a tarot deck
I don’t buy used decks because they have residual energy from the previous owner. I prefer to buy my deck new, so I’m the only reader who has used them. Check out my guide to selecting a tarot deck for more in-depth information.
Don’t automatically buy what’s popular or what’s on sale. Take a look at the decks. Which one resonates with you? Intuition is important. I know I’ve brought it up in several posts, but listening to yourself will make you a better tarot reader and/or witch. You want a deck that “speaks” to you. If you are a newbie, I recommend the Rider Waite deck, and there are several versions of it to choose from.
Breaking a deck in
I’ve heard all kinds of ideas as to how to break a new deck in. Anything from sleeping with them to bathing them in moonlight. I don’t have an elaborate ritual. The first few readings I do on a deck are for myself, as I’m getting to “know” it. Every deck is different. I like to close my eyes, shuffle through the deck and just “be” with it before I pull any cards.
Some people use one deck for themselves and read other peoples spreads with another. That’s a choice you have to make.
Tarot Tips: Caring for the cards
I’d recommend investing in a pouch or decorative box for the cards, rather than the cardboard container they come in. For one, the cardboard will break down over time and disintegrate. Two, we should be treating the cards with respect. They are a magical tool.
It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or expensive. You can even wrap them in a decorative scarf. I keep mine in a box my friend gave me as a birthday present in college. She’s also a witch and I feel it gives my cards and extra “charge” because the container was handmade.
Track your readings
I highly recommend keeping a tarot journal. I’d use Google Keep, because you can take a picture of the cards. And it’s with you everywhere you go. This will give you insight into the big picture. What are the cards trying to tell you? Is there a pattern here?
Choosing a card as a significator is a way of telling the cards this reading is for/about this person. When I first started reading, I selected a card to represent me, just as a way to focus my intentions.
Some people say you should choose from the court cards. However, I felt an affinity for The High Priestess so I chose her to represent myself. And I went with my gut. You should, too.
This will help you hone in on yourself and the issue at hand. If you are doing a reading for someone else, let the person choose a card to represent himself or herself as well.
Are there any cards that keep showing up in your readings? For example, when I was about to break up with a boyfriend, the Three of Swords appeared again and again. And again. It’s like the cards were screaming at me, trying to get my attention, telling me heartbreak was on the horizon.
Are there any cards that keep working their way into your readings? Pay attention to them.
There are a ton of elaborate spreads for all kinds of occasions like your birthday, the year ahead, dealing with a break up. When you’re still learning, I’d go for 1, 2, or 3 card spreads. They are simple, easy to manage, yet still insightful. I’d also create a daily tarot practice to hone your skills.
Cards that “leap” from the deck
When you are shuffling the cards, one or two might fall away from the pile. Don’t tuck them back into the deck. Set them aside and look at them after you complete your reading.
I always pay extra attention to these cards, because they are literally clamoring for your attention.
What do I ask?
We are used to “yes” or “no” questions. I’ve found that more process-oriented questions work better with tarot. For example, how will my job search play out? Or how will this relationship unfold?
Tarot cards aren’t a magic eight ball. They are more about actions and reactions, possibilities.
Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
In order to get an accurate reading, we need to focus on the cards and the matter at hand. Mindfulness and meditation will help you concentrate. Don’t try to jump into a twenty minute meditation routine straight away. Ease into it. I’d recommend an app like Headspace or Calm and try a short meditation, like five minutes or less to start.
You might also consider something like AMSR or Yoga. YouTube has a lot of helpful videos to choose from. This practice will help you in witchcraft as well, since focus is important to work a spell. Check out my easy mindfulness rituals.
Learning the cards
I recommend looking at the cards, before you reach for an interpretation manual. See if you can intuit the meaning. Don’t forget to grab my free tarot cheat sheet while you are here. Or you can get my book of tarot card meanings.
Which of these tarot tips did you find most useful? If you’ve read the cards before, what tips can you share with others? Tell me in the comments.