Learn to Read Tarot 

5 Quick, Easy Tips for Learning to Read the Tarot

After I read for a client, many of them express to me that they want to learn how to read the tarot cards for themselves. The two most frequent questions I hear are, “How do you learn to read the tarot cards?” and “How long did it take you to learn to read tarot?

I have compiled my top five tips on learning to read the tarot. Other readers may have different opinions, but this is my blog, so I’m offering my opinion. I welcome the feedback of other readers in the comments.

Tip 1 – Purchase the Rider Waite Tarot Deck (this includes the Radiant Rider Waite or Universal Rider Waite). 

I believe that this is the ideal deck for anyone who is learning to read the tarot. My reasons for this are numerous. One, almost every book you read when learning the meanings of the cards will feature images from the Rider Waite. This makes it very simple to transfer the knowledge from the book to the cards you are working with. Two, almost all tarot decks available for sale are based on the imagery found in the Rider Waite. If you can learn to read with this deck, you can learn to read with nearly any deck you want to work with. Sometimes when I read with an art deck (like the Wild Unknown), I close my eyes and see the images from the Rider Waite to help me determine the meaning of a card. I am very glad this was the first deck I learned.

Here is a comparison between the Rider Waite and some other popular decks. Can you guess the meaning of the card? Do you see how the card on the right doesn’t convey quite the same meaning? The meaning is the same, but it is harder to intuitively pick up on it.

Tip 2 – Purchase books on the meaning of the tarot cards and read, read, read. 

There are a growing number of readers who identify as intuitive readers (meaning they use their intuition alone to determine the meaning of the tarot cards), but I think it is critical to learn the traditional meanings. This will enable you to work with more decks if you choose to expand your collection. It is relatively easy to read the Rider Waite intuitively, especially the minors. But when you work with more abstract decks like the Thoth or the Wild Unknown, it is great to have an index of symbols and meanings associated with each card.

I also suggest you seek out information from the best and brightest in the field of tarot. My personal favorites include Benebell Wen, Marcus Katz, Rachel Pollack, Mary Greer, Eden Grey, and Joan Bunning. Here are a list of some of my favorite tarot books.

Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen (I just got this, but I know it’s going to be one of my favorites. It’s thicker than the Bible.)

Llewelyn’s Complete Book of Tarot by Anthony Louis

78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack

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Tip 3 – Commit to drawing at least one card daily.

Each and every day, draw a card in the morning. Write it down in a journal along with the date. Write down everything you know about the card. As the day progresses, be sure to pay attention to how the energy of that card plays out in your life. At the end of the day, write down any notes from what you observed. Then, look up the meaning in one of your books and jot down any meanings or symbols you may have missed. The best way to truly learn the meaning of a card is to experience it on your own. Journaling is an excellent way to record your personal experiences with each card in the deck.

Tip 4 – Study!

You aren’t going to learn tarot without commitment to studying regularly. When I was learning I didn’t go a day without reading, listening, or talking about the tarot. Podcasts, audiobooks, regular books, blogs… Consume them all.

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BE LIKE THIS GUY
Personally, I would recommend tackling the meaning of the cards in the following order.

The Major Arcana (you must understand the Fool’s Journey)

The Wands

The Cups

The Swords

The Pentacles

The Court Cards

For some reason, court cards were the most challenging for me to master. I suppose that is why I saved them for last. You may wish to tackle them first. The choice is yours.

I also recommend sticking to the upright meaning of each card at first. Reversals can be very confusing for a beginning reader.

Tip 5 – Join the tarot community.

The tarot community is alive and thriving. Where I live, I am lucky to have an entire “fortune-telling family” that supports and encourages each other. If you live in the Tallahassee area, there is a fantastic FREE tarot class held every Sunday by one of Tallahassee’s best and most experienced readers, Leah. Please contact me for details. These are the people you need in your life!

Sadly, this isn’t a possibility for many people throughout the world. Fear not, because as long as you have Facebook, you are among friends. Reach out and join some tarot groups. Here are the Facebook groups I couldn’t live without.

  • Tarot Tarot Tarot (this is definitely aimed at beginners, and provides new tarot readers a place to exchange readings and get feedback in a public forum)
  • Tarot Professionals (over 24,000 members and counting!)
  • Tarot Rebels (just don’t post pictures from Rider Waite here – this is for other decks only)
  • Tarot Nerds

If I follow these tips, how long until I’m proficient with tarot?

I would say that with six months to a year of devoted daily practice and study you can learn to read for yourself, as well as friends and family, rather fluently.

*SOAPBOX ALERT*

Under no circumstances do I feel it is ethical to charge for readings until you have completed at least 50 free readings for your friends, family, and strangers. Once you are comfortable with several spreads and can ascertain the meaning of the cards without using a guidebook, you may be ready to charge for a reading. You may decide never to charge for a reading. Whatever floats your boat!

 Also, I don’t believe there comes a point in the life of any tarot reader when you are finished learning the tarot.

The truth is, professional tarot readers never tire of discussing and learning about the tarot. As a tarot tribe we all learn from each other. The more we work with others who share our passion, the better we get at our craft. The task of learning about tarot is never done.

Have fun on your journey!

XO Bethany

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Answering Yes/No Questions 

Yes/No Questions: Hard to Avoid!

Any tarot reader will tell you that despite your best efforts to use tarot for guidance and to encourage only open-ended questions from your clients, people inevitably want to ask yes/no questions.

And who can blame them, really?

The truth is that we all want to know what’s going to happen. Despite our best efforts to live in the present and not to worry about the future, WE DO. I bet even Eckert Tolle (author of The Power of Now, who I adore) will occasionally lie awake some nights wondering how his next book will be received or how his next overseas tour will go.

If tarot readers are being honest, even they have probably used the cards to attempt to answer a yes/no question from time to time. I know I have. In fact, learning how to answer yes/no questions was one of the first things I attempted to learn when I began to learn tarot. I wanted to know the future, damn it!

In my studies I researched a ton of different ways you can answer a yes/no question, but one in particular really resonated with me. This method was developed by Susyn Blair-Hunt and is featured in Barbara Moore’s book entitled Tarot Spreads: Layouts & Techniques to Empower your Readings.

In this method, you will use the following guidelines in deciphering the cards:

  • Major arcana and even-numbered minor arcana indicate YES
  • Court cards and odd-numbered minor arcana indicate NO

To perform this spread, you will shuffle the deck while considering the question at hand. You lay the deck down, then you cut it twice to the right so that you have three piles. You then leave the three piles on the table.

Starting with the pile on the left, lay down one card face-up. Then lay down a card from the middle pile, and then finally a card from the pile on the right.

Lay down another card from the pile on the left and the center pile. You should have a total of five cards.

At this point you will consider how many cards indicate “Yes” or “No.”

5/5 indicate “Yes” – An enthusiastic YES!

4/5 indicate “Yes” – Very probable YES.

3/5 indicate “Yes” – Probable, but not certain.

2/5 indicate “Yes” – Not likely, but possible.

1/5 indicate “Yes” – Very unlikely.

0/5 indicate “Yes” – An enthusiastic NO.

One of the best things about this spread is that the cards will provide additional information on the question, and will help you determine why something may or may not occur.

An example would be helpful, so I’m going to address a question about some land that my husband and I are trying to sell. I decided to do a quick spread on the question, ”Will my husband and I sell our land soon (in the next three months)?”

I decided to use one of my favorite decks, Thoth. Before you get hung up on my caption, please know that in the Thoth deck the Knights are actually Kings in the traditional sense of the tarot.

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In order from left to right: Two of Disks (YES), The Fool (YES), The Lovers (YES), King of Cups (NO), 4 of Wands (YES)

Thank you, cards! Managing this land has been a juggling act, as it required that we jump through a ton of hoops to get it listed. There was also the expense of having it surveyed and paying to have it advertised. To be honest we could have handled the process in a much more expedient manner, but we were distracted by other more fun things and didn’t get the land listed for six months. We were also a bit foolish in our initial asking price and had great faith that it would just sell, and it didn’t. We recently made the decision to lower the price despite my husband’s initial feelings that it wasn’t enough, but with the 4 of Wands I’m certain we will have cause to celebrate soon. We just lowered the price this week. (If the cards are right, it should sell by the end of January).

I hope that you will find this method helpful in your own readings when you have a yes/no question or if a friend or client persists in asking them. However, I encourage everyone not to put too much stock in yes/no readings. The tarot is not intended for this purpose and to reduce it only to these kinds of questions is to miss out on the wealth of hidden knowledge that it contains.

Are you psychic?

Do you have to be psychic to read tarot cards? Are you psychic?

Everyone is a little bit psychic – even you!

 

There are several ways in which one can be psychic. Some people are clairvoyant and ‘see’ things, like visions in their mind. Some are clairaudient and ‘hear’ things, and some get information that just pops into their head out of nowhere. These gifts are what comes to mind when we think of psychic ability in popular culture. Famous psychics like Sylvia Browne, John Edwards, or the “Long Island Medium” on television have these psychic gifts. They claim to have a direct line to spirits of people who have passed and other spirit guides, and they often provide quite a bit of evidence that seems to support their assertions.

However, there are many other kinds of psychic gifts than these.  Some are thought of as more ‘intuitive’ – like hunches and gut feelings.  But it’s all information from spirit, coming to you in some form.  And that’s what we mean when we talk about being psychic.

I am clairsentient, which means I get lots of hunches and gut feelings that are usually right. I’m also an empath, which means I can place myself into the experience of another person and feel their emotions and desires. As my particular talents are intuitive in nature, I identify as an intuitive reader instead of a psychic reader. I am a highly ethical individual and would never represent myself as anything I am not. I also will not read on pregnancy or other medical-related issues. Unfortunately in this line of work there are those who are out to make a quick buck, and they will misrepresent their innate psychic abilities to appeal to more clients. Not all tarot readers are genuine and sadly, some of them are scam artists who want to rip you off. If you end up going to them for a reading, you might experience that the reading just did not work.

You do not need to identify as a psychic of any kind to learn to read the tarot cards. I have spent much of my life studying the tarot because it is interesting and I am passionate about it. Above all else, I am a caring wife, mother, friend, and teacher. I have spent my life in public service committed to serving the greater good. I am dedicated to the craft of serving as a tarot card reader as a means of helping myself and others on this great adventure we call life. Plus, it forces me to remember to continually connect to the divine and express my gratitude.