Tarot for Beginners: Simple Guide to Learning the Cards

Learning Tarot can seem complicated and confusing if you’re a beginner.

With so much information out there, it can feel overwhelming trying to understand all the elements.

But the reality is that it’s not that difficult… once you understand the basics of tarot. And that’s where this guide can help.

It explains everything you need to know, even if you’re an absolute beginner.

It includes tips and advice on how to do readings, what deck to choose, the meanings of each card, the different spreads you can use, and even what questions to ask tarot cards before you start the whole process.

If you’re looking for specific instructions on how to improve your tarot skills while cutting down on the long learning curve, then this complete guide is for you.

What is Tarot?

The tarot is a divination system that has been around for centuries. It is used to help people gain insight into their lives and the future. 

The deck consists of 78 cards, which are divided into two main categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, and these are said to represent more significant life events and concepts. 

The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards, and these are said to represent everyday occurrences.

The first known use of tarot was in the 15th century Italy and it was used as a parlor game. The popularity of readings grew in the 18th and 19th centuries when occultists claimed that it could be used to predict future events.

It was not until this time that people, especially scribes, started talking about the card game, which eventually led to a more mainstream understanding within Spiritual philosophy and mythology. 

As a result, more and more tarot readers started to emerge.

Over the centuries it has evolved and has been used for divination, fortune telling, and even psychotherapy.

How Does Tarot Work

Tarot readings are a form of divination that use cards to help you gain insight into everyday life and future prospects. 

A reading typically involves the reader asking a series of questions, and then combining the answers from those questions with the symbolism on the cards to give the recipient of the reading advice.

After giving their interpretation, the reader may offer suggestions on how best to proceed in order to achieve positive results. 

To read the cards, the recipient of the reading selects a certain number of cards, which are laid out in a specific pattern called a spread.

The position of each card in the spread corresponds to a different meaning. The reader then interprets their meaning based on their position in the spread.

Naturally, for anyone to do a reading effectively, they need to understand what each card represents and the traditions that go along with them.

Learn the Meanings

Gaining in-depth knowledge of each tarot card doesn’t come easy – it takes some work and dedication. But when you finally achieve a certain level of understanding with them, it’s an awesome feeling.

It gives you confidence and motivation to keep going forward with your tarot journey.

As we’ve stated earlier, there are 78 cards total that are broken down into the 2 main categories…

Major Arcana

The Major Arcana is the first 22 cards in a tarot deck. They are often seen as the most important cards in a deck, and can represent big life changes. 

These tarot card meanings can vary depending on the position they are drawn in and other factors, but some of the most common interpretations include wisdom, growth, change, and destiny. And since they are considered the more important cards, you should learn them first.

If you arrange the Major Arcana set according to their numerical value, they come together to produce a meaningful tale. A key message from each of the Major Arcana is taught through this story, also called the Fool’s journey.

For example, the major arcana are arranged numerically from 0 to 21. The first card represents the fool who begins the journey. 

The second one represents the wise man who learns how to be happy. This keeps going until you reach the last one.

The last one represents the High Priestess who embodies the divine feminine.

 This Fool’s journey starts from the beginning (The Fool) and ends with achievement (The World).

In addition to examining your general life path, you can use this journey to explore a specific aspect of your life.

The Minor Arcana

There are 56 cards in the Minor Arcana and they are divided into 4 suits (of 14 cards each):

These 4 suits are called Wands, Pentacles, Cups, and Swords. The Minor Arcana are often seen as less important than the Major Arcana in tarot readings, but this is not always the case.

The Minor Arcana can be just as insightful and helpful, especially when it comes to understanding personal relationships. Each of the suits has a ruling element, corresponding to specific areas in life.

It’s important to consider these elements when working with the minor arcana because it ensures that an intuitive reading will happen (after a bit of practice of course).

To get a better understanding of each one, take a look at our tarot cards meaning list. You can study all 78 of them. It was created for beginner readers as well as intermediate learners.

Choosing Your Deck of Cards

There are a variety of different tarot decks available for beginners. So it’s important to find one that resonates with you. But with so many options out there, it can be a daunting task deciding which one is right for you.

It’s no secret that most popular tarot deck is the Rider-Waite deck. It’s based on traditional tarot symbolism, but features simplified artwork that makes it easy to read.

The Mary Hanson-Roberts tarot deck is another popular set that is easy to read and is used by beginners and experts alike. It’s inspired by the Rider-Waite-Smith deck and is one of the easiest to learn. They feature beautiful artwork, a traditional layout, and are highly recommended for beginners.

Here are a few more tips to help you select the perfect deck:

  • Consider your personality and lifestyle. Some sets are more whimsical or light-hearted than others, while some might be more serious or intense. Choose a set that feels like a good fit for you personally. That will help you do the readings with ease and give you the essential skills you need to get going.
  • Consider your interests. If you’re interested in mythology, then consider a set with mythological figures illustrated on them. If you’re into astrology, find a deck with illustrations based on zodiac signs. There’s no wrong answer – just find the deck that speaks to your interests.
  • Finally, trust your intuition. After considering all of the above factors, take some time to simply browse through different tarot decks until one feels “right” for you – like an old friend waiting to be discovered.

You don’t have to choose the popular deck just because others are doing it. 

Once you’ve chosen either a traditional deck or a newer one, take some time to study the card meanings.

Simple Tarot Spreads for Beginners

When you’re starting out in something new, it’s important to build a strong foundation of knowledge so that you can progress steadily and confidently.

You can accomplish this by learning basic tarot spreads first.

If you try to dive into more complex material before you have a good grasp of the basics, you’ll likely find yourself feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. 

In the beginning, leave that to the more experienced readers that already understand much of the divinatory meanings of the cards.

But if you take things one step at a time, focusing on mastering each individual card and classic spread before moving on to the next, then learning to read the cards will be much easier and more enjoyable for you.

The spreads and layout of cards is designed to provide guidance and clarity during readings. 

There are many different types of layout, each with its own unique purpose. Some of them are meant for general readings, while others are specifically designed for more specific purposes, such as relationship or career readings.

An easy tarot spread for beginners is the three-card layout. It’s simple but effective, and can be used for general readings or for specific questions. 

The first card represents the past, the second one represents the present, and the third one represents the future.

Without question, the three-card spread is one of the fastest to learn and retain. Another popular spread is called the Celtic Cross Spread. 

It covers ten positions around the card shape and can be used for general readings or specific questions alike.

With patience and practice, these basic layouts will become second nature to you. And the card interpretations will become clearer. 

Once that happens, you can improve your tarot skills dramatically.

Create the Right Mood and Atmosphere

Tarot readings can be done for yourself or for others, and they can be done in person or over the phone. Either way, it’s important to create the right atmosphere.

This means finding a quiet, comfortable place where you will not be interrupted. You may want to have some soft music playing in the background, and you may want to burn some incense or candles.

The more relaxed you and your client are, the easier it will be to connect with the energies of the tarot. So take your time to create a peaceful space before beginning your reading.

Some people work best in a dimly lit room, while others might like more natural light.

Experiment until you find what works best for your tarot sessions.

Personally, I like to have some soft music playing in the background while I read cards. This helps me focus and connect with the energy of the cards. However, you should do what feels best for you.

If you’re not comfortable having any noise going on while you read, then by all means find a quiet spot where you can relax and focus. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and at ease in your surroundings.

Questions to Ask Before You Begin

In order to get the most out of your reading, it’s important know the best tarot questions for a beginner.

While there are no concrete rules about which questions to ask, there are a few general guidelines that can help you get the most out of your reading. 

First, it’s important to focus on a specific question or issue that you would like clarity on. Trying to tackle too many topics at once can be confusing and overwhelming.

It’s also helpful to avoid yes or no questions, as they often don’t provide the level of detail that you’re seeking. Instead, try asking open-ended questions that will give you a more detailed response.

For example, instead of asking “Will I get the job I interviewed for?” you could ask “What can I do to prepare for my upcoming job interview?”

Here are some good tarot questions to ask for a beginner:

  1. What is the main issue or question I want answered?
  2. What are the main factors affecting the current situation?
  3. What circumstances led me to this point?
  4. What are my goals for this situation?
  5. What are my fears or concerns about this situation?
  6. What can I do to improve the situation?

The best tarot questions for beginners are the ones that the person receiving the reading is looking to answer.

The cards can offer insights and suggestions, but ultimately it’s up to you to make decisions and take action. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that you get the most out of your next reading.

Practice Exercises You Can Do

If you really want to improve your skills quickly, then practicing and doing Tarot related exercises is an absolute must. But how do you practice and what kind of exercises should you do?

Here are some exercises that can help you practice.

Before starting, create a so-called sacred space in your home for the practicing.

The first exercise is to simply practice using the basic spreads. Master those and you’ll be well on your way. 

In fact, you can pick a single card to analyze, and then go from there. Another great way to practice using Tarot is by doing readings for friends and family members. This can be a great way to hone your skills and also get feedback.

When doing readings for others, it’s important to remember that each person’s situation is unique, so tailor the readings as such.

Here’s another great way to practice and get better at tarot…

Create a Journal

Journals are a great way to keep track of your readings, and to develop your own tarot practice. By keeping a journal, you can track the cards that come up in your readings, and note any patterns or trends that you see.

This can help you to better understand the meanings of the cards, and how they relate to each other.

Additionally, journaling about your tarot sessions can be a great way to effectively develop your intuition and spiritual abilities. By recording your thoughts and impressions after each reading, you will start to see how your intuition develops over time.

When journaling, include both positive outcomes as well as any negative outcomes so that you can learn from them all. It helps keep track of personal growth over time so that you can see how far you’ve come along.

Keep up with your journaling and you’ll be amazed at how much your understanding of the Tarot grows over time. It’s a great way to deepen your connection with the cards.

Develop your own Tarot Intuition and Understanding

Developing your intuition and understanding of the tarot is a process that requires some practice. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Start by studying the meanings of the cards. Once you learn them, every other part of the tarot becomes easier.
  • Practice reading the cards for yourself and others. This will help you develop your intuition and understanding of how to do a reading effectively. The more readings you do, the better intuitive sense you will develop. Remember not to take yourself too seriously – allow yourself room for error and be open to learning from mistakes made along the way.
  • Be patient. Like any skill, developing your intuition with tarot takes time and practice. Trust in what your intuition is telling you during readings – even if it doesn’t make sense at first.

Over time, as you continue practicing the traditions and divination, your intuition will become stronger which will help guide future readings more accurate. With patience and diligence, you can develop your own unique relationship with the cards and learn to trust in your intuition.


They may have taken off in the 18th Century but, Tarot cards are popular because they offer a unique way to look at life. Each one has a meaning. 

And by reading the meanings of different combinations of cards, you can get an idea of what might happen in the future or what is happening in your current situation. Readings can help you make decisions about your life and give you guidance when you feel lost. 

They’re also just a lot of fun to use.

They can be a powerful tool for gaining insights into our lives, but it is important to remember that the tarot is just a guide. 

It is up to the reader to interpret the messages they provide and use them to make positive changes in our lives.

Some of the most important aspects of the tarot include understanding your current path, gaining insight into your past, and looking ahead to the future.

And by looking at both positive and negative aspects from our past we can gain a better understanding our ourselves which can then help guide us through our future decisions.

When done right, and in a logical manner, tarot is not difficult to learn, even for a beginner. In fact, many people find the process of learning to be quite enjoyable.