How Tarot Readings Work – A Beginners Guide

How tarot card readings work laid out on a table

Tarot is a powerful spiritual tool that allows us to unveil our desires and to manifest our authentic dreams.

During a tarot reading, a lot of information is received and this information can make you feel empowered, relaxed, and capable of sorting out life’s challenges.

Over the last few centuries, Tarot has become a popular method of divination along with astrology and the numerology divination method.

In this article, I will provide a brief explanation of how tarot reading works and describe the cards and their meanings. Besides, you will also learn more about the mechanics of a session with the cards.

Keep reading to delve into this fantastic world.

What Are Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards are not just nice images with random numbers and phrases written on them. They are symbols that connect us with the universe as a whole. And they help us tap into our intuition.

78 is the number of cards present in a tarot deck. Each card has its own name, number, imagery, meanings, and background story. Nowadays, there are many tarot decks available. If you want to become a tarot reader, you should choose a deck that resonates with your style and personality.

The most famous deck in the United States (and I would say worldwide as well) is the Rider-Waite deck. This beautiful piece of art was created in 1909 by Arthur Edward Waite.

He was a prominent member of the occult group The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

The artist that made Waite’s vision alive was Pamela Colman Smith and the deck was published by Rider & Company. I usually work with this deck and I suggest you choose this one when you are first getting started. But the decision is yours.

“Arcana” is the specific word for naming tarot cards. There are two groups of arcana in a deck. On the one hand, there is Major Arcana. On the other hand, there is the Minor Arcana.

The 22 Major Arcana cards symbolize universal archetypes, principles, ideas, concepts, and spiritual lessons. They represent big life events or long-term cycles. They are numbered from one through 21, with The Fool card marked as zero.

The 56 Minor Arcana cards depict the problems and general experiences that we live on a daily basis. These cards show us the ups and downs of our quotidian existence.

Like regular playing cards, the Minor Arcana cards include four suits. These suits are wands, cups, pentacles, and swords. Each suite has meaning regarding a specific area of life.

In the Minor Arcana, wands are connected with the creative realm, cups are connected with the emotional realm, pentacles with the material realm, and swords with the mental realm.

The cards within the suits are numbered from one through 10. They also include court cards. The court cards are the king, the queen, the knight, and the page.

Assortment of tarot cards

What Is a Tarot Reading?

A tarot reading is a session or consultation in which a facilitator answers your questions using the tarot deck as a tool.

Before a reading occurs, the cards are shuffled. This can be done by the professional reader or by the consultant. This depends on the style of the reader and also if the consultation is taking place online or in person.

While the deck is being shuffled by one person or the other, the consultant has to focus their energy on the area of life they want to ask questions about.

After shuffling the cards, the deck is cut. Then, the reader lays out the Major and Minor Arcana in a pattern which is known as “spread”. Each position in the spread carries a unique meaning and can be interpreted accurately by the tarot reader. And there are different types of spreads. Some of them are very elaborate while others are simple and straightforward.

Different readers choose different spreads. Some of them don’t even rely on spreads and just unveil one card per each question made by the consultant.

How Do Tarot Readings Work?

There are many tarot readings depending on the style of the facilitator, but they can be divided into two broad groups. Some of the tarot readings are question-oriented, while others are open readings.

In the course of question-oriented readings, the consultant wants to address specific issues. However, the tarot does not answer “yes” or “no” questions. The inquiries have to be open and not too specific. For example, instead of asking “Does X person love me?” you may ask something along the lines of “How could I create a healthy relationship with a significant other?”.

Even though you have questions that need answers, remain curious and receptive. Your question should not convey a preconceived idea that your existing view is the right one or the only one available. If you come to a reading expecting to get a specific answer, maybe you are not allowing the cards to guide you because you are trying to control the outcome.

When asking a question, try different levels of detail. The question should be focused but not overly meticulous. Rather than narrowing your interest towards one aspect of an issue, look for a way to ask in a broad way about it.

For example, instead of asking how you can make your mom accept your life choices, ask how YOU can accept yourself unapologetically.

Nonetheless, don’t become too specific. Don’t ask if you need therapy or counseling or yoga or to delve into astrology in order to accept yourself. Just include a little bit of detail and let the tarot spread offer some unexpected wisdom.

Make sure to center the questions around you instead of around other people. Of course, relationships are crucial and you may want to know about your spouse or child. That’s OK. But ask about your role in the connection, not their role or your expectations about them. You do you, boo!

If you are interested in an open reading rather than in a question-oriented one, you should know that this type of reading addresses larger aspects of your life. They are not focused on a specific problem area or question, but on the bigger picture of your existence.

Open readings are usually requested when the consultant is entering a new phase of their life, such as graduating from college, getting married, coming out, or starting a family.

People who choose open readings may just want to be surprised by the tarot cards and what they have to say about the new journeys ahead.

If you would like to book a professional tarot reading with me then please click the button below to visit my website.


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