The Beginner’s Guide to Tarot Readings

The Beginner's Guide to Tarot Readings

This post is a little out of the norm for what I’ve been writing about lately, but a huge part of what I intended Just a Little Zen to focus on is what spirituality might mean to the modern day person.  One of the most beautiful things about spirituality is that it comes in many forms and manifests a little differently for each person.  The journey is in discovering what it means to you specifically.  Any one of us can parrot the ideologies we were raised with, but I have felt a deeper connection to my spirituality because it’s something that I feel is tailored to me and that I truly believe in wholeheartedly.

Okay. So. Who the hell cares?

Well one aspect of my spiritual journey has been learning to open myself up to outside guidance.  For me, this guidance manifests itself naturally through dreams or through animals.  Sometimes, however, you don’t want to sit around and wait for guidance to drop down from the sky.  So when I have a specific question in mind or a problem I need help with, I consult tarot.

First, a disclaimer: I am very much still in the process of learning how to ask questions, read cards, and learn what the heck to do with that information.  But who better to give advice to beginners…than a fellow beginner?  So let’s dive in.

First thing’s first.  You need a deck (duh).

The ideal experience is to go to a local bookstore or shop that specializes in all things spiritual.  If that’s not accessible, there’s always Amazon (here’s my deck). If you are lucky enough to pick out your deck in person, spend some time on it.  So much of spirituality is based simply off of intuition.  Look through the different decks. Acknowledge favorites. And see if one deck in particular stands out to you. If you truly can’t decide or have to buy online, just pick whatever basic deck you like the most.

Create a zen space.

If you don’t already have one, you’ll want a safe and calming space to practice your tarot readings. Doing a tarot reading is much like practicing any other meditation, prayer, or mindfulness exercise. You want minimal distraction, you’ll want it to feel right to you, and you’ll want the space to put you in the mindset of mindfulness.  To give a personal example, my bedroom is my zen space.  I’ve spent a lot of time getting it just how I want it and by lighting a few candles, heating some essential oils, and playing some zen music it becomes a meditation space easy as pie.

Familiarize yourself with the basics of tarot cards.

Read a little bit about the Major and Minor Acarna cards, the four different suits, and some of the basic spreads.  Ideally, your tarot deck will come with notes regarding these but if it doesn’t, this information is easily accessible online — Biddy Tarot being one of my personal favorites.  While you likely won’t remember everything right off the bat, familiarizing yourself early on will help you form associations with certain cards and could trigger more meaningfulness in your later readings.

Asking your question.

While not off-limits, you’ll want to avoid asking simple questions that can be answered with a yes or no.  Tarot readings end up being very detailed and the cards are more complicated than a “yes” or “no” allows for.  Instead of asking, “Should I keep seeing Jack?” ask, “What is the outlook for this relationship?” or, “What should I focus on in this relationship?”  Sometimes the answers to your questions will resonate right away and sometimes the message won’t fully click until long after your reading has taken place.

Get started!

Start shuffling your cards (stay focused!), cut your deck, and layout your spread.  It’s probably easiest to stick to simple spreads with no more than 5 cards involved while you’re just starting out, as looking up the meaning to each tarot card can be really time consuming.  But, the more you do readings the more you’ll learn the different cards and know their meanings right away.  The easiest reading to do every day, is just one card answering, “What should I focus on for today?”.  Do this deck once a day and you’ll start learning the cards in no time!

Figure out the best way for you to get the message.

I have a strong writing energy in me.  The best way for me to connect and receive messages from my inner self or Guides or God – whatever you want to think of it as – is typically through automatic writing (I’ll write more on that another time).  Just before my first tarot reading I had a strong intuition pulling me towards my journal.  Now, I do my best to make sure my journal is with me when I do readings because I get the most clarity through writing down each card’s meaning and the overall message instead of pondering it just inside my head.

That might be helpful for other writers as well, or, if you’re more visual perhaps drawing would be better suited to you.  Maybe you just will know instantly in your mind what the message is.  Regardless, figure out what brings clarity for you personally and use that as a tool for more effective readings.

At the end of the day, whether you practice tarot because you genuinely believe in it or if it’s more of a party trick for you…it really doesn’t matter.  Because at the very least, pulling one card a day will you give the chance to reflect introspectively on a new topic or challenge.  At worst, it’s a great way to take a few moments out of your day to practice mindfulness.  At best, you might receive guidance that can push you towards a more meaningful path for yourself.

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