How to Read Tarot Cards: A Step by Step Guide

There are a million different ways to read Tarot Cards, but this is my favorite!

In this simple, step-by-step process, you will learn how to give yourself a meaningful, intuitive Tarot or Oracle card reading, regardless of your level of experience. This process helps you tap into your intuition and look at your Tarot cards in a whole new light.


Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I want to clarify that there are two ways to read Tarot cards. The first way is to memorize all the Tarot card meanings that are in your Tarot book. The second way is to use your intuition and psychic abilities to interpret the cards. Most Tarot readers do both – they know and understand the meanings of the Tarot cards, but they also use their intuition to guide them.

The method of Tarot reading that I am going to explore here is based primarily on using your intuition. So if you are totally new to Tarot cards, you don’t need to rush off and memorize all the Tarot card meanings. You don’t need to “know” anything to do this exercise!

Before you begin this exercise, make sure you are sitting comfortably with your deck of Tarot or Oracle cards in front of you. Have a notebook and pen nearby.


Step 1: Relax

When you are relaxed and your mind is quiet, the soft voice of your intuition can be heard. Make yourself comfortable and begin by taking slow, deep breaths in through the nose and out through the nose or mouth. Visualize exhaling everything that’s on your mind – you can come back to your worries later – but for now, let your mind become clear and empty.

Relax your body by breathing into any areas of tension or discomfort and exhaling the tension until your body feels warm and calm.


Step 2: Clear your Tarot Deck

Since your deck will have absorbed the energies of your last reading or of the last person who touched it, it is important to clear your deck of any residual energies. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is by shuffling.

After you shuffle your deck a few times, hold it in your hands and give it a “light bath” – visualize breathing in a beautiful white light and sending that light down your arms and into your tarot deck so that it is bathed in white light. This not only clears your deck, but it helps you connect more strongly to your Tarot cards.


Step 3: Ask Your Question!

As you hold your deck, ask your question silently in your mind or out loud. If you don’t have a specific question, you may simply ask your Tarot cards “what do I need to know right now?” or “What messages do you have for me today?”

Let your question settle into the deck. Imagine that your question is traveling from your mind, down your arms, and into your Tarot cards.

Step 4: Cut the Deck

Place your Tarot deck on the table in front of you and using your left hand, cut the deck in half and place the top half on the left. You should have two piles of cards now. Choose the card that is on the top of the right pile and turn it over.


Steps 5-10: The Reading

For this part, you may want to get out your pen and paper…

First Impression – Notice what your first thought, feeling, or reaction was when you turned the card over. Often, our first impression is loaded with intuitive insight because our egos/minds haven’t had a chance to jump in yet.

Body Messages – Your intuition will often communicate with you through physical feelings, like a tight stomach or tingly feeling in your hands. Notice if you get any physical sensations as you look at your Tarot card.

Say the card’s name out loud – doing this can sometimes open pathways in the mind, giving you access to new insights and information. Notice how you feel when you speak the card's name out loud.

Color – Notice the colors on your Tarot card. Is there a mix of color, absence of color, or mostly one color? If one color is more dominant than the others, what does that color mean to you?

Action! – What is going on in this Tarot card? Are people communicating or struggling? Is there a lot of movement or stillness? This one factor can often indicate the issue you are dealing with and its solutions.

Characters – Notice which figures, whether human or animal, are present in your Tarot card. What message does this character(s) bring to you? Imagine yourself stepping into the Tarot card and having a conversation with this character. What would they say?

Symbols – What symbols stand out to you? What do those symbols mean to you? Tarot cards communicate to us through symbols and many “hidden meanings” can be discovered when we take the time to meditate on the symbols.


Step 11: Closing the Tarot Reading

When you feel it is time to end the Tarot reading, hold your deck in your hands and silently thank it for all the insights and guidance it has brought to you today. You may want to enjoy a brief moment of silence just to let the reading settle in.

Reshuffle your Tarot deck and return it to its resting place.



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