Getting Ready to Read – How to Do a Tarot Reading in Five Easy Steps

Reading the Tarot is an art more than a science. The best readers have studied the cards long enough to know the meanings, and are fluent enough in the symbolism to weave the meanings together into a cohesive and useful interpretation. Part of finding that flow is in creating an atmosphere that allows the practitioner to focus on the cards and draw the meanings from them. These five steps can help any Tarot beginner settle in and start reading for themselves and others.

Set the Scene

The right frame of mind and attitude is essential in delivering a good reading. Find a comfortable place to sit, and set the scene to encourage intuition to flow. The surroundings should be neat enough to keep distraction away without being overly orderly and rigid. Appeal to all the senses – candles or incense can improve focus and add a pleasant note to the surroundings. Keep the music low and subtle. Make sure the seating is comfortable – it’s nearly impossible to pay attention to the reading if your back is stiff.

Talk to Your Querent

Take a few minutes to talk to the person for whom you’ll be reading. If the reading is for yourself, relax, meditate and consider what you’re hoping to learn from your reading.

Choose a Layout and Shuffle the Cards

Based on what you’re hoping to find, choose an appropriate layout and begin shuffling the cards. As you shuffle, focus on the questions you’re trying to answer. At this point, many readers hand the deck to the person for whom they’re reading and let them shuffle or cut the deck before laying out the cards. When you retrieve the deck, lay the cards out on the table one at a time. As a beginner, it’s often helpful to name each position as you lay the card down. Some readers lay the cards face down, but beginners may find it helpful to lay out the entire reading face up so that they can easily see how the cards fit together.

Look for Patterns and Threads

Before you start interpreting the individual cards, look at the overall spread for any patterns that stand out. Are there a lot of queens? Is there a balance of suits? Is the reading devoid of Major Arcana cards? Are there multiple threes, or fives, or any other number? Patterns – particularly a lot of one suit – can help you focus on what the reading is trying to tell you.

Get Down to Particulars

Finally, go through the cards individually, applying the meaning of the card to the position in which it falls. Beginners – and even intermediate Tarot readers, should feel comfortable consulting a book to help them find the right words and support their intuitive impresions.

At the end of the reading, it’s generally a good idea to ask the person for whom the reading was done if they have further questions or want clarification, and, if necessary, draw additional cards for more guidance.

A final note: many people are uncomfortable when getting their cards read. Keeping up a flow of conversation not only puts them at their ease, but also allows them to react to the reading and help steer it for the best advice possible.