Welcome to the ultimate guide to learning Tarot. Here I’ll be talking you through everything you need to know in order to start learning Tarot. And, giving yourself the very best chance at learning Tarot reading easily.

Below, you’ll find handy navigation to quickly move through this guide.

1. Where to Start

2. Choosing a Beginners Tarot Deck

3. Understanding What Tarot Cards Are

4. Knowing How and Why to Use Tarot Readings

5. Getting Familiar With the Structure of a Tarot Deck

6. The Best Way to Learn the Meanings of the Tarot Cards

7. Choosing the Best Resources, Teachers and Mentors

8. Getting to Know Your Learning Style

9. Understanding the Many Different Aspects Flowing Into the Tarot

1. Where to Start

Where do you start when you’ve decided you want to learn how to read Tarot cards? Well, this guide is as good a place as any. Clicking on this article has already set the wheels in motion and opened your energy up to learning more about this tool.

The very first step, before you even consider buying a deck, is to decide why you want to learn Tarot. There’s no wrong answers here, but those with a more concrete intention tend to learn quicker than others. If you know why you want to start learning to give yourself or others Tarot readings, that’s the very best place to start on this journey.

Tarot cards are a spiritual tool. Even though they have been used traditionally as fortune telling devices, these days they’re more of a self-help tool. Tarot has the ability to open your mind to aspects of yourself and the world around you, that you have never considered before.

Saying that, it’s not an easy task to under take. Essentially you’re learning to read a whole new language. I always describe the Tarot cards akin to illustrative languages like hieroglyphics. It’s also a never ending journey of education. Yes you can learn the meanings of all 78 Tarot cards, but fully understanding them and being able to connect with them on a deeper level takes time.

Remember that the Tarot is a great and sacred arcanum – its abuse is an obscenity in the inner and a folly in the outer. It is intended for quite other purposes than to determine when the tall dark man will meet the fair rich widow.
— Jack Parsons

We’ll go into more detail of how to find the best resources further in this guide, but a great place for that initial step into the world of Tarot is my online resource section. It’s completely free to access, all you have to do is sign up. In there you’ll find a full directory of the 78-cards. Each card gets its own detailed breakdown where I take you through what the card means traditionally and how you can interpret it.

As well as the directory, there are Tarot spread templates you can trial and links to all of my Tarot podcast episodes.

2. Choosing a beginners Tarot deck

Choosing your very first Tarot deck can be daunting. There are hundreds of different decks out there, not to mention Oracle cards being thrown into the mix. You’ll see these two types of divination decks mixed in with each other in online shops. However, they are not the same thing.

Tarot decks are divination card decks that contain 78 cards. These cards are also split into two factions, the major and minor arcana. Oracle cards have very few rules. They don’t have to conform to a set number of cards or follow traditional meanings. Oracle decks can contain any number of cards, from 10 to 100+. However, they can be a great alternative to use for those that just don’t vibe with Tarot cards.

The most important thing about choosing your first deck is to choose the one you love. Make sure the imagery inspires and motivates you to learn. Pick a deck you absolutely can’t wait to use.

I wrote a more in-depth blog post recently about choosing the very best Tarot deck for beginners, so if you’re struggling to make that all-important decision, then go and check that out.

3. Understanding What Tarot Cards & Tarot Reading Are

We all like to know what we’re getting ourselves into and Tarot isn’t for everybody. Tarot reading falls under the umbrella of divination – divining information using a spiritual or esoteric tool or channel – and there are many more tucked away under that same umbrella.

Some of the most widely used forms of divination today are:

  • Palmistry

  • Scrying

  • Tarot readings

  • Oracle readings

  • Runes

  • Crystal gazing

  • Astrology

  • Feng Shui

  • Dream reading

Divination is the quest to understand more about the past, present, and future. In other words, Tarot readings are an attempt to understand ourselves better and discover how we might live better in the future.
— Theresa Francis-Cheung, Teen Tarot: What the Cards Reveal About You and Your Future

These days, Tarot is more about understanding the self, rather than uncovering the future. We channel our intuition and energetic selves through the cards, in order to better understand why we think the way we do, feel the way we do and do what we do.

If the subconscious is a lock, then Tarot is the key. It can open your eyes to new ways of looking at yourself and the world around you. It can help you process or accept some of the hardest to swallow parts of life. It can help you find direction when you’re being blinded by your own fears and worries.

Tarot is the self-coaching tool we all need. The support and guidance I’ve got over the last few years of being a professional Tarot reader are priceless. I’ve been able to cut through those loud self-limiting voices to push through and do things I never thought possible.

Without always having the Tarot cards to turn to, I doubt that I would have been able to uncover some of the mind-blowing self-realisations I’ve had.

A Tarot reading should never dictate to you what you should do or how you should think. It should never chastise you for behaving or acting in a certain way. The cards should simply guide you to the truth so that you can make the best decisions possible, with a clear mind, boosted confidence and empowerment.

Learning Tarot reading is an investment into your highest self. It’s a step toward putting your overall wellbeing at the top of your priority list. Take a look at the BTS video of my Tarot For Beginners course below to see if it’s time for you to start putting yourself first.

4. Knowing How and Why to Use Tarot Readings

We’ve already touched on why you might want to start learning Tarot reading but practically, what does that look like? You may be most familiar with 3-4 Tarot cards lined up in a row, each one being turned over to uncover a mysterious imagery.

Laying the cards out like this is called a Tarot spread. These spreads offer context for the cards themselves. Within a spread, we have different positions. It might be the past position, the present position or the future position. The position that card is in tells us what the card is referring to, helping us better understand what guidance the cards are giving us.

But, like I said before, Tarot these days is more about self-coaching and guidance than prediction. Which has blown open the many ways we can use the cards practically.

Divination is not seeing the future; it’s looking at the present from a different perspective and seeing connections that were otherwise invisible.
— Charbel Tadros

One of the main ways I use Tarot reading in my routines, courses, podcasts and workshops is through Tarot journaling. This combines traditional journaling and Tarot readings. You can do an all-out 10-card extravaganza or a simple one-card pull.

When Tarot journaling, you write down all the guidance the cards are offering and start to chip into it. You dig deeper and deeper until you hit the very root cause of your passions, fears, worries, desires or frustrations. It’s a way to take the spiritual guidance channelled through the cards tangible. When it’s written down it’s easier for your brain to process, making the guidance easier to understand and quicker to act on.

If you need a bit of help to better understand how to practically use Tarot in your daily wellbeing routine, then why not sign-up for my monthly mailing list? Where I offer monthly ‘Tarot Downloads’, guidance for the month ahead based on 1-2 Tarot cards. This can be a great way to start teaching yourself and making Tarot a regular part of your life.

5. Getting Familiar With the Structure of a Tarot Deck

Understanding the structure of a Tarot deck can be a great way to better understand the very core of Tarot reading. A deck is split into two main sections, the Major and Minor Arcana. These represent the major lessons we all move through throughout our lifetimes and the minor, daily challenges we have to face.

People focus a lot on the meanings of the cards themselves, but the framework of a Tarot deck can give you context for your readings. It can help you create clear narratives and timelines. This is why there are lessons within the Tarot For Beginners course that really help you hone in on this structure.

The Pagan Otherworld Tarot Deck by UUSI – The Hierophant & Eight of Swords

6. The Best Way to Learn the Meanings of the Tarot Cards

When most people decide to start learning Tarot reading, they begin by trying to memorise the meanings of the cards. This is where a lot of people fall down. They try and cram as much information into their brains as possible, usually in a very short time.

The harsh truth is you can not learn Tarot reading overnight. Plus, why would you want to? Learning to read Tarot cards should be an enjoyable and eye-opening experience. This is why I highly recommend taking things as slow as possible.

Not only will you be much more likely to succeed when you consume bite-sized pieces of information, but you’ll also be able to give the cards your full attention.

Which method of learning is best depends on the person. Some people will find that they learn best through visual tutorials or lessons. Some may find that they learn best from reading books. My advice is to think about how you enjoy learning and seek out a Tarot teacher or mentor that offers lessons in that way.

7. Choosing the Best Resources, Teachers and Mentors

There are lots of different ways you can read the Tarot cards and many unique reasons why someone might want to. Every reader is different; they all have their own reasons as to why they started to reading Tarot and it’s often very personal to them.

When hunting for the best Tarot teacher or mentor, look for someone that has the same or similar reasons as you, as to why they read Tarot. What experiences do you have in common? What values and beliefs do you share?

Tarot doesn’t predict the future. Tarot facilitates it.
— Philippe St Genoux

One of the best ways to find a new Tarot teacher or mentor is by using social media. Search for Tarot readers on Instagram and browse around. See who’s instagram page speaks to you. Follow them for a while and see if you get value from their posts.

Podcasts are another great way to find the perfect Tarot teacher, because you get a great feel for the values those readers promote. Listen to a few episodes and see if the points made mirror your own.

Although it is possible to learn Tarot on your own, seeking out other readers with more experience or different experiences to you can help widen your perspective on the cards. Consume as much information from as many sources as possible and then make your decision who to follow based on intuition.

*Learn how to cleanse your Tarot cards for the best readings possible!

8. Getting to Know Your Learning Style

I mentioned it before but it’s worth repeating. Get clear about which style of learning clicks with you the best. If you’re not sure then there’s a great quiz from Arden University which can help. The quiz tells you what kind of learner you are based on a few simple and quick questions.

Knowing this can help you choose a method of learning Tarot that is guaranteed to help you become a Tarot reader in no time at all.

For example, I’m a visual learner, meaning I learn best from practical tasks, experimentation and video tutorials. But originally I tried to learn to read Tarot via a book. I ended up getting gradually more and more frustrated that the information wasn’t sticking in my brain.

It was only when I opted for an online course that contained slides, videos and practical tasks that things started to click.

If you are a:

  • Visual Learner – Look for courses that include videos, presentations, diagrams etc

  • Auditory Learner – Research Tarot podcasts and start listening to as many as possible

  • Reading/Writing Learner – Take a look at those two books mentioned earlier on and work through them in order to start absorbing the information

  • Kinaesthetic Learner – Take a more hands-on approach by using your guidebook and giving yourself as many readings as possible as often as possible. Utilise your physical senses, maybe allocate certain smells with each card, create playlists that remind you of the cards and allow music to help you learn.

9. Understanding the Many Different Aspects Flowing Into the Tarot

When you first start out learning Tarot reading, you may think that the Tarot is a single entity, but it’s not. When the Tarot cards were created, they were created by people fascinated by esotericism. They were people that would study astrology, psychic energy, religion, numerology, symbology and so on.

This means, all of these different subjects bleed into the world of the Tarot. They can help you understand the Tarot card meanings from multiple different perspectives. Learning them alongside learning the Tarot cards, can help you become a much more advanced reader over time.

Once upon a time, tarot reading was about discovering what your future held. These days tarot helps you craft exactly the future you desire.
— Sasha Graham

The two best places to start would be numerology and astrology. These are the most prominent in the Rider Waite-Smith Tarot deck – the deck that most modern Tarot decks use as a template for their meanings.

Numerology plays heavily on the numbers on each of the cards and can give you more context of their meanings.

Astrology can be seen in symbols throughout, from the symbol of Venus on the Empress card, or the ram’s heads symbolising the astrological sign Aries on the Emperor card.

The number one thing to remember when learning Tarot reading is that it takes commitment. You need to be committed to travelling along this path of self-discovery and spiritual growth. You have to be open to new ideas and methods of being that is completely alien to you.

You will not be the same person after learning Tarot as you were before. It’s not just a hobby, it’s a transformation and it’s one that gives as much as it gets, so give it your all.