Tarot card reading instructions - an overview

Tarot - The Fool

This is intended to be a full set of Tarot card reading instructions, so let's start with the basics.

You can use this page as an index, moving on to specific pages for each step. Or you can go straight from page to page.

But there is something you need to do before you even think about buying a pack of cards, or learning the individual layouts and meanings of cards.

It doesn't matter if you are going to offer a service for payment, or if you just want to read for friends and family, free of charge.

You will be letting down yourself, your Questors and other Tarot Readers if you don't put on a good show.

Give a performance

For that's what it is - a piece of theatre, a flash of colour and richness, the suggestion of something mystical.

The cards themselves can help you to set the scene, but are you going to pull a brand new pack out of a pristine box, complete with price ticket, and plonk them down on the table?

Instead, why not carefully unwrap an old silk scarf (eBay) before bringing out your faithful if battered and stained old cards (cold tea, a bit of controlled violence and some careful baking in the oven), being careful to handle them with respect - even reverence.

Give your audience a bit of background to the history of the cards, heighten the anticipation, and build up to the big 'reveal' when the cards are first displayed in all their glory.

The Questor will pick up on your attitude and actions, and be influenced accordingly.

Plan ahead so that you know where and when you can most effectively perform a reading.

Work out, then find the tools or props you think you'll need well in advance.

Modern lighting and a plastic table can ruin the mood and ambiance, a small wooden card table with a suitable cloth, and a candle or paraffin lantern will work wonders.

Be aware of how you want your readings to go right from the start, then work toward that end.

Choosing a Tarot deck

You may already have a deck, or know which one you want.

Consider the style of readings that you want to give, who your main audience will be and which ones appeal to you.

If it helps, are are a few of my thoughts on card decks relating to these Tarot card reading instructions

Remember, there is absolutely no need to stick with one deck - you can always try several, and see what feels right for you.

But before we move on, there is one more thing to do - decide if you are going to take out the 'Death' card before your first reading.

You may feel that it would be absolutely wrong to do this, and that it would be a breech of your integrity.

If you are not sure about this, or want a second opinion on the matter, click here for my thoughts on the Tarot Death card.

Also decide if you are going to use -

- The full deck

- Just the major cards

- The major cards plus the picture cards (with or without aces)

- A mix of your own devising.

Although using fewer cards will make learning the meanings easier, it will also give a correspondingly more limited result. Whatever you decide to do, it should be based on what feels right for you - not what is easiest.

Tarot card layouts

Again, a quick 'Google' and some light research will reveal a wealth of possible patterns - 'spreads', or 'layouts' for you use in your readings.

To find out more about layouts, click here. I've added some details of a few to help you get you started.

Once you have chosen which layout(s) you will use, make sure that you practise until it all becomes second nature.

It is essential to become confident. An amateur practises until they can get it right, a professional until they can't get it wrong.

So, you have chosen which cards and which deck to use. What comes next?

Interpreting Tarot cards

Before you can tell any one what the cards mean, you'll need to know yourself!

And it's not just the individual cards. Oh deary me no.

Each suit can have a specific meaning as well, as can similar numbers.

You can also choose to vary the meaning based on the way the card is laid - facing toward you or the Questor.

Again, there is a lot of flexibility here. You can take a general set of meanings, one that is specific to the deck you are using or even let a set of meanings of your own evolve.

To find out more about the general interpreting of cards, click here. Once you are happy with a general overview, it is time to look at the specific interpretation for individual cards.

Meaning of each Tarot card

Each card has its own specific meaning. And if want to, you can choose to interpret cards that are facing away from you as 'reversed'. They are then taken to have an entirely different meaning - often the exact opposite of the original.

Once again, it is entirely your choice to use these meanings or not.

You may even decide to keep quiet about this, keeping it in reserve in case you decide it best to reverse the meaning of one of the 'nasties' in a reading. Remember, it is best not to send Questors away white-faced and shaking!

Here is a link to some Tarot card reading instructions for individual cards, as well as the ones I use personally - My list of Tarot card reading instructions And finally,

Putting it all together - giving a reading

Now comes the time to put together all the different elements.

Take some time to think through how any reading you will give will come across to your Questors. Imagine how it will look and sound from their perspective.

Start by giving readings for friends and family, and ask for frank and blunt feedback.

Click on the link for more details on putting it all together

But before you start

Please do run through this checklist first

- Have you fully memorised all the card and position meanings?

- What are you going to wear, what kind of atmosphere do you want to create, does everything match this??

- Have you practised enough so that it is all second nature - have carried out a few rehearsals, and are you fully confident?

- Do you have a strong 'Intro' ready - a way of introducing yourself and getting things started off on the right foot?

- What if something goes wrong? Do you have 'Plan B's ready? Think through all the possible problems that could occur, and be ready for them.

- Have you got a strong 'Outro' ready - a way of winding things up satisfactorily?

- What do you want to happen afterwards - do you have contact details/cards/flyers/promotional material ready (if relevent for you)?

Start small, build up, gain experience

Give small, informal readings first and then move up as your experience, self confidence and awareness develop.

"How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time!"

I do hope that this has been useful for you.

Please let me know what you think, and remember to check back (or sign up for priority notification) to see fresh details as they are added.

All my best,

Would you like to share anything on Tarot reading?

Please feel free to contact me with anything you think should be included on this site, or examples from your own experience.

Many thanks


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