11 Tips for Beginner Tarot Readers

A disposition made up of a Tarot card and pink crystals
Photo by Edz Norton on Unsplash

When you’re new to the world of Tarot, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. There seems to be so much important information to keep straight in your head, so many details that are important to remember. You may not know where to start, or you may be struggling to remember what you studied last week. Don’t worry, after reading this post, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what to do in this stage of your practice. 

1. Keep a journal and revisit it every once in a while

Get a notebook that you exclusively use for Tarot, but don’t just fill it with notes and information you’d like to remember. If you do daily or weekly pulls, make sure to keep a journal about it. Write down which card you got and how you think it relates to the day or the week ahead. Then, once it’s over, journal about the day or week. Later, try to find what the card was actually trying to tell you. This will make the learning process much easier. You’ll have examples from your own life to draw from, your early impression, and what the meaning of the card was in retrospect. 

2. Break up what you need to study in smaller parts

Of course, if you try to learn all 22 Major Arcana and all 56 Minor Arcana at once (plus reversals), you will get exhausted just thinking about it! Instead, focus on one thing at a time. For example, ignore the Minor Arcana and reversals at the beginning, and just study what the Major Arcana mean. You can do full accurate readings with just the Major Arcana to practice. Then, you can move on to the Court Cards, and so on. 

3. Make it personal

Tarot is not meant to be impersonal. You’ll have a much more productive relationship with it if you delve into the more personal side of Tarot. Explore what each card means to you specifically. Whenever you think of an idea or a practice to have a more personal connection with your deck, do it! Carry the deck around with you so you can mutually get to know each other’s energy. Draw a card to represent important people in your life. Sleep with the deck, see if you dream about the cards. The more personal parallels you can draw from the Tarot, the better! It makes the meanings more memorable and the experience more meaningful. 

4. Use Oracle Decks to get a more specific meaning

This applies especially when you’re doing your very first readings. Even though Oracle Decks are a Divination tool that’s separate from Tarot and different from it (a deck of cards needs to have the 22 Major Arcana to be a Tarot deck), they are very beginner-friendly. They can also be a great complement for Tarot. This is especially the case if you already have a relationship with an Oracle deck and you know it well. If you’re drawing a blank as to how a card in a reading relates to what you’re asking, or if the meaning is not very clear, you can pull a card from an Oracle deck to clarify. You may be surprised by the clarity of the answers you get. 

Three Tarot cards with some white candles and crystals
Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

5. Do something creative with your cards

A great way to remember the details in one of the illustrations of the card or the meanings associated with it is to do something creative with the card. It can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. From thinking about an outfit that the character in the card would wear, to writing a poem inspired by the card, to spending days painting an abstract picture of what the card means, this activity is great to both make your connection with the cards more personal and the meanings more memorable. 

6. Meditate with the cards

You can integrate Tarot cards to your meditation practice. You can choose one that you find soothing or that corresponds to your intention, or let the deck choose one for you. If you aren’t sure about where to start, you can meditate with the High Priestess for guidance and wisdom, or with The Fool to embrace the unexpected. As you get the hang of this practice, you can start to be more intentional and it can even become a tool in your manifestation journey. We have recently written a post about this topic and it’s very beginner-friendly if you want to check it out. 

7. Write on your cards

A lot of Tarot readers started right here, and they may even have the well-loved decks to show for it. Take a pen and write some key words on each card as a quick reminder of what it means. Is it an expensive deck and you don’t want to ruin it? You can use small post-its that you can remove later to enjoy the best that this technique has to offer. You can also use a deck of playing cards (here are some of the correspondences with Tarot) to write on your cards, as those are cheap and easy to find and replace. 

8. Don’t be shy about doing readings for people you trust

If your family and friends ask you for readings, do it! One of the best ways to learn Tarot is actually doing it and reacting to what other people have to say about your readings. Doing readings for people you trust helps you relate the meaning of a card to the real-life situation they are going through. As they are close to you, you’ll most likely find out how the situation turned out and whether the advice the cards gave them was appropriate. It will also help you experience in real-time what it’s like to use your intuition while doing readings. 

The Three of Cups Tarot card with a text that has colored illustrations in the background
Photo by Viva Luna Studios on Unsplash

9. Draw a card to represent the characters in your favorite TV shows and books

Another great way to help you review the meanings of each card and make it personal is to draw parallels between the books and shows you love and your deck. Make a list of your favorite characters from various forms of media and draw a card that represents each one. You can try to document how the characteristics of each card relate to the qualities of each character. It will be a fruitful exercise that will help you to give a face to the cards that once confused you. This is great especially for the Court Cards and the Major Arcana. The Minor Arcana will represent situations that the character has had to go through. 

10. Interview your deck

Your deck has something to say about your practice, too! Let it speak to you in its own words… I mean, cards. Ask it questions about what questions it gives the best answers to, which questions they like best, which questions they feel like they don’t have accurate answers for, how it perceives you as a reader, etc. You will find this practice very illuminating, especially if you act according to what it has to say. 

11. Try to make associations between the cards and your herbs and crystals

If you’re a beginner Tarot reader, it may be too soon to integrate the cards into your spells. However, it’s never too soon to try to find parallels between some elements in your practice like herbs and crystals and your cards. You might, for example, pair the Death card with Obsidian, or The Magician with Rosemary. If you know your herbs and/or crystals well, do this intuitively. If you don’t, doing research is always fine. Then, you can integrate both into a meditation session, and journal anything that comes through. 

Were these tips useful? If you’re a more advanced Tarot reader, feel free to share any other tips you have in the comments. Or if you’re a beginner, share what’s working for you in the comments.

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