How to Do a Tarot Reading: A Beginner's Guide

Tarot reading is a fascinating and enriching practice that can help you gain insights into your life, make decisions, and understand your personal journey. Whether you're a complete beginner or have a basic understanding of tarot, this guide will walk you through the steps of conducting a tarot reading.

Step 1: Choose Your Deck

The first step in tarot reading is choosing a deck. There are many different tarot decks available, each with its own imagery, symbolism, and energy. While the Rider-Waite deck is the most traditional and widely used, you may be drawn to something that aligns more with your personal aesthetic or spiritual path. Trust your intuition when selecting a deck.

Step 2: Create a Quiet Space

Tarot readings require a calm and focused mind. Find a quiet space where you can lay out your cards and concentrate without interruptions. Some people like to create a peaceful atmosphere by lighting candles, burning incense, or playing soft music.

Step 3: Clear and Shuffle Your Deck

Before you begin, it's important to clear your deck of any previous energies. This can be done by gently tapping the deck, visualizing a light cleansing it, or simply shuffling the cards with the intention of clearing them.

Shuffle the cards while focusing on your question or the area of your life you are seeking guidance about. This is a crucial part of the process, as it transfers your energy to the deck.

Step 4: Formulate Your Question

As you shuffle, think about what you want to ask the tarot. Your question can be specific or open-ended, but try to avoid yes-or-no questions. Tarot is best at offering insights and perspectives, not definitive answers. Examples of good questions might be “What do I need to know about my current relationship?” or “What steps can I take to advance in my career?”

Step 5: Choose a Spread

A tarot spread is the layout of the cards, which determines how they should be interpreted. For beginners, the three-card spread is a good place to start, representing past, present, and future. As you become more experienced, you can explore other spreads like the Celtic Cross, which provides a more detailed reading.

Step 6: Lay Out Your Cards

After you've shuffled and cut the deck, lay out the cards in your chosen spread. Turn each card over one at a time, or all at once, whichever feels right for you.

Step 7: Interpret the Cards

Now, it’s time to interpret the cards. Begin by looking at each card individually, noticing your initial reactions and feelings towards the imagery. Each card has a traditional meaning, but it’s important to trust your intuition and consider how the card’s message applies to your life or question.

Step 8: Reflect on the Reading

Once you've interpreted each card, reflect on the overall message of the reading. How do the cards relate to each other, and what story do they tell? Consider how this reading can provide guidance or a new perspective on your question.

Step 9: Closing the Reading

After you've finished your reading, take a moment to thank the cards or your higher self for the guidance received. It’s important to close the session, allowing your mind to process the insights you’ve gained. Some people like to do this by reshuffling the deck, closing their eyes for a moment of gratitude, or simply tidying up their reading space.


Tarot reading is a skill that develops over time, with each reading offering new insights and perspectives. Remember, the tarot does not predict a set future but provides guidance based on your current path and mindset. Be patient with yourself as you learn and open to the journey of self-discovery that tarot can provide.

Happy reading!

Ayesha Hilton

About Ayesha Hilton

Hello! I'm Ayesha (pronounced eye-sha). I am an avid card deck lover and collector. I publish my own card decks and teach other creators how to design, print, and publish their own card decks with courses and strategy sessions. I am passionate about supporting you to express your brilliance with the world!

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