How to Learn to Read the Tarot?

Tarot Readings Basics

A lot of my students ask me, “Do I need to be psychic to do tarot readings?” The answer is no. Tarot readings do not require the reader to be psychic. Intuition, of course, will play a significant role in a tarot reading, but you don’t have to be psychic to read the cards.

How to Learn to Read the Tarot

The truth is, there are two schools of thought on how to study to read the tarot.

The first is the psychic or spiritual method. In this process of reading, the reader looks at the card, tunes into the energy of the card, and provides information which they’ve received psychically or energetically. They know that by looking at the King of Cups that it’s your husband, boyfriend, or father and they tell you what they see. If a psychic reader gets blocked, they typically will have trouble moving on in the reading. This is one reason even people who are trained to use the spiritual method of reading tarot cards are wise to also study the symbolic way.

The most common method of tarot reading is the intellectual or symbolism approach. In this mode of reading, a person learns the archetype meaning of each card, suit, and number and uses that to do a session. So, the King of Cups here would represent an older man. He would likely be a Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces. He is probably deeply emotional and very loving. By telling you what the card usually represents, the client or person being read draws their own conclusion about who it represents. If they share who they believe it is, that helps the symbolic reader keep piecing together the puzzle. Even if they don’t share, however, the symbolism reader will be able to continue the reading by referring to what the other cards mean in their various positions.

Both work! Some people start one way and eventually end up doing it the other way too. Every person that uses the symbolic method to read will ultimately develop psychic or intuitive ability too. It just happens naturally over time. In fact, learning and practicing the symbolic method of reading tarot cards is perhaps one of the safest ways to open up your natural inborn psychic abilities.

I think it’s important for people to realize that a box of tarot cards is not “magic.” The cards themselves don’t do anything. It’s the reader’s interpretation of the cards that determine how a reading/session goes. How they interpret those symbols, that’s what creates the “magic” that people so often feel when they get an excellent and useful tarot session.

How to Learn Tarot Symbols

Learning the symbols of the cards is not hard. Many people choose to never learn to read the tarot because they feel it is impossible to memorize all the meanings associated with the cards.

As I tell my own students, it’s not impossible. It’s all about knowing how to chunk information most efficiently. For example, the suit of Wands represents physical actions, the suit of Cups emotions, the suit of Pentacles money, and the suit of swords communication. The aces (or the number 1) always represents new beginnings. Now you know the ace of wands means new physical beginnings, the ace of cups means new emotional beginnings, the ace of pentacles means new money beginnings, and the ace of swords means new communication beginnings. You just learned all four aces in about 30 seconds!

Learn Numerology first, and you’ll be ready to fly through tarot in a recording breaking time.

The hardest cards to study are the Major Arcana cards because they don’t have direct numerological associations. They do, but they are just different. To learn the Major Arcana, it’s best to pick ONE keyword for each card and commit that to memory.

Practice is the best way to learn.

My own teacher would tell me that “You don’t learn tarot card reading from a teacher, you learn tarot card reading by practicing! The cards will teach you, you just have to be willing to work with them.”

Your Tarot Journal

If I can give one piece of advice for beginning Tarot students, it’s to keep a tarot journal.

In this journal, you should do a couple of things.

First, on the first 78 pages of the notebook, you will paste each tarot card from the tarot deck you desire to read from. If you’re going to read with the Rider-Waite, get two Rider-Waite decks. One to read with and one to study. The one that you’re going to study with you should paste each card on one page of the journal. You preferably want to have room to write on the front and back of the page.

After you do this, take the time to write down information about each card. Things such as meanings, keywords, examples, etc.

Second, you want to write down each reading you do. Write down the general description of the client (male/female, age, marital status), their question, and then write the spread down before interpreting it. This way, you can later come back and study the spreads you’ve personally done to better understand them. If you have a teacher or mentor, you can go over these spreads with your teacher.

Learning to Read Tarot Is Not Hard

Learning to read the Tarot cards isn’t hard, but as you can see it does take some time and dedication. This goes for anything you want to learn. Just as true, as mentioned, is the importance of practice/practice/practice. If you practice and actually want to learn, you will learn, and it will come easier than many people believe.


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