How to Read Tarot Cards

Learning how to read these ancient cards may help you divine the future – or at least amuse party guests.

You will need

  • A set of tarot cards
  • Practice

Step 1 Get a deck Get a deck of tarot cards. There are many different kinds, but the popular Rider-Waite tarot deck is the one recommended for beginners.

Step 2 Learn each card's meaning Read the booklet that comes with a new deck to learn the standard meaning of each card. Tarot cards are divided into major arcana or “greater secrets” and minor arcana, meaning lesser secrets. Major arcana represent forces outside our control, while minor arcana represent that which we have the power to change.

Step 3 Shuffle the cards well Shuffle the cards well; then cut the deck as the person whose fortune you are about to read asks the first question.

Step 4 Lay down four cards Lay down four cards in a diamond pattern. The top card represents romance; moving clockwise, the next card relates to finances, followed by the card for health and happiness and finally the career card. Different spreads involving more cards can be used as you become more experienced.

Step 5 Turn over the first card Turn over the cards and note the direction of the picture. If it’s facing the reader, it’s a positive card, representing good things. If the design is upside down or reversed, it’s a negative card, representing conflict.

Step 6 Get the whole picture Interpret the cards. Don’t just analyze what the cards mean individually, but what message they convey when viewed as a whole.

Step 7 Practice Keep a record of your readings. It helps you refine your craft by keeping tabs on when you were right and when you might have misinterpreted the cards.