Reading tarot cards is a special ritual. Prepare for it by choosing a quiet time when you will not be disturbed, and create a calm, designated space for reading. Some tarot readers prefer to light a candle before they shuffle the cards, to symbolize a shift into a different realm, extinguishing the candle when the reading is over.
Choose a spread, or arrangement of cards, and then shuffle the cards, allowing your thoughts and feelings to float through your hands and into the cards. Spread all the cards face down and, with your left hand, which is considered the hand of destiny, select the number of cards you’ll need for your spread. Or, cut the deck into three, then re stack so the first pile is on top, laying down the cards from the top of the pile. Do whichever feels right for you.
A Three-Card Reading
Just three cards will give you insight into your past, present, and future on any subject you choose. It is a fast way to get to the crux of any matter, whatever the circumstances.
One card is chosen to represent the past and its influence on your present situation; the second card represents where you are now, or the nature of the problem or question; and the third card reveals the future, or outcome, given the present circumstances. You may like to practice using just the major arcana cards at first as a way to get to know them, before moving on to work with the full deck of cards.
Focus on your question as you shuffle then cut the deck or choose the cards with your left hand from all the cards, face down.
Question and Answer - A Five-Card Reading
While all tarot spreads can answer a specific query, if you prefer a “yes” or “no” without much analysis, try this question-and-answer spread. Card 5 also reveals the effect the answer to your question will have on you. To begin, shuffle and cut the cards, then lay five cards face down from left to right as shown below.
1 You and your present situation
2 What action you can take
3 Obstacles or challenges
4 The outcome
5 The effect upon you
The Week Ahead
For fast insight in the near future, this popular spread uses a central Significator card. A Significator sums up the meaning of a reading, so in this spread it reveals the dominant influences in your week ahead. The other seven cards each relate to one day of the week. To begin, shuffle and cut the cards. Lay down the Significator card first, followed by seven cards clockwise as shown. Interpret the Significator first, then the cards for each day of the week in any order you choose.
Significator: dominant influences
These three beginner's tarot spreads are extracted from The Golden Tarot by Liz Dean.
For more card spreads and help interpreting the cards, check out our tarot sets, which all come with a deck of cards and an accompanying book, perfect for beginners and more experienced readers alike.