The Comprehensive Introduction to Tarot – Step by Step Guide

With its rich history and symbolic imagery, the tarot has transcended from the occult fringes to mainstream popularity. As a divination tool, it offers insights into the past, present, and future, guiding individuals through life’s challenges and decisions. In recent years, the practice of tarot has evolved beyond its traditional roots, making it accessible to a wider audience. This comprehensive guide and introduction to tarot provides an overview of tarot’s history, symbolism, and modern practices for beginners and seasoned practitioners.

  • Tarot reading is a personal journey of self-discovery and growth that involves understanding card meanings, developing intuition, and fostering personal connections with the cards.
  • Purchasing a Tarot deck involves choosing one that resonates deeply with you, considering the theme and artwork, handling the deck before buying, and setting intentions for its use.
  • Tarot reading for yourself is possible, but it requires practice to maintain objectivity. Tarot cards, including those that seem ominous, symbolize various aspects of life and should be interpreted with an open mind.

History and Origins of Tarot

The mystique surrounding Tarot’s origins is vast. While some believe it originated in Ancient Egypt as a representation of “The Book of the Dead,” most historians concur that Tarot began as a European parlor game in the late 14th century.

Noble families would commission artists to craft their decks, making it a luxury few could afford. However, the invention of the printing press democratized access to these richly illustrated popular decks.

By the late 16th century, the cards evolved for divinatory purposes, with more specific meanings attributed to each card.

The Tarot Deck: Major and Minor Arcana

Photo of a close-up view of a tarot card showing a detailed illustration of 'The Fool' journeying with a dog.

A traditional Tarot deck is composed of 78 cards, meticulously categorized into two primary divisions: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.

The Major Arcana, representing profound life lessons and universal archetypes, consists of 22 vividly illustrated cards. These cards chronicle “The Fool’s Journey,” an allegorical tale that narrates an individual’s spiritual pilgrimage towards enlightenment.

In contrast, the Minor Arcana delves deeper into the nuances of daily life, offering insights into our emotions, mental processes, aspirations, and tangible experiences.

This segment of the deck is further segmented into four suits: Cups (embodying emotions and relationships), Swords (symbolizing thoughts and challenges), Wands (representing inspirations and endeavors), and Pentacles/coins (depicting our material world and financial matters).

Each suit contains ten numbered cards and four court cards: the Page, Knight, Queen, and King. These four court cards reflect different personalities or roles we might encounter or embody in our lives, adding another layer of depth to readings.

Each suit, with its distinct imagery and accompanying court cards, mirrors different aspects and dimensions of our existence.

Introduction to Tarot Reading: A Step-by-Step Process

Tarot reading is a highly intuitive practice, and no “correct” way to read the cards exists. However, here are some general guidelines to help you get started:

  1. Setting the Mood: Create a calm environment, free from distractions. This can enhance your connection to the cards and your intuition.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the deck: Start by familiarizing yourself with the cards and their meanings. Look at each card individually and note how they make you feel or what thoughts come to mind.
  3. Understand the basics: A deck is made up of 78 cards, divided into Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana signifies important life events and spiritual lessons, while the Minor Arcana represents our everyday experiences and challenges.
  4. Connect with your intuition: Tarot is an intuitive practice, so connecting with your intuition while reading the cards is essential. Trust your gut and let your instincts guide you.
  5. Ask a clear question: Before drawing the cards, make sure you have a specific and clear question in mind. This will help you focus on the relevant cards and receive accurate insights.
  6. Interpret the spread: There are various ways to lay out the cards, but the most common is the three-card spread – past, present, and future. Once you have drawn the cards, interpret their meanings concerning your question and their position in the spread.
  7. Practice and learn: The more you practice reading tarot cards, the more familiar you will become with their meanings and symbolism. Don’t be afraid to consult guidebooks or online resources to deepen your understanding.

Popular Tarot Spreads – Understanding Tarot Structure

While there are endless ways to lay out the cards, here are three popular spreads to get you started:

man with a light complexion, wearing glasses, sitting at a vintage desk, deeply engrossed in interpreting a spread of tarot cards
  1. Three-Card Spread: Represents the past, present, and future, probably one of the most basic spreads.
  2. Celtic Cross Spread: A detailed 10-card spread offering comprehensive insights.
  3. Five-Card Spread: Often used to gain insights into a specific situation or challenge.
  4. Horseshoe Spread: A 7-card spread that provides a more detailed overview of your situation.
  5. Relationship Spread: Focuses on the dynamics between two people, often used for romantic queries.
  6. Career Path Spread: Designed to guide career decisions and professional challenges.
  7. Year Ahead Spread: A 12-card spread typically represents a month in the upcoming year.
  8. Chakra Spread: A 7-card spread that aligns with the body’s seven main chakras to assess and balance energies.
  9. Star Spread: A 7-card spread that provides insights into various aspects of one’s life.
  10. T-Shape Spread: Used for problem-solving, with cards representing the problem, cause, and solution.

Debunking Tarot Myths

person with medium complexion holding a deck of tarot cards in a cozy room lit by candles

Psychic Abilities: One doesn’t need to be psychic to read Tarot cards. The cards help build intuition and trust in one’s instincts. It’s like a tool that enhances one’s natural abilities.

Negative Predictions: Tarot does not predict the future but rather provides insight and guidance on current situations. The future is not set in stone and can always be changed based on our actions and decisions.

Dark Magic: Tarot is not associated with any religion or belief system. It is simply a tool for self-reflection and personal growth. Its origins can be traced back to various cultures and belief systems, but it is not inherently linked to any specific religion or practice.

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Fortune-Telling: Tarot does not give definitive answers or guarantee a specific outcome. It is meant to guide and provide perspective on our current path, allowing us to make informed decisions for our future.

Expensive: Tarot readings can vary in cost, but one doesn’t need to spend a lot of money to access its benefits. Many resources are available for learning and practicing tarot on a budget, such as free online courses complete tarot kits, and affordable tarot decks.

Negative Connotations: Tarot has long been associated with negative connotations, such as witchcraft or evil. However, in truth it’s simply a tool for self-discovery and reflection. The negative connotations often stem from misunderstandings and limited knowledge about the meaning of the practice.

Inaccurate Readings: Like any form of divination, tarot readings are not always 100% accurate. Remember that our actions and decisions shape our future; a tarot reader can only provide insight into potential outcomes based on our current path.

Incorporating Tarot in Modern Life

Tarot has been used for centuries as a tool for self-discovery and guidance, but it is still relevant in our modern lives. Here are some ways for a introduction of tarot into your daily routine:

  • Journaling: Use tarot cards to reflect on your thoughts, emotions, and experiences by drawing a card each day and journaling about its meaning.
  • Meditation: Use tarot cards as a focal point for meditation, allowing you to connect with your intuition and gain insights into current situations.
  • Daily Guidance: Draw a card each morning for guidance on what energies or influences may be present throughout the day.
  • Manifestation: Visualize your goals and intentions while drawing cards that represent them, helping to manifest your desires into reality.
  • Self-Care: Use tarot as a form of self-care by drawing cards representing areas in your life that need attention and taking action to improve them.
  • Group Readings: Have fun with friends or family by hosting group readings and discussing the meanings of the cards together. This can also be a great way to bond and deepen relationships.
  • Tarot Parties: Offer tarot readings to others as a party or event activity, allowing them to gain insights and guidance into their lives while also introducing them to tarot practice.

Incorporating tarot into our daily routines can bring a sense of mindfulness, self-awareness, and empowerment. It is a versatile tool that can enhance our personal growth and understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

With an open mind and willingness to learn, anyone can tap into the guidance and wisdom that tarot offers. So go ahead, shuffle those cards, ask questions, and see where the journey takes you!

Buying Your Own Deck

young woman with dark hair, sitting cross-legged on a floor, surrounded by tarot cards. She is deeply focused on a specific card

Contrary to some beliefs, purchasing your own Tarot deck doesn’t bring bad luck. If you’re drawn to a tarot deck, trust that instinct. Here are a few tips for choosing and buying your own tarot deck:

  1. Choose a deck that resonates with you: There are countless Tarot decks available, each with their unique artwork and symbolism. Take the time to browse through different decks and choose one that speaks to you.
  2. Consider the theme: Traditional tarot decks follow themes such as Rider-Waite or Thoth, but there are also other popular decks with modern themes like animals, elements, or pop culture. Choose a theme that resonates with you and your interests.
  3. Look at the artwork: The images on the cards should be clear and visually appealing to you. You want to feel drawn in and inspired by the artwork as you use the deck for readings.
  4. Read reviews and research: Before purchasing a deck, read reviews and research the symbolism used in the deck. You want to make sure that it aligns with your beliefs and values.
  5. Handle the deck before buying: If possible, handle it before buying to get a feel for the cards and how they shuffle. This will also allow you to see if the size and weight of the deck feels comfortable for your hands.
  6. Don’t worry about the tarot book for guidance: Many tarot decks contain a guidebook. This book includes instructions explaining each card’s meaning. While this can be helpful, it’s not necessary. Many online resources and books are available for learning tarot on your own terms. Remember, tarot is a personal journey and developing your interpretations of the cards is essential.
  7. Set intentions: Once you have your deck, take some time to set intentions for its use. This can include cleansing the deck with light or setting an intention for how you want to use it in your daily life.

Remember, the most important aspect of tarot is your intuition and connection with the cards. Trust yourself and have fun exploring the magical world of tarot.

introduction to tarot pin

The Importance of Intuition

While it’s beneficial to understand traditional card meanings, personal intuition plays a crucial role in Tarot. Over time, and with practice, your connection to the cards and your intuitive insights will deepen. Here are some tips for connecting with your intuition while using tarot:

  • Silence the mind: Take a few moments to quiet your mind and allow yourself to be open to receiving guidance.
  • Pay attention to gut feelings: Consider any gut reactions or intuitive insights as you look at each card. These can provide valuable insights into the meaning of the card.
  • Use your senses: Pay attention to any physical sensations that may arise while handling the cards, such as tingling or warmth. These can also provide intuitive insights.
  • Trust yourself: Remember, there is no right or wrong way to interpret tarot cards. Trust in your own intuition and unique connection with the cards.

By incorporating these practices, you can deepen your intuition and connection with tarot, making it an even more powerful tool for self-discovery and guidance.

Reading for Yourself

elderly woman with tan complexion, sitting at a kitchen table in the morning sunlight, shuffling a deck of tarot cards.

Can you read Tarot for yourself? Absolutely! However, it requires practice to remain unbiased. If you find yourself stuck as a novice reader, seeking the perspective of a professional tarot reader can be beneficial.

They can offer fresh insights and help you develop your own interpretations of the cards. Whether you’re reading for yourself or others, remember to approach each reading with an open mind and trust in the messages that come through.

Tarot is a journey of self-discovery, and there’s always more to learn and explore. Trust yourself as you continue your tarot journey and let the cards guide you.

Understanding the Cards

No Tarot card is inherently “bad.” Even cards like “Death,” which might seem ominous, often symbolize transformation, endings, and new beginnings.

Every card has multiple layers of meaning and can change depending on the reader and its placement. It’s important to approach each reading with an open mind and let the the cards guide you, rather than assigning rigid meanings to them.

Conclusion – Introduction to Tarot

Exploring the world of tarot can be an enriching and enlightening journey. Whether seeking answers, seeking personal growth, or simply wishing to connect with your intuition, tarot offers a unique avenue for self-discovery.

Remember, the power of tarot lies not just in the cards but in your connection to the meaning behind them and the insights they elicit. As you shuffle your deck and ask your questions, trust your instincts, keep an open mind, and enjoy the voyage of self-discovery.

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Christina Johnson

About the Author

My name is Christina, and I am the founder of centerspirited. Being a physiotherapist for several years I have found that many people, including myself, don’t achieve well-being only from a physical point of view. I’ve always viewed a person’s body, soul, and emotions as a whole construct of beauty. Always being a yoga enthusiast, I finally became an instructor myself. On a secret mission to capture spirituality in all of her beautiful shapes, I found myself being guided on a way through ayurvedic nutrition and lifestyle. Through this platform, I will hopefully be able to help other beautiful souls out there find their inner peace and bond with their spiritual selves.

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