How to Use Tarot Cards

How to Use Tarot Cards

Tarot decks are often used to read the future, but these cards—which often use very strong images with multiple layers of meaning—can also be used to develop intuition. They can be a way for you to unlock your subconscious and your inner wisdom.

From this perspective, you are still the creator of your destiny. However, the Tarot cards can help you clarify your feelings or unlock choices or possibilities that you have not seen before. It’ll be like having a conversation with your Deepest Self or Authentic Self, which we often ignore because we are too busy, scared or confused by fears or the opinions of others.

1. How Tarot can help you

A typical tarot deck has 78 cards. Different decks tap different mythologies, and use images and symbols, as well as colors and patterns, that can be used to connect to your subconscious and express feelings and ideas that are buried within.

Some say that tarot decks tap the right side of the brain, or the side that is creative and intuitive. The pictures also allow you to follow a less logical, structured way of self-expression. You don’t edit yourself or give obvious answers, but—through the cards you pick and their juxtapositions—you’re encouraged to pursue new patterns of thinking and analyzing.

2. Creating the “Space”

You need to go to a quiet place and enter a quiet frame of mind. Find a room—and lock it! Ideally you won’t be disturbed for the duration of your session, which can last from about 30 minutes to an hour. Turn off your cell phone, the television, or any thing that can distract or intrude on your reading.

Then, sit comfortably, with the deck in front of you. Take deep breaths, breathing in peace and acceptance, and breathing out worry and tension. You can try taking about 20 breaths, counting aloud, and becoming conscious of each inhalation and exhalation. Hold each breath for about 5 to 7 counts.

3. Shuffle the cards

Once you feel calm and receptive, take the deck of cards and shuffle them. Use your right hand to spread the deck across the table. Choose one.

4. Observe your reaction to the card

Before you check the meaning of the card, pay attention to your body’s reaction. What do you feel? Where is the feeling come from—your mind, your heart, your stomach? Is it a positive or negative feeling? What other sensations are you experiencing? Prickly feeling down the neck? Warmth? Restlessness? Don’t judge what you are going through. Simply acknowledge.

Now, what images come to mind? Are they static images, or moving images? Don’t control the directions of your thought, or say, “That was weird.” Let the pictures flash, and follow where they lead. If you want, write down what you “see” in a notebook—but only when you are done with the session. Don’t interrupt the flow.

5. “Listen” to the card

What would the image tell you, if it could speak? What words, phrases, or even music? What would its voice sound like? Or the tone? Is it firm, scared, angry, calm?

Usually the first words or phrases that come to mind are the most accurate and authentic. Eventually your logical brain will kick in, and as you become more familiar with your tarot deck, you’ll know when the answers are coming from your intuition or your mind.

For now, though, just let the words and phrases appear, and don’t get too frustrated if you don’t “understand” what you see.

6. Pick another card

Take another card and position it next to the first one. Also observe your reactions and feelings, and “listen” to what it has to say.

Then, take it to the next level and see how the impressions change and deepen according to the “story” they tell. Are the cards connected? Do they reinforce the same message, or bring out different factors or meanings to think about? Is there a conflict? In what way does the conflict reveal any confusion or inner battle you may be going through? Or, do they represent another person, or another situation?

7. Deepen your understanding of the images

The last and final step is to check the meaning of the card. Many tarot decks come with guides or tools for analyses; you can check for the symbolisms and traditional meanings of the card. Save this step for last—and only to deepen your reading, or to supplement your natural, intuitive “connection” to the card.

Further Resources to help you explore Tarot Cards and their readings

f you’re looking to learn how to read tarot cards, here are some resources that can help:

  1. Tarot books: There are many books available that can teach you how to read tarot cards. Some popular options include “The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck” by Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith, “Tarot for Beginners” by Barbara Moore, and “The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings” by Brigit Esselmont.
  2. Online courses: There are many online courses available that can teach you how to read tarot cards. Some popular options include the Tarot Certification Course by Tarot Readers Academy, the Learn Tarot in a Day course by Mystic Life, and the Tarot Fundamentals course by Biddy Tarot.
  3. Tarot apps: There are many apps available that can help you learn how to read tarot cards. Some popular options include Golden Thread Tarot, Labyrinthos Academy, and Galaxy Tarot.
  4. Tarot podcasts: There are several podcasts available that discuss tarot card reading and interpretation. Some popular options include Tarot Bytes by Theresa Reed, Tarot for the Wild Soul by Lindsay Mack, and So You Wanna Be a Witch? by Sarah M. Chappell.
  5. Tarot communities: There are many online communities and forums where you can connect with other tarot enthusiasts and get advice and guidance on reading tarot cards. Some popular options include the Tarot Reddit community, the Tarot Professionals Facebook group, and the Biddy Tarot Community.