The Basics: What You Should Know About Tarot Before Your First Reading

The world of the Tarot can seem intimidating when you’re new to it, and that can especially be the case the first time you choose to consult the cards. Though you can offer the cards guiding questions, there’s often no way to tell how your reading is going to turn out until all’s said and done. While the mystery of the cards is part of their allure, it can also make it difficult for you to figure out how to prepare yourself for your reading. While there’s no such thing as a complete guide to readying yourself for your reading, below you’ll find a few of the basics that may make the experience a little less intimidating for you.

What Is Tarot?

"A deck of 78 cards divided into major and minor arcana"

“A deck of 78 cards divided into major and minor arcana”


The Tarot is a deck of 78 cards divided into two groups – the major and minor arcana. The major arcana are often considered the stronger cards, though the minor are no less important despite their name. The minor arcana are divided into several suits, just like a regular deck of cards, and they’re typically pentagrams, cups, wands and swords. Each of these suits is numbered as well, and their meaning is determined by where they’re placed and what cards may accompany them as well as by the question asked. The same three cards laid down in the same pattern can mean very different things depending on the querant and the question being asked.

What Kind of Spreads Should I Ask For?

Studying the various spreads out there can be incredibly beneficial. They run from your basic three card spread that shows the past, present and future of an issue to the far more complex Celtic Cross spread, which shows the many facets of the issue as well as all of its influencing factors. Educating yourself on something that interests you is always a worthwhile endeavor, though at least while you’re new the decision as to which spread should be left to the professional unless you feel very strongly about it. It’s important to listen to your instincts on this; if you feel very much as if a specific spread, or even a specific deck should be used, let your psychic know immediately. Tarot is much more about intuition than an exact science, and that gut feeling of yours could make all the difference in your reading.

What Can the Tarot Tell Me?

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Tarot cards can be arranged in several different ways, often referred to as spreads, to help you divine anything from who your next lover will be to what career you should be pursuing. That being said, Tarot doesn’t tell your fortune in the way you might think it would from televisions and movies on the subject. The Tarot cards guide you more than predict, help you focus on the issue at hand and what may be causing you difficulties on your journey. They can also help you make good decisions about your future, letting you know if a potential path is good for you or a waste of time.

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