Would you like to learn to interpret tarot cards? Here’s a short guide that will introduce you to tarot card interpretation.
The first method used to interpret tarot cards is the one with which most people are familiar. This technique involves learning the keywords and general meanings associated with each tarot card.
The Rider-Waite deck is one of the most recognized tarot decks in the world. Part of its popularity stems from the fact that so much has been written about the deck, that it is easy to find the keywords and general meanings for each card.
I recommend that beginners start by only using the cards of the Major Arcana. These are the 22 cards numbered from 0 to 21 with names like The Fool, Temperance, Death, and The World. By starting off with only the Major Arcana, beginners are less likely to feel overwhelmed by the number of cards there are to learn.
Step 1: Look at each card of the Major Arcana and make a note about your first impressions of the card. What is the picture in the card telling you? What feelings do you associate with the imagery on the card? Positive? Negative? Neutral?
Step 2: Study each card and the associated keywords that are given to that card. Look to see how the keywords are reflected within the illustration on the card. Remember that the card’s imagery should guide you in interpreting the cards meaning.
Step 3: Continue the process in Step 2 until you feel comfortable giving a basic interpretation of each card of the Major Arcana. At that point, practice giving one card readings. To do this, ask a question and then use your intuition (or “gut feeling”) to draw a card from your deck. (Remember to only use the Major Arcana cards.) Now look at the card and interpret its meaning within the context of the question you asked.
Congratulations! You’ve just completed your first tarot reading.
The second method for interpreting cards is not as widely known. This method depends on using your intuition to divine the meaning of each card.
While both methods involve using intuition, intuition readers do not study keywords. They focus on having the illustrations and symbols in the cards guide them in developing meanings. As a result, there tends to be less uniformity in meanings across cards.
Step 1 in the Keyword Method discussed above is the basis for intuition readings.
This is a less structured way to learn to read tarot cards but it poses its own challenges as well. Beginners may get easily frustrated as their own intuition may not be developed enough to allow them to distinguish between the subtleties of 78 different cards.
Each reader’s relationship with the Tarot is different and their learning process will reflect that. For beginner’s, I recommend starting with the keyword method until a familiarity with each card has been established. At that point, I would urge tarot students to really focus on letting their intuition guide their readings.
After all, no two readers interpret tarot cards the same, regardless of their experience level. It is a very personal endeavor.
That’s the wonder of the Tarot!