Tarot Readings

How to Read Tarot Cards 101: Beginner’s Guide

  • Cindy Simpson
  • By Cindy Simpson
  • Published: 08/03/20 6:22 PM EDT
  • Updated: 08/19/20 11:50 AM EDT

Tarot card reading is among the divinatory practices that can be mastered gradually. To learn how to read Tarot cards, you will need to get an idea of how different types of Tarot spreads work and how one should interpret them in the right way.

To all the people interested in Tarot card reading, I have carefully selected the topics that a beginner might find useful. The issues that will be discussed throughout the article are listed below.

  • What Do I Need to Know about the Tarot Card Deck?
  • What Are the Meanings of the Major Arcana Cards?
  • What Are the Meanings of the Minor Arcana Cards?
  • What Are the Different Types of Tarot Spreads?
  • 5 Tips on How to Master Tarot Card Reading Techniques

To learn more about the topics listed above, read on this ultimate guide on how to read Tarot cards.

What Do I Need to Know about the Tarot Card Deck?

Before spreading and interpreting Tarot cards, it is important to know some of the key facts about the Tarot deck. Here is all you might need to know.

The History of Tarot Cards

Tarot cards were first seen in the 15th century in Italy. The Tarot decks were gradually spread to France and Switzerland during the Italian Wars. At that time, Tarot cards were used for playing various games.

Later in the 18th century, cartomancers started to use the Tarot deck for divinatory purposes. One of the first Tarot decks used for occult practices dates back to 1789 and was referred to as “Etteilla.”.

 How Many Cards Are in the Tarot Card Deck?

There are 78 cards in a typical Tarot deck used for divination. The cards are further categorized into two sets: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.

The Major Arcana comprises 22 cards, which are used for uncovering greater and more substantial secrets. These secrets are typically linked with spiritual and karmic aspects of life. The 22 cards of the Major Arcana do not fall into suits.

On the other hand, the Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards that are categorized into 4 suits of 14 cards. These cards are used for uncovering less substantial aspects of life, such as day-to-day events.

What Can Tarot Cards Tell Me About My Past, Present, and Future?

People usually think that Tarot readings are typical predictions. Instead, Tarot readings can provide information about the past, present, and future of a person. It can be used for forecasting various future occurrences as well as exploring the inner soul of an individual.

Tarot cards give you some feedback on day-to-day activities as well as help you with improving the quality of your life.

 Do I Have to Be a Gifted Psychic to Interpret Tarot Card Readings?

While there are psychic practices that not everyone can acquire, Tarot reading techniques can be learned and mastered through continuous practice. Even if you are not gifted with supernatural powers, you can still interpret the readings by following straightforward instructions.

 What Are the Meanings of the Major Arcana Cards?

The Major Arcana cards consist of 22 individual cards without suits. These cards can help us with uncovering greater aspects of our lives. Typically, the Major Arcana cards provide information about our spiritual state.

The Major Arcana cards are considered as the foundation for the deck. Therefore, some of the Tarot readings might only involve the Major Arcana cards.

The meanings of the 22 Tarot cards from the Major Arcana are provided below.

The Meanings of the Major Arcana Cards

Major Arcana Card Name Meaning in Upright Position Meaning in Reverse Position
 

 

The World

  • Perfection
  • Harmony
  • Success
  • Eternal Life
  • Fulfillment
  • Imperfection
  • Incompletion
  • Inertia
 

 

The Moon

  • Illusions
  • Unconsciousness
  • Intuition
  • Deception
  • Danger
  • Confusion
  • Misinterpretation
  • Mistakes
 

 

The Sun

  • Success
  • Love
  • Happiness
  • Joy
  • Positivity
  • Depression
  • Negativity
  • Break Ups
  • Failed Plans
 

The Star

  • Balance
  • Optimism
  • Hope
  • Rejuvenation
  • Insecurity
  • Discouragement
  • Bad Luck
  • Disappointment
 

 

Death

  • Death
  • Loss
  • Failure
  • Change
  • Metamorphosis
  • Fear of Change
  • Immobility
  • Death
  • Lack of Development
 

The Devil

  • Unexpected Failure
  • Disaster
  • Materialism
  • Addiction
  • Freedom
  • Restoring Control
  • Recovery
  • Enlightenment
 

 

Justice

  • Equality
  • Harmony
  • Balance
  • Honor
  • Clarity
  • Dishonesty
  • Unfairness
  • Abuse

 

 

Strength

  • Strength
  • Courage
  • Bravery
  • Focus
  • Weakness
  • Insecurity
  • sickness
 

 

Judgment/Rejuvenation

  • Improvement
  • Promotion
  • Awakening
  • Reckoning
  • Failure
  • Death
  • Illness
  • Doubt
  • Lack of Self
  • Awareness
 

The Tower

  • Bankruptcy
  • Sudden Occurrences
  • End of Friendship
  • Disaster Avoided
  • Incarceration

 

 

Temperance

  • Patience
  • Confidence
  • Finding Meanings
  • Imbalance
  • Conflict
  • Disagreement
 

The Wheel of Fortune

  • Destiny
  • Sudden Events
  • Progress
  • Inevitable Fate
  • Bad Luck
  • Lack of Control
  • Failure
 

The Hanged Man

  • Boredom
  • Improvements
  • Changes
  • Sacrifice
  • Fear
  • Delay
  • Unwillingness
 

The Hermit

  • Attentiveness
  • Inner Strength
  • Scrutiny
  • Immaturity
  • Foolishness
  • Loneliness
 

The Chariot

  • Control
  • Direction
  • Success
  • Aggression
  • Lack of Direction
  • Lack of Control
  • Failure
 

The Emperor

  • Control
  • Authority
  • Reliable Foundation
  • Fatherhood
  • Domination
  • Rigidity
  • Tyranny
  • Coldness
 

The Empress

  • Fertility
  • Evolution
  • Development
  • Motherhood
  • Emptiness
  • Dependence
  • Inactivity
  • Anxiety
 

 

The Lovers

  • Honor
  • Love
  • Harmony
  • Optimism
  • Duality
  • separation
  • Imbalance
  • Disharmony
  • Frustration
 

The Fool

  • Pleasure
  • Opportunities
  • Adventures
  • New Beginnings
  • Apathy
  • Recklessness
  • Hesitation
  • Bad decisions
 

 

The High Priestess

  • Wisdom
  • Virtue
  • Impatience
  • Intuition
  • Unconsciousness
  • Lack of Inner Voice
  • Selfishness
  • Ignorance
 

The Magician

  • Creativity
  • Willpower
  • Skills
  • Desire
  • Illusions
  • Deception
  • Lack of Self
  • Confidence
  • Insecurity
 

The Hierophant

  • Inspiration
  • Mercy
  • Morality
  • Ethics
  • Rebellion
  • Vulnerability
  • Foolishness
  • Impotence

 

 What Are the Meanings of the Minor Arcana Cards?

In contrast with the Major Arcana cards, the Minor Arcana cards are used to uncover less important day-to-day aspects of life. 56 cards of the Minor Arcana fall under 4 suits of 14 cards: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles.

The meanings of the 56 Minor Arcana Cards are provided below.

Meanings of the Minor Arcana Cards – Wands Suit

Minor Arcana Card Name Meaning in Upright Position Meaning in Reverse Position
 

Two of Wands

  • Patience
  • Courage
  • Decisions
  • Domination
  • Fear of Changes
  • Impatience
 

Three of Wands

  • Success
  • Cooperation
  • Continuous Growth
  • Obstacles
  • Frustration
  • Arrogance
  • Mistakes
 

Four of Wands

  • Kindness
  • Celebration
  • Home
  • Conflicts
  • Impermanence
  • New Relationships
 

Five of Wands

  • Courage
  • Competition
  • Conflicts
  • Harmony
  • Generosity
  • Respect
 

Six of Wands

  • Success
  • Rewards
  • Victory
  • Punishment
  • Bad News
 

Seven of Wands

  • Courage
  • Energy
  • Victory
  • Control Maintenance
  • Giving Up
  • Lack of Confidence
  • Patience
 

Eight of Wands

  • Love
  • Adventures
  • Rapid Movement
  • Panic
  • Slow Action
 

Nine of Wands

  • Good Health
  • Success
  • Flexibility
  • Exhaustion
  • Questioning
  • Illness
 

Ten of Wands

  • Failure
  • Pain
  • Responsibilities
  • Challenges
  • Energy
  • Strength

 

 

Ace of Wands

  • Profit
  • Career Growth
  • Journey
  • Inspiration
  • Selfishness
  • Lack of Passion
  • Lack of Energy
 

Page of Wands

  • Freedom
  • Excitement
  • Enthusiasm
  • Discovery
  • Lack of Direction
  • Stalling
 

Knight of Wands

  • Generosity
  • Adventures
  • Leader
  • Overcoming Challenges
  • Impulsiveness
  • Jealousy
  • Suspicion
  • Anger
 

Queen of Wands

  • Attraction
  • Command
  • Courage
  • Joy
  • Selfishness
  • Insecurity
  • Jealousy
  • Revengefulness
 

King of Wands

  • Leader
  • Passion
  • Overcoming Challenges
  • Prejudice
  • Impulsiveness

 

Meanings of the Minor Arcana Cards – Cups Suit

Minor Arcana Card Name Meaning in Upright Position Meaning in Reverse Position
 

Two of Cups

  • Friendship
  • Romance
  • Unity
  • Misunderstandings
  • Violence
  • Imbalance
 

Three of Cups

  • Happiness
  • Friendship
  • Fortune
  • Isolation
  • Gossip
  • Pain
 

Four of Cups

  •  Kindness
  •  Redemption
  • Apathy
  • Goals
  •  Ambitions
  • New Beginnings
 

Five of Cups

  • Grief
  • Loss
  • Regrets
  • Moving Forward
  • Peace
  •  Hope
 

Six of Cups

  • Joyful Memories
  •  Healing
  •  Familiarity
  •  Independence
  • Moving On
  • Disappointment
 

Seven of Cups

  • Dreaming
  • Imagination
  •  Illusions
  • Willpower
  •  Lack of Purpose
 

Eight of Cups

  •  Leaving Behind
  • Disillusionment
  • Pleasure
  • Success
  •  Fear of Changes
  • Avoidance
  • Misery
 

Nine of Cups

  •  Security
  • Hopes
  • Emotional Stability
  •  Failure
  •  Illness
  • Lack of Joy
 

Ten of Cups

  •  Happiness
  • Friendship
  • Fulfillment of Dreams
  •  Broken Family
  • Disagreements
 

Ace of Cups

  • Intuition
  •  Spirituality
  •  Feelings
  • Good Health
  • Joy
  • Selfishness
  • Lack of Creativity
  •  Lack of Emotions
  • Egomania
 

Page of Cups

  • Gentle
  •  Sweet
  • Happiness
  • Sensitivity
  • Lack of Imagination
  •  Lack of Desire
  • Selfishness
  • Immaturity
 

Knight of Cups

  • Idealist
  • Romantic
  • Wisdom
  •  Emotions
  • Disappointment
  • Fraud
  • Sensual
 

 

Queen of Cups

  • Calmness
  •  Comfort
  • Compassion
  • Loving Mother
  • Happiness
  • Unhappiness
  • Contradictory
  •  Insecurities
  • Dependence
 

King of Cups

  •  Balance
  • Control
  • Compassion
  • Kindness
  • Scandals
  •  Violence
  •  Coldness
  •  Bad Advice

 

Meanings of the Minor Arcana Cards – Swords Suit

Minor Arcana Card Name Meaning in Upright Position Meaning in Reverse Position
Two of Swords
  •  Irresolution
  • Uncertainty
  • Unprincipled
  •  Lack or Right Choice
Three of Swords
  • Broken Relationships
  • Grief
  •  Recovery
  • New Beginnings
Four of Swords
  • Contemplation
  • Restoration
  • Stress
  •  Social Disruption
 

Five of Swords

  • Ambitions
  • Lack of Openness
  • Lack of Courage
  •  Loss
  • Unfairness
 

Six of Swords

  •  Adventures
  •  Harmony
  • -Transition
  • Difficulties
  • Failure
  • Emotional Weakness
 

Seven of Swords

  • Trickery
  • Deception
  • Betrayal
  •  New Approaches
  • Advice
 

Eight of Swords

  •  Incarceration
  • Weakness
  • Freedom
  •  Relaxation
  • Self-Acceptance
 

Nine of Swords

  •  Trauma
  • Anxiety
  • Illness
  • Good News
  • Healing
  •  Hope
Ten of Swords
  • Failure
  • Pain
  • Positivity
  • Courage
 

Ace of Swords

  •  Love
  • Success
  • Clarity
  • Discovery
  • Confusion
  •  Brutality
  • Obstacles
 

Page of Swords

  • Diplomacy
  •  Grace
  • Curiosity
  • Deception
  • Manipulation
  •  Illness
 

Knight of Swords

  • Strength
  • Bravery
  • Action
  • Lack of Direction
  • Trouble
  • Tyranny
 

Queen of Swords

  • Bravery
  • Mindfulness
  •  Complexity
  •  Cruelty
  •  Bitterness
  • Dishonesty
 

King of Swords

  • Power
  • Discipline
  • Truth
  • Weakness
  • Cruelty
  • Manipulation

 

Meanings of the Minor Arcana Cards – Pentacles Suit

Minor Arcana Card Name Meaning in Upright Position Meaning in Reverse Position
Two of Pentacles
  • Harmony
  • Balance
  •  Difficulties
  • Lack of Courage
  • Lack of Balance
 

Three of Pentacles

  • Teamwork
  •  Collaboration
  •  Effort
  • Disorganized
  • Group Disagreements
 

Four of Pentacles

  • Security
  • Prudent
  • Cautious
  • Possessions
  •  Difficulties
  • Avariciousness
 

Five of Pentacles

  • Insecurity
  •  Health Problems
  • Poverty
  •  Isolation
  • Courage
  •  Career Success
  • Charity
 

Six of Pentacles

  •  Generosity
  •  Prosperity
  • Compassion
  • Jealousy
  • Lack of Generosity
  • Minginess
Seven of Pentacles
  • Development
  •  Hard Work
  • Conscientiousness
  • Lack of Progress
  • Restlessness
  • Frustration
 

Eight of Pentacles

  • Passion
  •  High Standards
  • Wealth
  • Lack of Motivation
  •  Ineffectiveness
 

Nine of Pentacles

  • Luxury
  • Success
  • Wealth
  • Loss
  • Cautiousness
Ten of Pentacles
  • Economic Stability
  • Fortune
  • Heritage
  •  Lack of Fortune
  •  Instability
  • No resources
 

Ace of Pentacles

  •  Happiness
  • Prosperity
  • Opportunities
  •  Missed Chances
  • Greediness

 

 

Page of Pentacles

  • Kindness
  •  New Desires
  •  Aspiration
  • Laziness
  • Minginess

 

 

Knight of Pentacles

  • Reliable
  • Patient
  • Efficiency
  •  Irresponsible
  • Laziness
 

Queen of Pentacles

  • Wealth
  •  Comfort
  •  Safety
  • Selfishness
  • Jealousy
  • Suspicious
 

King of Pentacles

  • Trustworthy
  • Steady
  • Prosperity
  •  Safety
  • Greediness
  • Sensuality

 What Are the Different Types of Tarot Spreads?

Before interpreting the readings, you will need to select one of the Tarot spreads and spread your cards using the right technique. Each Tarot spread is used to answer questions related to the specific aspect of life.

Some of the most common Tarot spreads include:

  • Love Tarot Spread
  • Relationship Tarot Spread
  • Career Tarot Spread
  • Success Tarot Spread
  • Daily Tarot Spread
  • Spiritual Tarot Spread
  • Celestial Events Tarot Spread
  • Full Moon Tarot Spread
  • New Moon Tarot Spread

Considering the specific question you are thinking of, you should decide which Tarot spread and cards to use. Carefully selecting the Spread type will make the readings much more accurate and reliable.

 5 Tips on How to Master Tarot Card Reading Techniques

There are several factors that you should always consider while interpreting Tarot card readings. Some of the most essential tips for Tarot reading are provided below.

  • Tip #1: Always prepare your mind and soul for Tarot reading. Focus on a particular intention and be openminded while spreading the cards.
  • Tip #2: While shuffling the cards, hold onto the specific question. This will allow your energy and thoughts to be transferred into the Tarot deck.
  • Tip #3: Select the specific Tarot spread that corresponds to the content of your question.
  • Tip #4: Always observe the position of individual cards for the results to be accurate.
  • Tip #5: Be aware that the meanings of individual cards should always be perceived considering the personal characteristics of an individual.

 

 

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