How to Learn Tarot as a Beginner
The first thing I advise is to buy the original Rider Waite tarot deck and begin learning the symbols. This is the classic deck, so it’s important to start to acquaint yourself with it.
While doing this, I recommend using the book The Essential Guide to the Tarot by David Fontana. It’s like a one-stop shop for everything tarot — it’s concise and not too overwhelming. That’s actually pretty much how I started when I began my tarot journey!
If you try and read tarot without knowing the symbols, it’s like trying to go on a road trip without having any idea of where you’re going. The symbol is a good place to start, because it will get you “on the right road”.
The 4 Suits in Tarot
There are four different suits that come up in the cards: Wands, Swords, Pentacles, and Cups. Each of these holds a different energy.
- Wands – Wands are about creativity, passion, speed and innovations. They bring a fast energy. Events associated with Wands tend to transpire more quickly from inception to reality.
- Swords – Swords are more hard, intellectual and cutting. They represent logic, determination, facts and figures. Swords also often signify ambition, determination and competition.
- Pentacles – Pentacles are a very stable energy. They’re associated with material goods (like money) and the earth. For example, let’s say you’re doing a career reading and someone is asking about their workplace or their job. If Pentacles come up, you know what they’re asking about involves steady work, and will likely be something they can depend on.
- Cups – Cups are all about emotions and intuition. They’re symbolic of water — therefore, these events are more easily changeable. Cup cards are deep, but just like water flows in a stream, they can change quickly.
The 78 cards
There are 78 cards in the deck. I advise first learning the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana cards.
- The Major Arcana – The Major Arcana cards are known as “fated”, meaning that events are destined. These are lessons that that person needs to unlock and challenges they need to face. They’re not easy to change! There are 22 Major Arcana cards. I’m not going to go through all of them, but quick examples are The Lovers and The Sun. When we see The Lovers, this is a destined connection or a business partnership. When we see The Sun, this is about hopes, wishes and dreams that are coming to that person. It’s very happy and vibrant energy! As you can see, both of these cards signify destined events.
- The Minor Arcana – There are 56 Minor Arcana cards. These cards are less about destined events, and are more subject to shifts in energy. While these events will still happen, they’re not necessarily fated. That’s the key difference between the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana!
The 4 Main “Characters”
There are four people who continue coming up again and again. Here, I’m talking mainly about the Minor Arcana cards.
- The King – The King energy is a stable energy — it signifies leadership, vision, strategy and planning. The King is somebody who’s more mature and on their own two feet. They have a lot of confidence!
- The Queen – The Queen is a little bit more intuitive and softer. However, she’s still a leader. She’s strategic, strong, and also has an incredible amount of vision. When we see the Queen, you can think of a mature feminine figure coming through, whereas the King is the mature masculine figure.
Some may wonder if this actually correlates to the gender of the person being read for. The answer is no. It’s more about
feminine energy being fluid, light and soft, while masculine energy is harder, intense and more determined.
- The Page – The Page is an energy of youthfulness, creativity and ambition. One thing to know is the Page can be a little juvenile or uncertain about their future. Sometimes, they’re a little bit wishful.
- The Knight – The Knight is the more determined version of the Page. While the Knight is also wishful, he’s wearing armor and is more steadfast about achieving his goals.
Based on my experience, the Page is a little softer, whereas the Knight is harder and more determined. I tend to see more wishful thinking with the Page, and more action-orientation with the Knight. That said, this is quite a broad generalization and it totally depends on the reading itself.
- Aces – The Ace cards are symbolic of new beginnings, success, and a new path ahead.
Once you’ve learned the above, the next thing you’ll want to do is start to tune in with the symbols and what they’re showing you.
Leaning into your intuition
Your spirit guides and your angels will often help you “zoom in” on certain aspects of the cards. From there, you can deduce what they’re trying to convey. For example, let’s say I felt drawn to focus on the mountain in the back of the Queen of Pentacles card. Perhaps the situation I’m reading for requires great perspective. Once the person climbs their “mountain”, they’ll get the answer they’re seeking.
Before working with your cards, it’s a good idea to center and ground yourself, and invite in your angels and guides. You can do that through prayer, lighting a candle, and asking them to help you with a session. This is something I do before every single session, and it helps me tremendously.
That’s all for now!
This is my quick guide on how to learn tarot. Just know that tarot is a lifelong journey. It’s not going to give black and white answers — and you won’t always get ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses. Simply trust that what’s coming through via the cards is what you need to know, and what your spirit guides are willing to show you at this point in time. Good luck!
With love and light,