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The Beginner’s Guide to Tarot Cards

There’s a lot of mysticism behind the art of reading tarot cards. So, what’s the deal?

Walking down a busy city street or driving through Small Town, USA you might come across an ornate sandwich board or blinking neon sign advertising tarot reading services. Nothing more; nothing less. Or maybe you tune into a late night infomercial offering insight into your innermost challenges if you would just call 1-800 *insert number here*. It can be an intriguing proposition depending on what you think you know about tarot readings, but what’s really behind this art of divination?


Tarot cards have this cryptic, indecipherable quality about them. A lot of us would assume they have some ancient origin lost to antiquity based on their images, archaic symbols, and how they’re portrayed on the big screen.

In reality, the cards are traced back to the 14th century (which really isn’t that long ago in the grande scheme of things). Tarot cards have humble beginnings as a basic card game, like bridge or gin rummy, or even — dare we say — Cards Against Humanity? In essence, tarot cards, much like this current-day card game which has developed a cult following in its own right, was a way to get a group of people together for good old-fashioned fun.

These cards inspired a number of game variations including ones where funny or poetic verses were created around the theme of a card and a player; and others to create stories about each other which overtime easily transitioned into “predictive” or divining games. So as it turns out, tarot isn’t so serious or mysterious at all, and it seems like many practitioners would agree that there should be a lightness associated with reading them.

With its origins as a fun game, the images on the cards were open to interpretation by the players, and you can easily see how adding a bit of introspection or intuition can turn a fun parlour game into an exercise of mindfulness and vision-mapping.

I just want to know — can tarot cards reveal the future?

No. And if a tarot reader tells you all of your wildest fantasies are on the verge of coming true? Run the other way. In reality, tarot cards are an exercise in mindfulness. According to, it’s about tuning into your intuition rather than trying to foretell the future. The cards are meant to be tools for reflection and intention-setting.

Like journaling or meditation, tarot is a method to think through the moments of your life and reflect on how you can enact change or successfully continue on your life’s path.

How do I read tarot cards?

As a beginner, you need a basic deck of tarot cards. There are tons of online resources that can help you find the right ones for you, but the overall idea is to keep it simple. Tarot cards now come in all different styles — from traditional artwork to simple and modern, there are plenty to choose from.

Once you have your deck, the idea is simple, but the execution becomes easier with practice. Many tarot experts recommend pulling a 1-3 card “spread.”  Meaning, simply draw one, two, or three cards from your shuffled or “cleared” deck.

Think of a question or a theme that’s been lingering in the back of your mind. Study the drawn cards. Depending on your preference or reading style, you can interpret the images on the cards as they relate to your question or look up the meanings of the cards either online or with the reference materials that are included alongside most decks.

For example, many tarot practitioners read the moon card (or 18th Major Arcana card), as a symbol of intuition and others as deception. But nothing says your personal interpretations are any lesser than traditional readings.

In its essence, reading tarot cards is about creating a narrative and having a conversation about the topic at hand, whether that’s on your own, or with a partner, or even with a group of people. It’s only as serious as you want it to be, but with the right intentions and practice, perhaps a good, wholesome way to think about life, love, career, and whatever else is on your mind will be uncovered!



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