Tarot for beginners: how to learn to read Tarot

If you want to enter the world of Tarot and do not know where to start, here is a small guide to Tarot for beginners with the first guidelines to follow to get started in the world of Tarot.

Unlike what many people think, to learn to read the Tarot you do not need to have any special gift or clairvoyance. It is only necessary to familiarize yourself with each of its cards, their symbology and meaning, and to activate your intuition.

Regarding the way to study Tarot, there is no single correct way to do it or a clear methodology to follow. Each person can develop his or her own techniques and ways of studying it. The key elements to perfecting the technique are time, practice and study, and connection with oneself and one’s intuition. 

What is Tarot?

The Tarot is a deck of cards of unknown origin and is the direct ancestor to our modern deck of cards. It seems that these cards are inspired by the depth of human experience and the deepest level of the psyche. The Tarot functions as an oracle and is composed of two parts: 

  • 22 major arcana – these cards represent universal archetypes of the human experience. In a Tarot reading they represent things of great importance.
  • 56 minor arcana – are the symbol of the 4 elements (earth, fire, air and water) and each of them is represented by a suit of the deck (pentacles, wands, swords and cups). In a Tarot reading they provide details and concrete information.

Tarot works like a magnifying mirror that shows you as you are and helps you understand yourself better. It is a tool of self-knowledge that allows you to better understand your situation and guides you on the best way to move forward.


Which Tarot deck to buy?

There are many different Tarot decks. Each has its own aesthetics, symbology and history. The best known and most commonly used decks are the following: 

  • Tarot of Marseilles– This is the best known deck and from which all subsequent decks are derived. You can buy it here.
  • Tarot Rider Waite – It is the most popularly used deck. This is because, unlike the Tarot de Marseille, the minor arcana are represented by images and makes it easier to understand their meaning and connect with them. You can buy it here

Both decks are recommended to start with. The ideal is to look at the cards before buying them to see which ones you connect with more or which ones are easier to interpret.  However, for the study of the minor arcana and their interpretation, the Rider Waite Tarot is more didactic, simple and clear. 

How can I study Tarot?

There is no single correct way to study Tarot or a methodology that guarantees the learning of this technique. Each person can study it in the way that works best for them and can develop their own techniques and ways of studying it. Our suggestions on how to learn Tarot for beginners are as follows: 

  • Tarot Lessons: A good way to learn this tool is through classes with specialized Tarot teachers. For this, we suggest individual or small group classes. The process of learning Tarot for beginners is also a path of personal discovery. The study of each card will lead you to work on a part of yourself. Therefore, we believe it is important that you do it with people with whom you feel comfortable. Also, individual classes help you to adapt the learning according to your needs. We leave you this link where you can find Tarot lessons at miistico.
  • Youtube Videos: Youtube is a great source of Tarot wisdom. You can find several videos from different professionals to help you become familiar with the cards. 
  • Books about Tarot: there are numerous books on Tarot and you will find that not all of them agree exactly on the meaning of the cards. Each book explains it from its own approach and perspective. From miistico we feel very close to the approach of the following books: 

“Jung y el Tarot: un viaje arquetípico” de Sallie Nichols. Book on the interpretation of the Tarot from the perspective of Jung’s archetypal psychology.

In this book you can find the history of the Tarot, the use of the tarot from Jung’s point of view and an in-depth tour of each of the major arcana. It is a dense book but it allows you to delve into the depth of each of the cards. Our recommendation is that you read it little by little. As you study each card we recommend that you read the chapter about it in this book. 

“La vía del tarot” de Alejandro Jodorowsky y Marianne Costa. Book written by two great connoisseurs of Tarot. In it they make a tour of the tarot cards, their symbology and numerology.  

“Manual de interpretación del Tarot” de Mª del Mar Tort. Practical guide to get you started in the study of the Tarot. There are two books, one of major arcana and one of minor arcana. Both offer a summary card of each of the arcana and include several Tarot spreads with which to get started and practice. Both books are highly recommended to get you started in the study of each card. 

These suggestions are complementary. The study of Tarot is a constant learning process that requires time and practice. It is not a technique that is studied in a single course or only once, but its study is something constant and will become part of your life. 

Where can I start studying Tarot?

As mentioned above, the Tarot is divided into two major groups: major arcana and minor arcana. 

  • The Major Arcana are 22 cards that represent the universal archetypes. These cards have the deepest meaning and take us into the world of human experience and psyche. Given their great meaning and content, it is possible to perform Tarot spreads using only the major arcana. 
  • The Minor Arcana are 56 cards that provide details or specifications to the reading. These cards are divided into 4 suits and each of them represents one of the 4 elements. Swords represent the air element and in the human being they personify thought and ideas. Wands represent the fire element and in the human being are synonymous with action, vitality, enthusiasm and passion. Cups represent the water element and symbolize the emotions and feelings of the human being. Finally, the pentacles represent the earth element and are related to the material, the tangible, the practical, the rational. 

We suggest starting with the study of the major arcana because of their great content and once you are familiar with them and have already practiced spreads, start with the study of the minor arcana. You can incorporate the minor arcana little by little to your spreads. 

Free will and the Tarot's code of ethics

Finally, we would like to end this post with the point that we consider most important for all those who want to get started in this tool that is the Tarot. It is important to emphasize that cards indicate, but do not mark or sentence.

Each one of us is the only one responsible for our actions and we are the ones who decide which direction to take. The Tarot cards can serve as a tool for guidance and reflection. They show a tendency, but it is in our hands to change this tendency or not. 

We can always choose and that is why we consider it very important to be clear about the concept of free will before starting on the path of Tarot.

Free will is the capacity of human beings to choose between different alternatives, or the freedom to choose and make our own decisions without being subject to pressures, limitations or divine predetermination. Therefore, free will is based on the fact that each human being is responsible for his or her actions and decisions.

También, existe el Tarot Code of Ethics which it is advisable to read before beginning to study Tarot and to keep it in mind throughout your learning and practice.  

Welcome to the wonderful and inspiring world of Tarot!

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