Tarot Card Reading (2019 Practical Beginner’s Guide)


What are Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards have an extremely long history. The origins of this ancient way of reading cards go as far back as the 15th century. Some can say this is an outdated way of perceiving the world. 

Despite technological advancements, people still want to use tarot cards to find some meaning and direction for their lives.

Tarot cards can be considered a part of cartomancy. What is cartomancy? It’s the art of using cards for divination.

It is important to know that Tarot card reading is not just about psychic abilities. Firstly, you have to get a deeper understanding of what the cards mean. Afterward, experts say that you can open yourself up to psychic powers.

Through your understanding of the cards, you can start to make interpretations of the cards.

If you want to learn about tarot cards that will take time. In this guide, we’ll show you what tarot cards are all about, what makes a tarot card reading accurate, and a beginner’s guide to learn how to read the cards.

Questions Readings and Open Readings

Questions readings are for readings based around a question. The person with the question enters a session with a reader. This person has a certain question in mind, however, the question is open-ended. Tarot card readings won’t work with yes or no questions.

Beginner Tips:

  • Keep the question broad.
  • Don’t focus the question on something too detailed
    • Bad Example: “How can I work out better so I can do 50 muscle-ups in one session?”
    • Good Example: “What can I do to be stronger?”
  • If the reading is for you, focus questions directly on yourself
  • Keep the questions neutral
    • Bad Example: “Why are there people out there getting more job interviews than me”
    • Good Example:  “How can I focus on getting more job interviews for myself?”
  • Keep your questions positive
    • Bad Example: “Why am I still singe?
    • Good Example:  “What can I do in my life to meet the right person for me?”

Open readings are open-ended readings. When a person goes in for an open-ended reading, they let the reader examine his or her overall life. This could be topics about career, love, personal issues or even health. Open readings are best when you’ve entered a new stage in your life. E.g. marriage, a new job.


Most Popular Tarot Card Deck: Rider-Waite Deck

The most commonly used Tarot Card Deck is the Rider-Waite deck. This 78-card deck was created in 1909 by A.E. Waite. A.E. Waite sought out Pamela Colman Smith, an artist that he knew through the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Waite was drawn towards tarot reading early in his life and had already published a book about tarot reading before creating his own personal deck. Through both their imaginations, Waite and Smith put together what we know as the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.

The Structure of the Rider-Waite Deck

There are two sections to take note of within the deck. The minor arcana and the major arcana.

Minor Arcana

  • 56 out of 78 cards
  • Contains 4 suits ( wands, swords, cups and pentacles/circles)
  • 14 cards per suit
  • Cards are numbered from one to 10, also including King, queen, knight, and page
  • Represent smaller daily occurrences

Major arcana

  • 22 out of 78 cards
  • No suits
  • Numbered from 0 to 21
  • Represent long-term and bigger life events


Understanding the Cards

As mentioned earlier there are 4 suits( wands, swords, cups and pentacles/circles). These suits each relate to a specific element: Earth, Air, Fire or Water.

Based on the element that the suit belongs to, the card could communicate a certain topic or issue. 

These elements belong to the ancient world’s understanding of the material. Each element was essential in the makeup of the universe. 

It is important to note that each element has the aspect of being active or passive.

Earth Element

Suit: Pentacles

The element of earth is strongly connected to nature and our planet earth. Through this element, we find the themes of life, growth, and stability. 

The earth is the foundation in which everyday life is built upon. When a card’s element is earth, you can expect it to relate to:

  • Finance
  • Money
  • Business
  • Home Life
  • Family
  • Basic Life Materials (clothes, electronic devices


As the foundation element, Earth serves as the bedrock beneath the other three elements.  

People who are strongly tied to the element of Earth, they are more grounded in their everyday activities. They have their job, family and home life, and personal life mainly in their control. 

Earth can be considered as a passive element. All actions that happen lead to a material end product that is tied to Earth.  Such end products include a new job promotion, a newly bought house or giving birth to a child.


Water Element

Suit: Cups

The element of water is strongly connected to its relationship with planet earth. 80 percent of the Earth’s surface is water. Similarly, if our body is considered earth, 80 percent of our body is filled with water.

In divination, it is said that we have to balance the water element within us. What this means is that the water element represents our:

  • Feelings
  • Intuition
  • Dreams/Visions

As water makes up 80 percent of our body, we can understand that our thoughts are preoccupied with our emotions and instincts.

These emotions and instincts can be seen as the ocean. Sometimes the waves can be violent and get out of control. It is up to us to learn how to balance and stabilize these waves.

Our instincts also allow us to interact with the outside world creatively. This means dealing with things like culture, music, design, and art.

As a passive element, water allows us to deal with our inner ability to be emotional, creative and intuitive.

Fire Element

Suit: Wands

The element of fire is what gives us life. Fire provides the necessary heat and light. Without fire, we would not be able to feel warm, cook food and protect ourselves from external threats. 

On a spiritual level, fire is seen as willpower. It is our ego and also the energy behind our personal growth. In the real world, the element of fire connected with :

  • Ambition
  • Satisfaction
  • True Will

Without fire, our life would be nothing. We need the willpower to achieve everyday things. To be in control of our lives, we need the fire to get things done.

True will has more to do with fulfilling and executing our life purpose. It has less to do with the self-discipline or motivation that achieves everyday goals. When we learn to embrace True will properly, our life will flow much easier. Our goals will also manifest much better.


Air Element

Suit: Swords 

The air element is related to our:

  • Intellectual development
  • Inspiration
  • Rationalization
  • Science and Logic
  • Communication (written, spoken and technological)

The air element has to do with thinking. We think and then use our will (Fire) to create (Water). Through our creative action (Water), we develop something (Earth). Air can be recognized as the source of everything created. Without air, there is no Earth.


As a number that is associated with beginnings, Aces represent the raw and undeveloped energies of the elements they’re tied to.

The appearance of an ace will most likely mean change and disruption in your life. This could mean a positive change in your life.

  • A new idea
  • A new lifestyle change
  • A new action

The Twos

Twos are about partnerships, both personal and professional. In our everyday life, twos could signify:

  • Reconciliation between two people
  • Harmony

The Threes

Threes are about the growth and momentum of something. In real life threes could point towards:

  • Intellectual growth
  • Nurturing of relationships
  • Our ability to properly join with others

The Fours

Fours are about the structure and foundation of things. It is related to endurance, practicality, physicality, achievement, humility,  and simplicity.

The Fives

Fives are about handling the freedom in our lives. To elaborate this means dealing with the challenges that we face everyday, and whether or not we have the courage to overcome them.

The Sixes

Sixes are connected with communication, cooperation, harmony, growth and nurturing

The Sevens

Sevens are connected with reflection, assessment, and knowledge.


The Eights

Eights are connected with Intention, Abundance, Repetition, and Infinity.

The Nines

Nines are connected with Vision, Influence, Intellectual Power,  and Attainment

The Tens

Tens are connected with completion, end of a cycle, and renewal.

How to do a tarot reading as a beginner?

During every reading, there is a spread. The spread is the layout of the cards and the flow of how the cards will be read.

One of the most common tarot card spreads is the Three Fates. It includes three cards. They represent:

  • Past
  • Present
  • Future


This is a good spread to learn for beginners. You start with having three cards face down.

You may read the first card to understand how the card relates to the person’s past. Afterward, the second card represents a person’s current situation. The final card will represent a possible outcome that the person can shift towards.


Ultimately, the reading is meant to enlighten the person about their life arc. How has their past shaped them? What is their current present situation? How can move towards a positive future?


Are the readings accurate?

Tarot card reading is not about predicting the future. This is one of the most common misunderstandings regarding divination. 

Tarot card readings are supposed to help you understand the direction that the person is being read upon is on. Through this insight, the person seeking the reading can decide what to do to have a better future.