5 Easy Ways to Start Reading Tarot
5 Easy Ways to Start Reading Tarot
By Dakota Tollefson | Stellalune Tarot
Tarot, the (usually) 78 card deck of divination, can feel really overwhelming and daunting at first. It might feel like you have to memorize 78 meanings to the cards before you can start to read them, or like you are supposed to have some sort of spiritual epiphany each time you pull a card. Though memory and deep spiritual insight are integral as you move along your journey with Tarot, they are definitely not required to start. These following five ideas are the ways that I started to connect with tarot, and it really helped me to keep the pressure off myself and actually enjoy the process of learning Tarot!
1. Pick The Right Deck for You
The fact that right now in 2021 there are literally thousands of decks to choose from is both totally wonderful and utterly daunting. It might feel super overwhelming to try to pick the “right” one at first. You also might have heard that “you have to be gifted your Tarot Deck.” I’m here to tell you that is not the case! To me, this little superstition only really does one job: gatekeeping. A teacher of mine said that “Tarot is for the people.” I couldn't agree more! And who knows you better than yourself? The other wonderful aspect of having so many decks to choose from is inclusivity!
Amazing and talented artists all over the world are creating decks that transcend gender binary, celebrate oppressed cultures, and make it so you can find a tarot deck that speaks to you and where you come from. The Smith Rider-Waite deck is the most popular Tarot deck out there, and a lot of people start with it because it is what most Tarot Decks are based off of, however you do not have to! I also recommend The Melanated Classic Tarot, which is quite similar in symbolism but instead honours and celebrates black bodies on the deck. If looking at a tarot deck that is filled with gender binary and white folks makes you feel disconnected from yourself, the Rider-Waite deck is probably not the best place to start. And that is more than okay! Find a deck that you find utterly beautiful, that resonates with you aesthetically and spiritually. Look up the creators of different Tarot decks and read about them! If you appreciate and resonate with the artist, it will most likely permeate into the Tarot reading experience!
2. Keep it Simple
At first, you might feel super impatient to connect with every single card. I felt that way too! But when we are learning something new, it’s great to start small and get comfortable with it as you add in more. You might want to learn or practice with the cards in sections, starting with the Major Arcana, and working your way to Minor Arcana, and finally Court Cards. I invite you to start with simple spreads too so you can really get comfortable with working with more than one card at a time and creating a narrative between them.
3. Daily Pulls
Personally, this practice helped me tremendously when I was first playing with Tarot. I would pull one card for myself each day, writing a little journal entry about it and how it made me feel. For quite some time I would pull my card in the morning, and do the little journal entry at night. This allowed me to use my lived daily experience to understand my relationship with the card, instead of reading someone else's interpretations of it. Plus, this can be a beautiful ritual of reflection and introspection. It’s actually a practice that has stuck with me now!
4. Working with a Single Card
Sometimes, the imagery or the feeling we get from a specific card really speaks to us, even if we don’t really know what it’s saying. This is amazing! If you have an experience like this with a card, don’t be afraid to keep that card out for an extended period of time. You can keep it on your bedside table, include it as a theme card in your spreads, or even bring it with you around wherever you go! It’s all about creating a connection, a relationship to the card. We move through different seasons and experiences of life, and our relationships to certain cards can reflect that. You might look back later on and totally understand why you felt drawn to that card during that time, and it will be a really nice “Aha” moment for you.
5. Journaling and Meditation
Combined, journaling and meditating on a card can create such a powerful bond with it. You can meditate on a card really easily. After you pull a card, you can set a quick timer on your phone, and spend that time just looking at the card. Noticing the colours, the symbols, the numbers. What stands out to you? How does it make you feel? This is about creating an immersive experience with a specific card. After your time's up, pull out a journal or some paper and write down whatever comes to mind. Write about your experience meditating with it, what came up for you when you pulled it, how the imagery correlates to events in your life, really anything! The best part about this practice is that later on you can look back on your writings and you will have your own deeply personal understanding of the cards!
About the Author
Dakota is the Tarot Reader behind Stella Lune Tarot.
She is one of the members of the Moon Sign Creative Community. Dakota has been exploring many forms of divination and tarot for the last several years. A big part of her work is centered around helping her clients find their own spiritual lineage, and working to reduce harm around culturally appropriated spiritual practices. She has a monthly zine over on her Patreon where she covers topics on the occult, astrology, tarot, art, and other mystical findings. You can book a reading with her here.