It’s absolutely possible to learn tarot by yourself! One of the beautiful things about tarot is that it’s easy to start small with simple steps.
Co-authored by James Kerti
Maybe your introduction to learning tarot has been watching expert readers interpret elaborate tarot spreads with 10 cards or more. These readers seem to have every possible meaning for each of the 78 cards memorized, and can rattle them off like Lin Manuel Miranda rapping “My Shot!”
But here’s the good news!
You can get a ton of valuable information out of doing spreads with just a few cards. We really like 3-card spreads for this reason.
And there’s no need to memorize every card!
We’ve done the heavy lifting for you. You can find interpretations for every tarot card here at Astrostyle, including possible meanings for topics like love and money, career, and health and wellness.
From there, to learn tarot by yourself, it’s a matter of:
1. Developing a basic understanding of what tarot is about (which you can do in just a few minutes right here!)
2. Getting your first deck (or you can choose to pull cards via an online generator or app instead), and
3. Deciding how you want to pull cards or do a spread.
Let’s walk through these steps to learn tarot, together!
What is tarot about?
We like tarot because, like astrology, it supports us in gaining more insight and understanding into ourselves and our current situations.
Whether tarot feels to you like a modality that has fortune-telling capability, you can use it to unlock new perspectives for decisions you’re facing or challenges you’re navigating.
There are 78 cards in a standard tarot deck. These cards are divided into two broad categories: major arcana and minor arcana.
The major arcana include 22 tarot cards that focus on the major themes that impact your journey through life.
These cards flow in a numeric order that corresponds with different points of your life’s storyline.
The major arcana cards aren’t so concerned with day-to-day happenings and individual events like the minor arcana (defined below). They represent profound lessons and life-changing moments that can irrevocably shift your path.
While every card in a tarot spread is worth paying attention to, the major arcana demand special focus.
The other 56 cards are the minor arcana, which are divided equally into four suits: Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles. Each of the four suits has a dominant theme. The four suits are further broken down into ten numbered cards (beginning with an Ace and ending with a Ten), and four court cards: a Page, a Knight, a Queen, and a King.
How do you choose a deck (or start practicing tarot without one)?
One of the most popular tarot decks is the Rider-Waite deck, which was first published in 1909.
Many tarot decks are based on the Rider-Waite deck. The art style may vary, but they feature the same imagery and symbolism. Our tarot section here at Astrostyle is based on the Rider-Waite deck.
You may enjoy searching online, including on Etsy, for tarot decks that feature imagery that resonates with you. As tarot can be a deeply personal experience, you might find yourself holding out for a deck that you feel like calls to you. On the other hand, if you want to grab the first deck you see, that’s okay, too! There’s no wrong way to start to learn tarot.
If you’re wanting to jump right in before picking out a deck, you can find apps and online generators that will pull cards or do spreads for you.
What does it mean to pull cards or do a tarot spread?
The words tarot spread can sound intimidating and complicated as you learn tarot, so let us demystify them for you!
A tarot spread refers to picking cards out of the deck (usually after shuffling the deck) and laying them out in a particular way, often in response to a question or topic you want information about.
A 1-card spread is perfectly valid; it can be a helpful way of getting a quick response to a particular question. It is a good way to begin to learn tarot.
We like and recommend 3-card spreads as a good starting point for beginners; it gives you plenty of information without becoming too complex or overwhelming to try to interpret.
As you become more familiar with tarot and experienced in interpreting spreads, you may want to use bigger spreads, including the 10-card Celtic Cross layout.
The ultimate numerology guide is here.
The must-have map to your purpose and path by Astrostyle's resident numerologist.