Reading tarot cards can be as simple as you want it to be–really! Using the same deck of tarot cards, you can be both a beginner or an advanced reader. This article answers the question: is tarot card reading difficult? (Hint: it’s not!)
If you’re new to tarot cards, reading can be difficult only because you’re likely starting at the very beginning of your knowledge. If you’ve begun exploring tarot cards yourself or had tarot cards read for you, you’ve probably already gained a general understanding of card meanings. Lucky for you, we have the meanings of all 78 major and minor arcana cards for easy reference here!
How to begin reading tarot cards
A lot of beginners have a website like our tarot section at-the-ready to look up cards as they are pulled, or drawn, in a tarot spread reading. Lots of basic tarot books also exist for this purpose (we love The Rider-Waite Tarot deck, the standard classic for all tarot readers). We’ve seen beautiful artist cards and even ones with cats on them, too–all of them are inspired by the original artwork of the Rider deck, created by Pamela Coleman Smith. The options are almost endless, and most decks have 78s cards consisting of Major Arcana and Minor Arcana cards.
Like learning a language or a new subject, it takes time to understand the various meanings of the cards. A single card can have many interpretations, based on the reader or the question being asked. It can mean something entirely different when pulled in reverse or in answer to a yes-or-no question. You can learn about various tarot spreads to read here. But we don’t want to overwhelm you!
Try a one-card pull to build your knowledge of tarot cards
A fast way to get familiar with tarot cards and make learning seem less difficult is to practice a daily card pull. In this practice you simply pull one tarot card each day, and that card is your theme for the day. Or, you can have a question in mind before you pull you card, and the card you pull can provide insight in answering your question.
For example, in a shuffled tarot deck (we like to shuffle and cut, like a deck of playing cards), we just pulled the Four of Cups card. How we can interpret this card, based on its meaning:
Look to the symbolism on the card: In the Four of Cups, a person is seated beneath a tree, with arms crossed and a look of discontent. Three cups are arranged neatly in front of them, while a fourth cup is being offered to by a hand emerging from a cloud. The person seems disinterested in this cup, perhaps lost in thought.
What might this suggest? This card might suggest you’re feeling dissatisfied or disconnected to something in your life. You could be feeling unfulfilled or bored, even if everything seems to be going well. At the same time, it could be a warning about being closed off.
What to do with this information? This card could be telling you to take a step back to reevaluate your priorities. And/or, to seek out new opportunities for personal growth and to feel fulfilled. If you’re being closed off, it may be encouraging you to be open to new experiences or to look at things in new ways.
The above example is just one way to interpret the Four of Cups card once you know it’s meaning. Interpretation also depends on the reader’s POV, life experience and knowledge of reading tarot cards.
Who can read tarot cards?
Anyone! You don’t need to be a professional tarot card reader to interpret cards, as you learned with the one-card pull example above.
Are there professional resources for tarot card reading?
Yes, if you want to deep-dive or accelerate your learning of tarot to make it less difficult, in addition to websites like ours and books, you can find podcasts or classes (online and in person) to assist in your learning of tarot card reading. You may also explore tarot associations and schools, which can be searched online. And you can also learn from professional tarot readers who can read for you!
One of our favorite ways to learn when we were starting out with tarot was to have small tarot parties with friends, most of whom were also just learning tarot. In a relaxed, social setting that doesn’t feel like “school” you can pick up meanings and interpretations at a faster pace. Try sharing the experience with others to build your knowledge. It’s a fun, educational way for everyone learn, and it can be a relaxed event. Have your books and websites open to look up the cards as you’re reading for each other and talk about their meanings.
One caution, there are loads of tarot readers on TikTok and Instagram. Many of these people will give you a “free” reading in exchange for a follow. It’s up to you if you take them up on their offer, but remember many of these readers may also be as new to tarot as you. In fact, once you get more familiar with your cards, you might be tempted to set up an account yourself!
When will reading tarot cards become less difficult?
Over time, like anything you’re learning. Even tarot card readers with a lot of experience are continuously learning and building their knowledge, not only about what the cards mean but how they can be interpreted for a question or situation.
Remember why you are reading tarot cards
Most people read tarot cards for insights and to enhance their personal growth. While tarot cards are often thought of as being predictive (like fortune telling) they are actually more of a guide.
Your knowledge of tarot cards and skills at interpretation will improve over time and with practice.
Keep in mind that the cards tell a story and paint a picture. There are no right or wrong interpretations. Be open to the possibilities and let their meanings unfold naturally.
Tarot spreads to try, to practice reading tarot
We have many tarot spreads you can try, with step-by-step instructions and images, in our tarot spreads section.
These spreads are good for all levels of tarot readings:
The 3-card spread is a classic way to read cards using just three to depict your past, present and future. Three-card spreads are a great way to start with tarot because they offer a solid amount of information without becoming overwhelmingly complex. You quickly get actionable, understandable information related to questions you have.
The Celtic Cross is a common configuration, but it uses 10 cards. You can use this spread as a beginner but it may be something you want to work up to.
For love and relationship tarot readings, check out our article that contains many 3- and 5-card spreads to answer your questions about romance and partnerships.