Tarot 101: Start Here to Begin Reading Tarot Cards Quickly and Easily

Tarot cards are often shrouded in mystery, but they’re actually fairly simple to read. This Tarot 101 article gets you quickly up to speed on what Tarot is and how to read cards right away.

Tarot 101 Overview: What Is Tarot?

The origins of Tarot can be traced back to the 15th century in Europe, where it emerged as a deck of playing cards. Over time, Tarot evolved into a mystical system, incorporating symbolism, esoteric wisdom, and even astrology.

Tarot draws inspiration from various spiritual and philosophical traditions. This rich tapestry of archetypal imagery can speak to the depths of the human psyche, help you see what’s in your human blind spots. In other words: Tarot is here to help!

The Tarot and Astrology Relationship

Astrology and Tarot are complementary systems you can use for divination and self-reflection. Tarot pairs beautifully with astrology and is one of our favorite ways of receiving messages from the universe. Did you know that every card in a Tarot deck connects to a zodiac sign and planet? We’ve mapped it all out for you in each card’s meaning in our extensive (but Plain-English) Tarot Card section.

So pull out your Tarot card deck (or get your first one; here are 7 Tarot card decks we recommend!), draw a card or a spread (we have many Tarot spreads to try, from Tarot 101 beginner level to advanced!), then use our interpretations to support you with deciphering the symbols, numbers, cosmos and messages from your reading.

Read on to learn more Tarot 101!

Beginner Tips for Tarot

We’ll admit it: Tarot cards used to scare us. The images on the cards are powerful but unsettling. The names can be frightening, too (Death? The Devil? The Hanged Man?). We were intrigued but stuck to astrology, where the planetary cycles could be measured, predicted and plotted. No surprises—at least, not compared to Tarot.

We’ve been reading Tarot cards for more than 20 years (you can read about Our Tarot Story). Tarot is something you’re constantly learning. So don’t feel like you need to “master” Tarot all at once, or ever! We were all once students of Tarot 101!

Today, we supplement many of our astrology readings with Tarot card draws. They add nuance to what the stars tell us. They empower our introspection with cues and clues, like journal prompts. We’ve dipped into new decks. We find more and more alignment between cosmic cycles and the cards, which fascinates us all the more.

Our message to you: try Tarot! There’s nothing more empowering than learning to do Tarot yourself. Find your rhythm and relationship with the cards.

Tarot 101: Get Started Right Now!

To start reading Tarot, it’s this simple!

How to Read Tarot Cards 101:

• Ask a question
• Draw a card
• Look up the meaning of the Tarot Card
• Reflect on its meaning relative to your situation

The above steps are the simplest, fastest way to start Tarot and get acquainted with the practice. You can read more about the origins of Tarot, if you are curious, in our article, What Is Tarot.

Beginner Tips for Tarot 101 Users

In a Tarot card reading, or a Tarot spread, a reader uses the cards to gain insight into a situation or question. The cards in a spread are interpreted to reveal insights, guidance and advice.

The cards and their positions in the spread can give a reader an understanding of their situation or question, identify obstacles or challenges and provide clues for how to move forward.

Tarot spreads can also be used for self-reflection, spiritual growth and personal development. What is learned in a Tarot spread depends on the situation or question being explored, the cards in the spread and how they are interpreted by the reader. 

Common Tarot FAQs for Tarot 101 Users

Here are some common questions for Tarot for beginners.

How many Tarot cards are there?

A standard deck of Tarot cards includes 78 cards divided into two sections: Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. Each Tarot card has its own symbol and meaning. The Major Arcana (22 cards) represent life themes, paint a big picture. The Minor Arcana (56 cards) represent daily themes, reveal day-to-day happenings and individual events.

The Minor Arcana Tarot cards are divided into suit, and each one is linked to an element of astrology: Suit of Wands (fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius), Suit of Cups (water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces), Suit of Swords (air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) and Suit of Pentacles (earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn).

What do Tarot cards represent?

Tarot and astrology are ancient mystical arts and sciences that share many things in common. Both have deep connections to the natural world, and we can use them to understand ourselves. Tarot cards can be read (or interpreted) many ways, using a single card “pull” or several cards in a “spread.”

Tarot cards carry meanings and themes for love and relationships, health and wellness, and career and money. Beyond its enigmatic allure, Tarot is a powerful tool that offers profound insights into your life path and helps you navigate difficult decisions.

Can I read my own Tarot cards?

Try one of our spreads, everything from a one-card pull, to the classic three-card spread and Celtic spread, and spreads for love. We’ve also created a zodiac spread representing the 12 houses of astrology.

Want quick answers? Try a Yes or No Tarot Spread.

How many different Tarot Spreads are there?

There is no fixed number of tarot spreads. New tarot spreads are created by tarot readers all the time! Some of the most commonly known tarot spreads are the Celtic Cross and the 3-Card or 5-Card Spread.

Advanced tarot readers may create custom spreads for specific situations or questions. The number of possible tarot spreads is limited only by the creativity of tarot readers. Meaning: you can create your own!

Which Tarot cards are used in Tarot Spreads?

Both Major Arcana and Minor Arcana cards are used in tarot spreads. Major Arcana represent profound lessons and life-changing moments that can shift your path. Each card in a Tarot reading is worthy of your attention, but the Major Arcana command special focus.

Where can I learn Tarot for free?

We created our Tarot content so you can have a gentle and positive entry into Tarot cards. All of our Tarot content is free.

There’s nothing more empowering than learning to do Tarot yourself. Find your rhythm and relationship with the cards. We hope you have the Tarot 101 tools you need to feel inspired and begin your Tarot reading!

Select a Tarot card from the dropdown below to learn its meaning

How to read your birth chart

Your Cosmic Code
Learn how to read your birth chart and get to know each planet in it! Enjoy this insightful, fun, and self-paced course and discover WHY you're the person you are and how to direct your natural gifts and strengths.