Posted in Witchy Tips

A Beginner’s Guide to Tarot

A Beginner’s Guide to Tarot

What is Tarot?

According to Wikipedia, Tarot is  is a pack of playing cards, used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play games such as Italian tarocchini and French tarot. In the late 18th century, it began to be used for divination in the form of tarotology/cartomancy.

How do I choose a deck?

My personal advice is to search for a deck that really resonates with you, and that has ties to your heritage. Do  not use a deck that seems to be culturally appropriative. For example, the Vision Quest deck as shown in a few of the photos above, it a deck of cards made specifically for Natives, and should probably only be used by ndns out of respect for those cultures and their beliefs. If you have no ties to your heritage, a good rule of thumb is to pick things that are culturally ambiguous. Cats, dragons, faeries, gothic, and open pantheon tarot decks are all widely available and the artwork is stunning. It is important to  not only respect the artists who created the tarot, but also the culture they come from, the culture their art is based upon, and of course the spirit and personality of that specific tarot deck itself.

My deck is kind of….cryptic?

No worries. It’s actually really common to run into a few ‘grumpy’ decks during your time as a tarot reader. Like I said in the above section, tarot decks have personalities. Some of them are grouchy, some of them are cheery, some of them are sinister, and some of them are sarcastic. There is nothing necessarily wrong with your deck if it is giving you really snarky or rude readings, its just being itself. Some good ways to get a deck to warm up to you or calm down a little are to use them more often, talk to them, place amethyst crystals in the same pouch or on top of the deck, and keep the deck near your bed or under your pillow at night. This will help it to become more used to your presence and to trust you, which later results in more accurate and better readings. Not all tarot decks will be friendly and trusting right off the bat. Be patient, give it time.

How do I cleanse my cards?

Cleansing a deck regularly is a good practice to keep. Just like with any other metaphysical tool, you want to make sure that no negative or residual energy sticks to them and prevents them from operating at their optimal potential. Some good ways to cleanse your cards are to either smoke cleanse it with lavender/sage/cedar, spray the air around it with lavender/peppermint spritz, place a citrine crystal on top of it or hold it in your palms and visualize a bright, purifying white light washing over them.

Good Beginner Spreads?

Some good card spreads for beginners are one and three card spreads. One card spreads is basically you just drawing one card and then interpreting it. It’s a good idea to do this daily not only to help you become more familiar with the cards, but also to help you become better at readings. You can also ask the cards yes or no questions and get answers based on either their meaning, or if they are right side up or inverted. Some good three card spreads for beginners are:

  • Past, Present, Future
  • Mind, Body, Soul
  • Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
  • Beginning, Middle, End
  • Action, Reaction, Outcome
  • Want, Need, Action
  • Morning, Afternoon, Evening
  • You, Other Person, The Relationship
  • Physical State, Emotional State, Spiritual State
  • You/ Your Current Path/ Your Potential

Good Starter Decks?

Some good starter decks would be the Rider-Waite Tarot (who had a black artist! whoot! This was actually my very first deck.) and the Thoth Tarot. Both are considered ‘classics’ and are pretty easy to come by. (I know I’ve seen them for sale at stores like Earthbound and Hastings)

What does each card mean?

Most tarot decks will come with a little booklet or pamplet that explains what each individual card can mean, however sometimes that is not the case and you have to use your personal interpretations for each card, judging more how it feels.  I will go over all the cards and two things that are often associated with them. This could be long haha.

Major Arcana (22 Cards):

  • The Magician: Skill, Self Confidence (Inverted: Disgrace, Loss)
  • The High Priestess: Mysteries, Secrets (Inverted: Passion, Narcissism)
  • The Empress: Initiative, Action (Inverted: Truth, Reveal)
  • The Emperor: Reason, Conviction (Inverted: Compassion, Immaturity)
  • The Hierophant: Inspiration, Alliance (Inverted: Weakness, Discord)
  • The Lovers: Love, Overcoming Obstacles (Inverted: Failure, Foolishness)
  • The Chariot: Victory, War (Inverted: Defeat, Riot)
  • Strength: Courage, Power (Inverted: Abuse of Power, Weakness)
  • The Hermit: Treason, Corruption (Inverted: Fear, Disguise)
  • Wheel of Fortune: Destiny, Luck (Inverted: Abundance, Prosperity)
  • Justice: Equality, Rightness (Inverted: Bigotry, Bias)
  • The Hanged Man: Wisdom, Sacrifice (Inverted: Selfishness, Conceited)
  • Death: The End, Finality (Inverted: Sleep, Lethargy)
  • Temperance: Moderation, Self Control ( Inverted: Religion, Misfortune)
  • The Devil: Cunning, Violence (Inverted: Pettiness, Blindness)
  • The Tower: Ruin, Disgrace (Inverted: Oppression, Tyranny)
  • The Star: Hope, New Goals (Inverted: Arrogance, Impotence)
  • The Moon: Deception, Danger (Inverted: Silence, Instability)
  • The Sun: Happiness, Contentment (Inverted: Union, Stability)
  • The Judgement: Outcome, Change of Heart (Inverted: Decision, Sentence)
  • The World: Success, Journey (Inverted: Stagnation, Boredom)
  • The Fool: Mischievousness, Extravagance (Inverted: Carelessness, Vanity)

Minor Arcana (56 Cards):

  • Swords: Related to Air, Logic and Reason
    • Ace: Power, Victory
    • Two: Choice, Stalemate
    • Three: Heartbreak, Grief
    • Four: Rest, Rejuvenation
    • Five: Conflict, Defeat
    • Six: Transition, Change
    • Seven: Betrayal, Deception
    • Eight: Isolation, Trapped
    • Nine: Depression, Anxiety
    • Ten: Loss, Crisis
    • Page: Energy, Curiosity
    • Knight: Opinions, Hastiness
    • Queen: Perception, Quick Thinking
    • King: Clarity, Cunning
  • Cups: Related to Water, Emotions and Love
    • Ace: Compassion, Love
    • Two: Attraction, Union
    • Three: Friendship, Community
    • Four: Apathy, Contemplation
    • Five: Loss, Regret
    • Six: Nostalgia, Innocence
    • Seven: Imagination, Visualization
    • Eight: Disappointment, Escapism
    • Nine: Comfort, Contentedness
    • Ten: Happiness, Balance
    • Page: Creativity, Harmony
    • Knight: Romantic, Charming
    • Queen: Calm, Compassionate
    • King: Emotional Balance, Mental Stability
  • Wands: Related to Fire, Creativity and Willpower
    • Ace: Inspiration, Creation
    • Two: Progress, Discovery
    • Three: Foresight, Preparation
    • Four: Harmony, Home
    • Five: Disagreement, Strife
    • Six: Self Confidence, Personal Growth
    • Seven: Competition, Perseverance
    • Eight: Change, Movement
    • Nine: Persistence, Resilience
    • Ten: Burden, Responsibility
    • Page: Enthusiasm, Energy
    • Knight: Passion, Adventure
    • Queen: Vibrancy, Life
    • King: Visions, Dreams
  • Pentacles: Related to Earth, Physical Body and Material Possessions
    • Ace: Manifestation, Prosperity
    • Two: Balance, Adaptability
    • Three: Teamwork, Harmony
    • Four: Stability, Safety
    • Five: Insecurity, Worry
    • Six: Generosity, Charity
    • Seven: Vision, Investment
    • Eight: Education, Commitment
    • Nine: Gratitude, Luxury
    • Ten: Wealth, Abundance
    • Page: New Opportunities, Manifestation
    • Knight: Efficiency, Frugal
    • Queen: Maternal, Realistic
    • King: Controlled, Disciplined





24 year old Mvskoke Creek Two Spirit Artist and Author.

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