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All That is Tarot: Learn Tarot

LESSON 1: Understanding the cards

Hi! In this free course, I will guide you through learning to read Tarot cards and how to use them to gain a greater insight and understanding of your life. When you start out and even as you gain confidence, check Card Meanings for a general understanding and interpretation of a card and then work out what it means for you.

I have used the Rider-Waite traditional pack based on the original Pamela Colman Smith illustrations, but you can choose the pack that resonates best with you. The most important aspect of using Tarot is to understand that they are a tool used to access your subconscious mind. By focusing on a card, knowing its general meaning, and allowing thoughts to rise you will find out the message it is giving you. The cards are there to guide you if you allow yourself to be open to the truth. Your life and your situation are unique but it is also bound up with universal feelings, thoughts, and emotions that are conveyed in the cards. Learning to use Tarot is about mindfulness, increasing self-awareness, and allowing your inner guide to lead the way forward into smoother more joyful experiences.

Shuffling and laying the cards

There are no hard and fast rules for how or where you do your readings. However, Tarot is linked with mindfulness and focus. Be in a quiet space, make yourself comfortable, and relax. Be clear about the question you are asking or the situation you want guidance on. It is helpful to develop your personal ritual for shuffling and laying down the cards and having respect for the insights they offer. Here are a few practices that I use. My cards are wrapped in a silk cloth and kept in a cloth bag. I shuffle the cards until something tells me to stop and split the deck into three piles using my left hand. I then pick the three piles up in any order I feel is right and put them back together into one pack. The top card is the card I use for a one-card reading. Whichever spread I am using, I lay the card/s down on the silk cloth and concentrate on interpreting the message by allowing the card/s to speak to me. I do not have any preconceived idea about what I want the cards to say or expect the cards to say; I let the meaning come to me. When the reading is over I put the card/s back together in one pack, shuffle them, and say 'thank you' before packing them away. You can follow this ritual or create your own method of getting into the right zone mentally.


If you are a beginner one of the best ways to get to know your cards is to take the time to study each individual card. Start with the Major Arcana and move on to the Minor Arcana when you are ready. Take time to look at the card and the illustration or image carefully. Once you know the general meaning of a card, allow your thoughts and emotions to speak to you, and listen to what they are saying.

When you are ready to try a reading, the one-card layout is, of course, the easiest spread often used for a quick insight into what is happening in any given moment, an answer to a yes/no question, or a card you select daily for meditation.

Let's look at some examples:

Click on the links to look at any of the cards below and find their general Tarot meanings. Now study one individual card and allow all the images to tell you a story. Pay attention to thoughts or ideas that pop into your head and hold onto them. Remember, this is your life and it may be that your reaction to a particular card is telling you the most important thing you need to know. Whatever a card evokes in you is what you need to pay attention to.

The Star is a very positive card and once you know the meanings of the cards you will immediately feel pleased when a positive card appears. But, take the time to allow the full meaning to take root in you; embrace the positivity and see how you can ensure it is with you going forward. It may be that your reaction to such a positive card makes you feel doubtful, fearful even. Pay attention. Why do you doubt it? Are you afraid of disappointment?

The Fool is the first card in the Tarot Major Arcana. It represents new beginnings, stepping out into the world without a care in the world. Being brave and taking a leap of faith are signified in this card. Does it make you feel energised or fearful? What are you afraid of? Or are you being naive and know deep down that you ought to take more care and check a few things out before you start something? As you study the card pay attention to the immediate reaction you have.

The Death card can be a scary card when you first start to learn Tarot and for sure it is not the happy card we necessarily want to see. It is human nature to want the cards to reassure us and tell us that amazing things are going to happen but once you embrace the cards as your friends and guides, you will see that by being honest about what a card is telling you and taking the necessary action you can make your life better. Let's say you want to know about a relationship and the Death card comes up. This may not be what you want to see because you are hoping that the relationship will get better or that you are with the right person. This Tarot card could be telling you that endings are new beginnings. It may be advising you to make big changes in the dynamics of the relationship to improve it. By really listening to your heart and inner feelings you will know the answer and it may be one that you have been ignoring.

The Major Arcana in Tarot represents important changes or significant events in life while the Minor Arcana tends to be more in the moment. However, they are still impactful and deserve the same contemplation as the Major Arcana as they often refer to details that you should pay attention to.

The Six of Cups tells us about meeting up with old friends, and memories of childhood. Look at the image and notice what emotions it stirs in you. The Tarot could be telling you to honour your inner child; to be more carefree and find pleasure in simple things. There could be a reunion and the gathering of old friends, or even a chance meeting about to happen. You can prepare yourself.

The Swords are associated with mental energy, often related to stress but also to the intellect and the workings of the mind. When you look at the image on the Four of Swords Tarot card what do you feel? It could be the recognition that you have been overdoing things, worrying without realising, and need to take time out to rest and take stock. Or are you avoiding taking action or speaking out? By listening to your subconscious you will know if it's best to step back at this time.

Learning the Tarot can provide the path to uncovering your underlying fears and desires, gaining a better understanding of yourself, and, by listening to your subconscious, enabling you to make better choices.

That's the end of Lesson One in Learning Tarot. In the next Lesson, I will explain the Three Card Layout and The Celtic Cross. In the meantime get to know your new guides!

If you want a free introductory reading contact me on:

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