Everything you need to learn how to read tarot cards

Learn to see the future.


Marisa Losciale

Dot Recs

Posted on Aug 5, 2019   Updated on Feb 10, 2021, 2:09 pm CST

If you’re on Twitter or Instagram,  you’ve most likely come across pictures of tarot card spreads and wondered just how they are used. Well, guess what? You don’t have to be tapped by the universe or use a diamond-and-gold-encrusted deck to learn how to read tarot. All you need is some patience, respect for the practice and its history, determination, relatively OK study skills, and your choice of tarot cards. 

What is a tarot reading?

tarot cards for beginners

Tarot is a type of cartomancy or card reading that (usually) uses a deck of 78 cards, all of which have assigned symbolism and belong to one of two karmic categories–the Major Arcana or Minor Arcana.

How to read tarot cards

Although learning to master the art of tarot takes a lot of time, patience, and practice, anyone can do it. All you need is a tarot deck and a deep understanding of what the cards mean.

Every card has assigned symbolism which is interpreted depending on a few facets. One being its position when pulled–is the card upright or reversed? The topic of the reading–are we focusing on relationships, a career, a past life, etc.? The context of the reading–what are the other cards saying? The card’s location in the spread–this tells us who or what may be influenced. And finally, if there are any repeating patterns–is there a dominant suit or theme?

Each card has a few definitions, so it’s recommended that beginners stick to only reading upright cards’ until they nail their meanings. Upright cards are the ones where the images face you as they were designed to. Reversed cards are the ones where the images look upside down or reversed. Without oversimplifying their meanings, a good way to understand the cards is by employing the methods listed below.

  • Is the energy coming in or is the energy receding?
    • If a card is upright, consider the energy to be coming into this person’s life. Maybe they have yet to experience this shift. If the card is pulled in reverse, its influence is leaving this person’s life. They have likely already experienced this shift.
  • Is the card of strong or weak influence?
    • When a card is pulled upright, it is a powerful force. If the card is in reverse, it has less dictatorship over the reading.
  • Is this a positive or negative aspect?
    • Upright cards tend to be interpreted as positive influences, things are going well in that area of life. It’s stable. But if the card is pulled in reverse, it can signal that things are about to get challenging. Be prepared as difficulty lies ahead.
  • Consider the plot of a situation
    • If the card is upright, it is said that this particular person, stage of life, or conflict has fully developed. Nothing here needs work. However, if the card is in reverse it can indicate that the circumstances, person in question, or project needs a little help getting to its final form. The situation has not fully matured.
  • Location of the card in the spread
    • What position the card holds in a spread also helps determine its significance. Does this card concern history? Is it a warning about the future? What are the other cards saying?

Types of tarot spreads

When working with tarot cards, there are a few ways you can read them. Depending on the type of reading or message you’re seeking, the number of cards and how they’re organized (the spread) will vary.

For example, some readers use one card for broad overviews of the day. Coincidentally, this is known as the Card of the Day. Variations of this pull exist for other types of readings, too. And in my experience, this is a really great way to practice memorization of all the cards and their meanings. First, decide your intent–what are you looking to get out of the reading? Do you want to know what the theme of the day is? What message is relevant for you to hear at the moment? You decide. Then you can proceed by shuffling the deck and picking the card that stands out to you most.

Another popular spread is the Three-card Spread or the Past, Present, and Future. This spread lays three cards out next to each other with the first card representing the past, the middle card standing in for the present, and the last card signals the future. This type of spread has also been modified to read as the beginning, middle, and end as well as stop, start, continue. This particular spread, in my opinion, is one of the most versatile and important foundations for learning how to read tarot cards. There are so many ways to use a simple three-card spread and BiddyTarot does a fabulous job at laying out more examples.

Other types of spreads include the Celtic Cross, the Wheel of the Year, the Seven-Card Horseshoe, and the Pentagram spread. These layouts are better for more advanced tarot readers, so I don’t recommend them for first-timers. However, if you’re looking to refine your skills instead of building them out, LearnReligions.com offers simple and easy-to-follow instructions for the aforementioned spreads.

Major Arcana

The Major Arcana, also known as the Trumps, is built using a foundation of 22 cards. These cards are usually interpreted as showing forces outside of your control, a significant situation, or something influenced by the Divine. In other words, the Major Arcana represents the Universe (or Spirit’s) plans for you. It’s fate.

The Fool (O)

Upright this card represents new beginnings, spontaneity, innocence, and having faith. Who’s to say what’s on the road ahead? You may as well meet it as your best self–cheery and optimistic.

Reversed this card can symbolize recklessness, folly, risk-taking, or a snag. Slow your roll. All actions have reactions, and ignoring your repercussions doesn’t make them any less consequential. If something sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.

The Magician (I)

When pulled upright the Magician is interpreted as a power card. Manifestation, awareness, and resourcefulness are all major themes of this card. It serves as a subtle reminder of your inner strength and how the power within you can flow out of your inner monologue and into your outer world.

When in reverse, the Magician can refer to manipulation, untapped power, or an area in life that you need to apply more focused concentration to. It’s time to change your mindset or your behaviors because there’s still unfinished business to attend to.

The High Priestess (II)

Upright this card is symbolic of the divine feminine, the subconscious, and intuition. It’s time for you to listen to your intuition–meditate, pray, foster your spirituality.

Reversed it represents secrets, withdrawal, internal dissonance, and blocked intuition. Mindfulness is key and you can’t be afraid to ask yourself tough question. That’s how you illuminate the path you should be taking.

The Empress (III)

Upright this card is interpreted as abundance, maternal influence, the creation of life/romance/art/business, a new opportunity, and stability. It’s a sign to nurture your pursuits and manifest the best possible outcome.

When in reverse, it resonates with financial and domestic/relationship issues, dependence on others–a stand-still of some sort. It’s a reminder to prioritize self-care and self-love.

The empress tarot card. Features a women sitting on a throne wearing a crown and holding a crystal wand.
Suppawit Rmmabut/Shutterstock

The Emperor (IV)

An upright Emperor card is all about control, authority, hierarchies, structure/organization, and paternal influence. Prepare to act with a clear and decisive mind.

When pulled in reverse, The Emperor explores themes of power struggles/domination, lack of discipline, inflexibility, and oppression. Your current system or state of affairs is not benefitting anyone. Are you lacking self-control? Or are acting like a tyrant out of fear of losing control? Either way, it’s time to reassess your approach.

The emperor card. Features a man sitting in a throne wearing a red cape and holding a scepter.
Alina Vaska/Shutterstock

The Hierophant (V)

In some decks, this card is referred to as The High Priest or The Pope. Regardless of its title, when upright The Hierophant/High Priest/Pope is indicative of tradition, religion, the path to education or knowledge, spiritual wisdom, and embracing what’s conventional. It’s a sign to stop trying to change the rules to better suit you. Instead, you must conform to the way things are.

If in reverse, this card represents restriction, personal beliefs, and defying social ties or norms. You’re looking to make something that feels rigid more elastic. Continue to question the status quo. Do these routines and relationships still serve you?

The Hierophant tarot card. Image of a person sitting in a throne between two pillars wearing a crown and red cape, with both hands raised one holding a scepter.
Alina Vaska/Shutterstock

The Lovers (VI)

Upright this card signifies the ideal relationship, love, harmony, trust, (sexual) connection, values, and choices. It’s a sign to remain true to yourself and make decisions based on your authentic beliefs, regardless of the situation. What’s your philosophy for life? Are you portraying your genuine self to others? How does it feel to be so vulnerable?

When the card is in reverse, however, it symbolizes an imbalance or strain in relationships and avoidance. Has your communication become less frequent or more frigid? Is there a potential fear of commitment? Do you feel like you’re being lead on or are leading someone on? Are you ignoring someone after they acted rashly? It’s time to make amends and let go of the past. You can choose to air your grievances or you can live in fear of the truth–the choice is ultimately yours.

The Chariot (VII)

When upright, this card deals with themes of determination, willpower, ambition, goals, and claiming victory over obstacles you face. It seeks to validate your strength in overcoming trauma, problems, and other stressors. Keep in mind that all you need to be successful is faith in yourself and enough focus to follow through. The Chariot awaits…

If you pull The Chariot in reverse, you need to work on your lack of self-discipline and motivation. Impulsivity and ambition are two very different things and the sooner you learn this, the better. You need to start asserting yourself when it comes to matters that deal with your future. You’re not going to become successful on a whim. Stop dreaming and start planning.

Strength (VIII)

This may be the simplest card to interpret. Upright this card discusses themes of inner strength, courage, fortitude, and compassion. Your resilience is a gift that grants you stability, and your fearlessness allows you to tell it like it is. Add these two traits alongside your understanding nature and you’re able to offer endless support and empathy. While this is all fine and well, be careful not to overpour your cup. Doing good for others at the expense of yourself is not sustainable.

If you pull the Strength card in reverse, it symbolizes less optimistic tales. There may be periods of self-doubt, intense emotion, and an overall lack of inner strength or vision. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of imposter syndrome. You need to work on your self-esteem. Remind yourself that everyone is insecure about something. There’s no sense in letting anxiety run your life. Confidence is everything.

The Hermit (IX)

Upright this card can be interpreted as introspection, soul-searching, mentorship, reflection, inner truth, and self-guidance. There’s a pondering here of some sort. What are you contemplating? The answer lies within what you find fulfilling.

If The Hermit is pulled in reverse, it can mean that you’re in a situation where you’re isolating yourself to no avail. Introspection shouldn’t be so lonely. Complete solitude won’t help you find your inner truth. Stop getting lost in your own little world and rejoin the others outside. Human connection is a necessity, not a luxury.

Wheel of Fortune (X)

This card explores dualistic themes–the division of good and bad. It’s a turning point in the cycles of life. When upright, the Wheel of Fortune serves as a reminder to enjoy all that is good in life. The main message here is to not take your luck for granted because circumstances will certainly change. You don’t want to miss out on what you have while you have it. Show some appreciation and live life to the absolute fullest.

In reverse, the Wheel of Fortune is a symbol of hope. Although you’ve dealt with misfortune up to this point, it’s not forever. Life gives and it takes, and that’s just the name of the game. So instead of swimming in a sea of self-pity, learn to accept it. Because without the bad times, there would be no good times. So settle into your boots and find your center. Change is coming and it’s time for you to stand up tall and claim it.

Justice (XI)

An upright Justice card is an indicator of accountability, truth, and awareness. Life requires a lot of decision-making and sometimes we’re unsure of what the “right” next step should be. The Justice card is a reminder that what is worthy of praise and attention will be rewarded. Every cause has an effect so your actions should mirror your desired results. That said, if you’ve been wronged, then this card should provide you with a sense of relief. Fairness and equity are on their way to you. However, if you’ve been the one in the wrong, then it’s time to own the harm you’ve done. The truth will come out eventually.

When it’s reversed, it could mean that you’re living in a state of denial, dishonesty, or just lack accountability. You can’t try to run from your guilt or banish repercussions by ignoring them. Learn to embrace your mistakes and own them. Otherwise, they’ll own you. Bygones can be bygones as long as you do the work to heal whatever’s hurt. You can’t change the past, but you can control the future. Cut yourself some slack, stop looking to place the blame elsewhere, and get to work on carving out progress. You can blossom, but first, you have to plant yourself in nutrient-rich soil and give yourself the water to grow.

The Hanged Man (XII)

If you pull this card upright, it’s said to represent an interlude. You’ve come to a crossroads of sorts and something in your life may be coming to an unexpected halt. You’re not happy about current circumstances and may feel like you’re stuck in a rut. This is a sign to pause and suspend any decision making until you’re sure that it’s what you want. This is an opportunity to surrender to what is. That may mean walking away from whatever you feel you don’t have control over or simply changing your perspective of the situation. It’s time to break free from old habits and understand that making sacrifices isn’t inherently a bad thing and you can’t control everything. In time, the answers to your concerns will come to you clearly. This is your metamorphosis, so stop being so damn dramatic about it.

If The Hanged Man is reversed, though, it means you need to stop needlessly sacrificing. The universe has sent you warnings, delays, and has even stalled you but you’re just not getting the message. You’re probably frustrated that things aren’t going the way you want them to, but it’s for a reason. Instead of being disappointed with the direction of where life has taken you, ask yourself what your role in it has been. Are you continuing the pattern? What are you trying to avoid by not making changes? Why are you unwilling to face the problem head-on? What’s with the attitude? It’s time to try something new.

Death (XIII)

Everyone is scared of pulling this card. While I understand something titled “Death” isn’t the most uplifting, I can assure you this is not the card to be afraid of. When upright, the Death card can be an indicator of upcoming transformation, transitions, and endings. Something in your life is coming to an end so that you can embark on the new phase of your journey. You know what they say: when one door closes, another opens. So get ready for new beginnings. Although this is a rather positive card, its initiation may not be as favorable. This sweeping change can be difficult, sudden, and in some cases, even traumatic. But once the sting wears off, you’ll have a fresh lease on life.

In reverse, the Death card tells us that you’ve been resisting change. There’s an inner purge that must take place in order for you to get to the next phase of your life. By refusing to examine what it is you need to modify and repeating negative patterns, you’re setting yourself up for major regret. Whatever ideology you’re holding on to in hopes that this situation will work itself out needs to be forgotten. This way of moving about life no longer serves you. Don’t miss this opportunity to feel empowered by consciously choosing the correct path. If you don’t make the decision to let go of the past, the universe will force you to in one way or another. So do you want to do this the easy way or the hard way?

Temperance (XIV)

This card is the epitome of the phrase “everything in moderation.” When it’s upright, the Temperance card signifies that you’ve found inner peace and harmony within yourself and your relationships. But it can also serve as a reminder to examine what you’ve assigned a priority status to. In order to keep things stable, you need to create a balance between your wants, needs, desires, and your abilities. Be patient–everything is unfolding just as it should.. Respect divine timing.

If you pull the Temperance card in reverse, it can signal that there’s a disparity in the relationship you have with yourself or with others. Something is not being reciprocated here, and instead of finding the root cause of this disharmony, you’re being reckless and argumentative. The lesson here is that you can’t seek gratification from others. You must offer it to yourself. What else are you doing to deprive yourself of life’s balance? Realign yourself and work on healing those wounds you’ve been trying so hard to hide.

The Devil (XV)

The Devil card represents your shadow self or the parts of you that you don’t want to admit to having. A lot of the time our shadow selves reign over the darker themes of life that we may be too embarrassed to admit to having because we feel as though we have no control over them. It may feel as though outside influences and negative attachments have authority over us. But that’s The Devil talking. The truth is, we are in control. There are always options and some will be better than others, so we have to be mindful in our choosing. Upright, it can indicate that we may be out of control, and it’s time to be aware of our negative influences and do what’s necessary to free ourselves from them. It’s time to reclaim your power.

In reverse, The Devil card signals that we have one last duty to ourselves before we can level up: we have to let go of fear and release any negative attachments or habits. You’ve become aware of the obsessions, materialism, dependency, restrictions, and other self-limitations that you’ve given too much power to. And now that your perspective has changed, you’re ready to do what you have to in order to change these circumstances. You’re reclaiming your power or energy–maybe setting a boundary? The message here is to not get overwhelmed by self-pity or regret, learn from it, and move forward with gratitude and strength.

The Tower (XVI)

If there is any card you should feel apprehensive about pulling, let it be this one. In its simplest form, The Tower is symbolic of sudden and scary upheavals, destruction, and chaos. Although the Death card deals with change, so does The Tower–just on a much more massive level. The type of change The Tower brings with it is one that will shake you to your core. But it’s happening so that you can be closer to your Highest Self.

Upright this card signals life-altering events, like a loss, a tragedy, a divorce, a bad break-up, a horrific accident, natural disasters, bankruptcy. It’s everything you pray for protection from and this card serves as a warning that you’re heading into dangerous territory. Start acting more responsibly, and be more mindful of your safety and finances. It’s possible to avert disaster, but in the case that you don’t, at least be open to its lessons.

When pulled in reverse this card is a little less terrifying (maybe?). It means that whatever significant upheaval that was destined to hit you has already made its impact, and you’re either in the middle of it or doing what you can to delay the inevitable. You may have even averted disaster. Only you can determine how you relate to this card. But I hate to be the one to break it to you: if you’re trying to push off hardship, it’s time to face the music. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life and you’re just going to have to live with it and move on. Stop denying that change is happening, you’re only hurting yourself.

However, if you feel as though you’ve already lived through the affliction that the reversed Tower card represents, this is a sign to let go. There’s no sense in trying to rebuild whatever it is you lost. Instead, you need to be focusing on making room for new people, experiences, things, and your future.

The Star (XVII)

The Star can be interpreted as the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Upright this card indicates that you have a renewed spiritual energy, you’re content with life, feeling inspired, and hopeful for the future. You’re in a place where you can finally recognize the challenges you’ve endured and have a newfound respect and appreciation for yourself. Use your confidence to trust that the universe has a plan for you and that everything is going to be A-okay. This illuminated state has likely increased your artistic nature, too. It’s the best time to express yourself through the arts and give that creativity a place to flow.

When this card is pulled in reverse, it can signal that you’re feeling hopeless, anxious, overwhelmed, and have lost your faith. The hardships you faced have drained you, and you’re likely questioning why these challenges came your way. But what you really need to be doing is looking deep within. Address your attitude and seek support for the wounds that still need healing. Your time of being victimized is over. So put on your work clothes and get started on building yourself back up.

The Moon (XVIII)

There’s a colloquialism surrounding the idea that “the freaks come out during the full moon,” and that’s because of their instincts. So when you pull the Moon card, go back to your instincts. Upright, this card is interpreted as an illusion. It carries “things aren’t always as they seem” energy. So follow your gut and trust your intuition, because it knows something you don’t.

Reversed, this card signifies that some lie, secret, or illusion (promoted either by you or other forces) has been uncovered. The anxiety that you’re feeling should start to dissipate because of this. And by releasing this fear or delusion, you’re able to regain your composure and process the repressed emotions or confusion regarding this situation. The message here is clarity is coming and you will find your way (as well as any missing objects).

The Sun (XIX)

Just as the sun brings us warmth, joy, and optimism, the Sun tarot card can be deciphered as the same. Upright, this card is symbolic of better days ahead. Things are going well for you and you’re full of positive energy. People are drawn to you because of this. You’re a ray of light and are able to tell truth from deceit. “Shine a light” on it, if you will. And if you’re dealing with any problems, they’ll melt away just as the spring sun does to winter’s last snowfall.

When pulled in reverse, the Sun card is calling your inner child. You’re in need of some organic enthusiasm and fun. You’ve likely been fighting bouts of pessimism, depression, or unrealistic expectations and the Sun is inviting you to break free from that. It’s a sign that you’re letting negative energy or circumstances get the best of you. Take a break, relax, and go soak up some good vibes and warm feels.

Judgement (XX)

This card isn’t so much about judging others as it is yourself. Is your self-awareness skyrocketing? This may be an indicator that you’re on the brink of (or already involved in) a spiritual awakening. Your increased level of mindfulness isn’t meant to be a burden so don’t ruminate on past decisions. Instead, let those thoughts and feelings drive you towards more positive decision making. The crossroads you’re at isn’t meant to tear you apart, it’s there to build you up. You’re at the end of this stage of your life so clear your conscience and allow yourself to grow. You hear the call, now answer it.

When reversed, the Judgment card is signaling that you’re being too hard on yourself. You’re letting self-doubt run the game for you and in doing so, you’re shutting out opportunities. Focus on self-love, forgiveness, and self-acceptance. Your shortcomings are not all that unique, and coping by being highly critical of others is no way to go about things. Rise above the self-criticism and break the cycle of being too harsh. It’s time to reinvent your self-talk and to start having more positive conversations. You are your worst critic and the universe believes you deserve to treat yourself with kindness.

The World (XXI)

Upright, this card can be interpreted as the completion of a cycle. You’ve fulfilled your needs, whether it be a long-term goal, a lengthy project, or a dream. Everything has come together beautifully and you should be proud of all that you have achieved! The message here is that you’ve gone through all the trials and tribulations necessary in this situation and now you have the world at your feet. Success is knocking on your door, go answer it!

When pulled in reverse, The World can indicate that you’ve hit a wall. Maybe you’re seeking closure or realize that things have changed faster than you’ve been able to process them. You’re allowed to want things for yourself but in order to reach these goals, you have to put the effort in. This delay or loss of motivation may have you wanting to cut corners, but you won’t be happy with the outcome if you do so. Remember quality over quantity. Roll your sleeves up and get to work, no one is going to do it for you. Or just accept that what you want isn’t feasible and cut your losses. Either way, saying it and doing it are two very different things.

Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana is made up of 56 cards that are split into four themes (or suits): Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Each suit is then further divided by numbers ranging from Ace to 10, which are known as the Pips. There’s also the four Court cards: the Page, the Knight, the King, and the Queen. Each suit has its own theme and the number on the card of any given suit is how the card expressed that theme. Usually, Pips are used to describe an event or how a situation may be unfolding, while the Court cards represent the person in question (or someone in their life).

Wands: Associated with the element of fire. Symbolic of willpower, creativity, energy, ambition, taking action, passion, and enthusiasm. The Wands host masculine energy and can be destructive in some instances.

Cups: Associated with the element of water. The Cups are representative of relationships, connections, emotions, intuition, healing, and cleansing. The Cups expel feminine energy and are considered to be purifying.

Swords: Associated with the element of air. The Swords are said to signify thoughts, intellect, knowledge, attitudes and personal beliefs. The Swords exude masculine energy that can be rather forceful.

Pentacles: Associated with the element of earth. The Pentacles relates to the physical or tangible realm. Think work, finances, nature, health, and self-image. This suit is said to have feminine energy that is grounded, receptive, supportive, stable, and fertile.

Without over-simplifying the Pips and Court cards, I’m going to interpret them as best I can so you can get a general sense of what the card means. This section is definitely more difficult to explain given all of the nuance involved.

My advice to you is to focus on only one of the suits. A great deal of the interpretation will come from the spread itself. Yes, these cards are ordained with a generic meaning but like I said before, understanding them requires more than just a measly definition. What does the imagery on the card tell you? Where is this particular card in the spread? What type of reading are you doing? What’s your intuition telling you? These are all concepts for consideration.

Once you have that suit down, move on to the next, and so on and so forth. Then, once you feel confident in being able to interpret two or three Pips, test yourself. Mix the suits and practice reading them either for yourself, a friend, or whoever may be interested. Don’t be surprised if this takes you years to master. There’s a reason they call this a practice!

Suit of Wands

Suit of wands tarot cards
Alina Vaska/Shutterstock

Ace of Wands

Pulling an Ace of Wands upright will indicate a new initiative or passion, meaning you’re taking action and birthing something new.

When pulled in reverse, however, it could signify that there’s a delay or disappointing news on the way.

Two of Wands

If the Two of Wands is pulled in its upright position, it’s symbolic of a fork in the road. You’re being asked to make a choice.

When this card is reversed, it represents the feeling of being held back, missing out on an opportunity, choosing the safe option instead of what feels right, or a lack of cohesive planning. The message here is to stop fearing the unknown.

Three of Wands

Upright, this card represents some form of travel (abroad, long-term, a short stay, whatever it may be). This is wanderlust in the form of tarot. The universe wishes you all the best on your trip!

When in reverse, this card depicts the meaning of returning or moving back home, as well as a lack of adventure or progress. It’s as if you’re homesick for a vision you had about a place that didn’t pan out the way you had hoped it would.

Four of Wands

When pulled upright this card is indicative of happy families, feelings of support, security, and stability. You’ve done all the right things to ensure a happy home.

If reversed, it can signify unhappy families, instability, or something in your life uprooting.

Five of Wands

Upright this card is said to represent conflict. Think arguments, clashing personalities, pettiness, and lack of cooperation.

In reverse, the Five of Wands brings more positive forecasts. It signifies the end of strife. There’s cooperation, solutions, and agreements being reached.

Six of Wands

Upright, this signals that you have the upper hand in a situation. You may finally receive the recognition and praise you deserve, but most importantly achievement and triumph is on the horizon.

Reversed, it means the opposite. Think failure, losing the battle, having the disadvantage and lack of confidence.

Seven of Wands

When pulled upright the Seven of Wands is representative of you standing your ground and fighting for what you believe in.

If reversed, it shows you quitting the defense and giving in to something or someone else’s insight. You’ve been worn down.

Eight of Wands

Upright the Eight of Wants is indicative of exciting times. Hastiness, infatuation/obsessions, taking fast action and thinking on your feet are all themes of this card.

Reversed, this card signals slow progress, bad timing. You may feel impatient or out of control.

Nine of Wands

Upright, the Nine of Wands card tells you to keep pushing forward and persevere. Gather your strength and finish out the battle–you’re so close to success.

When pulled in reverse this card is a little less positive. It can be interpreted as you missing the mark and dropping your guard. You don’t have any fight left and likely have not yet learned from past mistakes.

Ten of Wands

Upright, the Ten of Wands is signifying a situation that started out positively but took a turn for the worse. Now you feel stressed and obligated to continue on this uphill battle. But if you keep going, you may be successful.

Reversed, this card is like flogging a dead horse. Whatever it is, you need to let it go. Learn what responsibilities are yours and when to say no.

Page of Wands

Upright this card is responsible for bringing good news. Creativity, charisma, and passion are on their way and quickly. But it can also be interpreted as the person in question having a tendency to rush into things without considering the consequences or full scope of duties. When describing a person, this card stands in for a fire sign who is cheeky, full of energy, inexperienced, and somewhat childish.

Pulling the Page of Wands in reverse can mean bad news is on the way or that you’re about to encounter some setbacks. When describing a person, this can also be interpreted as a fire sign who lacks ambition.

Knight of Wands

Upright this card is reminding you to not be so cynical. Things are going better than you expected or care to realize. Keep putting your plans in motion and finish what you started. When describing a person, this card is representative of a fire sign who is fearless and assertive.

Reversed, the Knight of Wands serves as an ego check. Your hastiness has gotten the best of you and without some discipline, you won’t be able to pump the brakes or save yourself from the crash. When describing a person, this card is showing a fire sign who is arrogant, reckless, overly-competitive, and volatile.

Queen of Wands

Upright, you’re taking charge and embracing your independence. When describing a person, the Queen of Wands symbolizes a fire sign who is full of courage and passionate about their beliefs, a true juggler who mastered the art of multitasking.

Reversed, the Queen of Wands is indicative of burnout and self-righteousness. You’ve taken on too much and are now suffering from disorganization, exhaustion, and self-inflicted chaos. When describing a person, the Queen of Wands shows a fire sign who’s manipulative and spiteful.

King of Wands

Upright, the King of Wands paints a very positive picture. Whatever you set out to achieve, you will. You have the motivation, energy, and experience to do whatever you set your mind to. When describing an individual, the King of Wands represents a fire sign that is supportive, flexible, dependable, and honest.

When pulled in reverse, this card is interpreted as a lack of enthusiasm, knowledge, and confidence. You’re not prepared to achieve whatever it is you want yet you keep trying to control others (and their opinions about you). You need to stop caring about what others think or do and start thinking about what it is you need to engineer your goals. When talking about a person, the King of Wands represents a fire sign that can be a bully or has control issues. They’re unreliable, stubborn, and can have quite the ego.

Suit of Cups

Ace of Cups

The beginning of a new relationship, romance, or something that will bring you joy is on the horizon.

In reverse, this card can indicate a period of sadness, despair, pain, or repressed emotions. Bad news may be on the way.

Two of Cups

Pulling the Two of Cups upright makes for a very positive reading. It usually signals that there is harmony, mutual respect, and adoration in your personal relationships. You may have found the perfect union or are busy blossoming a true love (or business) scenario. Your friendships and romantic relationships are a stable two-way street.

But if you pull this in reverse, your personal life is likely lacking balance. You may be arguing with loved ones or feeling like your relationships are only contributing to your tension and stress. You need to get yourself in check before you can approach the conversation regarding mutual respect. Treat people how you want to be treated–that includes yourself.

Three of Cups

Upright this card can be translated as a sign of celebrations and reunions. Happy events are on their way to you, and your social life is blooming.

Reversed, the Four of Cups may be a sign that your social life is lacking. Maybe gossiping got the best of you or your inner circle and now plans are being canceled and friendships are in jeopardy.

Four of Cups

Upright this card stands for self-absorption, daydreaming, and romanticizing the past. You may feel as though you lost out on an opportunity and can’t stop fantasizing about how things could have panned out differently. The lesson here is to be mindful.

When the Four of Cups is pulled in reverse, it symbolizes you letting go of these feelings of self-pity. You’re able to focus on the positive and ready to act.

Five of Cups

Upright, the Five of Cups represents a whole world of negative emotions. Think sadness, loss, despair, grief, anger, loneliness, and emotional instability in all its other forms.

In reverse, this card is a little more light-hearted. It tells the reader that you’re in the stages of acceptance and healing.

Six of Cups

Upright this card portrays nostalgia, reminiscing, and thinking about the past (either someone or something). If you’re going through a hard time, this card can also be interpreted as a suggestion to ask for comfort and support from those close to you or that you may be acting childish.

When reversed, the Six of Cups is usually referenced as a good omen. Like I said before, the definition of the cards is also reliant on what the rest of the spread looks like. In some cases, this card can indicate that you’ve moved on from the past and are focusing on the future or that you’ve matured, sought out the counseling/support you needed and this is the Universe validating that hard work. However, it can also signify that you’re still romanticizing the past and need to take off your rose-tinted glasses or that you endured some form of abuse/stolen innocence.

Seven of Cups

Upright this card tells a tale of endless possibilities, illusions, and wishful thinking. Reel in your imagination and be realistic before making any decisions.

If pulled in reverse, the Seven of Cups serves as a reality check. You’ve checked out of La-La-Land and are now seeing the world with clarity. The abundance of options you may have once thought you had is now lacking thanks to your prioritization of logic.

Eight of Cups

Simply put, pulling this card upright stands for abandonment. It could be a person, a project, an idea, or a feeling. You’re turning your back on someone or getting out of a bad situation.

Reversed, the Eight of Cups can be interpreted as having a fear of the unknown. This could be a fear of abandonment, a fear of commitment, whatever it is that you’re afraid of is now in control of your life. You’re faking your happiness in an attempt to avoid change. The lesson here is to take the chance and be vulnerable–you’ll be better off for it.

Nine of Cups

This is the card of fulfillment and satisfaction. It’s a sign that your wishes are coming true and whatever dreams you have will become reality.

Reversed, however, this card isn’t so positive. An upside-down Nine of Cups can be indicative of disappointment, devastation, and lack of feeling accomplished. Whatever dreams you had may have turned out to be more nightmarish than you expected. This struggling can also be a precursor to a lack of self-esteem or low confidence levels.

Ten of Cups

Upright the Ten of Cups is symbolic of blessings, abundance, spiritual and emotional gratification. This is pure bliss. 

When reversed, this card can be a telltale sign of discontent, neglect, and dysfunction (especially within families).

Page of Cups

Upright, this card is the messenger and symbolic of the inner child. Lighthearted news, invitations, and other information relating to the frivolous side of life are on the way. Don’t be so serious, it’s time for fun. When describing a person, this card stands for a water sign who is young at heart (or a child) that is in tune with their intuition and unafraid to daydream.

If pulled in reverse, this card is trying to warn you of upcoming emotional distress. Whether it be unrequited love, disappointing news, or canceled social events, some bad news is on the way that will leave you feeling envious. When describing a person, this card is representative of a water sign that tends to act like a drama queen, a child, or someone who’s attention-seeking. 

Knight of Cups

Get ready to be swept off of your feet, because pulling an upright Knight of Cups can signify romantic proposals or following your heart. This card is diplomatic and concerned and it radiates warm and caring energy. When describing a person, this card usually stands for a water sign who is genuine, charming and checks all the boxes off of your list. 

If reversed, this card is begging you to prepare to be heartbroken. Relationships and commitments may soon come to an end. When describing a person, this card represents a water sign who is manipulative, a cheater, and may be afraid of commitment. 

Queen of Cups

Upright this card is reminding you to be more sympathetic, compassionate, and mindful of how you treat yourself and those around you. When describing a person, this card stands for a water sign that acts as a motherly figure or someone who is kind, caring, and supportive. 

In reverse, the Queen of Cups is a warning to not let your insecurities seep into your personal relationships. When describing a person, the reversed Queen of Cups can be interpreted as a water sign who is lacking empathy, self-centered, shallow, and distrustful. 

King of Cups

Upright this card is trying to tell you that you are capable of controlling your emotions and that you have found a good balance between what your mind knows to be true and what your heart wants. You are the definition of emotionally intelligent and mature. When describing a person, this card can be a symbol of a water sign who is empathetic, a good listener, emotionally in-tune, and big on family. 

If pulled in reverse, the King of Cups may be a sign that you (or the person in question) is being too sensitive. You’re lacking mental sophistication and tend to make decisions (or react) based solely on emotions. If describing a person, this card stands for a water sign that is vindictive, moody, and weaponizes their emotions.

Suit of Swords

Ace of Swords

Upright, the Ace of Swords represents a breakthrough. You’ve received mental clarity and are embracing new ideas.

Reversed, the Ace of Swords indicates misinformation, failure, wrong decisions, and a creative block.

Two of Swords

Upright this card is indicative of a stalemate of sorts. You feel like you’re caught in the middle or stuck on a fence. But before you try to make both of the opposing parties happy, you need to stop being in denial.

In reverse, this card can represent some type of conflict, delay, or need for logic and reason. You can see the situation for what it is, so why are you still anxious? You know the answer.

Three of Swords

Pulled upright, the Three of Swords describes heartbreak and betrayal. You’ve either suffered an immense loss or are about to. 

In reverse, this card usually signals that you’re finally over whoever it was that broke your heart or betrayed you. You’re feeling more optimistic and reconciling with the grief.  However, this card can also be a sign that you’re only repressing your feelings and not actually processing them. 

Four of Swords

Upright this card is telling you that things aren’t as bad as you think they are. You’re just so overwhelmed and overloaded that even the smallest thing could cause you to break. Regroup your thoughts and come back to the situation with a clear head. 

When in reverse, this card offers a more promising prediction. You’ve reassessed your thoughts and taken actions to prevent future burnout. In some cases, this positioning can also suggest you haven’t done what you needed to heal and instead are heading towards total mental collapse. Mental health is important–prioritize it. 

Five of Swords

Upright, this is the card of deception. Tread lightly as things aren’t always as they seem. You may have to prepare to fight back, but if you do, you will likely be crowned victorious.

Reversed, this card means the hostile situation has escalated but you found (or are going to find) a peaceful and just solution to the problem at hand. Guilty parties will be held accountable.

Six of Swords

Upright, the Six of Swords is the card of overcoming hardship and healing. Whatever you went through took a toll on you, but you’re finally in a place where healing is possible. The initial burn is done stinging and a scab is forming. 

When pulled in reverse, this card validates your feelings of stormy weather and trouble ahead. Life is turbulent and filled with instability, but like all inclement weather, it will pass. 

Seven of Swords

This is the card of resourceful and risky behavior–someone is getting away with something. Watch out for psychological manipulation, scheming, and trojan horses. 

In reverse, this card is telling you that you’re lacking a backbone, especially when it comes to liars and cheaters taking advantage of you. Deep down you know something isn’t right but you’re ignoring your intuition. It may also symbolize you fessing up for something you feel guilty about. 

Eight of Swords

This card represents feeling hopeless or powerless in a situation. When pulled upright, you may be feeling like your hands are tied and you don’t have a say in the matter. But the lesson here is that you’re the only one holding you back and you can walk away at any moment. 

If reversed, it represents you finally tapping into the power within you to free you of the imaginary restraints you’ve set on yourself. But it can also mean that you’re surrendering to the restrictions that have been placed on you, which is why it’s important to refer to the other cards in the spread. 

Nine of Swords

This is the card of remorse and regret due to overthinking. The situation isn’t actually dire, you’re overanalyzing it and causing yourself nothing but stress. You’re blowing things out of proportion.

In reverse, this card tells us that you’ve learned to cope with the problems of the past. You’re no longer exaggerating slight issues into massive problems. That said, it can also mean you’ve found news ways to distort your reality and feed your histrionic behavior. Refer to the other cards in the spread. 

Ten of Swords

The Ten of Swords is the final nail in the coffin of a relationship or situation (erm, or I guess the final sword in the coffin?). Upright this card represents backstabbing behavior hence the imagery of swords in the back. It can also be an indicator of curses. 

Reversed, this card represents close calls (either with a person, situation, or a near-death experience). The lesson here is that you survived.

Page of Swords

Upright, this card is telling you that you need to be patient and to think before you speak. When describing a person, this card represents someone who is likely an Air sign that doesn’t hold back, is blunt, and can be insensitive at times. This person usually doesn’t mean harm, though. 

In reverse, the Page of Swords is telling you to get it together–you need to speak up. Be mindful of the way you communicate with the people in your life. When describing a person, this card represents someone who is cynical, sarcastic, and vindictive. They know exactly what they are doing. 

Knight of Swords

Upright, the Knight of Swords is here to tell you that you need to get ready to go with the flow. Change is coming and your ambition is required. When describing a person, this card represents someone who is likely an air sign with a strong personality that may have a relation to the military or security. 

Reversed, this card indicates that you’re too busy following the pack to realize you have an opportunity to jump forward and lead it. The opportunity you’ve been wanting is staring you in the face, but you’re just too out of control to realize it. When describing a person, this card represents someone who is likely an air sign that tends to be intimidating, a bully, and a bad influence. 

Queen of Swords

This is the card of constructive criticism and feedback. You need to be open-minded about the situation, but ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s realistic. As a person, this card stands in for someone that is likely an air sign, self-reliant, empathetic, and clever. 

If pulled in reverse, this card indicates dysfunction. You need support that you’re not getting. When describing a person, this card represents an air sign that is pessimistic, rude, and deceitful. 

King of Swords

This is the card of structure and methodicalness. When pulled upright, it tells us that you’re using logic, reason, ethics and morals to guide you in a situation (not your emotions). It can also represent legal or judicial matters. When describing a person, this card represents an air sign that has a good head on their shoulders, is analytical, and reliable. 

When pulled in reverse, it signifies a problem with authority and discipline. Is this situation really worth blowing up? When describing a person, this card stands in for an air sign that is defiant, aggressive, irrational, and manipulative. Run, don’t walk. 

Suit of Pentacles

Ace of Pentacles

The Ace of Pentacles will signify new beginnings and prosperity when it’s pulled in its upright position. This could be related to a new career path, a promotion, increased savings, or a business venture. The world is your oyster! 

However, if it’s in reverse, it’s indicating that there’s a lack of opportunity, instability, and greedy energy.

Two of Pentacles

Upright, the Two of Pentacles serves as a warning. Your work-life balance is all out of whack and you need to do something about it before you drop all the balls. This could also be a sign that you need to decide whether a relationship (business, romantic, or none of the above) is worth all the effort. Have you seen a return on your investment?

If you pull this card in reverse, you ignored the Universe’s previous warnings and bit off more than you could chew. Your life has not been balanced in some time and that has left you feeling overwhelmed and prioritizing all the wrong things. It’s true that we all need to be flexible, but you’re overextending yourself. Some may do their best work under pressure, but you are not some. You need to come up with a better plan of attack before you burn yourself at both ends.

Three of Pentacles

Upright this is the card of learning. You’re dedicated to your studies and your hard work is providing you with a steady foundation for a successful future. Whether it be career-oriented or personal lessons, you’re growing. This card can also suggest you may receive recognition for your efforts. Look to the rest of the spread to determine what kind of recognition you may be entitled to (financial, more opportunities, etc.). 

When pulled in reverse, this card suggests that you may not be putting in the work to further yourself, grow, or learn from your mistakes. This includes refusing to ask for help when you need it. Find something that motivates you and soon after you’ll see how teamwork really does make the dreamwork. 

Four of Pentacles

When in its upright position, this card symbolizes you holding onto someone or something from your past that you need to let go of. These things are not a security blanket, they’re actively stunting your ability to bloom as vibrantly as you could. The four pentacles are said to represent frugality, wealth, greed, and materialism. 

When the Four of Pentacles is pulled in reverse, it’s a sign that you’ve effectively cut the ties with (or are ready to let go of) the situations and people from your past that are no longer serving you. This card also serves as a warning to not go overboard with distancing yourself from the people in your life. Not everyone is toxic or and not everything is disposable. Your knives don’t always have to be out. Just know when you need to use them and don’t be afraid to. 

Five of Pentacles

Upright, this card represents a period of bad luck and hardship. This could be pertaining to a situation you’re dealing with now or a warning for the future. Financial instability, health issues, rocky relationships, are all possible. This isn’t a delightful card by any means, but the pain it showcases is only temporary. No need to become diluted by the pain of the situation, just keep moving forward and soon enough you will be through and past it. 

In reverse, this card is a little more positive and cheery. It signals an end to the hard and challenging times you’ve been going through. You can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s shining very brightly. 

Six of Pentacles

This is the card of generosity. Upright it stands for a situation in which someone has showered you with gifts, affection, knowledge, or emotional support. Or maybe you’re the one flowing with abundance and this is your sign to share that good fortune. It also means that if you’re struggling, there are people willing to help you–all you have to do is ask. 

In reverse, this card represents the idea of there always being “a catch” or ulterior motives involved regarding a particular situation. Are you kissing the ground someone walks on hoping that they’ll return the favor? Well, they won’t so you should try something else. Or maybe you’re the one who’s being too greedy. It might be time to reassess how you are using your influence. 

Seven of Pentacles

This is the card of fruition, when pulled upright its messaging relates to the seeds you’ve sewn. They’re about to blossom and bloom, allowing you to reap all the rewards of your careful planning and execution. Whatever you’ve been manifesting, it’s on its way to you just remain focused and trust the universe!

In reverse, this card places a focus on the direction of your life and what you’ve done to get yourself there. Feeling lost? Or like your effort is meaningless? The lesson here is to check in with your intention–are you doing it to succeed? Or are you doing it out of obligation? Or are you just not paying it any attention? Just because you’re paddling, doesn’t mean the canoe of life will take you where you want to be. You have to set out with goals and a direction in mind. Maybe it’s time to pick up a map?

Eight of Pentacles

Upright this card signals that you’re hard at work. Whether it be a career goal, relationship, or just preparing yourself for the next phase of life, your dedication and commitment will set you up for success. 

In reverse, this card tells a very different tale. You may feel like you’re doing what you need to in order to get yourself where you want (or what you want), but in reality, you’ve got too many cakes in the oven. One will be burnt, another will be lopsided, and the third is under-done. The message here is to shift your focus off of many things and focus on one thing at a time. One step at a time, one day at a time. You shouldn’t try to do everything at once, you’re not a superhero and you can’t clone yourself. 

Nine of Pentacles

This is the card of reward and recognition. Your earnest efforts have paid off and now you get to reap the rewards. The fruit of your labor is finally ripe, enjoy it! 

When pulled in reverse, this card represents someone trying to get the benefits of a situation without actually contributing to it. You get what you give, be careful not to overindulge. 

Ten of Pentacles

Life is good with this card. Upright, it shows a stable home and financial life. Everything you need is already taken care of and right in front of you. 

If reversed, the Ten of Pentacles stands for an unstable home or career. You may feel as though your home life is in shambles or as if this is your last straw. The home or career you’ve built or family you’ve got may have experienced some unexpected changes or loss which has led to frustration and argumentativeness. The answer may lie in changing the way you or your family does things, but change isn’t always comfortable and unfortunately it’s necessary for growth. You will get through this, you need to start thinking outside of the box.   

Page of Pentacles

The Page of Pentacles represents your hopes and dreams for this life. It’s a positive card, showing you that you have the power of the world at your fingertips. This is a great time to set goals and take advantage of the opportunities presented to you. If describing a person, this card stands in for someone that is dependable, ambitious, and always preparing for the future. 

When reversed, this card is rather consequential. Your bad behavior is about to bite you in the butt if you don’t do something about it. The lesson here is to stop putting off your dreams and to start making them into a reality. The world won’t hand you what you want, you have to take it! When describing a person, this card stands for an earth sign that is irresponsible, entitled, and immature. 

Knight of Pentacles

Upright the Knight of Pentacles represents determination to make it through life’s obstacles and get to the destination no matter what may fall into the path. You’re working towards what is ideal, taking responsibility for your life, and remaining grounded through it all. When describing a person, the Knight of pentacles stands for an earth sign that is a good role model, stable, patient, and practical. 

When pulled in reverse, the Knight of Pentacles is a warning that if you don’t start acting more responsibly, everything you’ve worked for thus far will tear apart at the seams. How far you’ve come is irrelevant when you’ve got so much further to go! When describing a person, this card stands in for an earth sign that is impatient, has poor judgement, and is superficial. 

Queen of Pentacles

This is the card of prosperity. If it comes to you upright in a reading, the message that you’re approaching the situation with sensibility, generosity, and your feet planted firmly on the ground. Success, wealth, and a high social status are on your radar–and rightfully so! You’ve earned it. When discussing a person, this card stands for an earth sign that is unfazed, mature, financially independent and secure, and nurturing. 

If pulled in reverse, the Queen of Pentacles offers a much different message. You’ve been living life without a care in the world and if you don’t change your chaotic approach you could lose everything you’ve worked for. Quit gambling, the stakes are way too high and the circumstances carry consequences willing to crush you. When talking about a person, this card stands for an earth sign that is jealous, shallow, and careless. 

King of Pentacles

This is the card of those who’ve “made it.” You’re reaching your goals, climbing social ladders, and continuing to better yourself. Give yourself a little pat on the back. When representing a person, this card is in place of an earth sign that is careful, meticulous, reliable, faithful, and grounded. 

When the King of Pentacles is pulled in reverse, it’s calling out your poor judgment and lack of patience. Whatever the situation is, you’re being impractical and are way out of your league. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, friend. When talking about an individual, this card represents someone that is a risk-taker, unsupportive, and negative about everything. 

Best tarot decks for beginners

If you’re having issues hunting down your local psychic shop (or they just don’t have the deck you’ve been eyeing), rest assured that they’re not the only retailer with tarot cards for sale. Game shops, street vendors, book stores, and even Amazon have all been known to stock tarot decks in all different styles of art and languages.

And if you’re shopping for your first deck, don’t feel trapped into buying tarot cards for beginners–while they do exist, they’re not your only option. The only difference (usually) is that the deck may come with a handbook discussing the history of tarot and how to shuffle your deck, a “cheat sheet” for the names and meanings of the cards, and/or a guide for learning how to lay and read a spread.  So, my only advice would be to choose the deck that you can read the easiest and calls out to you most. You likely won’t even use the manuals these “beginner” decks come with so don’t make that you’re deciding factor.

Below, I’ve listed what I find to be the easiest decks to work with. Under that, I’ve organized a list of resources learning how to read tarot cards for beginners.

The Modern Witch Tarot Deck by Lisa Sterle

This is my favorite tarot deck, ever. It’s incredibly inclusive, gorgeously illustrated, and worth every penny. The artist, Lisa Sterle, using vibrant colors and modern depictions of traditional tarot imagery. In my opinion, the current and up-to-date illustrations make interpreting and memorizing the cards so much easier. This was not my first deck, but how I wish it was! Using these cards just feels so natural and I always get asked where I bought them, so expect compliments every time you bust them out.

This beginner’s tarot deck does include a mini hardcover book that does a pretty good job at explaining each card’s purpose. However, I wouldn’t rely on it when it for insight during readings because I found a lot of the interpretations to be overly-simplistic and slightly confusing. But as a supplement to other resources, the book is great. And not for nothing, but you’re buying this set for the deck, not the book.

Price: $22.46 (regularly $24.95)

The Rider Tarot Deck

Probably the most well-recognized of all tarot cards, the Rider-Waite deck set a standard for the design of tarot. Prior to the publishing of The Original Rider-Waite deck in 1909, tarot cards were designed with an illustration or representation of the suits–swords, wands, cups, and coins, or pentacles.  Now they feature all sorts of lavish illustrations that allow for visual interpretations of the cards. Rider-Waite Tarot has been named one of the Top Ten Tarot Decks of All Time by Aeclectic Tarot.

Price: on sale for $19.76 (regularly $21.95)

Tattoo Tarot

Based on traditional tattoo style and tarot iconography, the Tattoo Tarot deck is quite possibly one of the most beautiful (and unique) tarot decks to exist. This deck also includes a 28-page booklet that explains how to interpret the cards and conduct your own readings without sweating a bead. If you’re looking for a beginner tarot deck that’s a little peculiar, this is definitely it.

Price: on sale for $14.39 (regularly $17.99) 

Smith-Waite Centennial Edition Tarot Deck

Already have a feeling that you’re going to tote around your tarot cards as much as possible? It would benefit you to grab a set that includes a sturdy carrying case–like the Smith-Waite Centennial Edition Tarot Deck. But what makes this deck especially cool isn’t its pocket-sized tin storage case, but its ode to the original tarot deck created by Pamela Colman Smith (“Pixie”) in 1909. This deck features muted pictorials on every card and also includes two samples of Pixie’s non-tarot related art. This is the deck for people who appreciate intrinsic and vintage art.

Price: on sale for $14.53 (regularly $18.95) 

Everyday Tarot mini tarot deck

Designed by the creator of the site Biddy Tarot, the Everyday Tarot mini deck is the perfect pocket-sized tarot deck for people in need of a lot of practice. The deck includes a helpful guide to the meaning of each of the cards as well as a cute keepsake box to protect them while they’re not in use. It’s also really convenient that the site’s visuals match the imagery on these cards–it’ll make studying so much easier!

Price: on sale for $9.95 (regularly $12.95)

Learning how to read tarot isn’t an impossible skill, even though it may look complex. So if you can’t find someone to give you a crash course, you can always go the old-school route of picking up a book to teach yourself something new. Below you’ll find some of the most helpful (and bestselling) tarot books for beginners.

How to Read Tarot: A Modern Guide by Jessica Wiggan

From the publisher: How to Read Tarot is an essential and straightforward guide for anyone interested in mastering the art of tarot reading. Find all the answers here that you can’t in other tarot books―then find the answers in the cards. Does the Empress mean good things for someone’s career? How should you use the Three-Card reading? Get the most modern interpretations out of any tarot books, along with easy-to-reference guides that make it simple for new and experienced readers alike to jump straight into the most important part of tarot―reading cards. Go beyond other tarot books with:

  • A fast start―Get helpful beginner suggestions that other tarot books lack, including how to ground yourself before a reading, tips for interpreting on the fly, and more.
  • Cards at a glance―Learn the meanings of every card―as well as their reversed meanings―with fully detailed descriptions and a handy quick-reference chart that beats other tarot books for convenience.
  • Readings made simple―Start with the One-Card Draw, then move onto other spreads―your keys to understanding what the cards are saying―like the Celtic Cross and Wheel of Fortune.

Price: on sale for $13.18 (regularly $15.99) 

The Ultimate Guide to Tarot: A Beginner’s Guide to the Cards, Spreads, and Revealing the Mystery of the Tarot by Liz Dean

From the publisher: Uncover the facts, myth, history, and mystery of the spiritual art of tarot reading. Whether you want to learn to read the cards or deepen your tarot interpretation skills, The Ultimate Guide to Tarot honors the deep heritage of tarot, while guiding you through practical techniques. Tarot expert Liz Dean offers an overview to all of the important elements of each card, from interpreting their symbols to their links with astrology, kabbala, and numerology. The Ultimate Guide to Tarot also includes all the classic tarot spreads—Celtic Cross, Horseshoe, Star, and Astrological Year Ahead—plus, a mini-layout to try for each of the 22 major arcana cards. Learn how to combine the three essential ingredients of a great tarot reading: knowing the meaning of the cards, how to lay them out, and trusting the intuitive messages the images often spark within us during a reading. 

Price: on sale for $21.49 (regularly $26.99)

Tarot for Self-Care: How to Use Tarot to Manifest Your Best Self by Minerva Siegel

Consider this your crash course to the divination arts. The beautifully illustrated book kicks off by providing readers with a no B.S. definition of what it really means to practice self-care and just how important it is. Then readers are given a briefer on interpreting tarot cards, shown simplified guides to spreads, offered well-articulated explanations of all the cards in both the major and minor arcana, in addition to examples of how you can use tarot for self-exploration any (and every) day of the week. Within every chapter, Siegel made sure to include a couple of key recommendations, rituals, and recipes that she believes will help prepare your space for readings and support you on your journey to manifesting your needs. 

Price: $0.29 (regularly $17.99)

Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot by Rachel Pollack

From the publisher: A top tarotist’s secrets to personal growth, one card at a time. The two volumes of Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom have inspired a whole generation of tarot students. It has often been described by readers, booksellers, and teachers as the “Bible of tarot readers.” It is also often cited as one of the landmark books in modern tarot, and it helped to launch the “Tarot Renaissance” of the 1980s. The two texts, one for The Major Arcana and one for The Minor Arcana appear together in this volume, which is a reissue of the 1998 edition first published by Thorsons.

Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom draws on mythology and esoteric traditions and delves deeply into the symbolism and ideas of each card. It also gives the cards a modern psychological slant based on the pictures rather than a system of occult symbolism. This endlessly useful reference tool provides a concise history of tarot, introduces common spreads, and is a clear and readable book for both the beginning and advanced tarot student.

Price: $19.99 

Tarot for Beginners: A Holistic Guide to Using the Tarot for Personal Growth and Self Development by Meg Hayertz

From the publisher: The practice of ancient tarot in modern life requires a fresh perspective and new skills. In Tarot for Beginners, you’ll learn how to apply the history and symbolism of tarot to everyday events for your own personal growth and development. Tarot for Beginners introduces a new perspective to tarot and explains each card as it relates to your life today. From fortune-telling device to spiritual tool, this up-to-date beginner’s guide provides you with exercises and a clear method for connecting the themes of or your life with your day-to-day experience. Explore the day-to-day events in your life through a new lens with Tarot for Beginners, which includes:

  • An Essential Overview that explains the history and symbolism of tarot, plus a guide on how to choose and use your tarot deck
  • In-Depth Tarot Card Profiles that provide clear meanings, along with example questions and guided interpretations
  • Easily Identifiable Illustrations that feature 10 sample spreads and images of each card in the Rider-Waite-Smith system

Price: on sale for $14.29 (regularly $16.99) 

Want a little more guidance? Check out our crash course on numerology or this guide on how to read a birth chart, we’ll also show you where to go for accurate tarot readings and what sites to use for a reliable psychic love reading.

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*First Published: Aug 5, 2019, 8:57 am CDT