Maybe you’ve seen a deck at a metaphysical shop that caught your eye, or maybe you’ve always been drawn to the tarot. Tarot can be a fun and meditative hobby, as well as a way to connect with your intuition. If you want to learn tarot reading, there are a few easy things you can do to help you pick up a tarot deck and hit the ground running.

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a woman 's hand holding three tarot cards with the text "learn tarot reading fast"

Now, before we get too far into this, I have a few disclaimers.

Not all tarot readers read tarot cards the same way. We don’t all come to the same conclusions. We don’t interpret the cards the same way.

If you’re looking for an intuitional practice with hard and fast rules and universal meaning across cultures…good luck, I guess?

When it comes to learning tarot reading, everyone is going to bring their own intuition to their practice. And everyone brings their own cultural understanding of symbols. Generationally speaking, tarot readers come to different conclusions about a reading based on the values of their particular generation. Oh, and depending on the deck you use, you may get a completely different meaning from one card.

So, basically, what I’m saying is, that if I say something that doesn’t match what Great Aunt Gertrude taught you about the cards back in the day, well, that’s cool. At the end of the day, tarot is a tool to access your intuition. It’s not the law.

And before we talk anymore about how to learn tarot reading, I think it’s important to mention that there is no one way to read the cards. There’s no routine or method or practice that works for everyone. So, take this advice, remix it in your brain, and build your own tarot reading style.

With that, let’s get into it.

What is Tarot?

At the heart of it, tarot is just a deck of playing cards.

(Sorry to all you righteous folks who once accused me of summoning Satan at a blogging conference. Tarot doesn’t work that way, and if I could summon Satan, do you think I’d bring him to a fucking blogging conference?!)

The origins of the cards are super squiffy, and no one is really sure the exact date they came into being, but most historians will say the mid-fifteenth century is when they became pretty common. Then, in the eighteenth century, the deck became a tool for divination, and changed a bit from there.

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Fast forward to 1909, and that’s when the Smith-Rider-Waite deck was published. This is the deck that is the most common, and it’s the deck that a lot of other decks are based on.

I’m not saying it’s the only deck, nor do I think it’s always relevant. But it is a great deck to learn from.

There is so much to know about the history of tarot, but that’s not what this post is about. So, for our purposes here, we’ll just say the tarot is a deck of cards used to connect the reader to their intuition.

Should You Learn Tarot Reading?

I don’t know. Should you?

I’m seriously asking.

Here’s the thing about tarot: To me, it’s a totally benign practice that I enjoy. I like to sit down with my deck, ask a question, pull some cards, and see what happens.

It tickles the part of my brain that loves to read and analyze the symbols in literature. So, as a former English major, it’s fun for me.

It’s also created some opportunities. I offer readings to anyone who is interested, and prior to the pandemic, I used to read cards at public events all the time. I miss that dearly, but I’m not sure when that will be possible again.

I also acknowledge that tarot cards have freaked out a fair amount of folks. I parenthetically mentioned the whole “summoning Satan at a blogging conference” thing. But I do have some friends that were taught it’s an evil practice and that good people don’t do it.

I am content to keep practicing, because I believe firmly that tarot only shows us what we already know. So, I’m just getting a peek into my own inner knowing. I also believe that people who haven’t throughly interrogated the things they were taught as children, especially the things of the spiritual variety, aren’t actual grown ups.

You don’t have to agree with that. But if you haven’t questioned everything and reckoned your upbringing against what you know to be true in your heart of hearts, then you are in no position to tell people they’re wrong.

I only bring this up because depending on where you live, there’s always the potential for confrontation. And while you can easily avoid people (as an introverted writer, this is how I live) and practice in secret, it’s possible you may live with someone who will lose their damn mind at the site of a deck.

So, with all that out of the way, let’s talk about how to learn tarot reading fast!

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How to Learn Tarot Reading Fast

As with all internet advice, your mileage may vary. But I can promise you these tips are better than trying to memorize all the card meanings.

001: Pick a deck that makes sense to you.

This is the most important thing. I cannot stress this enough.

There are decks out there that you already know. I promise they exist. But you can’t find them if you’re only going to one store in the mall and getting the deck that all the Instagram ~*LoVe & LiGhT*~ folks use.

Tarot is having a cultural moment, and has been for a while. That means there are cool decks and uncool decks. Sometimes, the uncool symbols will resonate with you.

I have this Lord of the Rings deck and this Hobbit deck. Neither are super cool, but both are great because the images on the cards are scenes from the stories, and I’m able to put the card into the context of that scene, and get the meaning.

But I also recommend more modern decks based on the Smith-Rider-Waite deck. The Modern Witch and Everyday Witch deck are both great for anyone starting out.

The best deck for you is the deck that you can look at and know what it’s saying without having to look anything up. The message may not be super in-depth, but you should be able to get an idea of what the cards are about just by looking at the art.

002: Find some free resources that resonate with you.

So, the internet is full of free resources. It’s also a big, scary place full of scammers and search engine optimizers.

(As a blogger, I do a lot of search engine optimizing, but I don’t do it maliciously.)

This all means that there’s a fair bit of nonsense out there. Anyone can put stuff online, and some folks will just target a keyword and rise to the top of the rankings because they’ve owned the domain for a really long time.

So, when you Google, beware!

For my money–or lack thereof as this is about free resources–I recommend Tarot for the Wild Soul. The podcast is great, and the back catalog is chock-full of good stuff. There are episodes about specific cards, or the suits, or the numbers, and even episodes featuring some interviews.

Lindsay, the person behind Tarot for the Wild Soul, also has several course offerings, and you won’t regret signing up for her newsletter.

And if podcasts aren’t your thing, there’s also Biddy Tarot. The site is full of free resources and blog posts to answer nearly all of your tarot questions. And the search function on the site is quite robust, so I’m confident that all your tarot queries can be answered.

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003: Start journaling your card pulls.

This doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it can be.

I used to pull a card every single morning. Then, I’d look up that card in a book, and write down everything about that card that seemed important. This ended up looking like me writing about a page a day in a notebook, and that was after doing morning pages.

I no longer do this for a number of reasons, but chief among them is that it was just too much.

Instead, I now prefer to pull cards when I want to, and journal about them.

A notebook works just fine, but if you want more of a guided approach, I’ve created two tarot journals, one for journaling your way through the whole deck, and another just to record daily card pulls.

004: Reading more fantasy is the easiest way to learn tarot reading.

This may sound silly, but I recommend this to everyone who wants to learn tarot reading.

Basically, the symbols on a lot of the decks are symbols that you may encounter in a fantasy novel. And seeing those symbols in a story and the context surrounding them may help you better understand the tarot.

There’s a reason why a ton of readers and writers are into the tarot. Tarot reading is a lot like book reading, but with less words.

005: Get a tarot book if that’s your style.

Learning from a book isn’t for everyone. So, if you prefer videos or audio stuff, there’s tons out there for free.

But if you’d like a book, your local library probably has a ton of them.

(I live in the Bible belt and my local library system has quite a few. Though, depending on your particular location, your library may not have any.)

I also have this post about tarot books if you’d like to check out some of my recommendations.

How Did you Learn Tarot Reading?

What tips do you have for young or beginning tarot readers? What helped you learn the meanings of tarot cards? What resources do you recommend?

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