As a teenage Virgo, I thought I had to systematically learn and memorize each of the 78 cards in the deck to be able to read the cards. While that’s a great and valid approach, it’s a bit overwhelming and to this day, I still reference notes or a book when I’m reading for myself and friends.
As with much of our self care and magical practices, grounding and breathwork are great practices to initiate sacred or intentional space for your tarot reading. I like to keep things simple and light a candle, followed by several deep breaths, exhaling through my mouth. I also love the “Clearing & Shielding Your Energy” practice in Marcella Kroll’s Cutting the Cord.
One of the easiest ways to learn the tarot is to dive right in. These following spreads are simple and can be as complex or straightforward as you want to make your reading.
If you’re someone who likes a daily practice, a one card pull is a great place to start. Try asking the deck “What do I need to know/embody/consider for the day ahead?” This leaves space for the deck to tell you what it wants to.
Once you’ve pulled your card, listen to your gut reaction of the card’s meaning. Try to intuitively tell the story of what is taking place on the card, allowing your initial reaction to guide or transform in this storytelling. I often write down my inklings & feelings at this point, and then reference a book.
Set the card on your altar, so at the end of the day (or the next morning, etc.) you can reflect on the card again.
A classic 3 card pull would be past-present-future or mind-heart-body. As with the 1 card pull, you can ask the same question or can be more specific; “What direction should I go with my job/relationship/self-development/etc.?” Want more ideas for questions and phrasing? Check out these suggestions.
Shuffle the cards, focusing on your question or the present moment. Split the deck into three, from left to right. Flip the top card of each pile over.
Here are some other creative 3 card spreads to consider.
4 Card Spread
This is the spread I return to most often. It was the first spread I learned and it still serves me well. Do the same as the 3 card pull, but separate the deck into 4 piles, left to right.
- something to consider
There are some great podcasts on tarot that can help you to learn the Major Arcana and open up your tarot practice.
- Strange Magic with Amanda Yates Garcia, the Oracle of Los Angeles, and Sarah Faith Gottesdiener, Many Moons Planner.
- Saved by the Spell with Marcella Kroll. Featuring Witchy Tips, about what's going on in the Astro, Psychic Insight, and advice about Sex, Love, Relationships, and more everyday stuff for you and me.
- Witch Word Tarot Claire Burgess explores tarot, astrology, spirituality, and more through conversations with folks making magick from the margins.
A great list of tarot books and descriptions from Elise of La Mystica