A dummies’ guide to tarot cards

Whip out those cards.

Ever feel like taking out your old school Magic 8 Ball and shaking the crap out of it to help with adulthood?

Sometimes your friends and family just don’t have the answers you’re seeking. Then who does?

I guess it all comes down to whether or not you believe in the power of the universe and its ~mystical ways~.

For centuries, oracles and fortune tellers have used tarot cards as a medium to help people with life’s ups and downs. And while many will dismiss the value of tarot cards, they’re a way to reflect and seek guidance when needed. Especially when you’re feeling down in the dumps.

What many don’t realise is you don’t need to be a fortune teller to use them. We’re going to show you a step-by-step guide on how to tarot, the right way.

Let’s break it down for you.

What you need

  • Yourself, duh
  • A tarot deck. These are relatively easy to find online.

If you’re really into it, it also wouldn’t hurt lighting some candles and pulling out those crystals you’ve been holding on to.

What’s next?

It’s time to cleanse your cards and transfer your own energy into them. This is fun, because it means punching the deck.

  1. Place your tarot deck face down on your non-dominant hand.
  2. Make a fist with your dominant hand and knock the tarot deck once, visualising your own energy being put into the cards as you expel excess energy from their previous use.
  3. Time to shuffle. Shuffle the cards and think up any questions you want answered. Or simply ask the cards for guidance on your next step.
  4. When you feel the time is right, stop shuffling and cut the cards three times with your non-dominant hand.

The past, present and future spread

Spread the cards out in a line with your non-dominant hand and pick three. Place one on the left, one in the middle and one on the right.

  • The card on the left represents your past and the choices that have led you to where you are today.
  • The middle card represents your present and where your headspace is right now.
  • The card on the right represents your future and the next step on your journey.

Each card has two meanings: one when it’s upright and one when it’s upside-down.

Note, there’s no such thing as a bad card in the tarot deck. If the card has a negative feel to it, it just means that there’s a lesson to be learned. Make sure you’re paying attention to these cards so you don’t miss anything. There are usually key messages here, that the cosmos wants you to find.

What do they mean?

Tarot cards can be broken down into two categories: Major Arcana and Minor Arcana cards.

The Major Arcana are the trump cards and generally have more energy behind them. These cards hold deeply meaningful lessons.

The Minor Arcana can also be broken down into four categories: Suit of Cups, Suit of Pentacles, Suit of Swords and Suit of Wands.

  • Cups are associated with love, feelings, emotions, relationships and connections. 
  • Pentacles represent material aspects of life including work, business, property, money and other material possessions. 
  • Swords are all about action, change, force, power, oppression, ambition, courage and conflict.
  • Wands are about spirituality, inspiration, determination, strength, intuition, creativity, ambition and expansion.
  • Minor Arcana cards are numbered one to ten and include court cards such as the Page, Knight, Queen and King that symbolises an aspect of yourself, another person in your life or an event. 

Of course, unless you’re something of a tarot aficionado, you’re not expected to remember the meanings of each card. Instead, we recommend referring to websites like Biddy Tarot, so you can look up the meaning of each card as you draw. Each reads a little like a horoscope, for you to ascribe your own meaning.

Happy divination.

Illustration by Twylamae.

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