Tarot 101: How to Give Yourself Your First Tarot Reading! Step-by-Step! With Practice Spread

How to Give Yourself Your First Tarot Reading!

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Wild Unknown Tarot

Hello everyone! Congratulations on making the decision to try out your tarot deck! This is going to be a simple step by step guide on giving yourself your first tarot reading! If you have just bought your deck and you know nothing about tarot, then now may be a good time to do a bit of research just to understand what tarot cards are and how they work! If you’d like to just jump in, skip to step 1!

 Quick Reference

If this is your first time introduced to tarot you may want to check out these posts

Tarot 100: Tarot for Absolute Beginners- What are Tarot Cards?
4 Must Have Items Before you Buy Your First Tarot Deck!

1. Preparing to Give Yourself a Reading

Before you grab your tarot deck, you are going to need a flat surface to preform the reading. You will also need a tarot cloth to lay beneath your cards. (if you do not have any available, it is possible to do a reading but the cards work better when given a familiar foundation to lay on) This cloth can be ANY piece of cloth, but it should only be used to hold and be placed under the cards for a reading, not any other purpose. The cloth is usually stored with the deck and only taken out when preforming a reading.


Quick Tip: I’ve always heard to make sure no one touches your tarot deck. It’s important that the cards are super familiar with your energy and not multiple readers in order to allow them to send messages.  I’ve always followed this tradition; I don’t allow anyone to touch my deck unless I am preforming a reading on them. You should cleanse your deck often to clear it of strangers energies. This is just information that I felt obligated to share, because this is your first reading! That is why it is common to keep your deck in a box! (I also like to burn incense or sage while preforming a reading to clear the energies in the room!)

The Question: While you are preparing to get your cards ready, focus on a question you want to ask the deck. You should be thinking about the question and focusing on getting the answers! It’s important to think of something fairly specific to gain actual details and insight into that situation. 

2. Choosing a Spread, Asking a Question, Shuffling & Cutting

Wild Unknown Tarot               Origins Tarot

Now is the time to choose a tarot spread to answer your question! Make sure to know where you are going to lay the cards, in what order you are going to lay the cards, and know the meanings of the locations in the spread you choose. There are many different tarot spreads and any can be used. I recommend the three card layout past, present, and future for beginner’s. I’m choosing a more difficult spread show for practice to give plenty of examples. In this article, I will be practicing with a Celtic Cross Tarot Spread! It is very common and a classic spread, it is also long. Which will help with the practice.

Linestrider Tarot         Wild Unknown Tarot

Take the cards and shuffle in anyway that you are used to! Now is the time to truly focus on the question you want answered! Shuffle the deck very well and make sure to pay attention to any cards that keep standing out or jumping out of the deck. After you have shuffled the cards.


Lay them in a single stack on the cloth and pick up any amount of cards you see fit from this stack  and “split/cut” the deck. Lay those cards to the side and pick up the stack that is left and place it on top of the second stack.

3. Dealing the Cards & Imagery

Deal the cards, in the order the tarot spread calls for. For the past, present and future spread, lay three cards down from left to right.  For the Celtic Cross follow the photo bellow


As you reveal the cards look at the imagery on the cards chosen, what do the pictures tell you about the question you asked? Are the cards happy and joyous, or more serious, or eerie? The images on the tarot really help to explain their meanings! Also take a look at the cards, if there are a significant amount of major arcana cards, you’re going through a time of major life events. If they are mostly minor arcana cards, then you are likely just getting an answer to your question. If there are many reversed cards, there may be something bad or confusing happening as opposed to upright cards that have a clear meaning. If you take a look at all of these cards put together imagine them as photos from scenes from a movie, if you were only showed those scenes what could you conclude from this movie as a whole? The movie is the situation you are in now. Without even knowing the meanings of the cards you will have context clues about the meanings 

4. Write it down

The fourth step is to keep a journal of your tarot spreads and journey. If you are not into keeping records or writing, then you can skip to the next step, even though writing it down may help you remember the card meanings for later use. You’ll want to keep a journal of the spread that you laid, and the meanings of each card in that position, for future reference and to look back and see what the cards accurately predict.

6. Interpreting Each Card Meaning and Placement

Now is the long, hard part, actually interpreting what the cards mean. Have a book, cell phone, or computer ready to find out what each card means.

Practice Tarot Celtic Cross Spread Interpretation

Celtic Spread Fountain Tarot Spread

The above Celtic Cross Tarot Spread (I’m using the Fountain Tarot), is what I drew and will be what I am interpreting below. (Meanings for Positions are Below). While reading the meanings and the positions, relate the information given to the question you have asked. While drawing the cards I asked if, “My new business will be successful.” Now remember, the tarot is very mysterious and often hard to decipher. For example, the high priestess was drawn in the spread, in the environment space. This can mean two completely different things because she represents secrets, the subconscious, and the unknown. It could mean that someone in your environment is keeping secrets from you, or it could mean that you are surrounded by a group of people who are interested in studying the spiritual subconscious and unknown.When preforming a reading on yourself, you will usually be able to distinguish and understand what the cards are trying to tell you, just pay attention!

One more thing, before interpreting the Celtic Spread, the first time you lay out your cards, think of it as a customized story-line. Look at the cards and imagine the story they tell. The first card in a Celtic Cross represents self/present, and the second card represents what crosses you. Imagine the situation being Ace of coins, and then imagine yourself being stopped by the Temperance because those are the two first cards drawn. (This will become easier once the tarot meanings are learned!)

aaSo the following interpretations are how I see this spread.

All of the cards below are from the Fountain Tarot Deck


1. The first card in this spread is the self/present card. In this spread “Ace of Pentacles” was drawn. The ace of pentacles, represents the beginning of new financial success, and represents the present situation of the reader. This is the best card you could hope for when asking about a successful business!


2. The second card in this spread represents the issue/ what crosses you. In this spread  “Temperance” card was drawn. The Temperance card represents balance and moderation, and is in the issues position. This means that the reader is having trouble balancing or mediating. This card may be representing the imbalance that the reader has between their new business, and full-time job. Once they find a balance the issue may be resolved!


3. The third card in this spread represents reasons/recent past. In this spread “The Star” was drawn. The Star card represents renewal and inspiration, because it is in the past position it is refereeing to the readers past in a calm and peaceful state while having an epiphany. Because it appeared with this question, we can assume that, the readers ‘star’ past represents that the reader gained inspiration to start a business while in this peaceful trance.


4. The fourth card in this spread represents past. In this spread the “Ace of Cups” was drawn. The Ace of cups represents the beginning of happiness! Because this is in the past position, we can assume that the reader currently found a new happiness that has positively affecting their business.


5. The fifth card in this spread represents goals/ideas. In this spread “Knight of Cups” was drawn. The Knight of cups, instantly brings to mind a ‘knight in shining armor’ cups represents emotions! The court cards ‘king, queen, knight, & page’ usually represent a person in your life, rather than an event. The reader has the goal of attaining a partner whom represents happiness and emotional support.

6. The sixth card in this spread represents the near future. In this spread “The Tower” was drawn. The tower represents abrupt changes, and major life cycle shifts! That means that in the near future, there will be a major life change, usually meaning a fresh start and having a good outcome, even though it may seem hectic in the moment. Maybe the new business will become a full-time job!


7. The seventh card in this spread represents yourself, or your approach. In this spread “The Hanged Man” was drawn. The hanged man represent decisions, thinking, and staying stagnant. The hanged man usually means that there is an important decision to be made. Maybe the reader has been meaning to make a decision about their business that could make them successful.


8. The eighth card in this spread represents your environment. In this spread “The High Priestess” was drawn. The High Priestess represents the unknown, secrets, and the subconscious. If the question were about a relationship or home, I would say that this means there are secrets being hidden from the reader. However, because the business I had in mind while asking the question was of a spiritual theme, the High Priestess probably represents the reader being around others who are open or enjoy studying spirituality and the unknown.


9. The ninth card in this spread represents advice/warnings. In this spread the “Ace of Wands” was drawn. The Ace of Cups, Ace of Pentacles, and the Ace of wands, all in one reading! That is undeniably, a great sign, you could not wish for more of a positive spread, when asking about a business! The ace of wands represents the beginning and start of a new creative and successful outlet!


10. The tenth card in this spread represents the conclusion. In this spread the “King of Swords” was drawn. As I stated before, the court cards, king, queen, knight, and page, more often than not represent people in your life, rather that situations and circumstances. The king of swords is a symbol of intellectual power, logic, and courage. It seems that a man who is smart, go-getting, and courageous will be involved in the business or will help the business in some technical way.

Thank you for running into my blog! Check out these links if you want to know more about tarot!-

Tarot 100: Tarot for Absolute Beginners- What are Tarot Cards?
6. Lovers – Tarot Card Meaning
21. The World- Tarot Card Meaning

Have a wonderful day! Check out the tabs on the top of the page for more searching!

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