7 Steps For Doing An Expert Tarot Reading At Home — Even If You're Not A Psychic

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How To Do Tarot Cards Reading & Understand The Decks, Spreads, & Symbolism
Zodiac, Self

Are you wondering how to do Tarot readings? Have you ever tried to read the decks and spreads for yourself or for your friends? You don't need to be a serious student of the tarot to understand the symbolism, have some fun and expand your horizons. Learning how to do a Tarot reading at home with your friends is easy, fun and surprisingly insightful.

RELATED: Your Complete Guide To Reading Tarot Cards

The exact origins of tarot aren’t completely clear, but it was originally a card game rather than a method of divination.

A tarot reading can help you and your friends explore your hopes and fears. It can help you find solutions to problems and challenges.

The tarot can help you by revealing options and actions you might not have considered before. You also can see the potential results: Future possibilities that come from your choices and actions.

Here are 7 easy steps you can take to do an expert tarot reading in your own home:

1. Select the right deck for you

The tarot has 78 cards consisting of major and minor arcana. There are four suits numbered ace through ten, and sixteen cards called the "court cards."

The court cards are people — usually a king, queen, prince and page of each of the four suits.

There are thousands of different themes for tarot decks. With so many, it can be overwhelming trying to choose the right one. The simple way is to choose a deck that appeals to you.

The artwork, theme, color scheme, and style may be what draws you — or you may feel that you just like the deck. Many decks come with a guide booklet too, which can help you interpret the cards and learn different ways to do readings with different "spreads."

There are also thousands of books about tarot reading if you want to deepen your study. For a tarot reading at home with your friends you may want to keep the guide booklet or book handy. But it’s more fun to trust your and their feelings, impressions, and connections to the cards.

Intuitive reading is often more meaningful than reading the book interpretation of the cards, and this is why choosing the right deck you feel comfortable with is important.

2. Get familiar with your tarot deck

Treat your cards well. It’s a good idea to have a scarf or cloth to lay the cards on when you are reading. You can use this cloth to wrap the cards in when you aren’t using them; any soft material will do.

Or, you can also buy or make a cloth bag to hold your cards. Often you can buy these from the same place you purchased your cards.

When you first begin to use a new deck of tarot cards, they're printed and packed in a specific order. Go through and familiarize yourself with the cards. You don’t have to study them at this point.

Get used to the look and feel of the deck. Note any you particularly like (or dislike). This is like getting introduced to a new person — you are forming your first impressions.

You will need to “play” with the cards and disarrange them before reading with them. Spread them out on your cloth, shuffle them around. This will also help the cards pick up your energy.

The more you use them, the more uniquely yours they will become.

3. Open your reading with a ritual

Even though you and your friends may be doing this for fun, it’s still a good idea to start with a brief ritual before you begin reading.

Take a moment to relax. Take some deep breaths. This will help you connect with your own intuition. It doesn’t have to be solemn or take more than a minute or two. It brings you into the present and will improve the quality of any and every reading you do — as a novice or seasoned pro.

Be open to the message the cards have for you and the person you're reading for. You can ask to see clearly and share what you see with compassion.

There are good reasons for a ritual. It lets your brain shift into an intuitive state. It’s relaxing and eliminates anxiety and nervousness. It helps you and your friends get into a receptive mood.

It’s OK if you and your friends have zero tarot experience. You'll both be looking at the images on the cards and a story will emerge. You may already know each other and your life circumstances very well.

Still, the cards give you an opportunity to look at situations from a fresh point of view. Complex questions unscramble when you look at what the cards are saying in relation to the question or situation.

RELATED: How To Do A Yes - No Tarot Card Reading, For Love & Relationships

4. Decide what you want to know

A tarot reading can be helpful in answering a yes-or-no question. Yet, it’s often preferable to ask an open question instead. A lot more information is available than “yes” or “no.” Have your friend think of their question — you can help them word it so that more information comes through.

For example, instead of asking, “Will I get the promotion I’m after at my job?” you might have them ask, “What are my prospects for advancement at my job?” Or, “What do I need to know for a promotion or advancement at my job?”

You may have your friend shuffle the cards while thinking of and then stating their question. Or, you may shuffle the cards while they think of and then state their question. Reader’s choice.

It’s usually best to focus on one question or one area of life at a time. In other words, it’s best to do one reading for career and a separate one for love life. If your friend doesn’t have a specific question, ask the cards to show what they most need to know.

The deck you’re using may have come with a book or booklet showing different ways to layout the cards. Card layouts are known as spreads.

A spread shows you how to position the cards and what those positions represent. If you are a first-timer or novice reader, use the simplest spread there is: A "three-card spread."

This is exactly what it sounds like. Cards get placed left to right (from the reader’s vantage point). The positions represent the past, the present and the future.

5. Try to interpret the cards before just reading the guidebook

Once your friend has shuffled and asked a question, ask them to "cut" the deck once. This means they pick up roughly half the deck and place it next to the other stack, then put the bottom one on top of it.

You, as the reader, will pick up the deck and lay the cards on your cloth one by one, face-up, left to right.

The first card on the left is the past. The second (middle) card is the present. And the third card on the right is the possible future. Resist the urge to grab the book and start looking up meanings.

Take a moment to look at the images on the cards and their position in the spread. The card in the past position offers insight into what your friend may have recently experienced. It may be what has gotten them to where they are right now.

The second card in the present position will show what the person’s present situation is. This might be challenging or desirable. It will show what their outlook or point of view is at the present time.

It may also show what they're currently feeling or experiencing. Or it may show who or what is influencing and affecting them.

The third card represents what the future result or outcome may be if things continue as they are. If that card feels negative, the present card may offer some way to avoid or reduce those negative qualities. Often the “negative” card itself offers an alternative or mitigating influence to alter the outcome.

If it’s a positive card, the present and future cards often show how to stay on track to get to that desirable result.

The beauty of learning how to do a tarot reading at home is that you can invite your friend to share their feelings and impressions of the cards along with you.

The great thing about this is the two of you talking about what the cards bring up for both of you. The magic is in that discussion!

And as is true for every skill, the more you practice, the easier it gets.

6. Develop and trust your intuition

One of the best ways to look at the tarot cards and interpret a reading is to practice “first thought, best thought.” Tarot cards are miniature works of art filled with symbolism. Ask yourself, How does this card make me feel? Why?

What symbol or figure stands out for you? What colors predominate? What numbers or words appear on the card? Do you notice a theme or pattern? Your interpretation comes from anything that catches your attention, draws you in, or sparks a thought or feeling.

Your first impressions are often the most powerful. They will hit closest to the heart of the matter you're asking about. Allow yourself to "free-associate."

Free association is saying whatever comes to your mind without editing or censoring yourself. Let the words flow and don't second-guess yourself. Insights and wisdom come from allowing yourself to say what you see and feel as you look at the cards.

If you want to check in with the “book meaning” of a card or cards after reading intuitively, do so.

It's important to understand that what comes through in a tarot reading may not make sense right away. This is especially true when looking at a possible future outcome — the future hasn’t happened yet!

You and your friends may be taking a light-hearted, experimental approach to reading the tarot. And while the reading you will do is real, it still represents possibilities. The information is not written in stone, it’s a good idea not to attach too much or obsess about individual cards or the reading as a whole.

7. Perform a "closing" ritual

It’s nice to do a simple closing ritual to wrap things up at the end. This lets you leave the state of reflection and intuition and return to the everyday world. Thank each other and the cards. You can shuffle your deck as you do this. Then wrap them in their cloth or place them into their special bag and store them away.

You have created a special space and the closing ritual honors that. You may want to further study and practice tarot reading. Creating a compassionate, open, honest, and nonjudgmental environment will support your efforts.

When you have learned how to do a tarot reading at home with your friends, you'll explore new options and possibilities. The relationship between the reader and questioner creates a healthy, supportive bonding experience.

You may choose to deepen your intuition for self-discovery. You may use it to help others. Either way, the tarot can help you live your best life!

RELATED: 12 Brilliant Tarot Card Quotes From Expert Readers On How To Do A Reading

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Dona Murphy has been a professional Tarot reader for more than 20 years. To learn more about Dona’s work, visit her websiteor schedule your Tarot reading to find out more.