So you’ve finally bought yourself a tarot card deck and you’re wondering what’s the best way to do a reading? Well Liz Dean, author of The Ultimate Guide to Tarot, suggests the proper method for divining for yourself or for friends.
1. Shuffling the Deck
After you’ve cleansed the deck, shuffle the cards for a few moments. Relax and allow your feelings and questions to surface. To choose the cards for a reading, you can use either the fan method or cut the deck.
The fan method is best when you want just a few cards for a reading, while cutting the deck suits more elaborate layouts that need lots of cards, such as the Celtic Cross or Tree of Life.
When reading for yourself: Spread all the cards facedown in a fan shape. Choose the cards one by one with just your left hand (known as the hand of fate), from anywhere in the fan, and place them in front of you, still facedown, following the spread layout you have chosen.
When reading for another person: Have the person shuffle the deck. Take the deck from the recipient and fan out the cards for him or her. Ask the recipient to choose the cards from the fan with his or her left hand and pass them to you so you can lay them out, keeping the cards facedown.
Cutting the Deck
When reading for yourself: Cut the deck twice with your left hand so you have three piles facedown on the table. Choose one pile to become the top of the deck and gather up the other two piles underneath it. Lay out the cards according to the spread you have chosen (see the book for more details) by dealing the cards from the top of the deck and placing them facedown in front of you.
When reading for another person: Ask the recipient to shuffle the cards. Have the recipient split the deck into three piles using his or her left hand and then choose one pile. Gather up the remaining two piles for the person and place their chosen pile on top. Then you lay out the cards.
2. Turning Over the Cards
When turning over the cards, always flip them sideways—from left to right—not from top to bottom or vice versa, or you may be turning the card upside down. Doing so can give it a different meaning (see What About Reversals in the book).
Using the Card Interpretations
As you will see throughout this book, the cards—particularly the major arcana cards—have lots of symbols and possible meanings. Consider the cards before you look up their meaning; think about what aspect of a card you are drawn to first. This is your internal guidance directing you to the most relevant meaning of the card for your reading. This also means that the cards can offer a varying significance each time you look at them.
Similarly, when you read for other people, you will find that you don’t give a card the same interpretation for every person who gets that card in a reading—you are personalizing the reading according to your intuition.
Sometimes you’ll begin a reading and can’t make sense of what the cards are telling you. If this happens, here’s what to do:
- Shuffle and lay out the cards again. If the same or similar cards come up this time, go with the reading. Relax and tune in to the card images; don’t worry about reading the traditional interpretations. Say what comes into your head straight away, and the words will flow.
- Did the Ten of Wands (above) come up? If so, this often means there’s too much going on just now and it’s not the right time to read your cards. Wait a day or two and try again.
- If you’re reading for someone else, feeling blocked can indicate the recipient’s state of mind. Here’s an example: During a recent beginners’ workshop, one of my students said, “My mind is blank. I’ve laid out the cards for Rosa, but I just don’t know what’s going on here—can you help me?” Before I could respond, Rosa said, “But that’s just how I feel—totally confused. I can’t think.” If this happens to you, acknowledge the recipient’s feelings and begin the reading again, asking him or her to let go of expectations.
Tarot expert Liz Dean offers an overview to all of the important elements of each card from symbols, to links with astrology, kabbala and numerology. The Ultimate Guide to Tarot also includes all the classic tarot spreads—Celtic Cross, Horseshoe, Star and Astrological Year Ahead—plus, a mini-layout to try for each of the 22 major cards.
Learn how to combine the three essential ingredients of a great tarot reading: knowing the meaning of the cards, how to lay them out, and trusting the intuitive messages the images often spark within us during a reading. This synthesis is the true magic of tarot.
With the authority and confidence this book offers, The Ultimate Guide to Tarot will be the must-have companion for beginner readers and tarot aficionados alike.