Open The Box And Start Reading The Tarot – Level 1

The crucial first step towards learning to read the Tarot is buying a Tarot deck, taking the cards from the box and having a look at them. The second step is reading with them.

Straight away.

Yep – straight away. Enjoying the cards, being delighted and surprised at the results they bring right from the very first day is a fantastic start to what can become a life long joy and learning experience.


Below, you’ll find Level 1 – quickly scan through the lists, copy or print them out if you like, put them next to you, ask your question (I’ve shared an example of how to ask a great question below), shuffle your cards (don’t stress about this, just mix them well until you feel you’ve done enough), lay them out (the positions for a very useful spread are shown below – it really doesn’t matter if you lay them in a line, or as I do with 3 lines of three with the prediction sitting off to the side), and read them using the lists.

The process of reading may be slow at first – you may want to write the key words down for each card and then go back and compare them to the position they’re in, allowing word association from the key words to lead you to a meaning that feels right for the card in the position it’s in in the spread and in relation to the question being asked.

MOST IMPORTANT TAROT TIP EVER – relax and enjoy the cards

NEXT MOST IMPORTANT TAROT TIP EVER – allow the cards to acknowledge difficult things without trying to manipulate the meaning into something all fluffy and lovely. The more difficult cards are often the ones that offer you the most valuable cues to make changes for the better.


  • .Ace – Potential
  • Two – Choice/balance
  • Three – Creation
  • Four – Stability
  • Five – Change
  • Six – Harmony
  • Seven – Finding focus
  • Eight – Mastering
  • Nine – Attainment
  • Ten – Completion

The Court Cards

  • Page – A student of …..
  • Knight – A quester for …..
  • Queen – Mastery  in …..
  • King – Wielder of  mastery in…..

The Suits

  • Swords – Thought
  • Cups – Emotion
  • Wands – Passion
  • Coins – The material

The Trumps

  • Fool – Brave
  • Magician – Mastery of the outer
  • High Priestess – Mastery of the inner
  • Empress – Long term nurture and creativity
  • Emperor – Long term strategy and planning
  • Hierophant – Revealer of knowledge
  • Lovers – Choice and consequence
  • Chariot – Drive and direction
  • Strength – Self-mastery
  • Hermit – Self-examination
  • Wheel – Cyclical change
  • Justice – Truth & balance
  • The Hanged Man – Waiting for revelation
  • Death – Allowing inevitable change
  • Temperance – Measured approach
  • The Devil – Feeling tied
  • The Tower – Massive upheaval
  • The Star – Quiet healing in readiness for next stage.
  • The Moon – Fear of the unknown
  • The Sun – Clarity
  • Judgement – A calling
  • The World – Level up

Over time you will find that you outgrow this list, infact you should make it your business to outgrow this list – your own discoveries, insights from books, the images on your own Tarot deck will all change these. This is purely a starting point to get you reading right now. Immediately. Without procrastination.

The Question – the more focussed and clear your question is in your head, the more focussed and clear the answers to the question can be.

Will he come back to me?

This is a common question, and a bit of a rubbish one really. Some deeper thought and writing down a stream of consciousness may help you come up with something that will find you a useful answer.

e.g. He left me without warning and I feel hurt and confused. I want him to come back so I can find out what the problem was. I want things to be the way they used to be, I don’t want to be alone.

A close look at that stream of consciousness shows that there are three issues – this person wants their ex-partner to explain why they left in order to clear up their confusion.

This person feels hurt – they’re in emotional pain

They don’t want to be alone

We can’t give advice on how to get him back.

We CAN ask, what can they do in order to feel better following the break up in the relationship.

So, formulate your question, lay the cards (as shown below), and read them using the keyword lists (shown above)

The Spread

Cards 1&2 are the heart of the question at hand, card 3 is what you currently think the heart of the question is. Card 4  is what you’re doing right now in order to reach card 5 The short term goal with a view to attaining card 6 the long term goal. Card 7 is what you have going for you, it is your asset and will help you to take advantage of card 8 the opportunity that is coming to you and in order to do this effectively, you need to know card 9 and the result will be card 10.

HINT – read your cards out loud. Tell the story, say the words, allow thoughts and associations that bubble up to be said (they’re often important – this is intuition at work), read all the way to the prediction and then have a discussion with yourself about it. (Don’t do this on the train or in a cafe unless you’re pretending to be using one of those newfangled hands free microphones for your mobile phone – in depth discussions with oneself in public can lead to misunderstandings).

It’s good to write down which cards you’ve placed in which positions and the answer they’ve given you to your question (a photo and an online journal such as Penzu works well). Not only does this allow you to look back and remind yourself of the insights given by the cards, writing the reading down gives you a chance to really make sense of what you’re reading, and make connections between the cards. Over time, you’ll see how the depth of your readings has increased, where your strengths as a reader lie, and where you feel you could do with a little more exploration and practice.

Remember, this is a starting point. Over time, as you begin to incorporate elements of imagery, new understandings of number and suit and the different kinds of cards in the Tarot pack your readings will become deeper and more nuanced.

Even when you feel comfortable, and reading feels natural, you may well find it useful to look at the cards laid in this very basic way and telling the story, before going back over the spread and looking at subtleties and allowing intuition to take centre stage.

Coming soon:

Level 2, going deeper

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