by Samantha Stevens
Most Tarot decks consist of 78 cards: 22 Major Arcana, and 56 Minor Arcana cards. The Minor Arcana consist of four “suits”, just like a deck of regular playing cards.
The four suits are, Pentacles or Coins, which deal with work/money/success issues, the Wands, or Staffs, which deal with more spiritual issues, the Cups, which deal with emotional issues, and the Swords, which some see as representing negative experiences and loss. If you want more of an explanation of these cards, then check out a Crash Course in Tarot #1.
When starting out, I highly recommend making your life easy, and getting the person to ask you a question out loud. Both parties should focus on the question while you shuffle the cards. As you get more experienced or confident with the cards, you won’t care if they ask a question, but repeating the questioner’s question out loud yourself does seem to assist the divination process.
Shuffle the cards until the person you are reading for feels it is “right” to stop or until you feel it is right to “stop”. After you are done cutting, you need to cut the deck. Most readers divide the deck into three piles. At this point you can either have the person you are reading for pick which pile to pick up as the top of the deck, or you can pick them up in an order that feels right to you. Another option is to fan the cards out face down, and have the person you are reading for pick out the cards they want you to read. Then lay them out in the order they are suppose to appear for the spread.
The One Card Spread: The One Card spread is the most concise of all spreads, intended to provide a quick take on a situation, or to reduce it to a single issue that you can meditate on. . Simply ask a question and then draw a card to divine the answer to your question. It is surprising to what extent these types of one-card readings can be exact, or even solve your problem for you.
The Three-Card Spread: This spread is good for yes or no questions. After you are done cutting the deck lay the cards out from left to right.
1 2 3
The first card to the left represents the past/issues affecting the problem.
The second card in the center represents the present/problem.
The third card to the right represents the future/outcome.
A variation of this is to read the three cards as the Mind, the Body and Spirit. This is more like a “personality read” and can give you a good indication of where “someone is at.”
The Celtic Cross Spread: Lay out the cards on the table in the following order
5 1 /2 6 8
The first card is placed face up it represents the person asking the question and the foundation of the matter.
The second card is placed across sideways the first card and represents obstacles or issues dealt with the person in the present.
The third card, placed beneath the first two represents what is on the subconscious mind of the questioner and everything he or she has been through with regards to the matter.
The fourth card, placed above of the first two represents the potential and the best that can be accomplished given the choices the questioner has made so far in his life regarding that matter.
The fifth card, placed to the left of the center card represents what has transpired in the past.
The sixth card, placed to the right of the first two, represents what will take place in the immediate future.
The next four cards are laid out from bottom to top to the right of these cards.
The seventh card represents the fears of the person. Generally, this card will show you what is inside of them that is blocking him or her from reaching the desired outcome. It can also represent the atmosphere or influences that strongly affect the questioner.
The eighth card represents how others see the person or the situation.
The ninth card represents the hopes and fears that the questioner might have for the future.
The tenth card represents the predicted outcome of the situation or the actual answer to the question.
Some individuals like to keep pulling an addition six to ten cards after this cross is laid down to determine what will happen in the future.
The Relationship Spread: The Relationship spread provides insight into the interaction between two people or entities. It is the spread of choice for questions about partnerships, be they in romance or business.
3 7 4
The first card (top left) represents how you see yourself and your role in the situation.
The second card (top right) represents how you see your partner.
The third card (center left) represents how you feel about your partner.
The fourth card (center right) represents what or who stands between you and your partner or the obstacles in your way.
Position five represents how your partner sees you.
Position six (in the lower right) represents what your partner feels about you.
Position seven in the center represents the present status or challenge faced by the two of you in the relationship.
It is important to remember, that no matter what maps or directions you are given, Tarot reading is an intuitive art and after you do it enough you will begin to develop an intuitive sense of what the cards mean when they are placed in relationship to each other.