Tarot for Beginners (5 FAQs): Tarot Cards for Beginners, Journaling & More
We’re thrilled to introduce an amazing guest blogger – Allorah Rayne. Allorah’s Tarot skills and knowledge are off the charts, so we’ve asked her to answer your most frequently asked questions about Tarot for beginners. Want to learn the basics, but don’t know where to start? Want to know the best tarot cards for beginners? Read on!
5 FAQs with Allorah Rayne
I have been honing my Tarot craft almost as long as I’ve been alive, minus a decade. I’ve read cards in bars, bookstores, metaphysical shops, metaphysical fairs, parties, and online over the last twenty years. I began learning as a child and then using it as a form of serious divination practice in my early twenties. I often meet spiritually-minded individuals who want to begin a Tarot practice of their own but seem stuck for one reason or another. Here are some of the Top Five statements/questions I receive as a cartomancy professional from those who want to try cultivating practice of their own.
1. I am drawn to Tarot, but I have no idea where to start or how to choose a deck.
Start at the beginning. If you have access to a local metaphysical shop spend a day looking at their deck offerings. Ask if they have sample tarot card decks for beginners and/or cards you can see and/or hold. Trust your intuition. The deck you find yourself going back to over the course of your trip is probably for you. If you feel that your intuition has led you to a deck that feels complex, try searching for something with a similar aesthetic that sticks more closely to traditional symbolism. When I was young, it was taboo to purchase your first deck as it was something to be gifted to you by an experienced practitioner. These days, it’s not the case at all and purchasing a first deck yourself has become the norm.
If you do not have access to a metaphysical store, lots of online retailers exist who sell cards for divination. I try to steer people away from using the internet for their first tarot deck purchase. If this is your only option, be sure to scour the internet for information on the deck your intuition is pulling you to. Reviews, photos, testimonies – whatever you can get your eyes on, read it.
2. What if I choose the wrong tarot card deck or I can’t read with the deck I purchased?
The instance of choosing the wrong tarot card deck is generally not the case but it does happen. In that case, try again! Sometimes it takes a deck or two before you can really connect. I also like to ask if the person has bonded with their deck in sacred space or in a spiritual capacity. Things like interviewing your deck, cleansing and consecration, and sacred storage practices can make all the difference if card reading is meant for you but you’re having trouble connecting.
And sometimes, no matter how many decks you try, you won’t connect to the cards at all. And you know what? That’s completely fine! I’m going to make a very unpopular statement in the realm of the alternative spiritual world: Not everyone is called to be a card reader. There is a plethora of mediums for divination for a reason.
If cards aren’t your thing, try something else. I don’t care how many people tell you that anyone can read Tarot, the simple fact of the matter is it’s simply not true. That’s like saying everyone is meant to be a lawyer or everyone is meant to have blue eyes. Ridiculous. In my case, I am terrible at pendulum work. I try and try and it’s never even close to accurate compared to my cards. I am not meant to work a pendulum the way I can work cards and I accept it.
3. What are your recommended tarot cards for beginners?
Listen to your intuition and go with what speaks to you. That being said, I encourage focusing on decks that stick more closely to traditional Rider-Waite-Smith symbolism to start. The reason for this is that the symbolism in them is more forward and literal while decks that take creative liberty often use symbolism that is more abstract and geared towards an adept reader rather than a novice. If you are choosing a deck online, remember to look at as many card images as you can. There’s nothing worse than loving a few images from a deck only to get the deck and find that those are the only images in the deck you connect well with. This is one of the reasons why I recommend purchasing a first deck from a physical store.
Examples of tarot cards for beginners that stick closely to traditional symbolism are: Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot, The Gilded Tarot, The Wizard’s Tarot (this deck is out of print but is a good example), and The Robin Wood Tarot.
4. Tarot seems too complicated for me. There are SO many cards to memorize!
While Tarot can be overwhelming to the novice, I can assure you that you can learn it with dedication and practice. Practice, practice, practice! As far as memorizing definitions, I recommend you do not use the deck book to learn Tarot but rather as a reference. Tarot is to be felt by the spirit, not learned in the mind.
5. How do I learn Tarot without reading the book?
I tell every new aspiring Taroist that asks for my help to make their own journal of card meanings. While deck books explain the author’s interpretation of the cards, they are not your interpretation. The deck book should be used only for reference once you have extracted your own meaning from the card. When you get your deck, remove the deck book and place it somewhere away from the deck and your journal so that you are not tempted to read the book.
There are two journaling exercises I recommend which can be done alone or at the same time.
Exercise 1: Daily Reading Practice
- Purchase a blank journal dedicated to your deck.
- Each day choose a card for the day.
- Sit with the card and record your thoughts, feelings, intuitions of what you believe the card means. Pay attention to the card’s details. Yes, even the bunny eating the grass is important.
- Throughout the day, take note of activities and occurrences directly related to you that take place.
- In the evening, write down what happened in your journal.
This exercise helps you stretch your intuitive senses and connect your daily life to the meaning within the cards. For example, let’s say you pull the Wheel of Fortune for the day and during the day you happen to find a twenty-dollar bill. Then you can connect the Wheel of Fortune to luck, prosperity, abundance, etc.
Exercise 2: Impressions & Correspondence Journaling
- Purchase a blank journal dedicated to your tarot deck. A binder that is divided into sections will also work for this exercise.
- Label the top of each full page (front and back) with the names of the tarot cards. You do not have to go in order, but I recommend doing the Major Arcana first, the Minor Arcana next, and then the Tarot court cards last.
- Write down your impressions of each card. Thoughts, feelings, intuitions are all relevant.
- Use reference materials to fill the remaining gaps in your impression. Maybe there are correspondences or keywords missing that resonate with you about the card – write them in there!
- This is where the deck book comes in handy. I HIGHLY recommend Around the Tarot in 78 Days and Tarot Wisdom as reference materials for this exercise. They are comprehensive reference guides that have exponential reuse value. I still use mine! They contain further journal prompts, correspondences, examples, reversal meanings, history, anthropology and are just a treasure trove to the Tarot beginner.
I hope this article has provided some insight into the world of Tarot for beginners. I have tested the recommendations listed above for years now and have had great results. While every recommendation does not work for every person, hopefully one or two will stick with you. For those who don’t know, I learned Tarot by having my mother hold one card up at a time and asking, “What do you see?” I wasn’t allowed to touch a book and, eventually, it became second nature for me to ask myself “What do you see?” in my readings for others. So, I ask you, what do YOU see?
About Allorah Rayne (Raw Magick Sourceress)
Allorah Rayne is a practitioner of amnestic witchcraft and has been part of the online spiritual community since 2012. Her introduction to Tarot was the age of nine and she pursued more intensive learning at fifteen. Allorah is the founder of Raw Magick Sourceress © where she offers occult readings, mentorship, and supplies. She is also the co-founder of Spread This, Witches!, a community centered divination organization. You can contact Allorah at the following social media sites Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube or by E-mail at email@example.com.