How To Do Your own Tarot Card Reading in 5 Steps

Guide to do your own Tarot Card Reading (w/ pictures)

Table of Contents

  1. Prepare yourself and your environment
  2. Select what type of reading, spread and which cards 
  3. Assign questions, draw a card and place the card face down
  4. Interpret the card and how it applies to your situation
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What is a Tarot reading?

A Tarot reading is a way of gaining insight or revealing possible future outcomes, or interpreting past experiences. A Tarot reading is not a way of foretelling your fate or your fortune, it a way of giving revelations about your inner-self. Tarot reading is a form of art because of this subjectivity; it’s up to how you interpret the drawn cards. Tarot readings can be used in every situation you’re in, where you seek guidance from the cards. Depending on the situation at hand you can opt for only the Major Arcana or the entire deck (consisting of all 78 cards). If your looking for guidance in your love life, where you try to gain insight in the past and future, only the Major Arcana should be used. This is because the Major Arcana represent, karmic life lessons. For revelations about your future love, you may want to take a look at the love you’ve experienced in the past. 

With that being said, the type of spread you use also bears significant importance. There’s no general rule for when it comes to spreads, which ever way you feel like arranging your cards, should be your choice. The most used spread is the 3 Tarot-Card-Spread. In this spread the reader (which would be you), tries to find out about their past, present and future. You can ask the following questions:

  • Past: what should you leave behind you as you move forward
  • Present: what influences currently have a major impact on you?
  • Future: what may lie ahead of you?
In this reading the cards can just be laid next to each other on about the same level. You can use the entire deck and place a card in each of the periods. After which you can lift the card; look up it’s meaning and interpret it to see what it means for your situation. 
Now that we’ve covered what a Tarot reading is, which card to use and what spread. We’ll dive deeper into what important steps you should take when doing your own Tarot reading. 

Step 1: prepare yourself and your environment

Before you start your Tarot reading make sure you have a clean workspace, clear of any clutter. You may also want to place a tablecloth over your table or light an incense or candle (whatever you prefer). It’s important that you make the space a representation of you, if the reading is for you. Some might also prefer to use pendulums and/or crystals to do more advanced readings. 

After you’ve got your aesthetic sorted out and completely up to your own standards, it time to get you Tarot Card deck. There is a vast supply of different type of Tarot Card deck, from classic, connolly to celestial and chinese, it seems never ending. Here is an overview of al the different types of decks you can choose from, curated by It doesn’t really matter what type of deck you choose because, they only differ in artwork, not in meaning. So take a good look at what type of art speaks most to you, if you like you can choose multiple different decks. 

Step 2: Select the type of reading, spread and the right cards

What type of reading do you want to do? The type of reading you want to do is important for the spread of the cards and the selection of cards. For example you can do a Love Tarot Reading or Career Tarot Reading, in both readings you’d used specifically curated spreads. These spreads include the best cards to use, the position of the cards and the order in which questions should be asked. The position of the Tarot Cards is important because, of the interaction of the cards. When doing the basic 3-card reading, you start from left (the past) and move through the middle (the present) to end in the future (the far right). The chronological order is important because, to understand your future, you have to understand your past and current self. The position of the cards can also be in a heart-shape for Love readings because, it’s most appropriate for love readings.

Which  Tarot Cards to use for your Tarot Card reading? The cards you use depend strongly on the type of readings you do. If your doing a simple 3-card reading, using the entire deck may be most appropriate. This is because each part the deck represents different meanings and periods in your life.

  • The Major Arcana represent life in its primary stages as everyone experiences life.
  • The Minor Arcana represent people events and more closely the feelings every person encounters during their life.

If your reading your readings is more focused on your future career is may be best to use only the Major Arcana because, those cards govern the stages in our lives. If your reading is more focused on understanding current conflicts, it may be best to use only the Minor Arcana, because those cards govern our feelings. Whenever you look up different spreads online, the curator will most likely advise which  Tarot cards you should use for your Tarot reading.


Step 3: Assign questions, draw a Tarot card and place face down

  1. After you’ve selected your spread, it’s now time to assemble the right cards into a deck.
  2. If you look at the selected Tarot spread, you can see that each spot has a question assigned. The selected cards will give you insight into these questions.
  3. Shuffle the deck as much times as you feel necessary.
  4. Pick a card from the deck and place it face down, in the shape of the spread you’ve selected.
  5. Do the same procedure until you’ve placed a Tarot Card in each of the spots advised by the Tarot Spread.
  6. After you’ve placed a card into each of the spots and each of the spots has a question assigned to it. It is now time to start revealing the cards. 
  7. Start with card 1/ Question 1 as described by the spread and reveal the card from the side, Do Not turn over the card from the top or bottom position. This might lead to you reversing the cards, and a reversed card has a different meaning
  8. Do this for all the cards until all cards are face up and you can see the drawings on the cards.

Step 4: Interpret the Tarot Cards and see what they mean for you

After you’ve revealed the cards and all of the artwork is visible, it’s time to interpret what the cards mean for you.

You can start by looking up the meaning of card 1 assigned to question 1, look at the artwork and try to reveal what type of emotions or thoughts it awakens inside you.

Then look at the keywords of the Tarot Card, for example the keywords of the Major Arcana card: 20. Judgement is renewal and change of position. This might indicate that new beginnings are on the rise for you. 

Try to find out what the Tarot Card can implicate for the question you seek answers to. For example 20. Judgement for the question: What do my career prospects look like? This could implicate that you may get a new job offering or  a new position.

Since you’re are your own Tarot reader in this reading, it’s important to try to analyze the feelings you get as well as the first thoughts you get when seeing the Tarot Cards. After which you need to dive deeper and see what they mean for your specific question.

It’s also important to uncover the collaborative meaning of all the Tarot Cards, for example some of them reveal new beginnings and others reveal endings. This may mean that you’ll go through a period of renewal, which may be tough on you, followed by a period of new beginnings. 

What about reversed Tarot cards? A reversed card is a card that is placed in a different way then the other cards, if all cards are laid in the normal position, with the bottom of the card directed towards you, the normal meaning applies. Sometimes the cards may also appear in a reversed position, this is when the top of the card is pointed towards you. Then the meaning of the Tarot card changes and should you interpret it differently. For example the Judgement card, in the position where the bottom of the card faces you, the keywords are: renewal and change of position. When the top of the card faces you, the keywords are: weakness, simplicity, deliberation, decision and sentence. As you can see the meanings are not the same, so they cannot be interpreted in the same ways. Whenever you stumble upon reversed Tarot cards, you can find the meanings here for the Major Arcana and here for the Minor Arcana.


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