What to Expect From a Tarot Reading

Tarot readings take many forms, but most begin similarly: The reader shuffles and fans out the cards and invites the querent to pull one or more. The cards are then laid out in a specific pattern called a spread.

Different spreads have interpretations, including past-present-future, mind-body-spirit, and situation/action/outcome. But regardless of the spread, all tarot readings start with the same intention, asking questions and seeking answers.

The Major Arcana

tarot reading

The Major Arcana cards of a tarot deck represent life lessons, karmic influences and big archetypal themes that affect our lives. They’re numbered 0 to 21, starting with the Fool and ending with The World.

Unlike the Minor Arcana, which depicts daily aspects of our lives, such as our challenges, talents, opportunities and ups and downs, the Major Arcana card meanings are more illuminating and spiritually significant. They help us analyse things on a soul level and can provide guidance as we work through our life lessons.

When you see a Major Arcana card in your tarot reading, it can bring a lot of energy and focus to the cards surrounding it. This is because these cards are important, indicating the bigger picture and the big ideas at play in our lives.

The Emperor card, for instance, symbolizes leadership and strength in the physical realm. When this card shows up, it can remind you to take a steady approach and ensure that all the pieces are in place before taking on new projects or relationships. The Tower card can also be a sign that it’s time to shed any negative habits or beliefs that may be holding you back from reaching your goals and aspirations.

Similarly, the Judgement card signifies that it’s time to take responsibility for your actions and the way you live your life, to start speaking up and being more assertive. And finally, The World is the card of fulfillment and completion, a reminder that you’re on your path and are exactly where you’re meant to be. If any of these cards show up reversed, it could indicate that you need to master the lesson of that particular card before you can move on.

Tarot isn’t about predicting the future; it’s about connecting with universal wisdom and tapping into our intuition to receive guidance for our journey. But sometimes it can be difficult to understand the messages in these powerful cards, especially if you don’t have any background knowledge or experience with them. Understanding the connections between the Major Arcana cards, zodiac signs and elements can facilitate a deeper comprehension of these cards in your readings.

The Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana cards deal with our day-to-day energies. They help us understand what is going on in the moment, where we are currently at in our journey and how best to move forwards.

There are 56 Minor Arcana cards in total. They are divided into four suits – Wands, Pentacles, Swords and Cups. Each suit has its own symbolism and meaning. There are also four court cards – Kings, Queens, Knights and Pages. Each of these court cards represents a person or situation.

A tarot reading is a journey of discovering the potential for healing, transformation and spiritual growth within our lives. It is not just a prediction of the future, but an opportunity to make choices that will lead us to our most fulfilling lives.

Tarot cards can be used in a variety of ways, and how they are used depends on what kind of questions people are asking. People can use them to gain insight into any aspect of their lives, from relationships and careers to health and finances. They can also be used to connect with their spirit guides and ask for guidance.

While learning the Major Arcana is the main goal of tarot, it is the Minor Arcana that really makes a tarot deck come to life. It is what tarot readers rely on when giving readings to their clients.

Many newcomers to tarot are familiar with the Major Arcana, as they contain seismic shifts in life – beginnings and endings, discoveries and losses. However, it is the Minor Arcana cards that provide more of a road map to life, revealing how we can navigate challenges and find our way home.

A good example of this is the Hermit card. This is the archetypal image of someone whose search for truth and deeper meaning has made them renounce superficial pleasures to devote themselves fully to their quest. If you pull the Eight of Cups in your reading, it would suggest that the Hermit’s decision is not a temporary impulse but a deeply rooted desire.

The Minor Arcana also tells the story of our universe. They describe all that we see and experience, from our physical world to the emotions that drive us.

The Court Cards

In a reading the Court Cards represent people, personalities and influences. These can be actual people influencing you such as the King of Wands who represents someone with a strong personality or it could be aspects of your own personality that need to develop like the Page of Cups. Depending on the card’s sex, it can also indicate the traditional responsibilities of its rank. So, a Page of Cups would suggest a new relationship and the Queen of Cups a more emotionally mature period.

The relationships between the Court Cards can be complex, but it is often helpful to see how they fit into different parts of your life. For example, you might be more a Knight of Wands than a Knight of Swords as your natural preference is for action and adventure. Alternatively, you might be more of a Queen of Cups person who is nurturing and spiritual.

It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with all the court cards before starting giving readings. This will help you get a more intuitive feel for the deck. Many tarot guides are great for this as they will help you become familiar with the overall shape of the deck, its symbols and the cards themselves. They will also give you practical advice and tips on spreads, learning techniques and reading etiquette.

There are many tarot systems and you should experiment with a few to expand your knowledge. It is also a good idea to learn how all the suits connect to each other. For example, some tarot systems will link Kings to Fire while others will connect Kings to Air. This will affect how you interpret certain cards and spreads.

Finally, it is a good idea to practice being observant of people around you and try to identify which Court cards they might be. This can be especially helpful when you’re doing readings for friends. If you can link them to a specific Court card then this will help you focus on their questions and answer their queries more clearly. It will also allow you to make better connections between your own personalities and how they influence each other.

The Fool

When The Fool appears in a reading, it can be a sign that a new Journey is about to begin. It will require a leap of faith, but you will grow from the experience. This card is an invitation to relax and let go of any expectations. This is a card of trust, and it is important to remember that the Universe will support you.

When this card appears in a love reading it can be a sign that you are about to embark on a new romantic chapter. It is also an invitation to be more open, vulnerable and authentic in your relationships. This card is often paired with The Magician in love spreads to indicate that a change is about to take place.

In general, drawing this card upright in a reading can be a sign that good fortune is on its way. This is a card of adventure and potential, and it reminds you to embrace your freedom to explore life in whatever way feels most expansive for you.

The image on this card is reminiscent of the dawn of a new day, which brings to mind the ancient slogan “carpe diem” (“seize the day”). The Fool invites you to step into the unknown and allow yourself to be surprised by what unfolds. Let yourself be guided by your intuition, and trust that the Universe will guide you through this new journey.

If you draw this card reversed in a reading it can be a reminder that you need to ground yourself and reconnect with your inner guidance. You may be over-reaching or taking on too much risk. Alternatively, this card can be a sign that you are seeking new spiritual experiences and are ready to cast off your old traditions.

The number of cards that appear in a reading will depend on the type of spread and whether you choose to read reversals or not. Typically, the first card that appears is The Fool, and it can have a very different meaning depending on its position in the deck and its interaction with the other cards.