Tarot Card Readings: A Quick Guide to the Secrets

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Quick Guide to the Secrets of Tarot Card Readings

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Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychic Kyra Oser

15 January 2022

Dear Reader,

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Kyra Lin Oser, M.A., C.Ht
Ph.D. Student
Historian/ Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist

The Secrets of Tarot Card Readings

The following guide offers some tips on reading tarot cards that I’ve learned about over the years as a tarot reader. I am happy to share them with you in case it might save you some time or help you to provide yourself and others with readings that can offer insight into the past, present, and future. For the purposes of this tutorial, I will be referring to the Rider Waite (or Smith Waite) tarot deck(s).

Part I: Foundations of Tarot Card Readings

General Way to Read the Cards: Suits and Court Cards

Minor Arcana cards can refer to 1) a minor event or 2) some of the specific parts of a major situation.

When you have a suit card, this is in the category of one of the four suits, which are usually cups, pentacles, swords, or wands. There are general meanings to each suit which you can quickly memorise.

Cups refer to relationships and the emotional life and are ruled by Water signs.

Pentacles are about financial and practical situations and relate to Earth signs.

Swords indicate mental processes, consciousness, and intellectual life and are most closely related to Air signs.

Finally, Wands indicate creativity, ideas, and inspiration and are connected to Fire signs.

Suits and Numbers

ace of cupsEach of the four suits is numbered from 1 to 10 (e.g. Ace of Cups to Ten of Cups). Every number has a specific connotation so if you memorise the general idea behind the numbers you can start to connect the meaning of the suit to the definition of each number. For instance, Ace (or 1) is a new beginning and cups are about relationships and/or emotions, so Ace of Cups in a very basic and general sense indicates either a new relationship or emotional state. The type of relationship indicated by this card will depend on 1) the other cards in the spread which might refer to a person or situation and 2) the question asked by the querent, or person asking the question and being read.

While the meanings of these numbers vary, it was helpful to me when I started reading tarot to get familiar with commonalities within each number. For instance, every time I saw a two I knew this card was offering a message about duality, partnership, two paths, or possibly a choice or decision that needed to be made. The following are very basic meanings and are by no means a complete list of either the numerical interpretations or numerological ones that can be found in the Minor Arcana cards. These word associations are just a place to begin:

Ace: beginnings, opportunities

Two: partnerships, balance, decisions

Three: groups, collaboration, growth

Four: stability, structure, order, rest, reflection

Five: a conflict that offers an opportunity for positive change, considering an alternative approach to generate a different result

Six: progress, success, problem-solving, organisation, harmony, rewards

Seven: learning, gaining wisdom through experience, working towards a goal

Eight: action, change, perseverance, the “courage to change what we can” part of the Serenity Prayer

Nine: fulfillment, arriving at a goal

Ten: completion, the end of a cycle, inner or outer transformation

Major Arcana Cards

Major Arcana cards indicate a more significant external event, inner change, or can refer to both. There isn’t a shortcut to learning these because they all have different meanings but the good news is that there are only 22 in a 78-card deck so it is not a lot to memorise. If you are a beginner at reading tarot it can help to have a deck that says the meaning on the card, which the Rider-Waite or Smith-Waite decks can provide.

Memorising Specific Meanings

For those of you who are visual or artists, it will probably be quick for you to learn the meaning of the cards because every one of them has an image. However, if you are not as visually inclined, it might help to come up with a wild (or even not so wild) association for each card. For instance, Emperor indicates a leader but can also be a father figure so you could think of something that rhymes like “Father-Leader-Emperor” each time you see the card that says “Emperor” at the bottom.

Part II: How to Choose a Spread for Tarot Card Readings

There are many helpful spreads, there is no “right” or “wrong” spread, and you can use your creativity to develop your own. The most basic place to start is by asking a question and pulling one card per answer. Once you get more comfortable with this, you might want to try a past-present-future three-card spread. From there, you will find more spreads in tarot card guidebooks or through your own online research.

Shuffling the Cards

how to shuffle tarot cards

Q: “How long should I shuffle the cards for?”

Part III: Interpreting Cards in a Tarot Card Readings

Combining Channeling with Tarot Card Readings

For ideas about channeling, please visit my post that offers some basic tips on how to develop your abilities under the headings “Time Travel Tarot Trip”, “How to Make Predictions” and  “A Less Stressful Psychic Process”.

psychic reading

Basic Psychic Channeling for Tarot Readings

The Higher Purpose(s) of Reading Tarot

If you are in service you will always have a higher purpose. As long as you can set your ego aside and read the cards with a genuine desire to help someone, an open mind, and persistently practising this so you improve your skills, you will be connecting with a higher purpose and meaning.

One caveat to that is about the balance necessary for the most effective delivery of news. If you see a warning in the cards it is most responsible to let someone know, yet it is also part of your function as a reader to do so in a way that does not cause anyone harm. This is a way of communicating that comes with practise but for now, know that it can be helpful to alert someone that there is a warning in the cards and ask them if they want to know about it.

Alternatively, you can start out the reading by letting the querent know that both warnings and opportunities can come up in the cards and check in with them to make sure they are okay with hearing about the warnings, too. Warnings can help someone to avoid a difficulty and sometimes it’s better to know what’s on the way than to ignore it and have them miss out on a message.

Reading Tarot Cards for Friends and Family

If you are reading for someone you know that can be tricky because it’s harder to be objective when you are involved in someone’s life. If possible, it is best to have someone read you or someone close to you who is not involved in your lives so there is no conflict of interest. It is also hard to break difficult news to someone if you are close to them so that is another reason to have your or their cards interpreted by an objective reader.

“Can I Read My Own Cards?”

It’s not as if I don’t read my own cards from time to time but doing so comes with multiple limitations, including objectivity and accountability. You will also be missing out on additional insight and foresight. There’s nothing wrong with reading one’s own card, it’s just an incomplete experience.
If you have any questions about how to read the cards, please add your queries in the comment section below this article. Happy Reading!

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*This blog and site are for entertainment purposes only. This site is not a substitute for a health professional. Please seek the immediate advice of health professionals if you feel you are in need of help.

**Likewise, please consult with your financial advisor concerning any investments or financial decisions.


  1. You’re welcome, Zachary. Please feel free to share this with your friend. There is so much to be found in the cards and I haven’t run out of questions to ask them or answers from them in the decades I’ve been using them. Feel free to post updates on your progress with reading the cards. Cheers.

  2. Thanks for the guide on how tarot cards have different meanings and readings that you could interpret. I heard that my best friend felt like he’s been stuck in a rut for quite some while now, and I want to help him get out of it. Maybe he should try these out as a guide for his future.

  3. Jesse J. Tripp on January 27, 2022 at 5:28 pm said:

    Do you know about the ongoing situation between Russia and Ukraine?

  4. yasmin kana on January 23, 2022 at 5:24 am said:

    can you say something to me about my recent past or near future

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