Congratulations! You have picked out and purchased your very first tarot deck. Now what do you do with it? I have been working with tarot since 1999. During that time I have developed a method which helps me develop a stronger bond with my decks. I have found my recommended method helps give a greater freedom in working with your deck.
All decks come with a booklet of instructions by the decks author. In the beginning of working with your deck it is very important to use this booklet to become better acquainted with your deck.
The first thing to do is to get a feel for the general meanings of the major arcana (the Trump) cards. For example the Chariot, Sun, Moon, Empress, Emperor, etc. These 22 cards are important to get acquainted with. Get to know each of these cards so that you feel comfortable giving an interpretation of the card without referring to the booklet.
Secondly learn the general meanings of the 4 suites. The 4 suites of the minor arcana are usually the Swords, Wands or Staffs, Water or Cups, Coins or Pentacles. Note I only recommend getting a feel for the suites, not each individual card. Allow yourself the freedom from becoming weighed down with details for reasons that will become clear later in this article.
The instruction booklet normally gives a recommended layout for the cards. Each position in the layout will have a recommended meaning. The most common layout, or spread, is the 'celtic cross' as shown below.
Practice with the cards at each step I have outlined above without the booklet. Yes the goal is to get to know your deck and put the booklet away. You want to feel comfortable enough with the cards that you do not need the booklet and can do a reading without the booklet. Your goal is to get to know your deck and at the same time develop your intuition (psychic abilities). Often the messages you get intuitively from the card, based on the position of the card in the layout may not have anything to do with what the booklet says about the card individually. However taking into account the other cards in the layout often things will fall into place and make sense from the querent's point of view. This is where it helps to have feedback from the querent, which happens easier with more of a conversational style of reading like friends chatting.
Above all set aside time and practice on yourself, friends and/or relatives on a regular basis. Make your deck a trusted friend and ally. Put the booklet away that came with it and practice with your deck. Listen to messages you get from the cards through your intuition.
Hopefully this has been helpful and gives you a good starting point to begin working relationship with your tarot cards.
Rev. Joe Estes
Copyright © 2017 by Joe Estes. All Rights Reserved.