7 Steps To Performing A Tarot Reading

So, you've gone out and bought your first ever tarot deck, skimmed over the meanings of each card and can't wait to get started on a reading. But wait, how do you do it? If you're new to tarot reading, it can be a little overwhelming. It can be difficult to know where and how to start, especially if you haven't got much guidance. Don't worry, you're not alone! We've all been there before, even the best tarot reader in the world had to start off somewhere, and I guarantee that they felt exactly like you do now. Starting out is not going to be easy and you're not going to be an overnight success. It does take time to get the hang of all of the different aspects of tarot, but learning is half of the fun and it will be worth it once you've perfected the skill of tarot reading!

The preparation before the reading is just as important as the reading itself, maybe more so. You can't just go in, shuffle the cards a bit, ask your question and presto. No, no, no! During a reading prep, it is not only vital to prepare your mind for the reading, but also to prepare the cards for the reading. Without doing this, you could risk producing unreliable results. We don't want that! Seem daunting?

That's where I come in. I'm going to show you the steps that I like to take when I prepare for a reading. Remember, there is no tarot rule book, there is no right and wrong when it comes to reading tarot cards, and everyone's method is different. Think of this as a template if you wish, you don't have to follow it step by step, you can just use it as a guide, if that's what you prefer! Change it up to suit yourself and your time scale. Make it your own! 


1. Set up your reading space

This is a completely optional step as, technically, you can read tarot anywhere, but personally, I like to create the perfect atmosphere to perform my tarot readings. Atmosphere is everything! When the time comes to call upon those magical cards, I like to create a soft, warm set up by drawing the curtains, turning on some table lamps and lighting various candles around the room. I perform my readings on a make-shift altar which is decorated with crystals and candles.  Technically, you don't have to do all of this and as long as you're comfortable with your reading space and its atmosphere, then you're good to go!


2. Meditation


In order to perform a tarot reading, you must be in the right head space to do it. If you're thoughts are scattered or you become distracted, you will not be able to fully concentrate and, in return, will not produce a reliable reading. You must clear your mind of all thoughts and be at peace with yourself and everything around you. I find that the easiest way to do this is through meditation.

You don't have to be elaborate with your meditation method, my method of meditation lasts no more than 10 minutes and is pretty basic compared to most. You do t have to follow my method completely if you don't want to, just use it as a template instead. Find a method that you are most comfortable with and go with it. 

  1. Choose a quiet and clear space in your house that is free of distractions and will allow you to mediate without any interruptions. 
  2. Find a  position that will allow you to sit comfortably for a number of minutes. The most popular and recommended meditation position is sitting cross-legged.  Tip:  place a cushion beneath you as floors are not always bottom friendly after a period of time!
  3. Focus completely on your breathing technique. By concentrating fully on your breathing, you are not only grounding yourself but you're also not leaving much room to focus on anything else.
  4. Come out of your meditation once you feel that your mind is clear and you can fully concentrate on your reading. 

3. Cleanse your deck

Cleansing your tarot deck before a reading is also a very important step. This will remove all the built up energy from your last reading, remove others' energy if there's a chance that someone else could have touched them and also help you reconnect with your deck, among other reasons. If you've only recently acquired a tarot deck, then you definitely shouldn't skip this step. It is essential that you connect with the deck before using it for the first time.

There are many different ways that you can cleanse your tarot deck. You can stick to the basic and just sort your deck in order from Major Arcana to Minor Arcana or you could be more intricate with a salt cleanse or moon bath. I personally prefer to sort them into their original state. I place them in order from The Fool to the King of Pentacles. This also gives you the opportunity to make sure that you have every card in your deck before the reading.


4. Shuffle your deck

Now that your deck is sorted into its original order, you must shuffle the cards in order to mix them. There are many different ways to shuffle your deck; experiment with different shuffling methods to find a way that is easiest for you. My preferred method is a basic shuffle. Half way through your shuffle, cut a third of the deck and turn them around so that there are possible reversed cards. If you'd prefer not to use reversed cards then simply skip this step. Then continue to shuffle the deck until you feel it's time to stop.  Tip: If any cards fall out during the shuffling process, pay attention to them as they are trying to send you a message. 

5. Ask your question

Now it's time to ask you question! You must thing carefully about what you're going to ask and how you're going to word it as this could impact your reading significantly. Although there are no rules to asking a question in tarot, there are some things that are not really appropriate to ask during a tarot reading because they will take away the accuracy and authenticity of your results. Instead of asking restricting questions by opening with 'Will', 'When' or 'Should', ask open-ended questions by changing them to 'What', 'Why' or 'How'. This will open your question up to much more possible answers and ensure that your reading is both accurate and reliable. 


6. Cut Your Deck 

The final step in you tarot reading preparation is cutting your deck. Some might do this while they're shuffling but I personally like to cut the deck after my question has been asked. There are many methods to cutting the deck and neither of them are wrong, it's all down to personal preference. Most people cut their deck in half or sometimes threes, I don't. I cut the deck where I feel is right. To do this, hold your deck in one hand and simply run your thumb over each card, separating them slightly as it glides over. As your doing this repeat your question in your mind. Use your intuition to guide your thumb to stop in the perfect place. Then, pull that bottom pile out of the deck so that you have two separate piles and then place that bottom pile above the original top card so that you have one pile again.


7. Read your cards.

Now you're ready to put your cards into a spread and read them accordingly. Find a spread that best suits your question and use your intuition will reading the cards to interpret them to your situation. Take a look at my post Popular Tarot Spreads To Try for tarot spread ideas. For more information on tarot cards and their meanings, take a look here.


Remember that when preparing for a tarot reading you must feel comfortable with your practices. The above steps are my methods of tarot reading preparation and may not be your ideal method. If that is the case, use this step-by-step as a template and experiment with different methods to find the one that is perfect for you. If you have any queries or need any help with preparing for a tarot reading, please feel free to contact me here or comment below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Also, if you have a different method of preparing for a reading feel free to share those in the comments also. I'm always open to new suggestions!


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Here is a little printout for you to keep for future reference! Happy tarot reading!