1. Choose a tarot deck. Try to find one that resonates with you. You can browse hundreds of decks at Aeclectic Tarot. If you’re new to tarot I would suggest purchasing one that has pictures on all the cards. Some decks only have pips on what is known as the Minor Arcana.
2. Carefully study the deck. You can either choose to learn the meanings by heart (not recommended) or just trust your intuition when you read the deck. There are hundreds of books and/or websites that will help you with the meaning of the cards. Here’s a good place to start. The American Tarot Association
3. Select a spread. The spread is how you lay the cards out for a reading. You can lay out just one card, two, three or the entire deck. It’s important to choose a spread as that will help guide your reading. Interestingly, the website “How Stuff Works” has a great introduction as to how to lay cards out in a spread and how to read them.
4. Ask your question. It’s important when framing you question that you try to be as specific as possible, but also leave the question to interpretation. It’s not that you can’t ask questions that can only be answered yes or no, but you want to get as much advice from the tarot as you can. Here’s a website with advice on how to frame your question.
5. Thoroughly shuffle the deck. Make sure your tarot deck, especially if it’s brand new, has been thoroughly shuffled, I often just put the entire deck on a table and swirl the cards around like I was swirling my hands in water. Use whatever method works for you. You just want to be sure your deck is thoroughly shuffled.
6. Deal the cards into whatever spread you’ve chosen. Again, there are as many methods for doing this as there are tarot readers. You can concentrate on the question as you’re dealing the cards, you can turn over a card at a time or you can turn all the cards over at once. Do whatever works for you.
7. Relax and allow your mind to look over the images on the card. You can think about the meaning of the card, but I find it useful to pay more attention to (1) the question I asked, (2) where the card fell in the spread and (3) how the images on the card relate to (1) and (2).
8. Take notes. It’s not only helpful in recalling what insights you derived from the spread, but you will also be recording your individual interpretations of the cards. After a while, you’ll have written your own book on the cards’ meaning as they relate to you.
9. If some of the cards don’t seem very clear, don’t be afraid to lay down additional cards next to the cards already in the spread to get more clarification. There is no right way or wrong way to do a reading. Always keep that in mind.
10. Do another reading as soon as you can. The best way to become proficient at reading tarot is to practice it as you would any skill. The more comfortable you are with the cards and the spreads, the easier it will be.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments below. And feel free to share your techniques or experiences with the tarot.