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Culture > Entertainment

Introduction to Tarot: Everything You Need to Know 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Lasell chapter.



Some people insist that tarot cards are just ink on paper, but others see tarot as a way to gain insight into someone’s inner thoughts, workings, and wisdom. In our day-to-day lives, we encounter so many lessons and we learn so much, and tarot is a way to visualize these lessons and give more meaning to what we encounter daily. Keep reading to learn more about the art of tarot and the different ways in which tarot cards can be used. 


What are Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards come in decks of 78 cards, and each deck is unique and different. There’s no right or wrong deck, especially for beginners, and it’s all about choosing a deck that you really enjoy. The classic tarot card deck is considered to be the Rider-Waite Deck, which features the bold and bright illustrations typically associated with tarot. However, decks come in all shapes and sizes, like the Everyday Mini Deck where the cards are cute and pocket-sized, or the Gummy Bear Deck, where the cards feature adorable imagery of gummy bears in costume. Whatever you’re looking for in a tarot deck, a quick Google search will have the right deck for you just a click away. 


How Do Tarot Cards Work? 

Within a deck of tarot cards, there are 22 cards that are considered to be a part of the Major Arcana, and these cards represent life’s karmic and spiritual lessons. In addition, the other 56 cards are a part of the Minor Arcana, and these cards represent daily trials and tribulations that are experienced by everyone. Within the Minor Arcana set of cards are 16 Court cards that represent different personality characteristics. However, don’t worry if this all just sounds like a bunch of confusing terminologies right now, because knowing the meaning of the cards comes with time and lots of practice. 


How Do You Use Tarot Cards? 

The first step to becoming familiar with the art of tarot is actually owning your own deck and opening up the instructional booklet that the deck comes with. This guide gives you information about the artist who designed the art on each card as well as some information on the process of tarot. Furthermore, this booklet will give you spreads. Tarot spreads are how you draw and arrange tarot cards to get meaning out of the cards and their imagery. They make different shapes and give you prompting questions for each card that you pull, making it super helpful for beginners. Once you pick a tarot spread from your booklet or from an online guide, you’re ready to go! 


From there, the next step is to shuffle your deck thoroughly and get drawing. Once you’ve drawn your cards and arranged them according to your spread, you begin to draw meaning and interpret the cards. This is much easier than it sounds because it’s all right there in the booklet that comes with the tarot deck. Flip through the book to find the name of the card that you first drew (it’s written somewhere on the card, usually the bottom). Once found, you’ll see a small description of the illustration on that specific card and then two meanings. If you drew the card right-side up, read the first meaning, and apply it to the question from the spread you are using. Similarly, if you drew the card upside down, read the second meaning, and apply it. Repeat as needed for all of the cards you drew for the spread and boom! You’ve done your first tarot reading.  


Helpful Tarot Resources

Now you know what tarot is all about, once you do your first reading, you’ll see how fun and intriguing it can be too. However, if you’re still feeling a little stuck, there are plenty of online resources that can help guide you. For example, if you don’t know how to choose a deck or get started, the internet has everything you could possibly need in terms of resources. Some websites that I personally have found helpful on my tarot journey are Biddy Tarot, the Tarot Lady, and the Tarot Guide


Let us know in the comments below if you’ve ever had a tarot reading done for you or if you’ve ever done one yourself!

Attends Lasell University and is currently a senior (class of 2023). An elementary education major with a minor in child and adolescent studies. A proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, I love the color yellow, crocs, and all kinds of tea!