How to Read the Tarot Cards for Yourself

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Reading the Tarot Cards

Tarot Card Reading Article by Craig Hamilton-Parker. At first glance tarot reading seems hard to understand but it is quite easy to get started and learn how to read the tarot cards for yourself. Unfortunately few Tarot books explain it simply. They overload the novice with too much information: astrology, psychology, symbolism, numerology and so on. But the cards were first designed when most of the population were illiterate.

Much of the knowledge was passed down by Romany oral traditions. In essence the tarot cards meanings are only triggers to your own intuition. Some of the best readers I’ve met don’t understand the history and complex mystical traditions and symbolism of tarot cards. They intuitively grasp the hidden meanings of the Tarot cards – and this is what the ancient inventors intended.

Jane explains how to read the tarot cards.

And this is how I’ll teach you to work: with Traditional Tarot Card Meanings but also Intuitive Tarot Card Meanings. You can read about the detailed meanings of the cards at your leisure once you know these basics. So let’s get started so that you can easily learn how to read the tarot for yourself and then for other.


All oracles are based upon interpreting random events. The fall of coins or runes, the patterns in sand or smoke stains on a mirror- all have a random element. The random events take on a special meaning when we ask them to be our oracle. Jung’s theory proposed that psychological events ran in parallel to material ones. Hence the powerful unconscious psyche attracted unusual coincidences. Oracles are a focal point for these forces.


First you’ve got to decide which Tarot Card you want to work with. I would strongly suggest the Rider Tarot Pack designed by A E Waite. Their advantage is that they retain much of the traditional symbolism and all of the cards have a picture to guide you. The Cards teach you by themselves.

Before you start practicing get to know the cards. Look at each one and decide what it is trying to tell you. How would you interpret the card in a reading? What does it say about the emotional, spiritual or material conditions of a person? Devote a good deal of time to this before you look up the standard meanings of the cards. It will help you link your own intuitive response to the cards. When you’ve decided on your interpretation compare it with the list printed later. You’ll probably find that your interpretation comes pretty close to the established meanings.

The psychic way to Read the Cards

Sadly, many tarot readers are not clairvoyance gifted. The cards will provide interesting insights but if you want to astonish your sitter with your accuracy then you must use your clairvoyant skills- which is what this book’s all about.

A lot of sitters don’t understand that a true psychic doesn’t need cards or oracles to tell them all about their life and future. When the sitter sees the cards before them it is reassuring- if the cards say so then it must be true. I use the cards with some sitters because it focuses their attention, they relax and their aura opens. They are also a useful talking point to keep the attention on the subject being discussed. But the cards are secondary to the psychic gifts you use.

It’s interesting to conduct a reading with all the cards face down. I’ve experimented by placing my hand on the unseen Tarot card and told the person all about their life. For example I place my hand on card number one and describe the sitter’s problems. Then for number two I explain the things that stand in their way, for number two I describe their ambitions, for four their inner feelings. When I turn the cards over it’s clearly seen that the images reflect the points I’ve been talking about. The psychic meaning is far more important than the traditional meaning of the Tarot.

The fact is that it’s the psychic skills that count over the augury of an oracle. Trust your gut feeling. You don’t need to look up the meanings of the cards in long lists of divination meanings. You just trust your clairvoyant instincts.

Reading the Tarot Cards


  • Before you begin your reading prepare yourself in advance. Retire to a quiet room and tune yourself in. You may first want to start by doing a few breathing exercises to help quiet your body and mind.
  • Next open your aura as you did in chapter 3. Once you’ve done this you can do as many readings as you want. But remember afterwards to clear yourself and close the aura down again.

Getting ready to read the cards

Most people consulting you will be tense. They may have been worrying about what you’re going to say since the time they booked their reading. They may have just driven through the rush hour. So help them relax. A cup of tea is a good idea and also make some idle chit chat. Reassure them that you won’t tell them anything that will frighten them, they can ask you questions if in doubt, and remind them that the things you will say are the potential not the actual future.

If they start trying to feed you with information or begin telling you their problems: stop them. Explain that you’ll tell them these things during the reading. Knowing too much about the person will distract your intuitive flow. And, after all, you want to be a real psychic- not some charlatan that feeds back information that the sitter has told them. ( We call these ‘cold readings’)


Ask your sitter if there’s a specific problem they want to ask about or if they’d like a general reading. Chose a card to represent it and place it on the table. You can choose a court card to represent the sitter if you like. Ask them to shuffle the cards and then you lay them out face upwards in the way previously indicated.

Before considering the cards meanings tune-in to the person. Ask if you can hold something they’ve owned for some time: their watch, bracelet and so on. Now use the psychometry skills you’ve already practised to describe their character and life history. Then extend your sensing to their aura. You may see the colours and feel their vibration. Tell them about the impressions you feel.

Starting in this way links your psychic senses to those of the sitter. Once you’ve dried up (if you’re any good you could probably continue indefinitely) turn your attention to the cards.


First look to see which cards dominate most. Lots of cups may indicate that their problems are emotional, wands link with work, coins with money and swords with strife. These are the pointers to indicate which subjects you should be talking about.


Now look at the individual cards. Start with card number one that covers the person- the theme of the spread. Supposing it’s the tower- a very negative looking card and a symbol of shock and ruin. Telling the sitter the face value meaning won’t be very reassuring. You need to dig deeper.


Touch the card, close your eyes and watch the images appearing in the third eye. The tower could have many meanings: emotional shock, an accident, a house repossession,a nervous breakdown. Let your intuition guide you then speak: “Your worlds falling apart because you’re worried about a teenager leaving home” If you’ve trusted your intuition you’ve probably hit the nail on the head. Other Tarot cards nearby may hint at what’s wrong. Perhaps the card is crossed by a family card like the six or ten of cups. Or maybe a Page Tarot card is shown and represents the young adult in question? The cards will tell you lots but your intuition even more. If your really switched on you may be able to say the teenager’s name- something the cards alone could never tell you.

Supposing you turn to the card that crowns the person in position number 3. It’s the ace of wands- the start of a new enterprise. But what sort? You look to your intuition and draw a blank. No images. No clues. So try placing another card over it from the pack. You draw the eight of coins- a card that relates to work. “Your son is hoping to start a new job I see”. Ask as you draw the next card if it will be a success. You draw the star. “The new job is very hopeful. You should encourage him. It’s a blessing.”

I place two or three cards over the original card draw to add detail to the reading. The first card drawn is however the most significant and don’t over do it or you’ll confuse the reading with too many images to take into account. Again there’s no hard and fast rules and you can even develop your own methods or layout.

Consider all the other cards and the meaning of the position they occupy. Then see how they work with adjoining cards and how they relate to each other and the central card. Let your logical, everyday mind take a back seat. Your intuition will make connections between the images and symbols you see before you. Combine this with the psychic impressions from your sitter and you will give readings that astound people.

References and Works Cited

Books by Craig Hamilton-Parker about How to read the tarot cards:

My book about how to read the tarot cards for yourself.

Useful Resources

  • TAROT CARD READINGS BY PHONE We also offer tarot card readings by phone or by email. Call for a psychic reading, clairvoyance or tarot readings with psychics. We have hundreds of tarot readers to choose from – online now.
  • LEARN TO READ TAROT – We now offer Tarot Classes for beginners in our classrooms.
  • Types of cards can include Trionfi, Visconti-Sforza tarot deck, Jean Dodal Tarot of Marseilles, Nicolas Conver’s 1760 deck. The cards used for this exercise are the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.

About Post Author

Craig Hamilton-Parker

Craig is a TV medium, author and mystical teacher. I will approve and respond to comments that are short, well-written and on topic. For personal questions and experiences please post on our forums.
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