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Tarot Cards and How to Use Them

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While most people are probably somewhat familiar with tarot cards, many people still have a lot of questions about selecting and using a deck. This guide will provide some answers to common questions about tarot cards to help you in your daily decision-making.

1. What is the difference between tarot cards and a regular deck of cards?

Most tarot decks have 22 major arcana cards and 56 minor arcana cards. The major arcana are generally representative of the human condition through life’s journey, while the suited numbers of the minor arcana cards encompass the everyday moments, the small joys and tragedies that make up the day to day of our lives. 

The English pattern pack, what most of us know today as the standard playing card deck, is made up of 13 major arcana and four suits - hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs. The major arcana consists of court cards, the king, queen, knight, and jack. Here, the major arcana reflect the hierarchy of the medieval world.

2. How do I choose a tarot deck?

Many people are nervous when choosing their first tarot deck. The vast selection and esoteric artwork of many decks can be overwhelming for beginners and even seasoned readers alike. Newcomers usually find decks like the Universal Waite or Rider Waite are approachable and easy to understand. The most important thing, though, is that the deck appeals to you! If you don’t like the feel, size, or artwork of a certain deck, you aren’t very likely to have a rewarding reading with it. Choose the deck that suits your personality above all else.

Many follow the superstition that tarot decks, especially your first tarot deck, should be a gift. This is not necessarily to say you can’t purchase a tarot deck for yourself, but rather that when buying your own deck, make it a “treat yourself” moment. Let the shop gift wrap it for you, write yourself an encouraging note along with your gift, make it a special day where you do things for you!

3. What and how to ask the tarot a question?

Tarot cards can be used for several purposes. As far as what to ask, there really are no rules. You can ask a direct question about anything you like, though be warned the answer may be less direct. Some like to ask direct, specific questions about their lives. Others prefer to take a more general approach, letting the cards guide them. You can even take a very relaxed approach, simply meditating and reflecting on the meaning of each card drawn, without any specific question in mind. 

4. Is it true that some people can see the future in a Tarot Card reading?

Though some make this claim, most experienced practitioners will tell you that tarot is more a tool for insight and self-reflection than a window into the future. Tarot is not about predicting the future so much as it is about looking at the path of your life and gaining perspective. 

5. How do I get a Tarot Card reading?

There are several different ways to get a tarot card reading. You can seek out an experienced trustworthy reader, or acquire your own deck and  try out the different approaches described above.

Most readings start with shuffling the cards and then choosing the required number of cards from either the top of the deck or randomly throughout the deck. Every reader has their own way of shuffling and drawing, think of it as your personal way of getting in touch with your deck.

6. How do I prepare for my Tarot Card reading?

Make sure you are in a comfortable, relaxed situation with ample time. Dedicate your space to the task with candles, incense, the ring of a bell, a favorite crystal - whatever you like! Or simply take a moment to focus and reflect. This is another area where the choice really is up to you, what’s most important is that you feel at ease and ready.


Tarot cards can be very helpful in a number of situations, especially as a way to reflect on questions or events in your life. While they can't predict your entire future, they can give you some insight into your own thoughts and feelings about things such as relationships and work. 

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