It is very easy to learn how to read tarot cards. You do not need any special psychic abilities, although using tarot cards can be a very good way to develop your intuition, if you would like to do that.

You can approach learning to read tarot cards in a logical, systematic way. The easiest way to do that is if you have a deck of tarot cards where there are clear pictures. The Rider Waite deck of tarot cards is ideal for this purpose.

Traditionally a deck of tarot cards consists of 78 cards, which are broken down into five sections. These are the Major Arcana and the Four Suits.

The Major Arcana is made up of 22 cards.

If you see a lot of Major Arcana cards in a reading or a spread, then it is likely that those issues are very important and deep-rooted and that the impact of the situations may well be there for some time.

The Major Arcana covers virtually every aspect of your life. It can also be seen as a more spiritual journey and the lessons that need to be learnt to move through various life situations.

The Major Arcana also indicate personality archetypes. These may be things that we can recognise in ourselves or see in others. Although the figures in the cards may show as male or female, the characteristics can relate to either gender.

Major Arcana cards can also represent events.


The rest of the deck is made up of four suits. These can be compared to the suits in a deck of playing cards. They consist of an Ace, cards 2 – 10 and four court cards, which are Page, Knight, Queen and King. All the cards in each suit relate to the same element, which makes learning to read tarot cards quite easy.

The first is the Suit of Cups, which usually represent matters to do with emotions and feelings.

Astrologically they represent the element of Water and the signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.

The next is the Suit of Wands, which refer to matters to do with action, work, career, business, creativity, moving forward.

Wands are represented by the element of Fire and can point to the zodiac signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.

Then we have the Suit of Swords, which points towards mental activity and head stuff with thoughts, ideas, fears, logic.

Swords represent the element Air and the astrological signs of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.

Lastly, we have the Suit of Pentacles, which represent money, material things, matters to do with the earth and the home.

Pentacles represent the element of Earth and the astrological signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.

The Major Arcana and the Suits are the cornerstones of learning to read tarot cards. Once you understand the general principals, it is much easier to break your learning down into bite-sized chunks.

Amanda Goldston
Tarot Author, Coach and Reader
©2009 Amanda Goldston

Author's Bio: 

Amanda Goldston is the author of “Develop Your Intuition Through Tarot”, a speaker and Tarot Coach. She has been reading Tarot cards for over 16 years and has used them extensively in her Changing Lives Coaching Practice to help 1000s of people to make the best choices for themselves. She now teaches others to read the cards for themselves for fun, profit and personal growth. For details of Amanda‘s books and courses, please go to