Clues from the Past (Spread)
One way you might consider trying to learn the tarot cards is by reading them in how they come up in a past reading. Your past, or someones elses if you can get input on their past.
This works for a 3 month period, a 6 month period, and even over a 12 month period (or longer although I haven't tried this).
Choose one time period and shuffle and cut your cards while going over mentally what has occured over the past 3, 6, or 12 month period. Starting with the current month deal cards to the left
for either 3, 6, or 12 months.
6 Month Past Reading
Deck Used: Universal Waite (UW)
........ 2003 ............. 2004 ................
.. 6 ...... 5 ...... 4 ..... 3 ..... 2 ..... 1 ...
. Oct .. Nov ... Dec .. Jan .. Feb .. Mar .
1 - 6 of Pentacles (Mar)
2 - 9 of Pentacles (Feb)
3 - 10 of Swords (Jan)
4 - 9 of Wands (Dec)
5 - Queen of Cups (Nov)
6 - 8 of Wands (Oct)
Let's say the person lost their job in December (card #4). Looking at the card in the UW deck the guy looks like he's defending what he has (left) so this could mean he/she has lost their job. So under possible meanings for the 9 of Wands you can add 'Possible loss of job'.
Lets say the person is still looking for work in Febuary. Looking at the 9 of Pentacles we find a lady leisurely wandering around in her garden with nothing to do. This also could mean s/he's wandering around that garden because s/he still hasn't found work. Under the 9 of Pentacles you might want to add, 'unemployed/looking for work'.
Lets us again say the the person finally found work in March and since the 6 of Pentacles came up and looks like someone who has hit the jackpot and is tossing money to the wind then you might add this meaning to the 6 of Pents, 'You found, or will find employment'.
A recent past reading is just another tool you might want to add to your tarot toolbox of goodies.
The above is an idea I adapted from the writings of John Gilbert. See: http://TarotInstitute.com