New To Tarot.. Having Difficulties.


Hey guys,

When myself and two friends were visiting friends in another city, we went shopping downtown before arriving and passed a Mystic Book Shoppe. We decided to go in, and while we were in there, decided to buy Tarot decks.

We each bought one, and exchanged them. The woman in the store, and some books we had skimmed in the shop suggested to start with the Rider-Waite deck, and so we did.

I left it for a while because the book I bought to accompany the deck, Tarot: Plain & Simple by Anthony Lewis, in my opinion, absolutely sucks. It's useless, and I wasn't getting anywhere with it.

It's been a few months and I recently went to Barnes & Noble and purchased The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tarot and Fortune-Telling, and The Complete Illustrated Guide to Tarot. These books seem to be more promising.

I'm only half-way through the first (Complete Idiot's Guide...) and so far it's been pretty ilusive and useless as well.. "The cards mean whatever YOU want them to mean." "It's all about YOU ... the cards reflect what YOU feel..." How is that supposed to help me learn the meanings so I can understand spreads? It's starting to get better, I'm on the 8th chapter and it's starting to begin to explain the cards.

But when I watch Miss Cleo on late-night TV, she is amazing at reading the cards and actually getting something meaningful from them. She can tell that certain people are being represented by the cards, and certain time frames for events.. she can see what represents marriage and birth. Meanwhile the book portrays Tarot to be a meditative, self-help type therapy thing. They're meant to be prophetic not something to do to understand something you already know or to use to relax.

Can someone please help me? Get me on the right track to learning the tarot properly.. I want to be able to spread the cards, and KNOW what's in front of me.. UNDERSTAND that the spread has meaning, the cards have meaning, specific situations and people are represented, be able to be excited about what the Tarot do.

Right now I have no understanding of them.. basically they just seem like cards that are meaningless and just happen to be next to each other.. I was excited to try and learn at first. But now I feel frustrated and as if there's nothing to be expected.

I want to be able to shock people at parties with revelations like others have to me at parties.. I feel like I'm missing out.

Also, the deck I ahve doesn't really appeal to me. The Thoth deck does. But I know it's easier to work with Rider-Waite decks when you begin.

Please help!! It would definitely be appreciated ..





Sorry to burst your bubble, but Miss Cleo's TV commercials are staged advertisements. She's a business woman trying to make lots and lots of money, so of course her readings are all going to be provocative and titillating.

Your books are right - to a point. Meditation, of a sort, is very important to mastering the Tarot. I don't like to call it meditation because that sounds a little too "new age" for my personal tastes. To me it's just studying your cards one at a time. REALLY studying them and getting to know each and every tiny little detail of the card. Know it well enough to tell a detailed story about the card.

If you do this, you will then see what the books mean when they say the cards mean whatever you want them to mean. You will see the images on each card differently than I will. Differently from every other reader.

Once you've determined YOUR meaning for each of the cards, then you should learn all of the "traditional" meanings for them, which you can find in any book. Actually, you'll probably be surprised my how many of your interpretations come real close to the traditional ones. But it's the differences that you need to pay attention to. Those are the highly personal interpretations that will enable you to read the cards.

I have many amazing stories from my years of reading the Tarot. They have taught me a lot and have taken me on many wonderful journeys through the lives of many interesting people who I would never have known anything about otherwise.

To me, that's worth more than any cheesy TV commercial any old day.



Whoa! Let's back off and start all over again.

For reasons which you will discover many recommend the Rider-Smith-Waite deck to start with. (It's been around, and more than half the decks you will see are patterned after it, etc.) But ignore that for now.

For starters, pick a deck that you really like, for whatever reason and regardless of what everyone says about it. If you prowl around this site, and read the deck reviews and look at the pictures, you'll get an idea. Get it just 'cause you like it.

I agree with you that Anthony Lewis' book is dry and dull. In a perfect world, the deck you select will have a book about it, and you will find the book entertaining and interesting.

Then, you're gonna have to spend a little time learning. To take a simple, and simple-minded, analogy, you learned to type. First, you faced a typewriter or computer keyboard, and just look! All those letters scattered around in a seemingly random order. You had to work to make your fingers find the right keys, and shift for upper case. And, you started slow. Now, probably, you type without even thinking about it.

Read all the things people have to say. Most will probably disagree with me. That's okay. Part of the learning process. Accept what works, reject the rest, and pretty soon you'll be right in the middle of a fun journey.

Before you can amaze your friends, you'll have to learn to amaze yourself.

You know, it's like a lot of things. What you get out of it is what you put in it.

Wish you luck,



another thing about miss cleo is that she is in a multimillion dollar lawsuit in her home state for fraud. evidently, the state attorney general's office got lots of complaints about her claims. one being that the first 3 minutes of the reading are free. that's not true. the reader on line spends those 3 minutes getting statistical info about you before starting the reading. then it starts costing you a few $$ a minute so you never get anything free. they use the stats to get back up w/ you to become a regular customer. there were other charges but that's the main one i remember. the state attorney general said that if she was truly psychic instead of greedy she would have seen this coming. i'm tried of her spamming every mailbox i have w/ free reading offers which i keep blocking and then she'll send my husband one instead of me and the process continues. if she was really psychic she'd figure out she's ticking me off or have the cards not gotten around to telling her that? go figure. ;D

just be nice to yourself and simply enjoy learning the tarot. tarot is about the journey not the destinations of life.


*pokes Truthsayer, grinning*

You forgot about the dead people one. Tell them about the billing dead people. (I can chase it down if you want.. I think it's on somewhere :) )



Hi New2!

I understand how you feel looking at all of those cards and trying to make heads or tails of them. It is daunting. Been there. Like you, I started reading with the Rider-Waite deck. I did not like the artwork. I switched to a deck that I found more appealing and it was like a light bulb went off. So, first off, you MUST be comfortable with your deck in order to communicate with it.
Second: Like it or not, very few people are able to buy a Tarot Deck and immediately give accurate readings. You have to spend some time getting to know your deck. For now at least, put away all your Tarot books. They will be of more use later as cross reference materials. It may sound silly, but start sleeping with your cards under your pillow, carry them in your car, hold them every day, shuffle them, look at the pictures. This will help you get aquainted. Then I suggest choosing a card at random and really looking at it. Ask yourself how the card makes you feel. What things jump out at you (pictures, colors, background items, etc.) What your first thought was when you looked at it. And finally what do YOU think this card is saying? You may even want to keep a journal and write these things down. After you have done this, go and look up the meaning. You may be surprised how close to the traditional meaning you are. Even if you are wrong, go with your gut. The same card may say different things in different readings.
As far as amazing your friends at parties, well, the truth is that Tarot is not a Toy. It is a tool and needs to be handled responsibly. Don't get me wrong, I like wowing people too, but before you can read for others, you must learn to read for yourself. When you are ready to do this, I recommend Mary K Greer's "Tarot for Yourself" This is not a text book. It is a workbook with exercises designed to put you in touch with your cards.
I hope this helps. Sorry if it was not the answer you were looking for. Good Luck on your Tarot Journey. If you have any questions on the way, this forum and these people are amazing!


Oooh.. one more recommendation list! :)

Magnwa's Book List of Books.. (as opposed to a book list of CDs?)

1. Learning the Tarot, by Joan Bunning.

Joan rocks. She's a great person to deal with, has a bright and sunshiny disposition. I like her. She's FUN!

2. Tarot for Yourself, by Mary K Greer

Okay, Mary is just cool. She teaches you some pretty esoteric fun stuff to do with the cards that helps you to appreciate just what an introspective and analytical tool you've got. This book's a workbook.. and it's such a nice book with a good design that I felt guilty about working in it! (Gasp.. you.. write in books!? I must be an 1800's reincarnate :) )

3. Power Tarot, by Trish MacGregorand Phyllis Vega

Spreads. Tons of spreads. If you're not getting enough from using the celtic cross.. you just might be using too many cards :) These people are great, though some of their descriptions / etc seem to be off a bit.

4. The Robin Wood Tarot Book, by.. Robin Wood!

Robin is another one of those people that just seems utterly blessed by good stuff wherever she walks. You know that woman in school/wherever that you swore was followed by a musical accompainment and someone planting fast growing flowers in their footsteps? That's Robin. Of PRIME importance in her book are the grounding and centering instructions. Have you seen Ghostbusters where they accidentally cross the streams, and it shoots one of them across the room, and he looks like he stuck his finger in a light socket? That's what happens if you don't ground & center properly. Have you seen that thing from Starship Troopers that impales your brain and sucks your brain out? That's the flipside of what happens. It's one of those two extremes.. and it leaves you walking around thinking "Gee, I don't think it'd be too hard to walk to Pittsburgh from here.." to "Wow.. I bet dead people don't feel this tired."

5. Tarot Spells

I'd love to cite the author of this book, but my SO is in bed after a long day of work, and to get to it would mean I'd have to get under him , because he always reads one of my books. Good book. Shows you how to wishfully dream :)

Yay! Books!

Magnwa, who just cannot read enough :) Except his class books. Professors pick the dullest books. *shudders* at the thought of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ayn Rand producing a child. That would be.. a literary nightmare? :)


magnwa- Tarot Spells is by Janina Rene.

NooToo- glad you dislike Mr. Louis' book- it's dry and boring. I don't see why so many people think it is so great. It's only good if you have an inkling about what you might need to say and scan the list to see if something jumps out and inspires you.

The Complete Idiot's Guide is great! Give it a chance! The problem is that most of us have reading experience and we tend to look at a book from the aspect of 'So, what else is new with this author's interpretation?' If you are looking for explanations, you might look at the tried-and-true books by Eden Gray.

I know, I know - everyone says that the reading comes from within you and you are looking for information-- maybe a little too quickly. The reason we say this is that NO ONE'S single personal interpretation is completely correct or definitive. You should read 3 or 4 books, at the very least. We also all speak about keeping a journal- DO IT! We all say to keep doing readings - DO IT! We all stumbled at the beginning...some of us are still stumbling. Regardless - Tarot is a TOOL with endless combinations and possibilities... there is no fast and easy way to get there. Take time on your journey, and good luck.


I am intending on keeping a Tarot journal.. but that requires me to actually do readings on a regular basis. Everytime I try to do a reading, I can't really do one because I don't understand any of the cards... and I can't just sit there and "make up" my own meanings, that's totally pointless. I don't know where to start, because referencing the LWB is too restrictive, yet my books are way to vague. *sigh*

How did you guys go about carrying out your readings when you *first* started.. how did you go about interpreting the cards??





CHeck out , it will help you IMMENSLY . Then, buy Joan's book if you like it. It's shareware! :) *giggles*