Reading Tarot: Things You Don’t Know

There are things that you should know before reading Tarot for the first time.

Reading Tarot comes with secrets that other Tarot readers don’t necessarily want you to know. I’m going to give you some inside information on reading Tarot, as well as my own story.

Your Tarot Cards and You

Custom Made Tarot Cards For Show
Custom Made Tarot Cards For Show

It is important to know when dealing with and handling Tarot cards/decks that you are aware of the power that is held within them. A Tarot deck is an extension of yourself; it is a part of you. You cannot give someone a used deck of Tarot cards unless you cleanse them entirely of your energy. You alone can use that deck until you die. Only upon death can another person use that deck. You can accumulate a collection of Fortune Telling decks over time, but they are yours alone. The deck is you and you are the deck; you become intertwined.

Tarot cards keep an imprint of the reader on them at all times, as well as anyone who has been read for. So, once you have read for someone once, it is much easier to get a reading on that person a second time, and every time after that. All energy that comes into contact with the cards stays with the cards.

If you were to get a hold of a Tarot deck that belonged to another reader that has since passed away, you would more likely get accurate readings with that deck, especially if the reader was a strong psychic and his/her readings were accurate. Be forewarned, however, if you do take on such a deck, it is wise to perform a cleansing ritual on them so that any negative energies do not seep through to yourself. This is a wise precaution to take. That deck will be well used and many hands will have touched those cards. Those cards have absorbed massive amounts of energy, both light and dark, good and bad; you don’t want any unwanted energies affecting your readings. The person who passed on, that owned the cards previously, would have had a sort of ‘shield’ up to protect him/herself from those energies, but you do not. Please, if you are lucky enough to come into the possession of such a deck, I urge you to cleanse it.

Now let’s talk a little about finding the right deck for you.

In order to have the most accurate readings, you must use a deck that speaks to you, and that you feel comfortable with. That deck will be the one you stay with, so choose wisely; listen carefully to your instincts in this matter. You must be in tune with your deck. (It is not uncommon to have more than 1 deck that has that special resonance, so if this happens to you, don’t worry about it, it’s perfectly fine.)

It’s ok to start with a “starter deck” to learn and get a feel for reading, and then move your way up to “your deck”, the last deck you should ever need. This is what I did.


My story goes like this…

I have always had psychic abilities, and I have always been able to sense things and see ‘spirits’ and such, and I always had an interest in Tarot cards. There was just something about them that really fascinated me. At about the age of 19, I started researching different decks, and finally found one that spoke to me; I HAD to have it, it didn’t matter how much it cost. Well, at the local bookstore, they had very little to choose from and they didn’t have “my deck”, so I settled for a ‘starter’ pack of Rider-Waite cards. (I’d put an image of the deck, but Rider-Waite likes to sue people for using the images, even though the original images are no longer copyrighted. So, I’ll have to settle for a link to the images on Wikipedia.) Because I wanted so much to learn to read the Tarot, I figured, I could always start with this deck and get the one I wanted later on. I read through the booklet that came with the deck and started doing readings for myself. I started with a simple 3-card spread yes-or-no, then worked my way up to a 7-card spread Past-Present-Future-Yes-or-No.

Example of a 3 Card Spread Layout for reading Tarot.
Example of a 3 Card Spread Layout for reading Tarot.

Of course, starting out, I read ONLY for myself (which they say you’re not supposed to do, I’ll get into that a bit later). I read the interpretations from the booklet every time, and naturally, I was worried that my readings weren’t going to be accurate. But they were. My readings were proving to be so accurate that I started reading for a couple of my cousins and a friend. My readings were still very accurate.

So, after a while I bought a few books to help me to learn how to better read the cards, and to get a feel for the different spreads. (I never did get all the way through those books.) However, I did get 1 VERY important thing from one of them, and that is (and I paraphrase) ‘Take each card individually, look closely at it, examine it, know it, know what it means to you, what it represents. Once you have done that, you will know what those cards mean to YOU. You should never rely on someone else’s interpretations of ANY card; rely solely on yourself.’

Naturally, I tried studying the cards individually; I got bored after the first 2 or 3 cards. Of course, methods that are considered “normal” never work for me anyhow (no matter WHAT it is, not just with Tarot), so I always have to come up with my own way of doing things. And while MY ways work for ME, they won’t necessarily work for others. Like anything, you have to find your own way, but I DO like the message of examining each card and getting your own meanings from them, and that has stuck with me for years. (This is what I have done since switching decks; my mind was settled enough and because I had been reading for enough time (on and off), I was able to look at the cards and read them for what I see them as. So, the method worked for me, but not at the time that I had originally tried it. And I should add that it only has worked for the new (Legend of Arthur) deck and not the old  (Rider-Waite) deck. I still can’t see my own meanings in the Rider-Waite deck. More on my new deck below.)

Probably within a year after I got my Rider-Waite deck found the deck I currently use, Legend: The Arthurian Tarot deck by Anna-Marie Ferguson which can be purchased on at the following link This seems to be only the deck (with small booklet) and costs around $20, but the pack I had bought was the deck plus a large book explaining the deck. I haven’t read the book, and I don’t think I even really looked at it to be honest, but it’s there, I have it. I think I may have quickly just flipped through (without reading or really looking) but that’s about all. It cost me somewhere around $50 at the time in a bookstore (same one as I got the other deck, but now they had this one on their shelves) that I can’t remember the name of and no longer exists because Chapters bought them out if I remember correctly. This deck sat on a shelf, in its original box for over 10 years.

Example of a 7 Card Spread Layout for reading Tarot.
Example of a 7 Card Spread Layout for reading Tarot. Cards 1, 2, and 3 represent the Past; card 4 represents the Present; cards 5, 6, and 7 represent the future.

I have changed decks (from Rider-Waite to Arthurian Tarot) within the last 2 years (less I think, but let’s leave it at that, nice round number), and have not gone back to the old Rider-Waite deck since. My Arthurian Legend deck was calling to me, telling me that it was time to start using them; they told me I was ready. I always knew that I would know WHEN to get them out and use them, and they called to me. I know it sounds crazy, but they did; they also asked that I make them a black stretchy velvety carrying case for them with a ribbon for a tie. And I did. I happened to have the perfect material lying around. (I’m also into quilting and crafts, so I collect material and ribbon amongst other things.) The deck was happy, contented even. Since switching to the new deck, I have been using my own interpretations of the cards. I don’t have a tainted outlook on the meanings of this particular deck because I didn’t read the book; I don’t plan to either. My readings are still very accurate. I also want to note that I also do much more complex spreads now when the reading calls for it. I don’t plan for a specific layout anymore when reading; I did that in the beginning. I now lay the cards according to how THEY want to be laid at the time.

After a few months with the new Arthur deck, I was ‘told’ I needed a ‘shield’ for laying the cards on while reading; something for placing on a table that would protect the cards from getting dirty, and to shield them from unwanted energies. And so, I crocheted a square(ish) mat for my readings. I went with a nice blue, it felt the most right out of the few colors I had on-hand to choose from. I must say, it works absolutely well. I used it at a party where people were smoking around it, and came home expecting to have to wash the smell out; I didn’t. It didn’t pick up any of the smell, and it was surrounded by smoke, engulfed in it even. The cards too, I expected to have to wipe them down or let them air out, but no; everything stayed clean and fresh. My shield works.

I want to point out, I absolutely LOVE this Arthur deck. It is beautiful and has a soothing effect about it. Something drew me to it, even though I couldn’t use it at the time I bought it, or during the 10 years after that, but I use it now and I will continue to use it for the time being.

I usually do my readings online (non-live); reason being is because (for me) they are more accurate that way. The reason my readings are so accurate is for one very special reason; I tap into a person’s energy and use that energy to ask the questions. If you tune into the person you are reading, you get the most accurate reading possible (well, at least I do, I don’t know about everyone else; just because I’m psychic doesn’t mean I know everything, lol). I also suffer from anxiety, so online readings work out better for me because I can relax completely while reading, being there’s no pressure and all. I don’t do well with live readings. Oh, I’m accurate enough alright, but it takes me a lot longer to get the meanings of the cards with people staring at me and waiting to hear what I have to say. That, and when I speak, the right words don’t usually come out (so not much makes sense sometimes), but when I type, I have no trouble with words. For me, I’m best from a distance, no pressure.

Am I nuts? I don’t think so.

If you have never been involved with Tarot before, are not (knowingly) psychic, or are not into spiritual or paranormal, or witchcraft, then I’m sure all of this sounds crazy and you (by now) think I’m off my rocker. If you decide to start into Tarot for yourself, you will soon find that what I say is not only possible but it does happen. I’m one of the lucky ones to be blessed with the ability to be in such great tune with the energies around me.


How to Read Near and Far

To read from afar (like above), you need to be able to focus on the person being read. To do this, you need a focal point to zero in on him/her. I like to go with the standard Name (first name only is necessary for me, but a last name will aid in the focus; username (if on a website) will also work), Birth Date (I only need month and year, but obviously day as well is more accurate), and Place of Residence (I go with city with state or province, if in North America (because that’s where I am), but if outside of North America (and it’s not obvious what country) then country as well). These three things are what I use to focus in on someone’s energy for readings. You can go with whatever focus you feel comfortable with. (Try not to get too much personal information from someone as it can (and usually does) taint the reading. You always want as little information possible from someone you are reading.) If you don’t have enough of the right information, you may hone in on the wrong person, therefore giving an inaccurate reading leaving you looking like you’re full of yourself; you don’t want that. You want to make sure you are as accurate as possible. If I have met the person before, I don’t need things like birthdays or where they live, I can go with their name as I know it because I can picture what they look like and have been around his/her energy already. That being said, I wouldn’t even need a name if I have a picture of the person. Again, focal point, you just need a focal point that gets you tapped into the right person’s energy. As long as you are not given false information, your readings can be spot-on. Now that you have your focus, and you’ve honed in on the energy of the person you’re reading, ask the question as you shuffle the cards. When you feel like the shuffle is enough, lay the cards out in whatever layout you feel is necessary for the question.

Some people only read for people in person. This is either because they can’t tap into someone’s energy from a distance or they prefer one-on-one readings; they either need or want the person there to use their energy for themselves on the cards. To do live readings, it’s best to have the person asking the question(s) to shuffle the deck. They can cut it if they feel it’s necessary, but let them decide when they are finished. While they are shuffling, they should focus on what they want answered in the cards. When they finish, they should set the deck down on the table that you are using, then you pick up the deck and start laying out the cards in whatever spread/layout feels right for you at the time. The in-person method can produce false readings because if the person asking the questions is not focused, or is confused, (asks multiple things, doesn’t stay specific while shuffling, etc.), then the reading will be awash and it may not make much sense. I’ve had that happen.

Example of a complex full spread layout for reading Tarot.
Example of a complex full spread layout for reading Tarot.

Pay Attention to Those Cards.

If a card (or more than one) should happen to fall/fly out of the deck while you are shuffling, DO NOT put it (them) directly back into the deck. Pick it (them) up and read that (those) card(s). Whenever this happens, whenever a card goes flying out of the deck, this is a very significant message coming through. Read whatever flies out of the deck before continuing on with the reading. It doesn’t matter whether this is in person, or not, read those flying cards. Once you have read them, put them back into the deck and shuffle again before getting on with the reading. You’d be surprised at how often this tends to happen. You do get used to it, and rather quickly, too.

All cards will have basic meanings on their own, however, once you start mixing cards in together in a reading, they can take on a whole new meaning depending on which cards surround them. It gets tricky sometimes, especially in the beginning.

Oh, and you probably won’t have the confidence in the beginning that you’re reading right. Don’t worry about that. If you are in tune with your cards, you can’t possibly read them wrong because they will know HOW you read them (interpret them) and they will come up in the proper order for you to read them correctly. Remember this: There is no wrong way to interpret any given card. The interpretations are based solely on you, not some pre-determined perceptions. See the symbology for yourself, and even if you can’t and you have to rely on someone else’s interpretations, so be it. If you don’t get it right away, you soon will if you stick to it and gain some confidence. Relax, and have fun.

Think of your cards as an extension of your abilities; an extra sense if you will. The cards, when spread, give you a visual for the psychic messages that come through to you. Sometimes, using a visual aide (like a Tarot deck for example) is the only way to convey those telepathic thoughts into words, bringing messages to light so they may be transferred to those they are intended for.

Every reading will be dependent upon the energy at the time of the reading. Things can change at any time, and they often do. People should be given a disclaimer/warning letting them know that this reading is based on NOW, if things keep going the way they are; if they don’t change anything that’s not meant to change, then there is a very good chance that whatever is shown in the reading may happen.

You’re not supposed to read for yourself.

The main reason you’re not supposed to read for yourself is because of how you will interpret the cards. Most people, when reading for themselves (or even for those they know extremely well) will interpret the cards to fit what they want the reading to tell them. They read the cards to give themselves the desired results or the results they expect. That’s all, that’s what it’s about. I personally don’t read that way, I read for what I see in the cards. (Also, I don’t have the need to read for myself anymore, so I don’t even bother. Some people still like to though, but not me.) You have to take what you see, not what you WANT to see. If you can do that, then you are one of few. (Taking what you see in the cards obviously is for every reading, not just for the readings for yourself and those close to you.)


Now that you have some of the secrets of The Tarot, go forth and be the best Tarot reader you can be. Reading Tarot can be quite enjoyable; it can also be terrifying, but that all comes with the territory. Have fun with it, and don’t take too much to heart. There will always be people who are happy with the readings you’ve provided and there will always be those who will be dis-satisfied, again, comes with the territory. Read the cards for what YOU see them as and you’ll be just fine.

15 thoughts on “Reading Tarot: Things You Don’t Know”

  1. That’s how I began to read people, actually, from a distance. I didn’t have cards then, but I read them, same as I would with cards now, and I was extremely accurate. This actually gave me some ideas to try with my cards–thanks, Bernadette! 🙂

  2. I have a question!! i have someone that took my cards, and did a reading for themselves, and then cleared the cards themselves, what will happen with my energy on the cards?! help!! im so mad!!

    1. Hi Elena. I’d be mad too if someone took my cards, especially without asking. However, as for the energy, if they truly cleared your energy from the cards, that energy will just dissipate and blend back in with all other energy that is out there. On that note, there is nothing to worry about. Nothing will happen to you or the cards (assuming you have them back) just because energy was cleared. Once you use the cards again, your energy will return to them. wouldn’t worry or put much thought into it.

      Think of it this way… the energy you’ve put on the cards is only residual energy that has been left on the cards from you using them. There is nothing actually of yourself on the cards. Residual energy is left by everyone, everywhere they go, and it is left on everything. It can be compared to skin flakes or hair that falls wherever we go, or even compared to our breath.

      The only harm is that which was done emotionally to you when they went against what you would have had done with the cards.

      Just keep using them, your energy will return to them. You will still be able to read them as you did before.

  3. My mom taught me how to read cards when I was a around 14 and I am 37 now. She was very good but said I was better. I still don’t believe her – lol. She passed about 10 years ago and I have her set. I carry them with me just about everywhere and still use them. I admit – we didn’t keep them in a special bag. And I’m missing 2 cards. The cards are tattered and torn and stained (well loved). They were this way before I got them. I haven’t done a lot of readings since she passed but when I do it feels right. I feel tingles in my arms moving to my hands and into the cards. Is this crazy? I don’t always get that feeling when I read but do about 95% of the time. Can I still use the deck? I feel like they are mine even though they were my moms and don’t want a new deck even in their current state. Thoughts?

    1. Not crazy at all. You’re feeling the energy, the connection. Yes it’s ok to use the deck, as they have a connection to you. Not using someone else’s cards, as stated in the above article, is geared more toward using a stranger’s cards. This deck you have, that your mom had, is clearly YOURS now, and it doesn’t matter if they’re missing a few cards, or that they’re tattered. The cards are a tool to help you see. Feel good knowing the deck has bonded with you, and probably had even before your mom passed.

      Read more at:

  4. So my boyfriend used to read tarot a few years ago and he has multiple decks. I found one one day and it’s gorgeous. I took it through to him one day and asked if he could teach me and use it. He agreed and let me use it. This was about a month ago. This said deck was his favourite and I didn’t know that only one person could use the deck at a time. He didn’t seem to know either the woman that taught him told him that if you can read from a deck then the cards accept you.

    Last night I had a nightmare and when I asked a friend about it he told me it was a warning from the cards because they were rejecting me. The dream was awful and really scared me. He said I should apologise to the cards and so should he and before I use them again he should cleanse the cards and give permission for me to use them.

    I really like the deck, it’s beautiful and I was drawn to it the first time I saw it and it just seems such a waist for them to be hidden away in their little box.


    1. I would say, listen to your friend’s advice. And after you’ve followed that advice, and it still doesn’t let you use it, if you really want to use the deck badly enough, you will have to try to negotiate with it, but if it doesn’t want you, then it won’t be helpful in any way to you. Sometimes, the deck just needs to sit, unused. My current deck sat for about 15 years before I could use it. So, IF this really is the deck for you, it may just need time and now is not the right time.

  5. Hello,

    Thanks for the great information. Question: Can I use the same deck that I use to read for myself to do readings for other people? I am having a deck customized for me, and I know I’m going to love it. I’d like to use the same deck , and not have to buy a second one of it. But if needed, I could. One reason I’d like to use the same deck is to get a real deep connection with the imagery used, and basically have it be my main deck. Thanks for the advice!

    1. As long as they’ll read for both, then use them for both. Mine won’t read for me, but will do a fantastic job reading for others. It’s something I’ve learned to live with. It’s really up to the cards (and guides) who and what they will read. If you use them to read others, and they read them, then you’re good to go, if not, then you would have to look into another deck. All I can say is try, give it a shot. They will most likely work. Usually decks only have trouble with reading yourself, or sometimes certain individuals.

  6. Hi I started reading cards just a few days ago, I’m not using Tarot but a Baraja Española. I didn’t buy the cards my self my brother did in a whim and probably not in order to read them but in order to collect them I think, since it’s a different deck from the usual ones used for poker and the such. I found them years ago and I felt I should read with them but I didn’t know how so I hoarded them for a few years until a day I asked my brother if could have them if he wasn’t using them and they’ve sat in my bedroom since then. It was only reccently that I started to read them so maybe it’s too soon to say if I’ve done wrong by taking them, but I did feel them call out to me when I found them and so far the readings I’ve done with them have been accurate enough. But maybe I should probably cleanse them and ask them to be sure?

    1. As long as the cards are ok with you using them, there isn’t an issue. Yes, cleanse them, if they’ll let you. One of the reasons I don’t recommend using another person’s deck is that sometimes, the person wanting to use them cannot every cleanse the energy from them, and another reason is that they may never speak to anyone other than the original owner. If they now belong to you, they will let you know.

  7. Angelique Dorsey

    I have psychic abilities.nothing over the top mostly just dreams that come true and predictions. My mother was a card reader when I was young.but when I realized I had abilities I never really thought about reading cards.a few years ago.I was at a spirit mind and body fair and came across a deck of fortune telling cards and I felt compelled to buy I took them home and did the nessecary stuff to put my energy into them( I slept with them under my pillow wrapped in a silk scarf for two weeks) and than I did a reading. I came to find out I was really really good at it. So a lot of things just came to me naturally. And I’m sure my psychic insight helped as well.anyhow I have two things that happened during the course of reading cards for people that I didn’t understand. Whenever I read someone’s cards that had bad negative energy I got sick in some form after their reading.( I’ve only had this happen three times) also over the course of reading for people I started having a lot if bad stuff happen in my life back to back( I had also been reading for myself) so I thought it was because I had somehow had so much negative energy around me from reading my own or the negative persons cards. And at the time I did not know about the cleansing therefore I stopped reading cards and burned the deck I had. Well lately I’ve been having strong urges to get back into reading them( I read playing cards) but am scared that this will happen again.what can I do to to ensure that this won’t happen because I’d really like to start reading again.

  8. johnnie earwood

    Have a question went to this physic several times she would always go to the back on her desk johnniewould be some cards 4 piles. the fist time I went I shovel the cards the other two times cards would be on desk then she would read them I thought you shovel the cards everytime and besides when I went in the room the cards was already there

  9. Hi!
    I grew up in the 70’s and for fun we use to go visit our local card reader and have tea with her, and get our cards read…It was all good and no one thought anything bad of it…
    So why In this day and age where we are suppose to be ascending to higher realms, and being more open and spiritual,why are their people that think tarot is of the Dev? Don’t ever mention you read cards to a religious person, most would have a fit…I thought people were free and open minded still, and there are many trying to be, but just as many close minded…A fella wrote a book called how to be a psychic christian, its very interesting in parts…He talks about things that were removed from the bible (like psychic/tarot/spirit type things)…He talks how it was all rewritten…
    I guess what I’m getting at is, I didn’t know that you get frowned upon now for reading tarot…That sucks! We just accepted people back in the 70’s that read cards etc., and thought they were cool!!! They are cool!!! Its a great thing & tarot readers are not evil….I guess the cards have been used by some evil doers, but that’s rare, and most readers use them to help and heal…I believe tarot cards started out as a game in Italy or Egypt…
    OK rant over..
    I read cards and been noticing these things …

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