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Topic: Tarot Card Readings
Message: Posted by: Keith Mitchell (Sep 10, 2008 06:08PM)
Hello everyone, I just received my 4th deck of Tarot Cards and I am still learning to read the cards. Each deck will include a book or booklet with the meaning of each card, but they never tell you how to read a group of cards in a spread, so that is where I have trouble and hope some people might be able to help me out on this.

I am legally deaf and not used to story telling, especially never had the experience of hearing a Tarot reading. So here I am asking for help! Do they just read the meaning of a card one at a time, or do they look at all the cards at once and tell one big story?

I have a great deck of Carnie Tarot from Outlaw effects which includes a Forum on different routines, but I wish there were more to choose from. These cards are beautifully aged and include another great feature that magicains would love. Today I just received The Medieval Tarot deck of cards that also have that great feature that magicians would love. Also have the Rider-Waite Tarot and Crowley deck of cards which are average Tarot decks.

It would be great to know more routines with Tarot card readings, and here is a good place to start. Routines on how to use the cards with the special feature included with it.

Message: Posted by: Andy Moss (Sep 12, 2008 07:00AM)
Hi Madkiki. Getting the overall picture as well as the meanings of the individual cards is a intuitive skill that can only come with time if at all. Most beginner tarot readers tend to impose their intellect or their blind feelings onto the reading and force the outcome to some degree.This is a habit that only diminishes with time and with experience.

Choosing a tarot deck that 'calls' to you is the first prerequisite. This will depend upon your personality. Preferences also tend to change with time as we develop our intuition.

It is important to be able to choose an appropriate spread to help 'bring out' the information with respect to the question asked.Most quality tarot decks do come with one or two spreads but do not often tell you how to use the actual spread.

When handling the cards it is important that the cards are treated with respect and that the reader (and this is important) maintains a quality of mind.All the above will have a qualitive difference in your ability to interpret the overall picture and to be able to give a fluid and deep reading.How the cards are stored and how the card are cut and turned over is a factor in cultivating this 'quality of mind'.

Finally you must decide whether to read reversed meanings. I generally do as it gives rise (for me) to a more in depth and accurate reading. However this is a matter of choice as is the use of a significator card.

The following is a simple spread ideal if you want to learn to 'look into and around' the cards when making a reading. The spread is called the 'Awen spread'. It is best used if you want to delve into the hidden dynamics of a situation.I do hope that it will be of use to you.

The spread consists of nine cards. The first three cards are laid down (starting furthest away from you) in a column. Then continue to lay in this manner until the other six cards have been laid in two further columns each to the right of the preceeding one.

Now imagine that the left column represents 'the past' the central column 'the present' and the right column 'the future'. With respect to reading horizontally the first row (furthest from you) represents 'thought/ideas' the middle row 'emotions' and the nearest row 'manifestations/action'.

Perhaps start by reading the cards row by row to get an idea of the matter at hand in the client's world of ideas, emotions and manifestation.(The thoughts that give rise to the emotions that give rise to the manifestations.) Then read vertically to get an idea as to how the situation has developed over time. Finally read the whole spread with respect to theme and pattern intuitively bringing things together. Only at this point should you start to say anything with respect to the actual reading.

I do hope that the above helps.The above is purest thought with respect to giving genuine heartfelt readings.If you want to use tarot for cold reading/magic the same rules apply only use a stack and subtly marked cards as it is more fun that way! ;)

Most effects achieved with normal playing cards can be adapted for tarot. Since you already have Christian's 'medieval tarot' try out 'Some like it wild' sold from his Cardshark site. Also do please approach one or two of the magicians on the 'spookey' forum. Christian Chelman (The Curator) and Gede Nibo (Baba) come immediately to mind.They will best be able to guide you to suitable books and resources.

With very best wishes to you Andy.
Message: Posted by: Keith Mitchell (Sep 13, 2008 12:35AM)
Thanks Andy for sharing your thoughts on Tarot card readings. Now I only wish I could see someone give a reading, so I guess I will have to look up yellow pages and hire a tarot card reader to see for myself what they are like.

The first and only time I ever saw any kind of Tarot Card reading was in that James Bond movie "Live and Let Die." I tried to rent the movie today from Blockbuster and was told that they did not carry it. Going to Good Will tomorrow to see if I can find it there. Love the theme song written and sang by Paul McCartney, it always sounds good.

Would anyone else like to share their thoughts or routines?

Message: Posted by: M. Perk (Sep 13, 2008 10:50AM)
YouTube has a great amount of interesting information and readings from interesting people. You should get an idea about readings there.

Don't forget about http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/ the best source on the
internet for anything Tarot.
Message: Posted by: sgrossberg (Sep 15, 2008 08:59AM)
Madkiki - Once you do some more exploration and learning with the cards, you might be interested in my book, "Bauta - Betraying the Face of Illusion," for some in-depth analysis. When you're ready, take a look at:


I wish you all the best with your studies. - Scott
Message: Posted by: pwolverine (Sep 30, 2008 01:00AM)
Madkiki, from memory the Tarot Cards used in James bond was the Tarot for the Witches which was made specifically for that movie. (Even if its the wrong title, it was made for the film). If you want to learn more about readings and the like I'd look into your local tarot association, they will be able to point you in the right direction. Otherwise some good books are from people like Rachel Pollack, Mary K Greer or Paul Fenton Smith.
Message: Posted by: vinsmagic (Oct 1, 2008 09:22AM)
I just received Scott's book Bauta . Scott is not only a slight of hand artist but is also master mentalist.
I have seen him perform first hand and let me tell you my son Rocky believed he had these special powers, that's how convincing he is....
I have my self learned much from Scott Although I am just a close up card and coin worker I can't wait to start reading his book.
the godfather of magic
Message: Posted by: sgrossberg (Oct 1, 2008 11:21AM)
Thank you, Vinny. That is very kind.

I know there have been banners up on the Café that allowed you to obtain "Bauta" directly from the publisher. Murphy's is now the wholesale distributor for the book and "Bauta" is now available from all the online and brick-and-mortar shops.

Enjoy. - Scott
Message: Posted by: Andy Moss (Oct 5, 2008 09:45AM)
Madkiki, The 'Tarot of the Witches' by Fergus Hall "The James Bond tarot deck" is a very interesting deck.The backs of the cards are a sort of pinky/beige tartan(!)and the minor arcana just show the suit/value with no Waite Rider like story to guide. Most tarot readers hate the deck with a vengeance and are spooked out by the major arcana cards. They talk of the cards giving off a 'negative energy'.The cards are indeed sinister and dark. All the women are raven haired. Many are tattoed. Some of the facial expressions are quite menacing. However if you want a charismatic tarot deck to unsettle people then this is the one. 'The lovers', 'death' and 'devil' cards are particularly good.I personally like the deck.It is certainly not bland.
Message: Posted by: JohnWells (Dec 30, 2008 01:46AM)
Bauta seems to be an excellent book (on my wish list), but you absolutely have no businees considering it until you have some skill at doing real (and yes, dammit, I mean real) readings first. Any "system" of "cold reading", no matter how sophisticated or psychologically sound, is a poor substitute for a few years or doing readings for real people. Anyone in the business for very long will back me up on this.

Note: Scott, I am not bashing your book at all. From the reviews I've read, it is worthy of all acceptance. None the less, I think you have to learn to read before you try to learn to cold read.

Madiki, while not on Tarot, my own Cartomancy for the Non-Cartomancer has a lot of material that you may find usefull. PM me with your email address and I'll send you a copy as my gift to you. Merry Christmas.
Message: Posted by: edh (Dec 30, 2008 08:30PM)
JohnWells, does your book teach how to do readings? What is it about?
Message: Posted by: JohnWells (Dec 31, 2008 01:44AM)
It contains a pair of treatises on learning to give readings with regular playing cards, and was recommended in a recent publication of Ron Martin's.
Message: Posted by: JohnWells (Jan 1, 2009 01:44AM)
I want to add again that I do not intend any disrespect towards Scott nor am I casting any aspersions on his book. I look foward to buying it in the near future.
Message: Posted by: Logan Five (Jan 24, 2009 11:39PM)

If I were you I would stick to one deck and learn it inside and out. I use the Universal Waite Smith deck ( which is a more colorful version of the Rider deck that you have.) Just the symbolism in that deck will keep you learning new things for years to come. It takes years of practice to become a good reader.

I have also read some good things about Scott's book, so I'll have to start saving my pennies again.

Message: Posted by: Comedy Writer (Jan 25, 2009 09:58PM)
Hit the library and get some books on how to give a reading...
Message: Posted by: Magnalucius (Jan 26, 2009 11:14AM)
I have read Tarot for almost 10 years. Where I learned the most, wich I think are the best books, are those written by Rachel Pollack, especially:

Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom. A Tarot Book (Two Parts)
Message: Posted by: Lantiere (Feb 24, 2009 11:38AM)
Here's some basic info:
When I do a Tarot reading, my first step (as is most of yours) is to find the Significator Card: the card which I believe represents the client. For a woman, I use one of the four Queens. For a man, I use one of the four Kings. The suit depends upon the appearance of the client.

Generally:A person with blonde or red hair, light or blue eyes and fair skin would be in the "Wands" category.
A person with light brown hair, hazel or green eyes and medium skin would be in the "Cups" category.
A person with brown or black hair, brown eyes and olive or dark skin would be in the "Swords" category.
A person with white hair (includes gray or silver) and any color eyes or skin would be in the "Pentacles" category.
I never use one of the Major Arcana, because they have a considerable influence on the outcome of the spread.

I don't use Pages because I don't read for children. I have on occasion used Knights when reading for police, military personnel or anyone in uniform! In this case, the Knight can represent either the male or female, although I would rather not choose a Knight with a moustache for a female, unless she also had one. (Just kidding!) Of course, these categories are subject to one's own opinion and situation. Nothing is written in stone.


This has always been a very controversial subject. I always mix the cards. I never let the client mix the cards. When I first began reading, many of my decks were ruined by clients' sloppy handling of cards, including "sawing" them so they split at their sides, tearing them, bending them, dropping them on the floor, getting them dirty, etc. I remember one client who had just finished a eating hot dog and had a glob of mustard down below her little finger... guess where it ended up? Yup, on my cards. Luckily, none got onto my cover. Another client accidentally mixed the cards face to face so that half were face up and half were face down... she then asked me to do a magic trick and make them face all the same way (...she saw someone do it on TV).

You get all kinds...

I never "riffle-shuffle" the cards or cut them with one hand or do dovetail card fans or produce them from behind a client's ear. Your client is not there to see you deal three Royal Flushes in a row to yourself. You are not there to show off your skills (if any) with cards. Tarot reading is NOT a poker demonstration or a conjuror's manipulation act. By the way, I always refer to the procedure as "MIXING" the cards, NEVER "SHUFFLING." (Shuffling is a card-player's term and gives the image of playing games.) I mix the cards by overhand shuffling (but I call it "mixing").

When only I mix the cards, they always remain with their faces in an upright position, never reversed (upside-down). (More about this later.) So when I later place the cards on my cover, they pictures will always be dealt upright to me, and I prefer to have my client see them upright as well. If my client is sitting at a right angle to me or directly across from me (as is usual at most Psychic Fairs) then I place the cards so that the faces are upright and easily read by her. However, I do let the client cut the deck. I ask her to use her left hand (the hand "closest to her heart") and cut the cards in the following manner:

Step One - Ask her to cut off about two-thirds of the deck and place it next to the remaining third (the original bottom, we'll call "C").

Step Two - Next, ask her to cut off one-half of the larger pile, and place the lifted section ("A") next to the pile she just cut from ("B").

(To recap, we are calling the original bottom third "Pile C", the original middle third "Pile B" and the original top third "Pile A.")

Step Three - Ask her to restack them by placing Pile C on Pile A, and then Pile B on Pile C. This mixes the deck so that none of the cut portions are in their original positions.

It's a good idea to gesture with your hand to help her with the cutting.After the cards have been well mixed and cut, I place the deck between my palms, close my eyes and meditate for about ten seconds. This helps clear my mind, helps me relax and defines a clear break in the action. Now I'm ready and it's time for the actual laying down of the cards into patterns.


Most Tarot books give you a variety of card layouts (a.k.a. "spreads") to use in your readings. This book doesn't. I don't want to repeat information you've read in other Tarot instructional books. Use the card layout(s) you are most comfortable with. I prefer to use the classic Celtic Cross pattern because it is easy and most recognizable. For longer readings, after I've placed the ten cards in their appropriate positions, I add four more cards horizontally across (and slightly overlapping) to each card in positions number seven, eight, nine and ten. I call these card "modifiers," used to give a more in-depth reading to each of the original cards in these positions.

After your spread is completed, always ask your client if she has any questions on any of the cards in the spread, or if she has any questions on any topic that was not yet covered. In a longer reading, you can always do another short spread to answer the remaining question. You may use the remaining cards in the deck, or gather up all the cards and mix & cut again. The choice is yours.

Using the significator card and a ten-card Celtic Cross spread, you should be able to give a quick ten to 15 minute reading, suitable for most Psychic Fairs.

Using the significator card, base card, ten Celtic Cross cards and sixteen modifiers, there is a total of 28 cards in this reading. If you spend at least ten minutes to figure out the base card and one minute on the meaning of each card, the reading should last at least forty to sixty minutes, depending on how talkative you and your client are.

Do not give another reading for her immediately. The Tarot should not be consulted for one person too often - certainly not more than once every twenty-four hours. Daily divination cannot be expected to have the same depth or significance as weekly or monthly readings. Too many different readings in a short span of time will cause confusion.

Hope this helps.