Effective Tips for Reading Tarot with Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

For centuries, tarot cards have been a powerful tool for divination and self-discovery. With their intricate designs and rich symbolism, tarot cards have the ability to tap into our subconscious and reveal insights about our past, present, and future. Among the many tarot decks available today, the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck is one of the most popular and widely used. If you’re new to reading tarot, however, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. But fear not! In this article, we’ll explore the world of Rider-Waite Tarot and provide you with tips for reading the cards with ease and confidence.

Decipher the Riddles of Your Dreams: Select a Tarot Card and Unveil Their Hidden Meanings!
Card 1
Card 2
Card 3

Understanding the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

Understanding The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck
As you delve into the world of tarot, it’s essential to understand the basics of the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck. This classic deck is one of the most widely used and recognized in the industry, and for a good reason. Before you start learning how to read the cards, it’s crucial to explore the history and background, the major and minor arcana cards, and the rich symbolism that makes it such a valuable tool for divination. Understanding the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck will provide you with the foundation to read tarot cards confidently and accurately. If you want to learn more about the history of the deck, visit our Rider-Waite Tarot History article.

History and Background

The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck is one of the most popular and widely used tarot decks in the world. It was created in 1909 by the occultist Arthur Edward Waite, and the deck’s illustrations were done by the artist Pamela Colman Smith.

The deck was first published by the Rider Company in London, and it was originally called the Rider Tarot Deck. However, due to the significant role that Waite played in its creation, it later became known as the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck.

The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck is based on the traditions of the Western esoteric and occult tradition, which was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This tradition draws from a diverse range of sources, including Kabbalah, astrology, alchemy, and Hermeticism.

The major arcana cards in the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck are especially rich in symbolism and meaning. They represent a journey of personal growth and spiritual transformation, with each card representing a different stage or aspect of that journey. The cards include iconic images such as The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgment, and The World.

The minor arcana cards, on the other hand, are divided into four suits: wands, cups, swords, and pentacles. Each of these suits represents a different aspect of life, such as creativity, emotions, intellect, and material possessions. Each suit contains cards numbered from Ace to Ten, as well as four court cards: the Page, Knight, Queen, and King.

The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck is a powerful tool for self-discovery, personal growth, and spiritual exploration. Its rich symbolism and powerful imagery have made it a favorite among tarot enthusiasts for over a century. To learn more about the meanings and symbolism of the cards, check out our article on Rider-Waite Major Arcana Cards and Rider-Waite Minor Arcana.

Major and Minor Arcana

The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck consists of two main sections, the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana is often referred to as the trump cards or the Greater Arcana, while the Minor Arcana is made up of four suits, much like a modern deck of playing cards. However, each of these suits has its own unique symbolism.

The Major Arcana is made up of 22 cards, each one representing a significant life event or archetype. These cards are numbered from 0 to 21 and include iconic cards such as The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgment, and The World.

On the other hand, the Minor Arcana is made up of 56 cards, divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles (Coins). Each of these suits represents a different aspect of life such as creativity, emotions, thoughts, and material wealth. These suits are also associated with the four elements; wands for fire, cups for water, swords for air, and pentacles for earth.

Each of these 56 cards has a unique meaning and symbolizes different aspects of everyday life. The Wands suit represents ambition, growth, and creativity, while the Cups suit represents emotions, love, and relationships. The Swords suit represents challenges, conflicts, and intellectual power, while the Pentacles suit represents material possessions, finances, and practicality in life.

Understanding the Major and Minor Arcana is essential when reading the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck. The cards’ meanings can differ depending on the context in which they appear, whether in a spread or in a specific position. It is essential to develop a good understanding of these cards before attempting to read them in detail.

By exploring the symbolism of these cards and understanding their meanings, you can unlock the mysteries of the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck and use it to guide you in your daily life. You can also learn how to cleanse and protect your tarot deck before each use, develop your intuition and reading style, and how to interpret the cards in various contexts.

Symbols and Meanings

The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck is known for its rich symbolism and detailed illustrations. Each card contains a myriad of symbols that work together to convey a unique interpretation of the card’s meaning. Understanding these symbols is essential for any Tarot reader looking to use the Rider-Waite deck.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the key symbols and meanings found within the Tarot:

Symbol Meaning
The Fool Represents new beginnings, spontaneity, and taking risks
The Magician Symbolizes manifestation, creativity, and power
The High Priestess Represents intuition, mystery, and hidden knowledge
The Empress Represents fertility, creativity, and nurturing energy
The Emperor Symbolizes authority, structure, and stability
The Hierophant Represents tradition, religion, and spiritual guidance
The Lovers Symbolizes choices, partnerships, and balance
The Chariot Represents determination, success, and triumph
Strength Symbolizes inner strength, courage, and overcoming obstacles
The Hermit Represents solitude, introspection, and inner guidance
The Wheel of Fortune Symbolizes cycles, changes, and destiny
Justice Represents fairness, truth, and balance
The Hanged Man Symbolizes letting go, surrender, and sacrifice
Death Represents transformative change, endings, and new beginnings
Temperance Symbolizes balance, patience, and moderation
The Devil Represents attachments, addictions, and negative influences
The Tower Symbolizes chaos, upheaval, and sudden change
The Star Represents hope, inspiration, and renewal
The Moon Symbolizes mystery, illusion, and the subconscious mind
The Sun Represents vitality, success, and positivity
Judgement Symbolizes rebirth, renewal, and awakening
The World Represents completion, fulfillment, and wholeness

Understanding these symbols can provide a deeper understanding of each card’s meaning and offer guidance in Tarot readings. For further exploration of symbolism in the Rider-Waite deck, check out our article on Exploring Symbolism in the Rider-Waite Tarot.

Decipher the Riddles of Your Dreams: Select a Tarot Card and Unveil Their Hidden Meanings!
Card 1
Card 2
Card 3

Tips for Reading Tarot with Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

Reading Tarot can be an intimidating experience, especially if you are new to it. With so many cards and symbols to interpret, it’s easy to feel lost or overwhelmed. However, with the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, you have a powerful tool that can help you tap into your intuition and unlock hidden insights. To get started, here are some tips that can help you confidently read Tarot with the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck. These tips can support you in developing your own style of reading and help you feel more comfortable and prepared for your readings. Before we dive into these tips, let’s take a closer look at this iconic deck and what makes it so special. For more information on how to prepare your deck for a reading, please check out our article on cleansing and protecting your Rider-Waite Tarot deck. And if you’re curious about how the Rider-Waite deck compares to other decks, check out our article on Rider-Waite Tarot vs. Other Decks.

Get Familiar with the Deck

One of the most important steps in reading tarot with the Rider-Waite deck is getting familiar with the cards. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Study the Cards: Take time to examine each card in your deck. Pay attention to the characters, symbols, colors, and overall meaning of each card. Use tarot books, online resources, or tarot communities to deepen your understanding of the cards.
  • Look for Patterns: Notice recurring symbols or themes that appear in different cards. This can help you interpret the cards holistically and see how individual cards relate to each other in a spread.
  • Interact with the Cards: Shuffle your deck frequently, practice pulling a card a day, and handle your cards regularly. Consider sleeping with your deck under your pillow or carrying them with you in a pouch to deepen your connection to the cards.
  • Start with Simple Spreads: Don’t overwhelm yourself with complex spreads at first. Start with a three or four-card spread to practice interpreting the cards in context.

By getting familiar with the Rider-Waite deck, you will be better equipped to interpret the symbolism in each card and intuitively read the messages they convey.

Follow a Ritual

Following a ritual when reading tarot can help you enter a meditative and focused state of mind, in which you are more receptive to the messages of the cards. Here are some tips for creating your own tarot ritual:

  • Set the mood: Before you start a reading, take a moment to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere. You can light candles, burn incense, or play soft music to help you feel more centered.
  • Shuffle and cleanse the deck: Take the time to shuffle your cards and clear your mind of distractions. You can also cleanse your deck with sage or other cleansing herbs to help remove any negative energy.
  • Select a significator: A significator is a card that represents the person you are reading for. You can choose this card based on the person’s astrological sign or personality traits, or simply by letting the person select it themselves.
  • State your intention: Before you begin the reading, take a moment to focus on your intention. This can be a question you want to answer, a situation you want to gain clarity on, or an area in your life you want to explore.
  • Lay out the cards: When you lay out the cards for your reading, you can use a specific layout or spread, such as the Celtic Cross. Take your time and focus on the meaning and symbolism of each card as you lay them out.
  • Tap into your intuition: As you begin to interpret the cards, allow yourself to tap into your intuition and let the symbolism speak to you. Don’t overthink or analyze too much; trust your instincts and let the cards guide you.
  • Cleanse and store your deck: After your reading, take a moment to cleanse your cards again and store them in a safe and respectful place. This can help preserve their energy and keep them ready for your next reading.

Remember, developing a ritual is a personal process and you should feel free to adjust it based on your own preferences and needs. The important thing is to create a space where you can focus and connect with the energy of the cards.

Trust Your Instincts

Trusting your instincts is one of the most important aspects of successful tarot reading. Here are some tips for developing and relying on your intuition during a reading:

  • Clear your mind: Before beginning a reading, take a few deep breaths and clear your mind of any distractions or preconceived notions. This will allow your intuition to come through more clearly.
  • Pay attention to your initial reaction: When you turn over a card, pay attention to your initial reaction. Do you feel a sense of dread or excitement? Trust those feelings, they can give you clues about the card’s meanings.
  • Notice visual cues: Pay attention to the visual cues in the card. Is there something that stands out to you? Trust your instincts when interpreting these cues, as they can reveal important insights.
  • Don’t overthink it: Sometimes, your intuition can be clouded by overthinking or self-doubt. Try not to analyze the cards too much, and instead focus on your gut feelings and emotions.
  • Listen to your body: The physical sensations you experience during a reading can also be a valuable source of intuition. Do you feel a tightness in your chest or a flutter in your stomach when you turn over a certain card? Pay attention to these sensations and trust what they are telling you.
  • Practice, practice, practice: Trusting your instincts during tarot readings takes practice. The more you read, the more you will develop your intuition and become confident in your abilities.

Remember, tarot readings should always be approached with an open mind and a willingness to tap into your intuition. Trusting yourself and your instincts is key to unlocking the deeper meanings and insights of the cards.

Develop Your Own Reading Style

As you continue to practice reading with the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, it’s important to develop your own style of reading. This involves finding what works best for you and your unique gifts and abilities. Here are some tips to help you develop your own reading style:

Experiment with Different Spreads: Try out different tarot spreads to see which ones resonate with you. Don’t be afraid to create your own spreads or modify existing ones to fit your needs.
Use Your Intuition: Don’t rely solely on the traditional meanings of the cards. Instead, tap into your intuition and let your subconscious guide you in interpreting the symbolism and messages in the cards.
Get Creative: Try incorporating other tools or practices you are drawn to, such as crystals, candles, or meditation, into your tarot readings.
Connect with Your Clients: Make an effort to connect with your clients on a deeper level. Ask open-ended questions and listen intently to their responses. This will help you tailor your readings to their unique situations and needs.
Be Mindful of Your Energy: Pay attention to your energy levels and mood before and during readings. If you feel drained or distracted, take a break and come back to the reading when you are feeling more centered and focused.

By developing your own style of reading, you will enhance your connection to the cards and be able to provide deeper insights and guidance to yourself and others. Remember to trust yourself and your intuition, and don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things. With practice and experience, your unique reading style will continue to evolve and grow.

Keep a Tarot Journal

Maintaining a tarot journal is an essential practice for any tarot reader, especially when working with the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck. A tarot journal can serve many purposes, including tracking your progress, exploring your intuition, and enhancing your understanding of the symbols and meanings of the cards. Here are a few tips for keeping a meaningful and effective journal:

  • Record your readings: Start by documenting your tarot readings in detail, including the date, time, location, and any relevant information about the querent. Write down the question asked, the spread used, the cards drawn, and your interpretations of each card. This will help you track patterns and progress over time.
  • Reflect on your experiences: Take the time to reflect on your readings and record your insights, reactions, and feelings. Note any intuitive hits or messages that come up during your readings. This will help you to better connect with your intuition and strengthen your ability to trust it.
  • Explore the symbolism: Use your journal to dive deeper into the symbology of the Rider-Waite tarot deck. Research the historical context of the cards, their astrological and numerological associations, and the traditional interpretations of their symbols. Make note of your own personal associations and reactions to each card.
  • Develop your own meanings: Allow yourself to develop your own interpretations of the cards, based on both traditional meanings and your own intuition. Be sure to track these interpretations in your journal, alongside any relevant experiences or readings.
  • Challenge yourself: Use your journal to challenge yourself and push your boundaries as a reader. Experiment with different spreads, try new approaches to interpreting the cards, and ask yourself challenging questions about your own biases or assumptions.
  • Set goals and intentions: Finally, use your journal to set goals and intentions for your tarot practice, whether that’s developing your intuition, deepening your knowledge of the cards, or enhancing your connection with your querents. Use your journal to track your progress and celebrate your successes.

Keeping a tarot journal can be a powerful tool for self-reflection, growth, and discovery. Whatever your goals may be, be consistent and honest in your journaling practice, and you will find that your tarot readings become more meaningful, nuanced, and transformative over time.

Practice, Practice, Practice

One of the most essential aspects of reading Tarot with the Rider-Waite deck is practice. Practicing regularly helps you to become more comfortable with the deck and develop confidence in your skills. Here are some tips to guide your practice sessions:

Tip Description
Pull a Card Daily Make a habit of drawing one card each day and interpreting its meaning. Reflect on how it relates to your day and note your insights in a journal.
Practice Different Spreads Experiment with various spreads and try to use them for different situations. This can help you understand how to apply the cards’ meanings in a variety of contexts.
Read for Others Find friends or family members who are interested in receiving a tarot reading and practice your skills by interpreting their cards. Take note of their feedback and use it to improve your readings.
Learn from Others Join a Tarot community or group, or seek the guidance of a professional tarot reader. Observing and learning from others can help you gain insights and perspectives on the cards that you might not have considered before.
Trust the Process Remember that learning Tarot is a journey, not a destination. Trust the process and do not get discouraged by setbacks or perceived failures. As you practice and gain more experience, your intuition and understanding of the cards will continue to develop.

By following these tips, practicing regularly, and keeping an open mind, you can become a confident and skilled Tarot reader with the Rider-Waite deck.

Preparing for a Tarot Reading

Preparing For A Tarot Reading
As you prepare to delve into the mystical world of tarot, it’s important to remember that the process of reading tarot is not just about pulling out cards and interpreting them. It is crucial to prepare yourself and your deck properly in order to create an environment conducive to powerful and insightful readings. By cleansing your deck, setting intentions, choosing a comfortable space, and preparing open-ended questions, you can create an atmosphere that fosters deeper connections with the cards and a clearer path to the answers you seek. So, let’s explore some essential steps to take before beginning your tarot reading.

Cleanse Your Deck

One of the essential steps before starting a Tarot reading with the Rider-Waite Tarot deck is to cleanse the cards. This process helps to remove any negative energies or lingering vibrations from previous readings. It sets a fresh and clear intention for your next reading. There are several ways to cleanse your Tarot cards, and you can choose the one that works best for you.

Salt and Water Method: After shuffling your deck, sprinkle some salt over it, and then wipe the cards using a damp cloth. The salt and water combination helps to rid the deck of negative energies and purify it.
Smoke Cleansing: Passing your deck through the smoke of cleansing herbs like sage, palo santo, or cedar can purify it. Light the herb of your choice, blow out the flame and let the smoke engulf your deck. Move the cards through the smoke gently, front and back, to clear out any energy stuck to them.
Candle Cleansing: Take a white or black candle and rub it over your Tarot cards from top to bottom. This method helps to purify and carrier any negative energies out of the deck.
Burying Method: Burying your deck in the earth, preferably for a day, can help to purify it. This method helps to release any negative energy and brings to the decks a fresh connection to the earth and nature.

Remember that the most crucial aspect of Tarot is your intent, focus, and connection to your deck. The cleansing process helps to focus your intentions and remove any distractions so that you can connect with the true essence of Tarot. Choose the method that aligns best with your intuition and practice it before any reading.

Choose a Comfortable Space

When preparing for a tarot reading with the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, it’s important to choose a comfortable space that allows you to fully focus on the reading without distractions. Here are some tips on how to choose a comfortable space for your tarot reading:

Ambiance Choose a space with a comfortable ambiance that makes you feel relaxed and peaceful. This could be your bedroom, living room, or a quiet outdoor space.
Noise Level Avoid spaces with high levels of noise and distractions. Turn off any electronics or devices that may distract you. Consider playing soft music or ambient sounds to help you relax.
Comfort Ensure that the space is comfortable for you to sit for an extended period of time. Choose a chair or cushion that provides good support for your back and neck.
Lighting Choose a space with soft lighting that allows you to see the tarot cards clearly without straining your eyes. Avoid harsh or bright lights that may cause a glare on the cards.

Remember, your tarot reading is a special and sacred time to connect with your intuition and receive guidance from the universe. Choosing a comfortable space will help you cultivate a calm and centered energy that will enhance the accuracy of your reading.

Set Your Intention

Before beginning a tarot reading with the Rider-Waite deck, it’s important to set your intention. This means that you should have a clear purpose in mind for the reading, whether it’s gaining insight into a specific situation or seeking guidance on a particular decision.

One effective way to set your intention is to write it down in a journal or on a piece of paper. This helps you to clarify your thoughts and focus your energy. You can also use affirmations or visualizations to help you get into a positive and receptive state of mind.

Setting Your Intention:
1. Write down your purpose: Before beginning the reading, write down what you hope to gain from it. This helps to clarify your thoughts and focus your energy.
2. Use affirmations: Positive affirmations can help you to get into a positive and receptive state of mind. Repeat affirmations such as “I am open to receiving guidance” or “I trust my intuition.”
3. Visualize: Take a few moments to visualize yourself surrounded by a protective and positive energy. Imagine the cards revealing insights that will help you along your path.

Setting your intention before a tarot reading with the Rider-Waite deck can help to ensure that you receive the guidance and insights that you need. It also helps to create a positive and receptive energy that can enhance the effectiveness of the reading.

Prepare Open-Ended Questions


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest news and updates.

preparing for a tarot reading with the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, it’s important to come up with open-ended questions to ask the cards. These questions should be phrased in a way that allows for a deep exploration of the topic at hand, rather than seeking a simple “yes” or “no” answer.

To prepare open-ended questions for your tarot reading, consider the following tips:

  • Be clear on your intentions: Before formulating your questions, take some time to consider what you hope to gain from your reading. This can help you to create questions that are specific and meaningful to your situation.
  • Avoid overly specific questions: While it may be tempting to ask very specific questions, they can sometimes limit the insights that the cards can provide. Instead, try to frame your questions in a more open-ended way, such as “What can I learn from this situation?” or “How can I best approach this decision?”
  • Focus on the present and future: Tarot is typically used as a tool for exploring the present and future, rather than the past. As such, try to frame your questions with a forward-looking focus. For example, “How can I best navigate the next phase of my life?”
  • Ask for clarity: If there is a particular area of uncertainty or confusion in your life, consider asking for clarity and guidance from the tarot. Questions such as “What do I need to understand about this situation?” or “What can you tell me about what lies ahead?” can be helpful for gaining deeper insights.

By preparing open-ended questions for your tarot reading, you can create a space for meaningful exploration and discovery with the cards. Remember to approach the reading with an open mind and a willingness to engage with the insights that emerge.

Interpreting the Tarot Cards

Now that you’ve learned the basics of the Rider-Waite Tarot deck and some helpful tips for reading tarot, it’s time to delve into the art of interpreting the cards. The practice of tarot reading involves more than just memorizing the meanings of the cards. It’s about tapping into your intuition, studying the symbolism, and understanding the context in which the cards appear. In this section, we will explore various techniques and approaches to interpreting the tarot cards, ranging from the use of numerology and astrology to the importance of storytelling and context. Get ready to unlock the mystery and magic of the tarot!

Intuition and Symbols

In a Tarot reading, interpreting the symbols on the cards is key to understanding the message they hold. However, relying solely on the traditional meanings of each card can limit your reading. Intuition plays a crucial role in expanding your understanding of the message.

Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning. When reading Tarot, trust your instincts and allow yourself to be guided by your intuition. What emotions and feelings do the cards invoke in you? Don’t dismiss these sensations, as they can offer extra insights and clarity to the reading.

The symbols in the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck are designed to represent a wide range of human experiences and emotions. For example, the Sun card features a bright sun representing warmth and positivity, while the Tower card depicts a tower being struck by lightning, a symbol of sudden upheaval and chaos. Understanding the symbolism of each card can help you interpret their meaning in relation to the question you’re asking.

To help you remember and understand the symbols in the deck, consider creating a table with the card name, image, and main symbols. Here’s an example:

Card Name Image Main Symbols
The Fool The Fool card image dog, cliff, bag on staff, flowers
The Empress The Empress card image crown, scepter, wheat, waterfall, pomegranates
The Tower The Tower card image tower, lightning bolt, falling figures

By creating a table like this, you can easily study and memorize the symbols, which will enhance your intuition and allow you to develop a deeper understanding of the Tarot cards.

Numerology and Astrology

When it comes to reading tarot cards, numerology and astrology play a significant role. Each card is associated with a number and is believed to hold particular astrological significance. Understanding these associations can provide a deeper level of insight into a tarot reading.

Numerology is the belief that numbers hold symbolic meanings and can provide insight into a person’s life. The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck contains 78 cards, which are further divided into the Major Arcana, which has 22 cards, and the Minor Arcana, which has 56 cards. Each of these cards is associated with a number that holds special significance.

For example, The Magician card in the Major Arcana is associated with the number one, representing the beginning and new opportunities. The High Priestess card, on the other hand, is associated with the number two, representing intuition and hidden knowledge.

To better understand the numerological associations of each card, refer to the following table:

Card Number
The Fool 0
The Magician 1
The High Priestess 2
The Empress 3
The Emperor 4
The Hierophant 5
The Lovers 6
The Chariot 7
Strength 8
The Hermit 9
Wheel of Fortune 10
Justice 11
The Hanged Man 12
Death 13
Temperance 14
The Devil 15
The Tower 16
The Star 17
The Moon 18
The Sun 19
Judgement 20
The World 21

In addition to numerology, astrology is also significant when reading tarot cards. In traditional tarot decks, each card is associated with a zodiac sign or a planet. Understanding these associations can provide deeper insight into the meaning of each card.

For example, The Magician card is associated with the planet Mercury, which represents communication and power of the mind. The High Priestess card is associated with the Moon, which represents intuition and the subconscious.

To better understand the astrological associations of each card, refer to the following table:

Card Planet or Zodiac Sign
The Fool Uranus
The Magician Mercury
The High Priestess Moon
The Empress Venus
The Emperor Aries
The Hierophant Taurus
The Lovers Gemini
The Chariot Cancer
Strength Leo
The Hermit Virgo
Wheel of Fortune Jupiter
Justice Libra
The Hanged Man Neptune
Death Scorpio
Temperance Sagittarius
The Devil Capricorn
The Tower Mars
The Star Aquarius
The Moon Pisces
The Sun Sun
Judgement Pluto
The World Saturn

By incorporating numerology and astrology into a tarot reading, you can gain a deeper understanding of the cards and the messages they convey. Remember to approach tarot with an open mind and trust in your intuition to guide you in your interpretations.

Reversals and Clarifiers

When reading Tarot with the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, it’s important to understand the concept of reversals and how they can affect the interpretation of a card. When a card appears upside-down in a spread, it is said to be in reverse or a reversed position. This can indicate a blockage, challenge or imbalance in the card’s meaning.

In some cases, we may need to use a clarifier card to gain more clarity on a particular card or position in a spread. The clarifier card can be drawn after the initial spread, to give additional information that may not have been clear with just the initial cards drawn.

Here’s an example of how reversals and clarifiers can be used in a Tarot reading:

Let’s say we’re doing a three-card spread and the first card drawn is The Lovers in reverse position. This could indicate a lack of harmony or balance in a romantic relationship. To gain more clarity, we draw a clarifier card and we get The Tower. Now the reading takes on a whole new meaning- there may be a sudden and unexpected change or crisis happening in the relationship.

It’s important to remember that reversals and clarifiers are not always necessary in a Tarot reading, but they can be useful tools in gaining deeper insight into the cards and their meanings. However, always trust your intuition and use these tools only if and when they feel right for you and your practice.

Here’s a table summarizing the key points when using reversals and clarifiers in Tarot:

Concept Explanation
Reversals Upside-down card in a spread indicating a blockage, challenge, or imbalance in the card’s meaning.
Clarifiers A card drawn after the initial spread to gain more clarity on a particular card or position.
Usage Reversals and clarifiers can be useful tools in gaining deeper insight into the cards and their meanings, but it’s important to trust your intuition and use these tools only if and when they feel right for you and your practice.

Storytelling and Context

When interpreting the Rider-Waite Tarot cards, storytelling is a valuable tool that can provide an understanding of the messages that the cards convey. Context also plays a significant role, as the meaning of each card can vary substantially depending on the question asked and the position it holds in a spread. Here are some tips for using storytelling and context to interpret the cards:

  • Look for patterns: Pay attention to the sequence of the cards and the connections between them. Are there cards that share a common theme or symbol?
  • Consider the card’s position: A card’s meaning can change depending on where it appears in a spread. For example, the Three of Swords may indicate heartbreak or betrayal in the past position, whereas in the future position, it could suggest a need to prepare for emotional pain.
  • Take into account surrounding cards: The story told by a card can be influenced by the cards that surround it. For instance, the Empress card may represent fertility and motherhood, but if surrounded by more negative cards like the Five of Pentacles or the Ten of Swords, it could suggest maternal distress or abandonment.
  • Use your imagination: Tarot cards can be interpreted in countless ways, and using your imagination can help you create a story that resonates with you. For example, if the Fool card appears in a reading, you might envision a character who is beginning a new journey in life and must take a leap of faith despite uncertainty and fear.
  • Consider the querent’s life story: The cards can also be interpreted in the context of the querent’s past, present, and future. For instance, if the Five of Cups appears in a reading for someone who recently went through a breakup, it might suggest that they are struggling to let go of the past and move on.

By using storytelling and context in your Tarot readings, you can gain a deeper understanding of the cards and the messages that they are conveying. Remember to trust your instincts, stay open to new interpretations, and enjoy the process of exploring the mysteries of the Tarot.


In conclusion, reading tarot can be an incredibly rewarding and insightful experience. By using the Rider-Waite tarot deck, you have access to a rich history of symbolism and meaning. However, it’s important to remember that tarot reading is ultimately a personal and intuitive practice.

As you begin to practice reading tarot with the Rider-Waite deck, it’s important to get familiar with the deck and trust your instincts. Follow a ritual that helps you get into a focused and grounded state, and develop your own reading style that feels authentic to you. Keeping a tarot journal can also be helpful in tracking your progress and insights.

When preparing for a tarot reading, be sure to cleanse your deck and choose a comfortable space that allows you to focus. Set your intention for the reading and prepare open-ended questions that allow for a deep exploration of the cards.

Interpreting tarot cards involves tapping into your intuition and understanding the symbols, numerology, astrology, and context of the cards. Reversals and clarifiers can provide additional insight into the meaning of the cards, while storytelling can help create a narrative for the reading.

Remember to approach tarot reading with an open mind and a willingness to explore your inner wisdom. With practice and dedication, you can become a skilled tarot reader with a deep understanding of the meanings and messages of the Rider-Waite tarot deck.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history behind the Rider-Waite Tarot deck?

The Rider-Waite Tarot deck was created in 1909 by an artist named Pamela Colman Smith and a scholar named Arthur Edward Waite.

How many cards are in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck?

There are 78 cards in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, divided into the Major and Minor Arcanas.

What is the Major Arcana?

The Major Arcana are the 22 cards in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck that represent major life events and themes.

What is the Minor Arcana?

The Minor Arcana are the 56 cards in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck that represent day-to-day experiences and events.

What are some common symbols in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck?

Common symbols include the sun, moon, stars, angels, demons, and various animals such as lions and wolves.

How can I get familiar with the Rider-Waite Tarot deck?

You can get familiar with the deck by studying the images on the cards and reading interpretations from books or online resources.

What is a tarot journal?

A tarot journal is a notebook where you can record your own experiences and interpretations from your tarot readings.

What should I do to prepare for a tarot reading?

You should cleanse your deck, choose a comfortable space, set your intention, and prepare open-ended questions before a tarot reading.

What is numerology and how does it relate to tarot reading?

Numerology is the study of numbers and how they relate to various aspects of life. It can be used to interpret the meaning of different tarot cards.

What is storytelling and why is it important in tarot reading?

Storytelling involves interpreting the tarot cards as characters in a story, which can help provide a deeper understanding of their meaning in a reading.


Leave a Comment