The Most Important Step in Learning Tarot

What do you think is the most important step in learning how to read Tarot cards? Do you think it’s…

a) Learning the Tarot card meanings?

b) Getting the right deck and book?

c) Opening to your intuition?

In my own humble opinion, it’s NONE of these things. I strongly feel that the most important step in learning how to read Tarot cards is this…

Spending time just looking at your deck and familiarizing yourself with your cards.

The funny thing is, this important step often gets overlooked because Tarot newbies are in such a rush to start learning the meanings and doing readings.

But I’ll say it again – the most important thing you can do when you first get your Tarot deck is to just sit there and go through the deck, taking your time to observe each card.

Why is this so important?

Spending time getting to know your cards lets you get a big picture view of your Tarot deck. It also helps you connect with your deck and feel like your Tarot cards are a familiar thing.

Getting your first Tarot deck can be a confusing and overwhelming experience, but spending time just observing the cards helps you get more comfortable with them.

Most people want to dive into learning the Tarot meanings first. I get it. I was like this too. But that’s like going on a first date with someone you’ve just met and expecting them to spill all their secrets right off the bat.

Trust needs to be built before secrets can be revealed, whether it’s a relationship with a person or a Tarot deck.

Try this!

Choose your most and least favorite Tarot cards:

The Housewives Tarot

1. As you go through your Tarot deck, notice what cards strongly appeal to you and set those aside. You’ll also want to set aside the cards you really dislike.

2. Go through your “Likes” pile and choose the card you like the most and do the same thing with your “Dislikes” pile, picking the one you dislike the most.

3. Compare and contrast your favorite Tarot card to your least favorite. How are they different? How are they similar?

4. Find out what your favorite Tarot card says about you and what your least favorite Tarot card says about you!


Group your Tarot cards into 5 suits:

1. Separate your Tarot cards into 5 groups – Majors, Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles.

2. Spend time looking at each group and comparing and contrasting each group. You will notice that each group has a particular feel and perhaps even it’s own color scheme. What symbols re-appear in the Suit of Wands? What symbols re-appear in the Swords, etc?

3. What suit do you relate most strongly to? Here’s a fun quiz to get you started!


Group your Tarot cards by number:

Leave the Major Arcana out for this one and group the Minors according to their number. Look at each grouping and notice the similarities and differences in the imagery. Do particular numbers seem kind of crappy? Do some seem really happy?

All the 2’s from the Everyday Witch Tarot


Look at all the Court Cards:

Crystal Visions Tarot

1. Group all the Kings together, all the Queens, etc, until you have four groups of four.

2. What kind of a vibe do you get when you look at the Kings? How about when you gaze on the Queens? Knights? Pages?

3. Do any particular Court Cards stand out to you? Which ones and why?

Court cards can be tricky! When you’re ready to go deeper, here’s some helpful exercises:

Why the Court cards are so hard to read (and what you can do about it)

Court Cards: Learn the Once and for ALL!

Well, that should give you enough to work with for the next year 😉 so I’ll leave you to it!

But first, I want to know…

What has been the most important step in learning Tarot for YOU? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

23 thoughts on “The Most Important Step in Learning Tarot”

  1. Hi Kate. Thank you for your advice on your site. I started out by drawing one card per day and really studying a breaking down the picture for symbols etc. My very first card was The High Prietess from the Hanson Roberts deck. I’m starting to be able to look at spreads now and join the cards together. Today I was reading with a friend and I asked her to draw a card for clarification….and it cormfirmed what I was thinking! Loving the tarot!

  2. I think that developing intuition and studying the Tarot go hand in hand. I remember way back in high school when I started learning the Tarot and there were not a lot of resources to learn like now. All I had was the Little White Book and the courage to step out and do practice readings for people. It was more difficult, but I think I really was able to do accurate readings because I wasn’t going back and forth in a book to check if I “got it right”. I do like your idea of comparing and contrasting the various suits and numbers within the deck. This is something I’m definitely going to do. Also, you made me laugh when you wrote about doing all those Cosmo magazine quizzes. Those secret times were the best!!!

  3. Hey Kate
    I am sorry but for the first half of your video the portrait hanging behind you just holding my attention.
    Do you mind if ask you to explain a little about it.
    It has a strong beautiful and elegant woman holding a blue book

  4. Karen Hancock Johnson

    To learn the cards for me is having them in my hands all the time. I love how they feel in them. Looking at them, feeling them, shuffling and drawing 3 cards in spreads. Thank you for more tips on how to get familiar with them! I love your site!

  5. Hi Kate,thanks for your interesting and helpful video.What is helping me with tarot is watching videos similar to yours.Watching and listening to experienced readers such as yourself.This latest blog of yours gives real “food for thought”.Many thanks.


  6. Nice video and exercises, Kate! I definitely spend lots of quality time, “dating” my tarot decks in an ongoing way.

  7. Hi Kate, being still fairly new to tarot I started by trying to learn all the meanings, but found this laborious and uninspiring after a time, I think I became too serious about trying to learn them and it became a chore to me and my interest waned (and who’s meanings are definitive anyway?). So I think it’s helpful to try to develop intuition, not just intuition about each card but also about ourselves, remembering what first drew us to tarot and also what keeps our interest fresh & alive, hearing other peoples perspectives, & websites like yours (and the comments) are encouraging in this, & fun too!

    Jim 🙂

  8. Very good article. Thank you. I remember you saying the best and easiest deck to start with for a beginner but I have forgotten. Please let me know again.


  9. Like you say here, just spending time with my cards, working with them, getting to “know” them. I’ve noticed that over the years doing daily draws using anywhere from one to 5 cards, writing down my thoughts, feelings, etc. and then looking up the book meanings and comparing my feelings to the book has helped me tremendously. It has really helped me grow and expand as a reader. Time. Time is key to learning Tarot.

  10. I’m a newbie and I tried to start learning tarot by studying one card at a time. You know, drawing a card, studying it and writing in my tarot journal. I stopped though ’cause I would get a headache after. I’d like to pick it up again when I’m ready and more prepared this time.

      1. Hmm that’s a good point. Maybe I was thinking too much instead of relying on intuition? I’m still learning to be more in touch with my intuition, so I’ll try to be more relaxed next time. 🙂

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