When I began learning about Tarot, I was 20 years old. I began with what I now consider to be one of the most difficult (and IMO, darkest) decks out there: the Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley. I followed along with the odd card meanings in the LWB (the Little White Book that comes with most decks) and tried to use the challenging Celtic Cross Spread for my questions. Needless to say, I made it way too difficult on myself! If I could talk to my 20 year old self, or anyone who is new to Tarot and burning to learn, here's how I would suggest you begin:
> Start with a Rider-Waite deck, or one that is inspired by it, or one that denotes that it follows its symbology. There are literally hundreds of these decks in various styles and sizes. You are bound to find one to suit your taste. A great way to start reviewing the many Rider-Waite style decks out there is via aeclectic.net. Decks are organized by theme, two of which are "Rider-Waite Clones" and "Rider-Waite Inspired." They also have a whole section dedicated to Tarot decks for beginners! Warning: if you're like me, you'll get easily distracted by the pretty pictures of newly published Tarot, Oracle, and Lenormand decks. But try to stay focused! You can explore those later. Here are my suggestions with my favorite Rider-Waite and Rider-Waite inspired Tarot Decks:
> Once you have your deck, spend some quality time with it. First, check that all 78 cards are there. Occasionally, printing errors occur, and a deck will be missing a card. Next, look through each card one by one, just to get acquainted with the images and your gut reactions. Ultimately, your relationship with your deck is deeply personal and your interpretations for each card will not be exactly the same as anyone else's. So before you dive into trying to memorize the traditional meanings for the cards, tap into your intuition and let the images speak to you. You may want to start drawing a card a day and journal your reactions and interpretations based on your intuition.
> Next, after you've familiarized yourself with your deck and feel comfortable with it, you should start to learn about the traditional and intended meanings for each card. Each and every human experience in this world is represented by one or more of those 78 cards, and some of the LWB's do a fantastic job of explaining the symbology and meaning behind each and every card. Some authors even explain exactly why they chose a certain color or shape or being for each card, which I love! Still, other (generally older) LWBs often contradict themselves, make outdated references, and only leave you feeling more confused. You be the judge! There are also many wonderful Tarot books available for the beginner; below I've listed some of my all-time favorites. Start with one of these, not all of them at once:
> There are also a number of online and in-person Tarot courses available. I took Joan Bunning's free online course many years ago and would take it again today. My friend Kelley Knight of Modern Mystic Tarot teaches both online and in-person courses, and my friends Ethony and Victoria Wilson of Eternal Athena Tarot have online tutorials and classes as well. They are all highly knowledgeable and lovely! I can't recommend any others since I don't have personal experience with them, but if you want to ask about or suggest one, please do so in the comments below.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, but it should be enough to get your started on your Tarot journey. I promise you will have fun learning, and I thank you for trusting me to help you on your way!
My thoughts on Tarot...
Written especially with the beginner in mind!