Learn how to memorize tarot cards

Tarot reading can be a helpful tool in your spiritual evolution. Tarot readings can act as a guide when you are seeking a solution to a problem, making a decision or looking for the outcome on a situation. It can be a fun and rewarding skill to possess. If you practice enough, tarot reading can be a good way to generate a supplemental income. Almost anyone can learn to read tarot. You do not have to have any psychic ability to read tarot cards. Though we all have psychic ability but most of us can’t give a “psychic reading” as we haven’t been trained to receive messages. That’s a whole different ball of wax. You do not need to use psychic ability to read tarot cards because they are what are called a “divination tool”. In other words, a tarot deck is a tool in which the reader divines messages from spirit. Spirit sends a message to the querent through tarot cards. You are the translator between spirit and the querent. In other words, you look at the card layout and divine the message from symbolism, numerology and card patterns. Even though this is not a psychic reading, you may get messages from spirit. You may have words or symbols pop into your head that probably don’t make sense to you but they may to the querent. Likewise, you may just get a “gut feeling” on the querent’s question before they even shuffle. What is happening is that you are an open channel.

How to study the tarot cards

If you really want to learn to read tarot without using a book, you will have to study each of the 78 cards including the reversed position. There is no shortcut unless you feel confident enough in your abilities to use your intuition.

I highly recommend the Rider – Waite tarot deck for beginners because you may want to buy books on tarot reading or perhaps take classes. This is the #1 selling deck and most books and classes will refer to it. It’s not the most attractive deck, but for a beginner, it will have more resources than the other decks.

You will need the following items:
Tarot deck
Book with interpretations for that deck– you can use the little white book that is included with the deck, however, it’s best to get a more detailed interpretation.

My method for learning the cards is as follows:

Separate the deck into 5 piles based on suit (major arcana, wands, cups, pentacles and swords). Stack each pile in numerical order starting with the lowest on top, 2’s second….. and so on through to the king. The major arcana begins with the Fool card which is #0.

In your notebook, write the interpretation for the fool and each ace based on the book. Do upright first… skip a line or 2 for future notes and then write the reversed meaning. If you get any intuitive feelings, be sure and include them even if they go against the book. The book is only a guide used to give you a rough understanding of the suit, number, symbolic and elemental meanings and to jump-start your intuition. Repeat this for the 2nd card in each pile.

Set up your cards and notes as follows:


major arcana        wands         cups      pentacles        swords

Now study the fool’s interpretation in the upright position. When you have it, quiz yourself (or a have a study buddy help you) till you get it right. Move onto the ace of wands and repeat the study / quiz process. When you feel comfortable, repeat for the remaining aces.

Go back to the fool and quiz yourself again and repeat with the aces of each suit. When you have them all, turn the cards upside down (called the “reverse” position) and repeat the process for the reversed interpretation of each card.

Continue to quiz yourself till you get them all correct in both positions.
Move onto the 2nd card in repeat the entire process. When you get them all correct, add them to the previously learned cards and quiz yourself.

I like to write the interpretations for a series of 2 numbers (a total of 10 cards) to give myself a break from the memorizing. I like the rhythm of learning 2 number cards and then getting the break. It’s less monotonous than writing them all out and then studying them. BUT… if you want to do that, or do more than a series of 2 numbers, that’s fine. The idea is to create a system that leaves you wanting more rather than feeling like giving up.

After you get through a series of numbers, shuffle the cards and quiz yourself. Create 2 piles. The first pile is for cards that come easy to you (“hit” card). The 2nd pile is for those that you “miss” on. Repeat the quizzing process to the “miss” cards until each one comes easy enough to you to be added to the “hit” pile. Keep the cards in the same position when you lay them in the correct pile.

Turn the cards around and study them from the other position repeating the “hit” and “miss” pile process.

Move onto another series of cards in the same fashion. Continue with the quizzing / hit and miss process.

Add all the cards you have studied to one pile and shuffle. Repeat the entire process until you get them all correct. By now, you should notice that they are starting to “sink in”. You may even get to the point that you don’t like the interpretation that they book gives and create one of your own. GOOD!

Keep at the process till you get through all 78 cards in both positions. Continue the quizzing till you feel confident to do a reading without consulting the book. Practice…. Practice…. Pratice!!!!

You can practice on yourself by doing a 1, 2 or 3 card reading for the day or week. Practice reading for friends and family that are open to tarot readings. You can also do readings on celebrities and current events and watch in the media to see what transpires.
Some areas require certification for professional readings. You can find information on tarot certification online.

To take your readings a step further, I highly recommend The Complete Tarot Reader by Teresa Michelsen and Simple Fortunetelling with Tarot Cards by Corrine Kenner. I have used these books and found them to be very useful in learning the deeper meaning of each card and how to combine a series cards for a more in depth reading. Readers often get frustrated when the card they choose doesn’t pertain to their query. These books may help you learn to get around that problem.

Once you get comfortable doing readings, you may want to switch to a new deck that is more appealing or perhaps has a spiritual connection. That was my intention because I didn’t like the artwork on the Rider – Waite deck. However, as I learned the deck, I began to really connect with it. I even took the time to learn a lovely deck that was similar. But I found myself wanting to return to my original deck. I noticed that my attention was no longer focused on the artwork…. But rather on the symbolism that I found lacking in many other decks.

Note: There is a shortcut to learning the reversed cards. Some don’t learn the descriptions in the book. They take the upright means and consider the reversed as either energy turned inward or unrecognized.