Tarot Spreads for Beginners


So you got into the wondrous and insightful world of Tarot. You have your deck, you know the meanings…but now what? Now comes the fun part: reading! As a cartomancer, I can assure you that studying the definition of each card and knowing them by heart is not enough if you don’t actually make use of the cards. What will guarantee that you’ll become more acquainted with this art is none other than practice. So far, you’ve learned to read the cards individually, isolated, but now it’s time to put those meanings in context. How do you do that? Keep reading to find out!

Before I start, I wanted to give a bit of a disclaimer. Memorizing the meanings of all 78 cards is not mandatory. It’s great that you want to educate yourself, but don’t forget that you have an ace up your sleeve: your intuition. And let me tell you a secret: it is much better if you follow your gut rather than your brain. If you want to know more about intuitive Tarot reading don’t miss our blog post!

Reading Tarot in context

There are two elements that will provide you with a frame in which you have to interpret the cards. On the one hand, there’s a question, and on the other, the cards. What does that mean? Let’s say the querent (the person asking a question) wants to know about their love life. They ask “what do I have to do in order to gain the confidence to ask my crush out on a date?”. Imagine you pull out three cards —The Strength, The Hierophant (inverted), and the ten of cups—, it’s important that you interpret them altogether and that you “adapt” the message to the question at hand. These three cards tell us that this person needs to be persistent and brave, not lose hope, and work hard on tearing down negative self-talk and emotional and spiritual conventions that are restrictive in order to get their beloved’s attention, which the ten of cups foresees.

Reading each card as if it were separated from the rest would be inaccurate, as the meanings tend to be slightly modified depending on the cards that are around, as would be not answering what the consultant asked. For instance, (same question as before) you tell the querent “I see that you need to be strong and persistent, good results are guaranteed; then you have to reassess your spirituality, reflect upon your convictions; and lastly, you’ll have a beautiful happy family.” Even though it’s somehow related to the question, it still doesn’t answer it per se. It’s as if somebody asked “what’s your favorite music genre?” and you replied “I listen to pop, jazz, and metal quite frequently.”


What’s a tarot spread?

A spread is an arrangement of the cards that encompasses a set of questions regarding a theme and different positions in which the cards will be displayed. Some advanced readers may even take into account the number of the positions, as numerology can provide further information.

As for themes, you can find spreads for almost every single topic: finding love, finding a solution to a problem, communicating with spirits, finances, etc. Once you’re more acquainted with Tarot, you can come up with your own! They can be as simple or as complex as you want. The more extensive the layout is, the more information you’ll receive. In this post, you’ll find some easy, beginner-friendly ones.

One-card pull tarot

This is where beginners should start, ideally. You can pull one card from your deck every day to practice intuitive Tarot reading. 


Step 1: Take 5-10 minutes to ground and calm your mind. You can also pray to your spirit team to guide you through the reading.

Step 2: Shuffle the cards as many times as you want, you decide when to stop.

Step 3: When you’re ready, pick one card —or let it fly out of the deck, as you prefer— and place it facing up.

Step 4: Observe the card and take in its imagery. Focus and let your intuition guide you. What does the background look like? Is it sunny or rainy? What colors do you see? What do they symbolize or evoke? What’s the character in the picture? What energy do you get from the card? All these questions combined should give you enough information to interpret Tarot.


Some cartomancers may use one-card pulls to answer yes/no questions. I don’t personally use Tarot for these particular questions, for the cards provide much more nuances than just black and white. It’s not as simple as having an upright card as “yes” and an inverted one as “no.” There are some cards that are neutral, such as Justice, or answer in a “yes, but…” or “no, but…” way. Alternatively, my yes/no question go-to divination tool is a pendulum. (Leave a comment if you want to learn about divination with pendulums!)

Three-card spreads

These are my favorite type of spreads, even as an advanced Tarot reader. They are simple and provide you with enough information to work with. Ultimately, short spreads are easier for beginners, as they don’t require a broad and complicated analysis. 


Pick a layout and shuffle the cards. Ask the question either out loud or in your mind (extra tip: including the name of the querent in the question can help you direct the energy toward them), and once you’re done shuffling, pull out the cards one by one and place them where the spread indicates. Now, I’ll give you some ideas for three-card spreads.

Card 1  

Card 2  

Card 3



Your Goals

Your Finances




Someone Else

Course of Action

Work through





Let go

Needless to say, you can modify these layouts and add or take out cards. For example, you can make the fear and obstacle two separate questions. That way you have more context to read from. The more cards a spread has, the more accurate and elaborated it will be. 

Something I do occasionally in these types of spreads is do a numeric reduction. That is, I add each digit until I get a final number that is below or equal to 22. Then I grab a Major Arcana card that corresponds to the number I got (if it’s already in the spread, I take it as a sign that I should pay extra attention to it). This extra card brings more insight into the reading and works as additional advice. 


Interview your deck spread

This one’s for both beginner and advanced readers. If you ever wonder why cartomancers usually have more than one deck, it’s because they all have different personalities and limitations, like people. This six-card spread will help you bond with your new deck and understand how to work properly with it.

Card 1  

Card 2  

Card 3

Your essence

Your strengths

Your limitations

Card 4  

Card 5

Card 6

What you’ll teach me

How I can collaborate with you

The outcome of our relationship

Extra tip

If you are indecisive about which spread to use, you can simply ask a question and pull as many cards as you feel comfortable reading. You may have certain rules when it comes to your practice. For example, in my case, if a card falls from the deck facing up, I take that as a sign that I should read it, but if more than three fall out, I don’t take them into account, regardless of their position —unless my gut tells me otherwise.

Ask —or suggest your client to ask— questions that need elaboration. Remember that messages from Tarot are like short stories. So, avoid questions like “will I…?”, “when is…?”, “did I…?” Instead, formulate questions along the lines of “what should I…?”, “what’s the best way to….?”, “how can I…?”, “what do I need to…in order to…?”, etc. 

Now you know how to get started in your Tarot practice. As you gain experience, you’ll also gain confidence and will be able to read longer and more complex spreads. This is just the beginning in the wonderful world of divination. So buckle up and don’t forget that practice makes perfect!

What spread have you tried and which ones would you recommend for beginners? Let us know in the comments!

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