Study Guide To The Beginners Tutorial To Reading Tarot Cards

by Douglas Gibb on July 9, 2009

This is the final post on the Beginner’s Tutorial To Reading Tarot Cards. At some point I may write some tutorials that look at expanding and adding to the techniques we have already learned. However, I want to use this time to reflect on a few of the key concepts and techniques we have learned.

The Difference Between Work And Play

I have talked a lot about practicing the techniques that I have laid out in this Tutorial Series, but it’s really a double edged sword because there is a point where practicing too much can actually take you further from the goal of delivering a great Tarot reading.

In the Western culture there is a heavy focus on hard work; hard work that eventually, through sacrifice, brings success. This focus does not translate well to Tarot readings. Naturally, you do have to practice the techniques, but as I said in my previous post, there is a point in a reading where the focus on the cards will naturally reduce; this is the point where intuition comes in.

When I think of hard work I think of ‘no fun’. I do not associate hard work with fun. It’s really important that you have fun learning Tarot. The more fun you have the more likely the intuition will just start to flow. In fact, if you work too hard at reading Tarot cards, you will most likely forget to enjoy yourself and the intuitive quality that you can bring to a reading becomes further and further removed from your ability to apply it.

I have tried to show that you only need a few techniques to deliver an outstanding reading; the less you know the more you will be able to offer. What are you offering? You are offering your intuition.

I would suggest practicing all the techniques in this Tutorial Series up until the point you don’t need to think about them anymore. Then, to put it simply, forget about them.

When practicing, it is vital not to read for yourself or others. Instead, view the practice as nothing more than telling a story; which is all a Tarot reading is anyway, only the story you tell does not involve you or anyone you know. That way you will be completely free to experiment with any one of the techniques you want to focus on.

Giving A Reading For Someone Else

There will come a point when you will want to read for someone else. When that point comes do your best to relax, and to relax the person you’re giving a reading for. When the reading starts, don’t worry if you don’t remember anything. In fact, that is a good sign. Allow your ‘story telling’ abilities to come through; another way of saying this is to allow your intuition to shine.

How to study the techniques

  1. Deal out a card, name it and two keywords
  2. Name the Element associated with the card
  3. Name some key concepts associated with that Element
  4. Repeat until it starts to feel like hard work

I’d then move onto the second stage of the practice session.

  1. Deal out two cards
  2. Use the Elements and the Keywords to tell a story
  3. Repeat until it starts to feel like hard work

I’d then move onto the third stage of the practice session.

  1. Deal out three cards
  2. Use the Elements and the Key words to tell a story
  3. Repeat until it starts to feel like hard work

I’d then move onto the fourth stage of the practice session.

  1. Deal out the Celtic Cross
  2. Use the Celtic Cross, Elements and key words to tell a story
  3. Use the time to work on your communication skills. Imagine you are telling the story to someone else
  4. Repeat until it starts to feel like hard word

I’d then move onto the final stage of the practice session.

  1. Do a reading for someone else
  2. Forget all the techniques that have been learned
  3. Help create a relaxed atmosphere
  4. Go crazy with the intuition
  5. Repeat until it starts to feel like hard work

It is not necessary to use the structure that I have just outlined. I’ve mentioned it to give you some ideas on how to approach your study. It is also not necessary to complete all the stages outlined above. Simply decide what area you would like to work on and practice. In fact, just practice whatever technique takes your fancy. Once it becomes unconscious (the ‘forgetting’ part) move onto another technique.

The Main Technique I Use

Three card readings seem to work best for me. They are short enough and yet complicated enough to allow me to practice everything I want to work on.

I often deal out three cards from the top of my deck followed by another three cards and another and another, until I have run out of cards. It doesn’t take long. Remember, when it feels like work, stop. It’s much more important to allow your intuition to develop that it is to ‘put the hours in’.


When all is said and done, more is said and done – Lou Holtz.

I hope you have enjoyed this Tutorial Series and I wish you all good luck on your journey. If you have any problems or anything that you would like to discuss with me concerning this tutorial, then please feel free to either leave a comment at the end of this post, or contact me via the Contact page and I’ll do my best to help you in any way I can.

This post is part of the Beginner’s Tutorial To Reading Tarot Cards

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16 comments… Let's discuss

Catherine July 9, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Hi Douglas,

I just wanted to congratulate you on producing a really excellent Tutorial Series, well done :)

Now that it’s complete, have you considered making it into a single document, like a pdf e-book? I think it would be excellent if people could download it, print it and use it as a handy reference guide. Just a thought.

Will there be an intermediate or advanced series?

Warm wishes,



Douglas July 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Thank you for your kind words :)

I hadn’t though about making it into a pdf ebook until now :); it’s certainly possible that I do.

As for the future tutorials: Yes, it’s something that I’m sure I’ll get around to writing eventually. Do you have any suggestions?


Catherine July 13, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Yes I do :)

I’ve emailed you with my ideas.



Brenda July 15, 2009 at 11:20 am

Many thanks at last I think this will help me put it all together, I have been trying to work with Tarot for nearly ten years and have purchased every book i can and have just become more and more confused as I read them. Also teachers have not helped as they just keep teaching different meanings.
Thanks Douglas at last I am optimistic about reading the Tarot.


Douglas July 15, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Thank you for your comment :)

I’m glad this Tutorial Series has been of some help. Let me know how you get on :)


Jason July 18, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Remember, when it feels like work, stop. It’s much more important to allow your intuition to develop that it is to ‘put the hours in’.

I wish someone had told me that a long time ago… I suffered some tarot burnout because I over-studied over several months. Even Crowley wrote about over-intellectualizing the tarot, and killing its vitality in the process.

You wrote about this elsewhere in your lessons, and I think it’s the most valuable piece of advice you could have shared. Although the lesson content is great, too!

You did a nice job of putting everything together. Well done!


Douglas July 18, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Jason, its great to have you back :)

I’m sorry to hear about the ‘burn-out’ phase you’ve been in. You’ll find, when you begin to study the Tarot again (…it takes as long as it takes ;)), that you will have a new found naturalness with the cards. Your intuition will be stronger and you will begin to find a deepening connection to the cards.

Its about finding that balance and that enthusiasm again. If I’m being honest it took me a while to find it…but it happens. Time changes all things.

I went through an over-intellectualizing phase as well. Although it resulted in my first ‘burn-out’, I think it might have had some positive benefits. I think you may begin to feel the same way.

Thank you for sharing those experiences and your kind works on the content of the lessons.

I hope you continue to drop by from time to time…and let me know how you are getting on :)


Rhys September 2, 2009 at 6:45 am

I’m really glad I discovered this tutorial series before I read any more tarot books. Each post is a model of concision, clarity and sense (though I admit i got a bit confused with the Celtic Cross post – I don’t own a Thoth deck and couldn’t make out the images very well). I’m looking forward to reading the other posts on this blog and having more fun reading the cards.
Thank you!


Douglas September 2, 2009 at 10:19 am

Hi Rhys, thank you for your kind words :)

I’ve updated the Celtic Cross post and added the titles of the 10 Tarot cards used just below the picture; hope that helps? Let me know if it brings more clarity to the post.

I’m looking forward to reading any future comments you make and I’m glad your enjoying the blog :)


colin March 24, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Hi there Doug and all, thanks for helping me discover the proper way to read the Celtic Cross. I have looked at the way that you advise to exhaust all the spreads and is a good way of making you look and work all the meanings out.

Cool, always enjoy the posts! Learning loads here, thanks for this….


Douglas Gibb March 25, 2010 at 12:52 am

Hi Colin,

Glad you liked the post and are enjoying the practice sessions. I’m sure that you’ll find them helpful as you continue on your Tarot journey :)


Tarot Card Readings February 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Tarot reading helps to learn how to improve their new heights in all areas of our lives: career, love, spiritual growth, family and creative expression, Gage’s overall energy around a particular person or situation, learn what and how to do according to the most effective way to not waste precious energy, gain critical assistance in critical moments of our lives, learn how to overcome difficulties and achieve the load and achievements, identify priorities of the outcome did not materialize in the physical, how to play a positive correction, learning The most direct way to accomplish our goals.


solobo September 26, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Hi Doug and all of you out there,
I feel so overwhelmed seeing your discussion on burnouts..Well this has been happening in my life for some time.I was terribly drawn to all esoteric and occult studies from my teens.I started from astrology,reiki,crystal healing,dowsing,kinesology NLP and what not.The moment my interest began, I plunged headlong into it to the point of reaching about 60% and then leaving it there.Thanks for you now it will not happen that way for me in case of Tarot.It was so well said I now realize what had been happening to me all these years- I have this feeling of I want to do something but dont know what and am now just hope I will do some soul searching with the help of Tarot.
Love and Blessings to you all


Shobha Wagh July 11, 2013 at 7:57 am

Hi Douglas,

Thank you for being an amazing guide! Tarot looks a lot simpler and easier now! I congratulate you on your commendable efforts and pray that all your dreams and wishes come true! God bless you with all his love and grace!

Warm Regards,


Douglas Gibb July 11, 2013 at 9:54 am

Hi Shobha,

Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it :)


Sharon November 10, 2013 at 12:30 am

Hi Douglas,
Thank you for the amazing support. Am truly grateful that you have shared your knowledge.
Bless you and yours


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