Reading tarot cards can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to the practice. I remember what it’s like being a new reader and seeing videos and books made by more experienced readers that would leave me impressed but also intimidated. Like, who sees all that in pieces of cardboard, right?
Well, that person could be you. Turns out, if you practice enough with connecting the symbols of the cards to each other, it’s actually pretty easy to do. That said, starting with complex tarot spreads may not be the best idea if you’re still learning how to read tarot cards. If you’re new to reading tarot, it’s best to start with simple, fun tarot spreads that don’t have complex positions (like the Celtic cross) and heavy questions that make them uncomfortable to read.
But First, Prepare to Read Your Tarot Spread
Even if you don’t believe in the mystical attributes of tarot cards, you should still start by setting your intentions. This part of the preparation process helps you calm down and put you in the right frame of mind to read tarot cards. Meditating in general and holding the idea of what you want to read about generally works, but if you can incorporate a ritual of some kind in there, you might see better results. Sounds silly? According to a study published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, performing rituals can reduce anxiety better than simple “sit and relax” activities.
To improve your experience, you can light a stick or cone of incense or a scented candle. Chemical and Engineering News reports that frakinscence and myrrh — the incense brought to Jesus by one of the magi, as per the Biblical Archaeology Society — have psychoactive properties that reduce pain perception among mice and affected the same areas of the brain that are affected by anxiety and depression medications. Additionally, the incensole acetate (a compound in frankincense) activates the TRPV3 protein present in mammalian brains (that means you, me, and the mice), creating the sensation of warmth.
So light some frakinscence, relax, set your intentions and start shuffling your tarot cards.
4 Fun Tarot Spreads to Try
The Birthday Spread
This fun tarot spread is made to look like a cake with a candle on it. Okay, maybe it’s not a 100% reproduction, but see it through the same lens that our ancestors were looking through when they looked up at the night sky and thought they saw bulls and hunters in constellations.
This birthday spread involves drawing five cards, each representing your wishes for your new age, the lessons you’ve learned from your last age, and the lessons that are in store for you at this new age.
- Card 1: What is your birthday wish? This should provide insight into what you want and need, even if you might not realize it fully yet.
- Card 2: What is the greatest gift from your previous age? This can be a life lesson, a pivotal career moment, a person you care about, etc.
- Card 3: What is the gift this new age has in store for you?
- Card 4: What steps do you need to take to achieve the gifts of this new age?
- Card 5: What is the mindset or lesson you need to integrate from your previous age in order to fully realize this new age’s gift?
A Yearly Tarot Reading Spread
You know those tarot card of the year and annual tarot spreads that are meant to help you navigate the new year? This is like that except you don’t have to start at the actual beginning of the year you draw the cards for it. This fun tarot spread works by pulling 13 tarot cards, each of which correspond to a month of the year. You must be thinking, “Hey, aren’t there only 12 months in a year?” and you’re right. The 13th card is the card that sets the tone for the entire year. You can select card 13 either at the start of the reading or the end of the reading.
If you’re doing this reading any month that isn’t January, you can assign the first card (or second, if you’re using your first card as the card of the year) as the card for the month you’re currently in. Put it in its corresponding position and then draw the rest of the cards starting with January. gradually filling in each month until you’ve completed the year.
The key with this spread isn’t really in its position but with the number of cards. As long as you pull thirteen cards and leave their assignment more or less up to chance, you’re good to go. Just don’t cherry pick the Two of Cups or Lovers card that showed up as the 8th card and then put it in February’s spot.
A Tarot Spread for Checking in With Yourself
This self-reflection tarot spread from Tracy Russel walks you through your current mental and emotional state so you can do an emotional check-up with yourself. The cards are assigned as follows:
- Card 1: How is my self-talk affecting my ability to be true to myself?
- Card 2: What am I hiding from myself out of shame or fear?
- Card 3: What is a healing aspect/influence that I can access right now to help me overcome this?
- Card 4: What do I need to let go of?
- Card 5: What do I need to embrace or nurture right now?
If you’d like to do this on a daily basis with a smaller number of cards, you ca try a 3 card spread for daily check-ins.
- Card 1: What is your emotional state for the day?
- Card 2: What’s weighing on your mind?
- Card 3: What are you trying to accomplish today?
A Fun Tarot Spread for Creating a Fictional Character
You don’t have to do your readings for real people. If you’re a creative who needs help developing characters for a book, tabletop roleplaying game, video game, or comic, here’s tarot spread for creating a character. I’ve previously used this tarot spread for creating Dungeons and Dragons characters and NPCs, so it has all the basics of what goes into your typical fictional character and frames them at a base state, you know, before they get heroic and cool.
- Card 1: This is your character’s beginning state. It can describe an aspect of their personality or their outlook on the world that strongly shapes their behavior.
- Card 2: This is the higher self your character wants to be. It is the person they’re trying to become and will hopefully become at the end of the story.
- Card 3: This describes your character’s flaws, the stuff that keeps them from achieving that higher self and Card 5.
- Card 4: This is your character’s positive attributes that can help them achieve Card 2 and Card 5.
- Card 5: This is your character’s material goal. What are they trying to achieve in the external world? While their inner goal (Card 2) may be to become a selfless hero, Card 5 can be slaying a dragon or taking down a tyrannical monarch.
- Card 6: This is the obstacle that keeps your character from achieving their Card 5 and Card 2 goals.
Interpreting Your Fun Tarot Spreads
Interpreting tarot cards is all about telling yourself a little story through the symbols presented in the cards. If you know a little about astrology, you may notice that certain cards like The World have Zodiac sign symbols on them. These can be interpreted and framed in relation to the other cards in your spread like, say, The Chariot which is associated with the sign Cancer. Alternatively, you can just connect with the images as they appear to you, interpreting them based on your experiences and what or who they remind you of. There’s no right or wrong way to read these fun tarot spreads so relax and trust the process!