How to Start (and Interpret) a Daily Tarot Practice, According to Experts

updated Mar 9, 2021
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Woman is reading Tarot cards on the table in cafe
Woman is reading Tarot cards on the table in cafe

So, you’re tarot-curious. Maybe you have the classic Rider-Waite deck sitting on your shelf for when you feel called to do a reading. Or, perhaps you have a vintage hand-me-down deck that looks aesthetically pleasing next to your crystals and record player.

You’re not alone — tarot is trending. Not only have tarot deck sales skyrocketed, but spirituality has made a bigger splash in mainstream culture over the years. Especially during the pandemic, more and more people are searching for greater purpose and reevaluating what’s important to them. What better way to do that than to turn to the cards themselves, as other people have been doing for centuries?

Whether you’re a newbie, spiritual skeptic, or an advanced reader, there are many benefits to having a daily tarot card practice. For one, a daily practice such as tarot can help you get in the habit of accessing your intuition, which in turn can guide your decision-making and align your actions. A tarot habit can also serve as an opportunity to check in with yourself and put the right questions in front of you. You may even feel like you’re starting to see things more clearly because you’re making it a priority to tune into your own rhythm and patterns, whether it’s red flags at work or a larger issue you need to confront in a relationship. 

The best part is, you can easily incorporate a tarot card pull into your daily routine — and three experts weigh in on how to create a meaningful habit below. 

How to Get Started with a Daily Tarot Practice 

First things first, you need a tarot deck. Sure, that’s obvious, but it’s important to find one that speaks to you. There are tons of options out there, from the traditional Rider-Waite deck to the artsy Thoth deck and the modern Mystic Mondays deck

“You want to be able to see a story in the cards,” Sasha Piergeorge, a tarot reader and psychic medium, says about choosing the deck for you. Connecting to your deck’s visual imagery activates your intuition. Are you drawn to the colors and patterns you see? How about the artwork? Just like piecing together a story, each card reflects a scene, and Piergeorge recommends looking at the parallels between the cards and your personal life — perhaps it reminds you of a situation you’re currently facing or a dream you’ve recently had.

When it comes to your daily practice, it helps to find a quiet space and limit your distractions. Put your phone somewhere out of reach (or turn it on silent) and focus on being present with your cards, as well as the prompt you offer them. “When shuffling the cards, start off with a simple question that can be asked again each day, such as, ‘What do I need to focus on?’ or ‘What does the universe want me to know today?’” Piergeorge says.

After you pull your card, sit with it for a minute or so before looking up its meaning. It can also help to keep track of your results — and your personal interpretations— in a journal, Jessica Wiggan of BehatiLife recommends. “This will help you notice trends, make predictions, and track your spiritual evolution which encourages your daily card pull practice,” she says.

Whether you choose to do your practice first thing in the morning or right before bed, there are many ways to establish a routine. Grace Duong, founder of Mystic Mondays, says that morning is a great time to pull energy from the cards in order to set intentions and receive guidance for the day ahead. She adds that doing this at nighttime is an opportunity to reflect on your day and what you learned — what matters is that you find a cadence that works for you. 

How to Interpret What the Cards Mean:  

Each tarot deck is divided into major arcana cards and minor arcana cards.

  • The 21 major arcana cards represent life lessons, karmic patterns, and larger themes influencing your life.
  • The 56 minor arcana cards have four different suits of 14 cards: cups, wands, swords, and pentacles. Cups represent your emotional world, pentacles reflect the material world, swords represent your thoughts and actions, and wands reflect your passion. 

Once you have a basic idea of how the arcanas are divided up, you can piece details together. Maybe you’re feeling burnt out at work and you consistently pull cards from the cups suit — this could be telling you that you’re feeling emotionally drained. Or, maybe the cards you’re pulling all have dark-colored imagery on them, signifying you’re being weighed down. Whether you look at cups or colors, symbols or signs, anything can be interpreted how you want it to be. 

“Always look at the symbols and pictures found in the tarot card,” Wiggan says. “What images or numbers stand out to you? What are the expressions on the characters’ faces? Note what they remind you of, how you feel, and what they symbolize. Like the saying goes, ‘a picture can speak a thousand words.’ The same is true for tarot.”

While there are traditional meanings for each of the cards, each deck tells a different story. Try not to get too attached to the literal interpretation of the cards or think you have to memorize them before starting your practice. In fact, Before turning to a guidebook, check in with what you’re sensing.

“If you immediately look up the meaning in the guidebook, you miss out on the random-seeming thoughts that end up being spot-on, and you might find it harder to develop trust in your intuition,” Piergeorge says. 

Another thing to note is that there are no good or bad pulls. The Death or Devil cards, for instance, are not bad omens and you may block yourself from the card’s message based on a very common misconception. If you’re only getting a positive or negative reaction from a card, look for hidden messages — what’s in the background? What does the scenery represent? Use it as an opportunity for further exploration. “Consider mining these cards for deeper self-knowledge,” Piergeorge says. “Journaling about my cards sparked so many epiphanies for me.”

How to Create a Meaningful Habit

Just like building any new habit, the more you create consistency, the more natural it will become. “By pulling a card a day, you’re building your intuitive muscles,” Duong says. “It’s like going to the gym — the more you go, the more muscle you build!

If you already have a daily routine where you have a glass of water right when you wake up, try your daily tarot pull immediately after so it feels like a natural next step. Carving out this moment for mindfulness is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

“Like any ritual, making sure you set aside time for this practice will help immensely as you’re telling yourself that time to yourself is special,” Duong continues. “Think of it as a daily appointment with your higher self that you can’t miss!”

You can even add little sensory pleasures into your routine that make it more sacred and also open up the gates to your intuition. Piergeorge says she’ll light a candle and rub lavender oil on her wrists and temples before pulling cards. She also suggests lighting incense or working with an affirmation to make the experience even more focused and eye-opening. 

Building a habit is an important step to making sense of the cards you pull. Over time, when keeping track of the cards you pull in a journal, you’ll begin to draw patterns and consistent themes you come across. You’ll start to personalize what the cards mean to you and how you can take action on what keeps coming up. 

Tips for Connecting with Your Intuition 

Intuition is undoubtedly key to making your practice work — but what if your intuition is a little, uh, rusty?

It’s perfectly normal to feel out of touch with your intuition, especially if you’re just getting started. The good news is, you’re more intuitive than you think, and it’s just about reacquainting with it again. “We were all born with intuition but over time if we are taught to ignore our hunches and second guess ourselves, those intuitive muscles can grow weak, Wiggan says. 

Journaling is one of the best things you can do to access your intuition, according to Wiggan, as it helps you process your inner world. “Your emotions are sometimes the first signals that something is off, and when you feel uncomfortable, honor those feelings fully,” she says. 

Duong adds that practicing visualization through meditation helps strengthen your third eye chakra, which is attached to intuition. Whether that’s through guided meditations, sound baths, or even silence, the point of this is to develop and connect with the images you receive from your intuition. 

“If you’re a beginner, it may feel silly at first, and self doubt may come up as you question your intuitive abilities with reality,” Duong says. “But the more you develop this intuitive self, the more you will see confirmation around you that validates your experiences.”

So much of creating a daily tarot practice is developing a stronger relationship with yourself. That includes waking up to your patterns, removing your blocks, and connecting to your higher self for powerful messages to come through. 

“Pay attention to the synchronicities,” Duong says. “They’re all around you.”