How to teach yourself tarot


Imagery: Chase Voorhees // @chasev

Words: Emma Vidgen // @emma_vee

Image: Chase Voorhees //  @chasev

Image: Chase Voorhees // @chasev

If you’ve noticed tarot cards popping up a lot lately, you’re not imagining it. From t-shirts to skateboards to designated tarot corners in bars, tarot is everywhere. But beyond the hype, modern-day tarot is a very different beast to the fortune-telling tool of yore.

Tarot is being used by women around the world, not as a crystal ball, but as a tool for self-improvement and meditation, and the best part is, this new approach is totally DIY rather than having to pay hundreds of dollars for a reading.

Leading the charge in the “now” age of tarot is Brooklyn-based intuitive and founder of the Soul Tarot School Lindsay Mack. “Tarot can be such a beautiful tool if someone wants to connect with something greater. Some people, it's hard for them to meditate. Tarot can be a really great gateway in,” Lindsay says. “I think people are desiring something that can help them be more available to this moment.”

And that’s exactly what it did for Lindsay, with her deck helping her through her darkest days, as she told The Wayward here. Read on to discover how to get started reading for yourself…



I think, just straight up going to a local metaphysical shop or a bookstore or wherever you might have around you that sells decks and literally just see what feels good, what strikes you. There's a real myth about needing to be given a deck and that's not true. No one needs to be given a deck. It's cool. It's whatever sort of your deck you make a connection with like dating. You know, it's just trusting that. I would say to people living in areas where that's not accessible to them, Amazon is a great place to buy a deck where you can just look into it, look into the imagery.



A great deck for beginners is the Rider-Waite Smith. The Motherpeace deck is really great for folks who have some trauma. That's a great option. The Starchild Tarot is so good because it has such a well-written book that accompanies it, and it's really good to learn off of. The Motherpeace has that too. There are lots of different wonderful options. I would say that if you're going to get a deck, then definitely reach out and get a book too [Rachel Pollack’s 78 Degrees of Wisdom is a classic].


do i need to be psychic to read tarot?

Tarot cannot predict the future really at all. An intuitive can pick up on cycles, sometimes, if that's in alignment, but it really does just offer a mirror and a glimpse into the present moment in the most aligned way possible.

Tarot offers a really great chance to get clear on where we are, what we're being invited to pay attention to, what we can turn our attention toward. So it's this really beautiful opportunity to get deeply clear in a way that helps us have an anchor to something creative because we're actually pulling, we're tuning in, we're listening. I think the same thing can come from meditation.


ok i have a deck, where do i start?

Just start playing! The best way to learn tarot is to essentially read and consume and take in what people say about the cards first. Try to learn as much as you can and practice, but then ultimately throw it away and be able to say, "Okay, this is what everybody else has said, and I have that foundational knowledge. Now, what do I think?"

I like to say that it's the same thing with jazz piano. You really need to know some theory to play like that. So my advice to people is just to lean on the book, use it over time.

It's a process, but just letting your heart choose the deck and starting to step into a place where you're learning, interpreting, playing. It's a really nice process if people can let go and let themselves do it.


what if i don’t like the interpretation in the book/course/online?

Really get dropped into your knowing. Question everything you read. Do not give people authority. I don't care if they're the most celebrated author on earth. If they're writing something about a card that you go, "I don't agree with that at all. That's not my truth at all," then they're wrong and that's fine. It's just a process of continuing to layer learning, practising and really releasing other people's definitions and asking yourself, "Well, I think it's true."

I teach people all over the world and I cannot tell you how often I have to repeat, "Question everything I'm telling you. You might not agree with any of it, and it might be wonderful for you. You might agree with everything I say. Continue to question it," because there are treatments and interpretations inside everyone that are their own and the only way we can get to them and trust them is to have a foundation of knowledge that then we use as the foundation only and begin to create the home that we really want to live in from that flooring, from that foundation.


For more information on tarot or to learn how to read with lindsay check out her soul tarot school.

Emma VidgenTAROT