One of the things that I’d really recommend for your first reading is to start small. If you look through the sites on the internet you’ll find some monstrous huge patterns for laying out the cards. Lots and lots of details and sometimes dozens of cards. A beginner using one of those is sort of like deciding you’re going to write a computer program right after you figured out how to put a ringtone on your smartphone. Start off with some smaller layouts and get a feel for the cards before you get too complex.
I actually prefer smaller reading layouts and I do at least one a week just to check in and get a little perspective on where I’m at and where I’m going. Here’s a simple layout that takes just a little time to do but touches most of the important bases.
1 – Current conditions
2 – What needs to be done
3 – Factors working against the questioner
4 – The probable outcome
Now here’s an actual reading using this layout. This was done for a woman who was in her fifties, professed to be deeply religious, but was not a very happy camper.
1 – Current conditions – Ace of Cups Reversed
2 – What needs to be done – 7 of Wands Reversed
3 – Factors working against the questioner – Queen of Cups Reversed
4 – The probable outcome – 4 of Cups Reversed
Now, if you read my previous post – A Few Tips Before You Start Reading Tarot Cards – you’ll recognize a couple of factors immediately. First, all of the cards are reversed. This means that the questioner is in a very subjective state of mind and is probably not dealing realistically with what’s going on. Second, 3 out of 4 of the cards are cups, meaning that this reading is primarily about emotions.
If you’re using the definitions from my book, “Just the Tarot, by Dan Adair” (available on Amazon.com as an ebook for less than the cost of a can of beer – just saying) here’s what you find:
1 – Current conditions – Ace of Cups Reversed – It’s possible that the questioner thinks he or she is love but the other person views it as just a friendship. Another possibility is that there has been true love but it’s fading away.
2 – What needs to be done – 7 of Wands Reversed – There are just too many opponents or problems for the time being. Disengage from conflict and deal with what you can or you must.
3 – Factors working against the questioner – Queen of Cups Reversed – This may be a person who has a sour attitude toward love and affection. Perhaps a very materialistic person who prizes possessions over true affection.
4 – The probable outcome – 4 of Cups Reversed – The individual is letting go of old relationships and is starting over. Perhaps a new love interest or romance.
It doesn’t take long to conclude that this reading is about a romantic relationship and that something is rotten in a Scandinavian country. The Ace of Cups upright shows that love is blossoming but when it’s reversed it shows that love is dying. The Queen of Cups reversed in the position of opposing factors shows us that one of the people in the relationship – perhaps the questioner or perhaps her partner – has got a pretty bad attitude happening about love and romance. The 7 of Wands in the position of what needs to be done shows us that there are just too many problems in this relationship for it to have a good outcome. And the 4 of Cups reversed shows us that the questioner or her partner will probably come to that conclusion and just walk away and start over.
See how easy that was? You lay out the cards, you look for a pattern, and you put the story together. Now you try it . . .