How to Prepare for a Tarot Reading: Your Self, Your Tarot Cards, and Your Space

If you’ve just started doing tarot card readings, you may be wondering how to set the stage for your client to get the most out of the experience. You may be feeling a little nervous, too! The good news is that setting up is easy, and once you get into the reading itself it’s all about intuition anyway.

There are so many little tips and secrets out there in the tarot world. All of them trying to get you to believe that if you do it this way or you do it that way, your readings will be more accurate. Some will tell you to meditate before a reading, some will tell you to use specific incense and candles, but I’m going to tell you the best tip of all: Don’t overthink things!

Truly, there are no rules in this game. There is no one way that is best for everyone. Tarot is a tool used to help us tap into our own intuition. It is meant to help us hear our own inner voice speaking to us. You don’t need any candles or incense (unless those things make you feel good), and you don’t need to knock three times on a table before a reading.

That being said, I have a few tips that I like to follow when I get ready for a reading. They may not work for everyone, but they always seem to work for me!

How do you get ready to read Tarot cards?

The tarot card reading is a divination technique that has been used for centuries to gain insights into the past, present, and future. This ancient and mysterious method of fortune-telling is not only a way to predict and foretell the future, but it is also a powerful tool for self-discovery.

Preparing Yourself for a Tarot Reading

When you decide to have a tarot reading, the first thing you need to do is get yourself in the proper frame of mind. The best way to do this is by clearing your mind and relaxing. Meditation, yoga, or even a quiet walk in nature can help you clear your thoughts and prepare yourself mentally for what you are about to do.


Before you begin a tarot card reading, be sure you are in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed, encourage any others present to keep silent. Consider dimming the lights as well. This means you shouldn’t be watching TV in the background, surfing the internet, or listening to music. Also, switch your phone off. It’s important to let go of conscious control over your thoughts so that you can tap into the universal energy and really get in touch with yourself. Try to switch off for at least 20 minutes.

Keep an Open Mind

You want to be open and ready for whatever comes up during this process. Have an attitude of being willing to hear what the cards say because they will guide you down a path of clarity and understanding when seeking answers. Also, this can help create an atmosphere that is conducive to deep introspection, and it helps you get in the right mindset to begin your reading. It’s best to let go of conscious control over your thoughts and feelings, so this time should be about reflecting on your emotional state.


Take a few minutes and get comfortable. Make sure to be in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.

When you are ready, think back to a time when you felt at one with yourself, your surroundings, and the universe. Think of your current situation or future desire and remember that thoughts become things; focus on what you want to achieve or gain in your future. Once in this meditative state, feel the energy around you. Try filling yourself with it so that it radiates out of you and into the surrounding environment.

Preparing Your Space for a Tarot Reading

Once you feel ready, you can start preparing your space. Typically, a quiet room with soft lighting is good for an in-depth tarot reading. Also, make sure there isn’t too much activity around you during the reading. It’s important that you feel that you have your own space while doing this, and sometimes other people can get in the way of that!

Prepare Your Tarot Cards

Get your cards ready If you have never done a reading before, or if it has been a while since your last reading, shuffle your deck well and take some time just looking at the images. Before you can do a reading, you need to prepare your tarot cards. This will differ depending on what deck you use. Some people shuffle the cards, others prefer to cut them, and yet others prefer to leave them as they are. Some decks have special preparation instructions in the booklet that comes with them.

How do you clear the Tarot deck of outside energy?

There are many different ways of clearing your Tarot cards for reading purposes, although most involve one or more techniques that can help clear out any unwanted energies that might be lingering inside the cards. This is an important step because you want to make sure that you’re sending out positive energy into your reading and not bringing in any negative energies that could interfere with your reading. Please note: you don’t have to do this EVERY time, but you should do it the first time, as well as anytime you’ve read for someone else and/or someone else has touched your cards.

  • Hold your Tarot deck face down in your hands.
  • Give the cards a “knock” by slapping them sharply on the table (or any other surface) three times.
  • Then, holding the deck face up in one hand, slide the top card off with your thumb or finger and place it to the side or on top of the deck face up. Now, give the cards another “knock.”
  • Repeat this until all of the cards have been removed from the deck.
  • Then you’re ready to shuffle for your reading.

How do you shuffle tarot cards? 

If you’re reading Tarot cards, it’s important to shuffle the deck thoroughly before you begin your reading to ensure each card has a chance of coming up. This practice is called “cutting the deck” or “shuffling the cards.” It helps ensure that the cards are in random order so that no one card is more likely to come up than another.

Shuffling the deck is an important part of the reading. But there is an art to doing it right. If you shuffle in a way that suits your purposes, you can get the most out of your reading, especially if this is your first time using a tarot deck.

Treat the cards with respect

The cards are meant to be handled gently and shuffled with care. You don’t want to damage them with fingernails or jewelry, so take off all rings and bracelets before you begin. Holding the cards lightly will also keep them from getting bent. The last thing you want is for the cards to be damaged when you’re trying to have a good time! Hold your breath It’s important not to breathe on or near the cards, because they may absorb moisture from your breath. This can cause them to warp or stick together. It’s best not to hold your breath while shuffling, either. If you do, it can make you lightheaded or dizzy when you breathe again, which is distracting during a reading.

Let go of expectations

It’s important to shuffle without expectations and preconceived ideas about how a particular card should fall at any given moment in the reading. Shuffling without expectations helps eliminate bias and ensures a reading that isn’t based on any personal bias – therefore, a more accurate reading.

What are the best ways to shuffle the Tarot?

The Tilt Shuffle

This is the easiest way for beginners to shuffle the tarot deck.

  • All you need to do is tilt the top half of your deck over to one side and then tilt it back so that it’s laying flat again.
  • Then take the bottom half of your deck and tilt it over to one side and let it fall so that it’s lying on top of the first half of your deck.
  • You can then repeat this process until all of the cards have been mixed up.

The best thing about this type of shuffle is that you can’t get your technique wrong because no matter what happens, the end result will be right!

The Riffle Shuffle

The most common way of shuffling Tarot cards is the riffle shuffle, a procedure that mixes up the deck well and leaves no telltale signs of the card order. If you are left-handed, you can do this shuffle with your left hand, but you must use it in conjunction with your right hand. Some people learn to do it as a one-sided shuffle.

  • First, look at your hands as if you were about to grab a tennis ball.
  • Now hold the deck with your right hand at the top (the end closest to you) and place it in your left palm, face down.
  • Next, take the bottom card of the deck with your right hand and place it on top of the deck in the center of your left palm.
  • Then take the next card from above and place it on top of the first card, slightly to the right of center.
  • Place another card on top of that one, slightly to its left.
  • Continue this process until you have added all seventy-eight cards to a stack in your left palm; don’t worry if some stick out over or under other cards.
  • Now take that entire stack and turn it over so that it is face up and resting on your left thumb and index finger; hold it steady.
  • Finally, continue shuffling until you’re ready to lay out the cards.

The Put ‘Em Down Shuffle

The “Put ‘Em Down” Tarot card shuffle can be ideal for beginners because it’s both simple and effective.

  • Place the Tarot cards face down in four piles: one for each suit.
  • Then go through each pile and cut it into three smaller piles.
  • Continue cutting until you can no longer cut without mixing up all of the cards in that pile.

This method gives you a well-shuffled deck without creating any new order within the deck. At this point, you can choose to continue cutting until the cards are even more mixed, or you can place them in a pile without cutting them further.

How do you ‘cut’ the Tarot deck?

There are many variations on how to properly cut the deck for Tarot readings, but here’s one simple method that works for most people:

  • First, place the deck face-down on a table or other flat surface.
  • Then, holding the cards at both ends, use one hand to slide them into the middle of the deck while using your other hand to slowly pull them out of the middle and off the top until you have cut off all of the cards in half.
  • Place your hands on either side of the deck again and repeat, continuing until you have completely separated all of the cards into two equal piles. Once they’re separated, count through each pile and make sure they’re both equal.
  • Now, stack the piles and begin your usual shuffling method.


In the end, it all comes down to what you are comfortable with and what speaks to you. If the above seems like it would be a good fit for your next tarot reading, be sure to give it a try. And if it doesn’t work for you, be open-minded about other options for your practice—there are plenty of tarot spreads out there, each with their own unique value as a practice tool or purview as a result.

More Resources for Learning to Read Tarot