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It is true that there is a bewildering number of complicated spreads are out there. However, if you're just beginning, it's best to keep things simple. This helps with the continuity of the reading. If you have to check your books for the meaning of each position and each card, it's difficult to form an overall picture of the reading.
It is best to use no more than four cards for each spread. You might also for example use the three-card past-present-future spread. This is very simple: the card on the left represents past issues, the middle the present, and the right issues that may impact your question in the future.
If you'd like to be a little more creative, try assigning your own position meanings. In a relationship question, for example, the left-hand card may represent you, the right-hand the other person, and the middle card the resolution or answer to your question.
When you're more experienced, add more cards to your basic spread. You can either create your own more complex spreads, or consult the Internet or books on the various ways to use spreads. www.facade.com is a good Web site to investigate spreads. You can select a spread from a drop-down menu, and see the focus of the spread, as well as the meaning of each position.
When you are a beginner, it is vitally important that you spend about 75% of your Tarot time on learning and planning. This process helps you to get to know your specific deck, and also to become familiar with the interpretation process. When you become more experienced and choose to purchase more decks, you will begin to find that every new deck becomes a new set of 'friends' to discover and get to know.
There are several ways in which you can learn the Tarot. Start by looking at the cards themselves. Consider each card and think about what the images mean to you. Don't be discouraged if nothing comes to you. This is a process that takes time, like a new relationship. If thoughts to come to you, make notes. It is a good idea to get a notebook specifically for this purpose. Take your time investigating the cards. Take days or weeks. Look at one or two cards per day. Or do them all at once! It doesn't matter - as long as you're happy and comfortable with the process.
Once you've looked at the cards and the images, you can read through the accompanying booklet. Most card decks have a booklet with explanations of each card, and also suggestions for readings and spreads. Compare this with your notes.
Finally, you can also look at sources such as books or the Internet to help you get to know your cards, the interpretation process, and how to read the Tarot. A good place to start is:
<a href="http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/">Aeclectic Tarot</a>
In the beginning the best querent is yourself. Learn all you can about your card deck and the various spreads you can use. Practice different questions and see if you can find insights from the cards before you check for their meanings. In this way, you learn to interact with the cards. A good starting point is the booklet included with most new decks. Usually these contain not only the card meanings, but also valuable suggestions for readings and spreads.
When you feel more confident and experienced with the meanings of the Tarot, you can begin to read for family and friends. It is important to realize that you don't have to read for others if you don't feel you want to or can. Some card readers use their decks only for themselves, and this is perfectly okay.
When you feel that you are sufficiently experienced, and you want to, you can begin to do readings for others. It may be a good idea to do this for free at first and then gradually increase your fee as you gain experience and confidence.
When you get your cards, remember that there is no obligation to read only for yourself, for family, or for others. The only requirement is that you should be happy and comfortable with your decision.