In understanding the meaning of tarot cards, it is important to recognize that the cards, particularly the Major Arcana, have different meanings depending on where the card appears, other cards in the reading, and even whether the card is upright, or upside down. Understanding the meaning of tarot cards is essential to getting an accurate reading. In most cases, a failed reading is due to misinterpreting the spread, and it is the responsibility of anyone attempting such a divination to know the art well. Understanding the meaning of tarot cards may seem daunting, but with a little practice, anyone can read a layout in only a short time.
One of the most important facets of understanding the meaning of tarot cards is to be conversant with how each trump relates to its position in the spread. The Fool, presented in the Past position of The Celtic Cross, is far different than if the same trump holds the position of Conflict. This holds true for every card of every suit. Indeed, understanding the meaning of tarot cards as they relate to each realm of the spread is crucial, and any responsible reader will take care to ensure complete accuracy.
What is the best method for understanding the meaning of tarot cards? Study is always the best answer, to this question. One must be familiar with the whole deck, with the spread they have chosen to use, and with interpreting the various realms of the reading itself. Cutting corners will almost always result in an unsuccessful divination, so take the time for understanding the meaning of tarot cards. Be familiar with the suits, and the various things which each suit represents. Be comfortable, when looking through the Major Arcana, with the underlying implications and nuances that are inherent in each one. Likewise, the Minor Arcana's suits define subtle indications that one must carefully evaluate.
The Tarot is magical and mystical. Understanding the meaning of tarot cards is paramount if one desires to unleash these powers for themselves, or others. Look for opportunities to perform a reading for friends and family. Practicing often is a sure way to hone the skills of divination, and attune oneself to the spiritual energies involved. There really isn't a substitute for study or practice. Whether its for understanding the meaning of the Tarot, or any other endeavor, practice is the key to perfection.
Personally, I would recommend using this guide when first starting out with tarot cards. It has a lot of good information on how to learn tarot cards at home.