Must Have Items for a Beginner's Divining / Tarot Space


Must have items? At least one Tarot deck, and any flat surface that can be comfortably used to spread the cards. Everything else is extra.

lol just what I was going to write.

I like the kitchen table, as it's usually clear. Trying to read on a crowded space is never a good idea.

Also, I like to have my phone or tablet handy to take a snapshot of a reading, in case I have to pack up the cards but want to reflect on the reading.


Must have items? At least one Tarot deck, and any flat surface that can be comfortably used to spread the cards. Everything else is extra.
Yes indeed. That's all I have. And my space is sometimes my knees. Or the floor. Or the couch next to me. The only ESSENTIAL is the cards. People do seem to get hung up about STUFF. :D


I'll offer my recent professional reading experience. The shop environment where I read is a small room that is slightly too dark (unless we put on the garish overhead fluorescent "cafeteria lighting"). The table is square and not really big enough for anything other than a small table lamp and nothing larger than a Celtic Cross spread. I barely have space for my small digital session timer, and any reading props (candles, crystals and everything else I consider part of the "theater of tarot") can't be used. Since I like to have sitters view the spread from approximately the same angle I do (that is, from the same side of the table), I would actually prefer a round or oval table that is large enough for all of these purposes. I joke about "reading around the kitchen table," but it has its merits. So, in summary, adequate but not intrusive lighting and a large enough surface for anything you want to do would be my basic requirements.


I use my floor, actually. It's a light and neutral colour, there's plenty of space, and the lighting is good. I just have to make sure that it doesn't reflect on the cards when I take a picture for my client(s).

Pretty much all you need is a deck of cards. Some people like tablecloths, others like incense and candles as noted, others like crystals and tchotchkes in their space. YMMV. The only real requirements for space is you need enough room to spread out the cards and it should be free of cutter for obvious reasons.

However you want to set it up is up to you.


[This thread was inspired by the "what's on your table" thread.]

Hi all!

If you didn't read it, I'm returning to the scene after being away for years and I'm super excited to be back! Right now I only have one deck (Radiant Rider-Waite Smith) but two more are coming in the mail by Amazon soon (Whimsical and Gay).

My tarot space is just my kitchen table right now, but I'm going to buy myself a nice table to do my readings on. So basically I have a blank space to start building from. So starting with the table...

What type of table should a beginner buy? How big? What type of wood? What color? What do you all recommend?


What decorations are must-haves for you for a Beginner's Divining Tarot table? What are no-no's?

I look forward to hearing what you all have to say! Thanks for being so welcoming back and thanks in advance for your advice.


Hi Pargatho,

I think you already have everything you need, that is : a tarot deck, and space on your kitchen table. The rest is not necessary, but I agree that it can be fun to have adds-on !

I have listed here all that I like to use, by order of most important to less important. Bearing in mind that none of it is compulsory exept number one.

1 - a flat surface

Only three weeks ago did I aquire a small low table that has become my reading space. But that might not last : we got that table second hand from a friend who was getting rid of his late parents furniture ; my husband wanted this table to be for family use, and he has a point, so I might have to surrender the table soon :(
But, apart from that, I do my readings everywhere : mostly on my bed, but also on the sofa, on the kitchen table.... even on the floor, anywhere can do.

For a professional reader, though, I guess it would be cool to have a specific place dedicated to this activity. Maybe near the computer, if you plan to do online readings ? Or, if face to face readings are more your type, in a calm space, with comfortable sitting accomodation ? It's up to you to decide. Mind the comfort for yourself if you are going to spend a significant amount of time : heigh of the table for the comfort of your back, lighting for the comfort of your eyes.....

2 - a reading cloth.

When I read on my bed or directly on the sofa (which is where a lot of my readings take place) I do not need a reading cloth, but anywhere else I will use a cloth, for protecting the cards.

I come from a place where we have always played with cards, and especially the tarot as a game, and believe me, I have seen my share of battered, dirty, beer stained, sticky to the point of being disgusting, playing card decks. When playing cards, I am known amongst this crowd as the "picky" one who is always annoying everybody by insisting that everybody washes their hands before touching the cards, and that we use some sort of cloth to spread on the table, and that, please do not put your wet drink where the cards lay, please keep your cigarette from droping its ash on the cards, please wipe your fingers between eating greasy chips and holding the cards...

I have not been able to "save" most of those playing cards decks, but for my tarot collection that is another story, and I have turned into a control freak. My tarot decks are kept pristine, they are ! And I do not like people to mess with them, or even touch them too much.
So, that is why, when tarot is concerned, clean hands and a reading cloth are required for me.
The reading cloth doesn't have to be fancy, I have many times used a clean tea-towel for that purpose, but I admit that having a special purpose cloth, hand made, is a treat. I have hand made several reading cloth, and I came to the conclusions that the best are monochrome and a sufficient size for at least a celtic cross. A monochrome cloth will make the cards pop out more, and will look better if you photograph your spread.
Also, I prefer cotton, because it is cheap and easy to come by, easy to sew, easy to wash, and its absorbant qualities makes it the best material to protect the cards from humidity or anything dirty.

---------We are now entering the realm of things that I like to use, but that I do not use all the time (only when I have time, space, everything at my disposal.... so that is not all the time !) Most of the times, it is just me and the deck and nothing else--------

3 - hand cleaning spray

For the same reasons as above.
I do not really like people to touch my cards too much, but I also think it is a good thing (most of the times) if the sitter shuffle themselves, to have an active part in the process.
If I can I will just ask people to wash their hands before shuffling, as I mostly read for my friends it is usually not a problem. But, in the event where asking someone to wash their hands is tricky, I have found the solution :
I spray my own hands with my homemade hand cleaning spray, and I offer the sitter to do the same. If needed, that can be presented as a cleansing service ; for me the first purpose is cleaning more than cleansing, but if it cleanse also, all the better.

I mostly use a mix of Cologne and Florida water with crystal chips, sometimes just Cologne and a few drops of EO, but there are hundreds of solutions and recipes. A plain vial of hand sanitizer might not look very esoteric, but it will do the work all the same.

4 - something to record the reading (optionnal !)

Writing material or smartphone or epad

I seldom record readings.
I am always telling myself that I will journal more, starting tomorow... but.... journaling is sometimes a pain, and I do not want to refrain from reading just because I will have to journal afterwards.
I am always given the advice to " do journal ! record ! write !" but really, it sounds like homework to me. I work in a field where I write all the time (essays, reports, plans of actions..) so when I come home I dont feel like writing anymore.
But, I also admit that there is some virtue in journaling and recording readings, so I use a notebook and a pen, and either journal my head off, or just draw the cards and their position, with the question of the reading, for future reference. At the very least, if nothing else I try to take a picture of the spread.

5 - decoration (optionnal !)

This is where anything you like will work for you. You do you !
And reallly, there aren't any "no-nos". Anything you like will be good, anything you do not like will have to go.

Personnaly I like to have some sort of protective object, that is very personal, and it is not always the same, it changes depending on circumstances.

When I can, when I have engouh time and space, I also like to have a representation of the four elements ; usually I have crystals for earth, lit candle for fire, incense for air, and either a shell or a small clay mermaid for water.
For someone else, it could as well be herbs, a wand, a feather, and a cup of water, or nothing at all ! Possibilities are endless.

I hope you have fun setting up your reading space ! Good luck, and please come back to tell us what you did ?

page of ghosts

I mostly read for myself so it usually ends up happening in my bed, by my (mostly a little messy) desk or by the couch and my living room table. It works fine for me. Wish I was a little better at setting the mood but in the past it's mostly just made me nervous about the whole thing, thus this more casual approach is what I like the best. So what I have is cards, some books and a flat surface. I'd love to have a reading cloth some time in the future though.


Like everyone else said, all you really need is a flat surface, some space, good light, and some cards.

However, if you're doing online readings and take pictures of your spreads for your clients, having something visually pleasing to put the cards on is handy, as are a few decorative whatevers to accessorize your picture. Stones and crystals are the most common there by far, and also not terribly expensive and easily accessible. Maybe a few amethyst for the Whimsical, citrine, quartz, and the black stone/crystal of your choice for the rest? Any pretty little things, if you want to 'brand' yourself in that way. But that's all icing, honestly.


Apart a deck of cards, the only thing you really need is a reading cloth, in order to don't damage your cards.
Sometimes there are colored reading cloths, so it can be a decoration in some ways.

I think you don't need much, strictly.
After, you can add everything that inspire you of course! :)


Just make sure you measure the height of the spread with the most rows. People sometimes forget how much longer most Tarot cards are than ordinary playing cards, and that most desks are wider than deep. You might have to put a table endwise if your spread is too large.

Good advice about a good background surface for the cards. If you use a cloth, if it's long enough you can wrap the ends over the spread if you want to keep it undisturbed for a length of time. (Or you could put a separate cloth over it.)

And of course, good lighting, enough to see details by but not enough to give you a glare headache.