10 things to do when you don’t know what a card means in a reading.

So this list is designed for two uses:

1. It will help folks who are just starting to read tarot in solidifying their understanding of the cards and
2. It will give them a tool to use when the meaning of the card slips out of mind.

Even with 23 years of reading under my belt I sometimes hit a card in a spread and am unclear about what it means for the reading. When this happens I find myself asking what is its message or its relationship to the rest of the reading.

I use the following techniques to help me ferret out the meaning of the card or its significance in the spread. Keep in mind this is a tool to tap intuitively into what is going on. It can be very helpful, but knowing what the cards mean traditionally is still important.

1. If there is a person in the card where are they looking? If they look backwards think about the past, if they look at another card in the spread think about the relationship between the cards. If they are looking up think spiritually, if they look down think materially.
2. Look at the colours and see if other cards in the spread have the same colours. Think about what the relationship between those cards or positions that are linked by colour.
3. Talk about a related idea to the number on the card. Using numerology, Qabalah, or Astrology to gateway into the card.
4. Ask the person getting the reading how they feel about the card.
5. What is going on in the background of the card? Sometimes it’s the couple in the background, or the dog, or the flower, that is more important than the image in the foreground.
6. Talk about the energy of the card.
Does it move? Is it static? Blocked?
7. Tell a story from your life that this card triggers.
8. Is this card a progression or regression from another card in the spread? If the 5 of wands falls after the 4 go back and talk about the other card again and think about the pattern.
9. Look at the client and ask about how they are doing with the reading? Are they nervous, skeptical, relaxed? etc
10. Flip the next card in the spread and come back to the confusing one later.

Just keep relaxed and it’ll come to you.

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1 comment on “10 things to do when you don’t know what a card means in a reading.”

  1. Pingback: That Monkey is always distorting my truth! | The Hermit's Lamp

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