How to Read Tarot Cards

So tarot has interested you, and you’ve acquired a tarot deck, so now what?

Step 1 – Start off with a clean, clear deck

You want to have a clean start every time you pull out your deck to consult with them. Beyond keeping your cards clean of dirt, you need to clear the deck of past readings and energies. Even if you just cringed at that last sentence because talking about energies makes you feel weird, then at lease consider that you want to make sure your mind is clear, and not distracted with other worries or concerns unrelated to the reason why you are consulting the cards.

Here are some things to try that will help you clear your deck and your mind:

  • Sort through the cards and put them in order. Group them by numerically by suit, and set the Major Arcana before the Minor Arcana. 
  • Shuffle your deck a few times without counting until you feel that it is well mixed.
  • A combination of the above, shuffling, sorting in order and shuffling again.

I like to shuffle the cards with the images upright when I’m not doing a reading. I feel like this helps trigger my subconscious mind to tell the difference between routine shuffling and shuffling in a divinatory reading.

Firmly decide why you decided to do a reading

Decide on your question, your spread, and what you want to know. The question is important because it forms your intent. The question will also influence the spread that is used.

  • The question can be for
    • self-exploration
      • Who am I?
      • How is fortune smiling on me
      • Where is the love in my life?
      • What can I learn from the past
    • considering situations
      • How can I best overcome the obstacle of…?
      • What do I need to understand about…?
      • What could I have forgotten about…?
    • Making decisions about life goals or choices
      • When is the best time to…?
      • What can I do to help…?
      • What is standing in the way of my…?
      • What is the next step I need to achieve…?
    • relationships with others
      • Am I ready for and/or capable of commitment?
      • Are our spiritual paths compatible?
      • How can I get closer to my sister/brother/mother/father etc.

Decide on what spread you will use. Spreads could vary in card count and layout and explore different things. You want to consider what the positions represent, and the insights they will provide. Here are some featured on my blog:

Advice Tarot Card Spread

Tarot Spread for Working on Goals with Tarot Cards

 

 

 

Celtic Cross Meaning and Positions

 

 

Step 2: Find a way to Relax!

  • We all have subconscious and conscious voices within us. The conscious mind, the analytical voice of reason, is always the loudest and if often overpowers our subconscious voice. The tarot cards are going to act as a guide for your conscious voice to focus on and process your subconscious messages. Do allow your conscious voice to step aside to allow for your subconscious voice to be heard, you need to relax. The goal is to quiet your mind and be relaxed so that you have access to your intuition.
  • What do you usually do to relax? Here are some ideas to help you.
    • download a guided meditation app, or a guided meditation from audible. Podcast iTunes or Google Play?
    • play relaxing/meditative music
    • soften the lighting by lighting candles unscented or scented candles
    • light incense
    • I will light a candle that I have prepared with cleansing and protecting herbs and oils;
    • I will light incense;
    • practice gratitude exercises
  • Once you have found a method or combination of methods you enjoy, commit to doing this every time you decide to a reading. This will be your own personal ritual, and it will help enhance your connection with your intuition even more. As you repeat the ritual, your mind and body will recognize that now is the time for your intuition to speak, and it will become easier and easier to strengthen that connection.

Step 3: Asking your questions:

Hold your deck in your least dominant hand. Ask the question you decided to ask silently in your mind or out loud. Shuffle the cards again now that you are relaxed

 

Step 4: Cut the deck with your least dominant hand

If you are right handed: cut the deck in half with your left hand and place it down to the left of the other cards forming two piles of cards. Choose the card that on the top of the right pile and turn it over. Follow the same directions with the right hand if you are left-handed.

 

Step 5: The reading

  • Lay the cards out according to the order and physical placement dictated by the spread you choose.
  • Look at the cards as you flip them over, and consider your first impressions. What is your first thought, physical feeling or reaction when you place the cards?
    • Are you experiencing memories?
    • is your stomach tight, or are your toes tingly?
  • Speak out loud. let the names of the cards and any words flow out of you.
  • Analyze the Action: What is going on in the tarot card images.
    • Try to pick out similarities. Are they mostly calm images, or dramatic images.
    • what direction are the cards looking in? What can you conclude from this?
  • What color is dominant in the cards? Is there a mix or color, the absence of color or mostly one color? What do these colors mean to you and how do they make you feel?
  • what are the characters and animals doing? Who or what do they represent to you.
  • Symbols: What symbols are presented and which are repeated. What do they mean to you?
  • Review any written materials you have including books, online websites, and booklets with tarot card meanings

 

Conclusions

  • Go back to your question and use what you deducted from the cards. Form a sentence to concisely answer the question
  • Next steps
    • Record your conclusions in your tarot journal
    • Review your journal to try to see if you can draw any connections to readings you’ve done in the past.
    • Consult with other readers, and see if they can offer any additional insight.

A Tarot Spread to Consult with the Empress and the Emperor

 

Suppose you sat down at a table, with a great cup of coffee or a delicate tea, and the Empress was seated on your left-hand side, and the Emperor on your right-hand side. What do they have to tell you? What insights do they have to share with you? What do they know, that you don’t?

 

Tarot Spread the Empress and the Emperor

 

The Empress and the Emperor represent different complementarity and opposite guiding forces in our lives. These archetypes work together by pulling and pushing against each other to achieve balance.

 

In this divinatory spread, we are consulting with two incredibly powerful archetypes privately, honestly, and unreservedly. 

 

Meet The Empress and The Emperor

The Empress is the embodiment of the nurturing powers and energies of the sacred feminine power. This energy she offers is raw but offers the unlimited fertile opportunity for others to grow and develop.

The Empress Tarot Card Meaning

The Emperor is the other side of her coin. He is the embodiment of what is sacred of masculine power that creates stability through order and authority. Where the Empress is artistic and aesthetically inspiring, the Emperor is regimented and governs through rigid rules.

 

The Emperor Tarot Card Meaning

Where the Empress allows for natural growth and creative energy, the Emperor will identify the strength in individual components, separate them, and build them into something new. The Empress gives and feeds, and the Emperor is ambitious, rational and firm.

 

Benefit from the feminine and masculine energies influencing your life

This reading is designed to help tap into the feminine and masculine energies to gain insight into our lives. We are whole when both are balanced, and if we make ourselves aware of where is one dominating we can then focus our intentions to improve our situations.  

 

How to get the most out of this reading

I prefer to go into this reading without having a specific issue I want to focus on. Instead of using this for guidance through a particular problem or issue, I prefer to let the Empress and the Emperor speak to me. This will let them show me what area or aspect of my life needs more balanced consideration and approach.  

 

Find the Empress and the Emperor cards

Pull the Empress and the Emperor cards from the deck.

 

Before we begin we want to internalize and make sure our understanding of the meanings and nuances of these cards are at the forefront of our minds.

 

Look at the Empress and consider your recent efforts that have used or benefited from your nurturing qualities? If you prefer, consider instead (and try to list) what exactly are you current nurturing qualities. Are you working on any creative projects, and what is currently inspiring you?

 

Next, move on to the Emperor, and articulate your ambitions. What do you want? Where do you see yourself in love, life and work in the next 3 years? What about  5 years from now? Do we dare to think about 10 years from now? Where in your life do you benefit from being orderly, and are you the creator of this order and rules?  What is your source of discipline and how did you develop that.  

It is best if you take some time to meditate on this, ruminate on it. You want to articulate the opposite forces between these two archetypes, and how they are reflected in your personality, your actions and the people around you. Set the Empress and Emperor down where you intend to lay your cards down for the reading. 

 

The reading

Find a place for the Empress card and the Emperor on the surface you intend to lay your cards down for the reading. Imagine that they are seated at the table with you, and are looking over your shoulder – the Empress on the left-hand side, and the Emperor on the right. Shuffle the rest of the cards according to your personal ritual and prepare for the reading. 

 

  1. Card one represents the Seeker presently

Use this card to identify your role in the situation that needs to be addressed. Remember that this reading will guide you to what situation needs to be addressed.

  • A Major Arcana card is going to indicate a theme of your life
  • A Minor arcana card is going to indicate a specific situation, so the suits will be super helpful here in helping you narrow down what area of your life this spread is addressing.
    • Wands will speak to your motivations, passions and you present and future actions.
    • Cups will point to your relationships with other people.
    • Swords will give some insight into your mental state of being, and
    • Pentacles will focus your attention on your wealth and material possessions.
  • The Court Cards are going to point to a part of your personality is coming through and taking front and center stage.

 

Card Position Meanings

1. Card one represents the Seeker presently

Use this card to identify your role in the situation that needs to be addressed. Remember we are consulting, so we want them to tell us what to focus on and what needs our attention.

This card will give you an objective view of your role in this situation. Are you in control of what’s going on, or are you being victimized? Are you positioned confidently and without reserve, or are you withdrawing inwards? What are you primarily concerned with, or what part of your life are are you principally concerned with?

 

2. Issues situations at hand

This card will highlight what is happening and will describe what is happening to you at this time. Are you facing obstacles? Is there a decision to be made? Is this a time of action, or reflection?

Don’t forget:

  • A Major Arcana card is going to indicate a theme of your life
  • A Minor arcana card is going to indicate a specific situation, so the suits will be super helpful here in helping you narrow down what area of your life this spread is addressing.
    • Wands will speak to your motivations, passions and you present and future actions.
    • Cups will point to your relationships with other people.
    • Swords will give some insight into your mental state of being, and
    • Pentacles will focus your attention on your wealth and material possessions.
  • The Court Cards are going to point to a part of your personality is coming through and taking front and center stage.

Being able to express this card in a relatable way is the first step to a successful reading with this spread. You need to know what you are talking about before you start to look at what’s being said about it!

Those familiar with the Celtic Cross Tarot Spread will be able to handle these cards with ease. Once you have an objective, bird’s eye view of the situation, and how you fit into it or how it is affecting you, then you can move on.

 

3. Challenges and obstacles

These are problems that must be resolved or issues or situations that cannot be ignored and need to be addressed.

When studying this card, it’s important to come to the negative end of the spectrum of the card to properly articulate what the challenge or issue is. This does not mean to automatically take the reversed meaning of the card, as some cards are positive in meaning when they are reversed. You want to consider the meanings of cards that initially have a very positive interpretation, and explore its experience to find the negative.

Consider the Nine of Pentacles, an incredibly positive card that illustrates enjoyment of solitary leisure, and good results from efforts. In this position, this card would not indicate an obstacle or a block preventing you from enjoying in these luxuries. Rather, it would indicate most likely not knowing how or when to enjoy in the fun, or not fully enjoying what is in front of you.

4. Helpful influences and resources

These are outside influences that you can turn to help you overcome your challenge or issue described in card #3.

In this case, court cards would point to a specific person, so use the characteristics of the court card to find who in your life is the Queen of Swords, and the Knight of Cups, etc, etc.

 

5. The inner or unorthodox path: What the Empress has to say.  

This is the Empress’ contribution to the conversation.  

  • What needs to be created, healed or nurtured?
  • What do you need to let control of?
  • Rather than destroying, can it be saved?
  • What of yourself can you give to see growth in others or the situation?

 

6. The outer conservative path: What the Emperor has to say.  

This is the Emperor’s contribution to the conversation.

  • Are emotions over-clouding the situation?
  • Is there need of an organized structure?
  • Are problems being considered logically?

 

The conversation

You need to weight the card against the speaker. This is where you are conversing with both polar opposites. If you pull the Page of Wands, this means that the Empress is telling you to consider your impulsiveness or frank and uninhibited speech. Whether you she is saying you should ramp it up or tone it down would be clarified by cards 1 and 2 in the spread. If you pull the Two of Cups instead, then she is telling you to compromise with what is opposing you, join forces and come together for a higher purpose.

Interpret the card from the Empress and then the card from the Emperor and then weight the messages in these cards against each other. You should go back and forth between these cards, as though it were a pro and con list. Allow the conversation to unfold in your mind.

Do the Empress and Emperor agree or are they in conflict over this situation? Do they compliment each other, or allow you to build on what they are saying? Do they come to a consensus or some sort of hint of a plan?

 

7. Advice or additional considerations.  

The last card serves to wrap up the conversation. This card will help you to decide which side to lean more to if the Emperor and the Empress are in disagreement. It might clarify what happens next or how a plan to move forward should be devised. After everything is said and done, what the effects of the issue will be wrapped up here.

 

 

Final Thoughts

I champion this spread because, as a person that tends to overanalyze life situations, this helps me to guide a conversation to conclusion privately, without involving others. This is particularly helpful if you don’t have anyone to turn to that knows all the aspects of the issue, or if secrets are involved.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below! I would love to hear how tea with the Empress and the Emperor went for you!

Tarot Spread for Difficult Conversations

My Wandering Fool Tarot Card Spread Tarot Card Meaning

Once I found this Tarot Spread for Difficult Conversations, it made itself an important part of the tools I use for personal readings. This tarot spread is for conversations you know you need to have with someone that you care about that may be difficult, unpleasant or painful. Most times, the anxiety that we experience leading up to these conversations is due to the fact that you simply don’t know how this conversation is going to go. You don’t know how the other person is going to react, maybe there is information you are something you don’t know, you just want to make sure that you are prepared for this conversation you’re going to have with them. This would also be helpful for preparing to break important news to someone or if you need to discuss a controversial topic, sensitive things, all around.

If you don’t know how the other person is going to react, maybe there is information you are something you don’t know, you just want to make sure that you are prepared for this conversation you’re going to have with them. This would also be helpful for preparing to break important news to someone or if you need to discuss a controversial topic, sensitive things, all around.

 

Tarot Spread Conversations

 

This spread will be useful because:

  • you don’t know how the other person is going to react.
  • there might be information you are missing or something you don’t know.
  • you just want to make sure that you are prepared for this conversation you’re going to have with them

This Tarot Spread for Difficult Conversations would also be helpful for preparing to break important news to someone or if you need to discuss a painful, controversial or sensitive topic. This spread is designed to provide you with

  • More insight into the situation
  • Information to inspire empathy and understanding for the other person.
  • And help you guide your actions throughout the whole experience.

 

 

Card 1: The first card drives the whole spread. It’s going to explain the immediate reaction of the person that is receiving the news, or it might make it clear to you what the dynamic of the conversation will be. This is going to be what happens at the time that you deliver the news or shortly after delivering the news. This will also 0ffer some insight as to what kind of friction or what kind of opposition way might be experienced during the conversation.
Card 2: The second card will explain the delayed reaction. So the first card moves into the second, and they work together. Once after the information has sunken in and has been processed this is the reaction of the other person that will happen as a secondary response. This might take some time to manifest, as you may not be with the person when it happens.

Card 3; The third card is the Outcome Card. What will be the result, and would be the gains or losses of revealing this information. This card might heavily way on your decision to go through with the conversation and why you feel it is so important.

  • What will you gain by revealing this information?
  • What will happen as a result of this information?
  • What’s going to happen to the situation in general?

1 and 2 deal with the individuals involved and the feelings involved, whereas the third card is really situational and eventful.

When considering the third card, it’s important to note what the card is:

  • if it’s a Major Arcana Card, it’s going to be a big, life, changing life theme that sets in as a result,
  • if it’s a Minor Arcana card then it would speak to  a specific situation, something that might happen, and then if it’s a court card, it would be an aspect of one’s personality or of the archetype that would emerge and come forward from the other person
  • and then if it’s a court card, it would be an aspect of the other person’s personality or a quality of the archetype that would emerge from the person receiving the news.

Card 4: The fourth card is placed on the outer reaches of the tarot spread. It’s not placed in the flow of the first three cards because this card may affect and manifest in different levels of intensity at different levels of the spread. This area represents difficulty that you can’t control. You have no control over these influences, and these difficulties could come

  • at the immediate reaction of the delivery of the news,
  • it might come when the delayed reaction is being experienced,
  • it might happen at both times, and it might be stronger at one, not the other,
  • if might also only occur as the outcome of the situation.

The fourth card is important to pay attention to. It is thematic and be repetitive throughout the time period of the spread.

Sample Reading: Tarot Spread for Difficult Conversations.

Empress reversed: Means that immediate reaction upon hearing the news that would be of vanity and indulgence.

This card is basically is rejecting the role of mother. You would want to look at all negative things that would come with rejecting of positive, receptive growing nature. There might be a sort of fickleness, there would be a withdrawing. The person that is receiving this news, will not be open and will not react well to the news you are sharing with them. They might be frustrated, they are going to be very self-focused on themselves and how it is affecting them. You might feel that they are very closed off, you might feel that they are not open to you.

The second card I have pulled is the Six of Rods – delayed reaction and what happens after the information sinks in. Once the information sinks in, there is improvement, and things, in general, are a little bit better. You have self-confidence, advancement towards goal, self-pride, there is movement there is ownership, there is a sense of things getting done, and that whatever expectations that you have are being filled, even though people responded negatively when they received the news, that’s going to move into different attitude and a different energy in terms of leadership and responsibility. There would be a sort of resolution through action, there would be a sort of confidence, there would be a sort of leadership from the person that is receiving the news.

Card #3: Ten of Rods reversed. The end result is that even though there is a sense of leadership that sets in, there is going to to be difficulty in terms of the execution of responsibilities involved. Even though if you see whatever movement whatever manifestation you saw that you seem proud of, the end result of revealing this information is that it’s going to get messy. The responsibility that was picked up with the six of rods is going to be dropped. There is going to be a sense of avoidance or a sense of wanting to ignore what’s going on, and there might be some cleaning up involved. There might some delegation in terms of sending the work off to someone else. The progress that you made with the six of Rods might not pay off as per the ten of Rods. So as you can see, the difficult conversation that you had, probably didn’t achieve the result that you had wanted. Because there are two rods in this spread, we are dealing with something work related, motivation related, business related, and it just didn’t work. The fourth card is going to give more insight on that.

Ace of Swords reversed. This will explain to us challenges that might be experienced at each level represented in the tarot spread. It means an inability to think logically and suggests delays in beginning or accomplishing goals or tasks. It might indicate a pessimistic or really negative attitude or a lack of confidence or a block on anything that is mental, so let’s say writing or being able to

  • a pessimistic or really negative attitude
  • a lack of confidence
  • a block on anything that is the product of our mental capacities, so let’s say, writing or being able to retrieve things from memory.

In considering this card, you really want to look at superficial, surface problems that you need to confront. This could be anything research oriented, legal or written. This card indicates to me that the person taking on the leadership in the Six of Rods, even though it fails with the Ten of Rods, it may not be their fault. So even though they were closed in the beginning as indicated by the Empress, they really came through overcame it and will be successful in achieving and adopting the information being given to them, and the reason for it is because of failure and logical issues.

Tarot Spread for Working on Goals

Goal setting and sticking to those goals can be difficult, and sometimes we need a little extra help staying on track. Tarot work is an excellent tool for planning, and this Tarot Spread for Working on Goals is designed to hone in on this. It helps us to focus on what needs our immediate attention. It can also illuminate certain things we may have been neglecting…and shouldn’t.

This tarot spread is designed to help you look at a particular goal, and help you refocus your energy to help you manifest what you what to happen. This spread is flexible enough that you can zone in on a particular goal you want to manifest in your life or you can ask the cards to draw your attention to goals that need extra attention due to unforeseen obstacles.
Tarot Spread for working on Goals

Continue reading Tarot Spread for Working on Goals

What is the Fool’s Journey?

My Wandering Fool Tarot Card Spread Tarot Card Meaning

A common phrase among readers, the Fool’s Journey refers to the concept that the Major Arcana depicts and explains our individual journey to of self-development as a narrative through different stages of growth towards self-actualization. It is used as an exercise to better understand how the cards work together, as you move through each card in numerical order. You can look at it as a general life path, or use it to examine a certain area/period of your life. For example, you decide to look back on your career as you desire change and don’t know where to turn. Start with: Continue reading What is the Fool’s Journey?

Advice Tarot Spread: “I Need Advice!”

My Wandering Fool Tarot Card Spread Tarot Card Meaning

This is an excellent tarot card spread that I’ve had for a while, and use regularly in readings for other people. I rely on it so much because if the empowerment that it gives to the seeker. This advice card spread only has 5 cards but it’s not short and can be built up to be quite complex.

Continue reading Advice Tarot Spread: “I Need Advice!”

Can a Tarot Reading Predict My Future?

Understanding what can and cannot be done with tarot and tarot work is integral to using it as a tool to accomplish desires and goals. Using Tarot cards is most effective when the reader has a firm understanding of their own belief system, and confidence in their ability to direct their own lives.

Continue reading Can a Tarot Reading Predict My Future?

Using Tarot to Improve Your Love Life.

Inquiries about love and relationships remain the most popular among those seeking help with tarot. The following post is tarot work for your to explore and bring clarity to your love life.

Understanding how the tarot can help you is the first step to making the right choices and work on improvements your love life. Pull out your Tarot Journal, and let’s get to work.

Continue reading Using Tarot to Improve Your Love Life.

How a Tarot Journal Can Bring You Closer to Your Tarot Deck

My Wandering Fool Tarot Card Spread Tarot Card Meaning

As counter-intuitive as it may sound, connecting and building a relationship with the tarot is not solely achieved by physically interacting with the cards, even if on a regular basis. A tarot deck (as much as it hurts to admit) is only a set of images on card stock.

Continue reading How a Tarot Journal Can Bring You Closer to Your Tarot Deck