Overview & Information

A tarot reading is a conversation about you

Today’s world is filled with chatter. People interrupting, interjecting their opinions on top of yours before you’ve even reached your second comma, opinions, judgments, polls, Facebook comments, and a whole lot of assumptions. A person can get lost in the noise of it all!

The power of a tarot reading is that, for a brief span of time, all energies are focused on you. And not in an “Oh, you look great!” or “How’s the family?” or “Did you get that promotion?” way but in a deeper way. It can reveal why you look great, the role you hold in your family and if it is fulfilling you, or the reason why you really may not want that promotion! A reading taps into the themes you are navigating, bringing them to the fore of your mind so you can hammer out what is really going on and how you want to proceed based on that insight.

So what exactly happens during a reading?

In a nutshell

First: I will ask you what you wish to explore. This guides me to select the spread that will reveal the most insight around your issue. I have designed a number of custom spreads over the past few decades. Each position in a spread is assigned a specific meaning (for example: Current state of my job) and the card placed there reveals the theme or issue that’s at work. How general or how specific you wish to be regarding what the reading is about is a completely personal choice!

Within each spread, meaning is conveyed by each card’s position.

Some card position examples:

  •  My current state
  • The current state of another person
  • The current state of a situation
  • The true reason for my current state
  • What is my biggest obstacle in this situation?
  • What is my greatest strength in this situation?
  • What is my best course of action? (Full disclosure: This is my favorite position. I am a To-Do List maker. I want to know what to do!!!)
  • What do I need to see? What is my blind spot?
  • Outcome
  • Outcome if I follow a specific course of action
  • Key Factor. This is an expression of the larger themes at work. Serves as a title to this particular chapter in your life.

Second: Once a spread is selected or designed you will shuffle the cards.

Third: I lay out the spread facing me and will proceed with the reading.

During your reading, you can merely listen or choose to dialogue. Each client has different needs and comfort level and I have no expectation of what the nature of each reading will take (More on this below)

  • Simpler questions usually require a spread of three-to-five cards. This reading will take about 15 minutes.
  • Larger explorations can employ from nine-to-fifteen cards. These can take from twenty-to-fifty minutes.
  • Occasionally, a reading will prompt a desire for more specifics on one topic. Then an additional, smaller spread can be done, targeting that one issue.

In my experience, a reading is most effective when it acts as a launch for dialogue. Like I said, it is conversation about you. Granted, some people prefer for me to just read the cards in front of me, no input from them, and that’s fine too. But the deepest epiphanies seem to happen when my client (you!) and I explore each image in detail.

Tarot Deck

Tarot is a 78 card deck consisting of 22 Major Arcana cards, 16 Court cards, and 40 Minor Arcana cards. Just as in a traditional deck of playing cards, there are four suits in a tarot deck. Instead of diamonds, heart, spades and clubs, the tarot suits are swords, cups, pentacles (or coins/discs), and wands (or rods).

Before we dig into more specifics, I want to emphasize a very, VERY important aspect to remember when working with the tarot: Every tarot image is a metaphor. Okay? I’m going to say it again, because this is really, REALLY important to remember…..

Every tarot image is a metaphor

It is unwise to look at a tarot card and take it literally. A tarot deck is a storybook, each card a page with a visual depiction of one aspect or characteristic of possible human experience. It is your story today, and a spread opens the book to the possible pages you may CHOOSE to turn to. It does not reveal what WILL happen.

While there are some powerful images (usually interpreted incorrectly in horror movies), I have found that the majority of the situations depicted are quite human. For example, there is Take a Nap card.

Yes. There is a tarot card which tells you to crawl into bed, pull the covers over your head, and check out for a while. There is also a Do Nothing card. A Sit on the Patio and Look at the Sky card. A Party with Friends card. A Get Off Your Fanny and Get Down to Business card.

The classic example of taking tarot literally and not metaphorically is when a person gets the Death Card…and then freaks out. The Death Card does not represent your actual death. It is a metaphor for something in your life which is ending or needs to end. Still don’t believe me? Okay….let’s take a look at the scary thing.

A close examination of the Death Card will show:

A skeleton on a large, strong horse, poised to take the next step. The skeleton holds a black flag emblazoned with a white rose. My take on this? It’s time for a change. No shades of gray, it’s in black and white. It’s time to fly your “I’m done and I’m moving on to something better” flag. No more putting it off. You have peeled away all artifice to get to the bone of the thing. You have dug down, found your truth, and now it is time to change. Move on. On the ground at the horse’s and rider’s feet are:

  • A dead king = Death of an old way of life, tradition, or other thing ruling you.
  • A young child offering up a gift= Rebirth being offered. To see what it will look like, well, you’ll have to open the gift!
  • A sleeping young person= The subconscious close to waking
  • A pope/teacher reaching out to the skeleton= A new way to life, a new tradition to embrace
  • In the distance is a beautiful sunrise= REBIRTH! The city in the distance is in shadow. Because to make room for the unknown new, first you must eliminate the old.

I also employ the concept of a garden when exploring the Death Card in a reading. After one year’s harvest and before the next, a gardener must remove the weeds, the dead plants to prepare the soil for the next harvest. Without this editing, nothing new can grow.

See? Not so scary once you dig in and explore a bit….

Major Arcana Cards: These cards represent the broadest and most complex universal themes such as The Child, The Mother, The Father, The World, The Lovers, The Teacher, etc. When these appear in a reading, the recipient is navigating an especially auspicious time in their life.(There is no parallel of Major Arcana cards in in a traditional deck of playing cards)

Court Cards: Just as a deck of playing cards has kings, queens and jacks, tarot also has royalty cards. The tarot Court cards consist of four kings, four queens, four knights and four pages (sometimes referred to as the student), one of each suit for a total of sixteen. Kings and queens represent mastery, knights represent action taken towards mastery, pages represent someone beginning, learning, a student.

Minor Arcana Cards: Numbered ace through ten, one of each suit, for a total of forty. Minor Arcana cards are pragmatic, encompassing a mini-story in each of the forty images. The Minor Arcana is where all the living gets done! Dealing with the dry cleaning. Walking your dog. Getting to work. Calling a friend. Housework, schoolwork, career and family. How you walk the walk of your everyday life.

The Suits

  • Wands (or rods): Communication. Passion, both professional and personal. Growth. Excitement. Fire
  • Cups: Emotion. Love. Insight. Friendship. Compassion. Water
  • Swords: Intellect. Clarity. Cutting through. Analysis. Air
  • Pentacles *(or discs): Things you can touch, your home, car, money, clothes, food, the physical world. Earth

*In some religious traditions, pentacles have come to represent something negative. There is a long, complex history surrounding the evolution of how to this interpretation came to be. My belief (in a very tiny nutshell) is this framing of pentacles had its motivations in political forces at work hundreds of years ago. In my thirty years of tarot reading, nothing scary or weird has ever happened surrounding my daily contact with this aspect of tarot.

 Custom Spreads

A spread (or layout) is the order in which the cards are laid out, each card placement assigned a specific meaning, for example “What is My Best Course of Action?” These card assignments give your reading the context we will use to address your question or situation.

The Me, Right Now Spread

  • First Card: You, Right Now
  • Second Card: Current State of My Question/Situation. This can offer a great illumination or validation.
  • Third Card: True Reason for the Current State. This oftentimes can be very revealing, providing insight to the forces at work in your particular situation.
  • Fourth Card: Your Best Course of Action. This will offer a recommended course of action.
  • Fifth Card: Outcome or Key Factor. Outcome is the most likely result if you follow the best course of action; the Key Factor is the title to this chapter of your life, a card to sum up the series of cards which have been laid out.

Strengths & Challenges Spread

  • First Card: You, Right Now
  • Second Card: Current State of Your Question/Situation
  • Third Card: True Reason for the Current State. This oftentimes can be very revealing, providing insight to the forces at work in your particular situation.
  • Fourth Card: Your Strengths in this Current Situation
  • Fifth Card: Your Challenges in this Current Situation
  • Sixth Card: Your Best Course of Action Regarding Strengths
  • Seventh Card: Your Best Course of Action Regarding Challenges
  • Eighth Card: What is Your Blind Spot? What do You Need to See?
  • Ninth Card: Outcome. Most likely result if you follow the best course of actions
  • Tenth Card: Key Factor. The title to this chapter of your life. A card to sum up the series of cards which have been laid out

Project Management Overview Spread

  • First Card: You, Current State
  • Second Card: Current State of Project
  • Third Card: Current State of Team Members
  • Fourth Card: Current State of Client
  • Fifth Card: True Reason for Your Current Sate
  • Sixth Card: True Reason for Current State of Project
  • Seventh Card: True Reason for Current State of Team Members
  • Eighth Card: True Reason for Current State of Client
  • Ninth Card: Your Best Course of Action
  • Tenth Card: Your Best Course of Action Regarding Project
  • Eleventh Card: Your Best Course of Action with Team
  • Twelfth Card: Your Best Course of Action with Client
  • Thirteenth Card: Outcome or Key Factor

 The What Do I Do? Spread

You have a choice (or number of choices) in front of you. For this example, let’s say you have three possible options open to you.

  •  First Card: You, Current State, in this situation
  • Next Three Cards: Reason for considering each particular choice
  1. Choice One
  2. Choice Two
  3. Choice Three
  • Next Three Cards: Your best course of action if you make this choice (1, 2, or 3)
  1. Choice One
  2. Choice Two
  3. Choice Three
  • Next Three Cards: The outcome if you follow this course of action
  1. Option One outcome
  2. Option Two outcome
  3. Option Three outcome
  • Final Card: Key Factor is the title to this chapter in your life

 The People In Your Life Spread

  • First Card: You, Current State
  • Second Card: Current State of Partner/Friend/Co-Worker
  • Third Card: Current State of Child/Friend/Co-Worker
  • Fourth Card: Current State of Child/Friend/Co-Worker
  • Fifth Card: Best Course of Action for YOU!
  • Sixth Card: Your Best Course of Action with Partner/Friend/Co-Worker
  • Seventh Card: Your Best Course of Action with Child/Friend/Co-Worker
  • Eighth Card: Your Best Course of Action with Child/Friend/Co-Worker
  • Ninth Card: What is Your Blind Spot? What do You Need to See?
  • Tenth Card: Outcome. Most likely result if you follow the best course of actions
  • Eleventh Card: Key Factor. The title to this chapter of your life. A card to sum up the series of cards which have been laid out

The Three Carder Spread

  • First Card: You, Current State
  • Second Card: Your Best Course of Action
  • Third Card: Outcome or Key Factor

Reversals

When a person places cards in a spread, some cards will be right-side up, others will be upside-down. When a card is upside-down, AKA reversed, it means the theme that card represents in your life at this time is either blocked or being released/freed. How this will inform your journey is dependent on both the card itself and the position in which the card has been placed in the spread.

Some Final Thoughts

My tarot consultations have no crystal balls, incense, hanging tapestries and I certainly won’t be donning a turban! The words, “I see a tall, dark mysterious stranger coming into your life” have never crossed my lips in a reading. When I read a spread, I tap into the theme and story of each card and marry it with the question being asked.

Sometimes, the universe is not ready to give a clear answer. That can be hard. We want to KNOW. But I have found that deep within each reading is the answer we need at that time.