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How to InterpretTarot Cards

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Welcome to the point where the fun truly begins. If you have some basic knowledge of Tarot and have been exploring the cards, you're now ready to start asking questions and seeking answers through Tarot readings. However, before diving in, it's crucial for the aspiring Tarot reader to have a clear understanding of what they want to learn from Tarot and which spread they intend to use.

While I've previously discussed the meanings of Tarot cards on this website, in this section, I'd like to offer a different perspective. Yes, I'll reiterate that to become a skilled Tarot reader, you should definitely read and learn the meanings of the cards from various sources, such as books and different websites. However, it's essential to understand that Tarot cards do not have static meanings carved in stone or written in books. In other words, simply reading the meanings of a card multiple times won't necessarily make you a better interpreter. You can consider yourself a student, but Tarot cannot be learned just by reading, like studying history or social sciences. The cards contain much deeper layers of meaning and provide unique answers to different questions and situations.

One of the first things a good Tarot reader should do is develop their own style. Each Tarot reader should have a unique approach because their style becomes their signature. While Tarot cards should not be interpreted solely based on their images, shapes, and human figures, a Tarot reader's intuition and personal connection with the cards should always be at the forefront. However, this intuition should be combined with the astrological, numerological, and symbolic values of the cards to extract the most suitable meanings and interpretations for the individual's specific situation. 

One of the biggest mistakes a Tarot reader can make is to memorize the meanings of the cards and deliver the same message every time a particular card appears. Tarot cards are dynamic and far from static.

Another critical aspect to consider when interpreting Tarot cards is the cards' positions in a spread. The cards below the central card represent the subconscious, while the cards above represent the conscious level. All the cards below signify the night, while those above symbolize the day and light. For instance, the card directly below the central card reveals what an individual is consciously or unconsciously experiencing or feeling. The card directly above, on the other hand, represents events or circumstances that are in the conscious realm and are already known.

Learn to Listen to the Cards:

Allow the cards to speak to you and remain objective. Never impose the meanings you desire onto them. Let them communicate with you and shed light on your questions. The spread in front of you actually has a lot to say, but you'll only understand what they are saying when you quiet your own thoughts and focus solely on listening to them.

Once you've heard the message the cards offer, you'll establish a strong connection with them and make them your personal guides. Whenever you find yourself in the dark, searching for an exit, the cards will illuminate your path with the help of your subconscious. That's why it's crucial to maintain a good relationship with the cards and, above all, create a shared language with them.

If you're unsure how to listen to the cards, remember that each card has its own story. Start by listening to the card's story. Then, think about how the events and connections in that story relate to your own life. Hidden within that story, you'll find a lesson or message that's relevant to you.

Think of Cards as Letters in an Alphabet:

Just as you can use the letters of an alphabet to create poems, songs, and books, you should approach Tarot in a similar way. Will you be using 10 cards in a spread? The relationships, harmonies, and combinations between those 10 cards will provide a different meaning each time. Which cards have appeared together? Which card is looking at another? Which card is above or below another? Which group of cards dominates the spread? If Cups cards are prevalent, the situation is more emotional; if Pentacles cards dominate, it's likely financial or physical. Take all of these factors into consideration.

People, Events, or Places in the Cards:

Tarot cards offer details and clues about people as well. While many Tarot readers believe that only the court cards do this, I beg to differ. Every card in the Tarot deck has its own personality and can provide insights into people we may know. To find people in the cards, you must first thoroughly learn and understand the Tarot cards. Once you do, you'll be able to discern whether a card is referring to a person or an event.

Pay attention to the figures on the cards, their facial expressions, the background, and the colors. Which person does the figure remind you of? For example, in the Four of Pentacles, there's a person holding tightly to a pentacle above their head and another beneath their feet. Who does this person resemble? Is this person consumed by material matters, or is it someone who has trapped themselves in a confined space, unable to move freely? Is this person so preoccupied with financial matters that they've become a prisoner of their own making, afraid to take risks?

Consider the location where the person in the card is situated. For instance, if a person is sitting in a chair, that chair might symbolize their position in life. If there's a castle in the background, with all directions blocked by pentacles, does it suggest that this person is living in wealth and luxury? Or is it indicating that wealth is just out of reach, and this person is not truly rich but imprisoned by their attachment to material things?

So, take the time to listen to the cards, see them as part of a unique language, and discover the stories they have to tell. The Tarot is not just a deck of cards; it's a living, breathing entity that can offer profound insights and guidance to those who truly listen.

Center Card in Tarot:

The center card in a spread is the focal point and is typically placed in the middle of the layout. In many spreads, this card reveals the individual's perspective on the situation, and all other cards are interpreted in relation to it. The direction in which the figure on the center card is looking signifies what the person has not yet experienced or the future, while the opposite direction represents where they came from, which is their past or the reasons behind their current circumstances. Therefore, the card corresponding to the direction of the center card's gaze provides insights into where the events are leading, while the opposite direction sheds light on why these events are happening.

The center card influences all the cards in the spread, and it should be consulted before interpreting any of the other cards. The cards below the center card are more about subconscious experiences and darkness, while those above represent conscious experiences and illumination. Just like the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, when interpreting the cards, it's crucial to move from east to west and base the interpretations on the center card. The events always revolve around the individual represented by the center card.

Intuitive Reading:

Some Tarot readers read the cards as if they were reading from a book, while others rely entirely on intuition. It's not necessarily a bad thing for beginners to memorize card meanings or extract a theme from a card. However, once extensive practice has been put in, and the cards have become familiar, it's essential to abandon this habit and transition to completely intuitive Tarot readings. Tarot's astrological, numerological, and symbolic aspects should be used as additional clues when interpreting with intuition and should never dominate the interpretation.

When practicing intuitive readings, the Tarot reader should strive to understand what the figures, locations, or objects on the cards mean to them personally. Reading for someone you know well can sometimes be advantageous but can also present challenges because it's hard to remain objective.

Always Maintain a Positive and Good Intent:

Remember, your goal is to guide, not to prophesize doom and gloom. Never make absolute statements like, "I see death," "There's a breakup in your future," "You'll get expelled from school," or "Your spouse is cheating on you." Unfortunately, some people are so deeply influenced by fortune-telling that they shape their lives according to what's said in a reading. If you predict someone getting expelled from school, they might adopt a mindset of, "I'm going to get expelled anyway, so there's no need to study." Never contribute to negative experiences for others.

Always keep in mind that the purpose of Tarot is to help individuals navigate through the darkness and provide guidance. Especially, when it comes to the future, avoid making absolute and definitive statements. We all know that the future is shaped by a person's choices. Explain to the person you're reading for that everything you mention about the future is only a possibility and can change based on their decisions. In fact, it might be best to leave the future section of the reading completely blank and not make any predictions about it.

Direction of the Cards' Gaze:

The direction in which the cards are facing is another crucial factor to consider. The direction indicates the future and the outcomes of events when facing forward, and it represents the past and the reasons behind events when facing backward. If a card is facing the direction of another card, it's highly likely that the person will experience what that card represents. Interpretations should be made in sequence from east to west, keeping the center card as the focus. The events always center around the person represented by the center card.

The direction of the cards' gaze isn't limited to just the past-future relationship. It can also reveal the person's interests and desires. For example, in a reading for a woman, if one card depicts a man looking towards the center card, it's likely that there's a man interested in her or seeking a relationship. Or, if a card is looking at one of the Kings, it could indicate that the person has aspirations for a higher position or is fixated on achieving a particular goal. Similarly, if a card from the Suit of Pentacles is looking at another card, it may suggest financial desires and interests.

The reverse direction signifies what the person has turned their back on, what they have accepted from the past, or what they no longer desire. For instance, if a card shows a female figure, and another card with a female figure is facing the opposite direction, it might indicate that a man has moved on from one woman to another, leaving the past behind. The reverse direction primarily symbolizes what has been discarded, disinterest, and what is no longer wanted.

This approach ensures that Tarot readings are holistic, insightful, and sensitive to the nuances of each situation. It promotes a more positive and empathetic interaction with the cards, allowing the reader to guide the querent effectively. Remember that Tarot readings should serve as a source of empowerment and enlightenment, rather than a source of fear or negativity.

Next - Reversed Meanings in Tarot


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