You have a dilemma, and its eating you up. So naturally, being the Tarotholic you are, you decide to throw down some Tarot cards. “Great!” you think, “the cards will help me decide what to do”. You take out your Tarot cards, focus so hard on your question that your veins start popping bigger than a body builder’s, throw them down in a spread…annnnnd… NOTHING!
The Tarot cards seem to have NO relation to the situation whatsoever. They didn’t help you see the situation more clearly and they certainly didn’t tell you what to do – in fact they only made you feel more confused. Thanks a bunch, Tarot cards.
Never fear! Zorr….ok, sorry its not Zorro, its just me, Tarot Ninja. But I AM here – to help you figure this out and look at the reasons why this may be happening, and what you can do to ‘fix’ it. When we identify the ‘why’ then we can figure out the next logical step from there. Hopefully this will have you back to being besties with your Tarot cards in no time!
Reason #1 – You’re ungrounded. Your energy is all over the place and you’re far too emotional to see clearly with your own eyes, never mind your inner one!
Fix #1 – Look, I’m sorry to get all holistic on you but I think a bit of grounding might help you out with this one. My first blogpost in this series was all about practical tips to ground yourself before and after reading – don’t worry the woo-woo is kept to a bare minimum, I promise! If you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed (or as we say where I’m from: “up aheight”) then this might just help you gain a little more control over your emotions and give you the edge you need to push through what the cards are trying to tell you. Take a deeeeeeeeeeeep breath! And start again.
Reason #2 – Personal Bias. You’re too close to the question and are not looking at it from an objective p.o.v.
Fix #2 – Read the tarot cards as if you were reading for another person. Hell, give the other ‘person’ a name – Mary or Rupert, whatever floats yer boat.
Write the cards down one by one and go through their basic meanings. Look for connections and patterns. Speak out loud as if you were talking to Mary or Rupert, and try to distance yourself from the reading until the message for your made-up person comes through clearly. Then, push Mary or Rupert down some stairs and claim the reading for your own muwahahaha!
If you find this too difficult to do(not the pushing, the reading), join a Tarot study group on Facebook for example, and see if folks won’t mind helping you to see what you’re missing. Usually you will have to have a little go at interpreting the tarot cards yourself first, so try the prior exercise before finishing up your post. Its always good to get a second opinion if you can, and if you’re really that confused.
Reason #3 – Personal Bias Extended Edition. You’ve already subconsciously decided what you WANT to see in the cards, and just because it hasn’t shown up, you dismiss the turnout as irrelevant.
Fix #3 – We’ve ALL done it, ok, there’s no shame in it. Wishful thinking has a lot to answer for when the tarot cards don’t seem to answer the question asked. Again, you have to try and be as objective as possible. Perhaps swallow your pride and apologize to Mary and Rupert for pushing them down the stairs and see if they wouldn’t mind standing in for you again! If thats not possible, I don’t know, because of a restraining order or something, then the first thing you need to do in this case is ACCEPT that you are actually looking for something specific. Once you identify what it is you are looking for (and you may not have even been aware of what it is until that moment), you can either ask a different question, or try a reading that looks at how you can get closer to that thing you are looking for.
Reason #4 – Your question is crap. Sorry! But it might just be that your question either isn’t actually all that important in the big scheme of things, or that the wording is too vague.
Fix #4 – First of all when looking at the Tarot cards you’ve thrown down, ask if they might be addressing a different situation in your life. Sometimes, I’ve noticed the cards get all high and mighty and start poking their little noses in other situations that might not be the most important to YOU at this moment, but actually are far more important in the grand scheme of things. So when you’ve drawn a blank and the cards just really are not related to your question, ask yourself what might they be referring to? What are you completely oblivious to? There might be something crucial you are missing due to the fact you have ‘zoned in’ on this particular situation. Once you’ve acknowledged this message, whatever force drives the pull might stop beating you over the head with it and allow you to proceed with a fresh reading on the subject you wanted to know about in the first place.
Secondly, check your wording when asking questions. If you’re vague in your questioning then the answer will more than likely reflect that. Direct the cards specifically to what you want to know. If you’re asking ‘what’s going to happen in the next month’ then you could be talking about literally anything, and ANYONE you’re connected to. You might end up with cards for whats going to happen with your spouse or sister or whoever else has an indirect impact on your life. So make it clear who the subject is, and what you would like to know about. If you’re throwing down a general reading, specify positions for each area of life to narrow down the field a little. I.e. 3 cards for relationships, 3 cards for finances, 3 cards for health etc.
Reason #5 – Disorganised reading. When reading you just reel off the meanings of the cards without consistently referring back to the question. This gives a generic and unspecific outlook.
Fix #5 – ALWAYS refer back to the question! The question modifies the card meanings and is in itself a tool to help you shape your reading.
If you’re asking about finances and a seemingly unrelated card comes up, say for example the 2 of Cups, you may jump to the conclusion that the reading is steering you instead towards relationships. Just stop yourself there. Think about this card in the context of the question. For a financial reading the 2 of Cups may represent a partnership, a business meeting, a supporter, a mutual interest. You have to think outside of the box and realise what prejudices you may be harbouring about the tarot cards. Each of these 78 tarot cards refers to countless aspects of the human condition, and the question will help you go through that hefty filing cabinet to narrow down more specific meanings.
This tip is also good for other forms of divination. I can’t stress it enough – maybe the reason you aren’t seeing an answer to your question, is because you’re not actually thinking about those cards in relation to it. Its a small adjustment that can make all the difference.
Reason #6 – Dodgy Tarot Spreads. Either you are using too many tarot cards and an over-complex spread, or you are using too few cards and not getting enough information from it.
Fix #6 – First identify the nature of the question. Then figure out if its possible that you can answer this question in 3 cards with no assigned positions. For most questions and for seasoned readers, it will be possible, and will help you avoid those complicated spreads that, if you’re honest with yourself, just don’t make sense to you. Believe me, I’ve felt that way too. Don’t try to be clever if its just not working for you then theres probably a good reason. Scrap it for now until you feel more confident with that method. Don’t use an important issue as a guinea pig question for unchartered territory in spread practice.
Having said that, tarot spreads can be a useful crutch to help you limit the cards to assigned specifications, but the trick is choosing spreads that actually help rather than hinder. For example the 3 of Swords in a ‘what can help you’ position will mean something different to the 3 of Swords in a ‘challenges’ position. You have to figure out what kind of spread is catered for your specific needs. If there doesn’t seem to be one that fits the bill, make one up! Draw on other spreads and their positions for inspiration, taking out the things that don’t work for you and adding in the things that are most relevant to what kind of answer you’re looking for.
For general pulls when I don’t want to do a HUGE spread, I stick to my trusty 5(+1) card overview:
Card 1 – Situation/Present
Card 2 – Challenges
Card 3 – Allies – what can help overcome challenges
Card 4 – Outside Influences
Card 5 – Outcome/How things are more likely to progress
Base card – on the bottom of the deck, gives a view of the underlying influences or ‘theme’ of the issue that the cards are referring to.
(You can see this spread in action with the Tarot of the Zirkus Magi deck here: https://youtu.be/0SQ6TTjOsro )
At the other end of the scale are readings that are too small! Although single card pulls can be helpful as a learning tool, when you’re faced with a more complicated dilemma, you’re probably going to want more cards to identify key issues within the situation itself. Just don’t fall into the trap of continuing to pull more and more cards out when you’re already confused with the ones you have. Clarifying cards have rarely ever clarified anything, for me.
Reason #7 – Bad timing. The answer just isn’t clear right now.
Fix #7 – Sometimes no amount of crystal ball gazing can see through a situation. Either you really are too close to the events and the fixes outlined above haven’t worked, OR the situation is unfolding so fast that you can’t get a grip on it just yet. Give it a day or so, sleep on it and try the question again, perhaps experimenting with a new spread or a differently phrased question. Sometimes events need to unfold a little more before we can see our way through them and sometimes things look a whole lot better with the influence of a good nights sleep.
If you want a truly objective reading on the situation, perhaps see another reader, but remember that if you are looking for a specific answer then you have to ask THEM a specific question, too. Otherwise you might just find yourself back at square one.
I’m sure there will be something else I am overlooking here but I will endeavor to keep this guide updated as and when information occurs to me. If you have any suggestions please feel free to leave your comments and I’ll be happy to talk it over with you!
Likewise, if there is anything you would like to see in Tarot Troubleshooting Tips Blogs of the future, I would be delighted to get your input!
Til next time, Ninjas. TAROT!
Disclaimer: No Marys or Ruperts were harmed in the making of this blogpost.
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