How to Read Tarot Cards When You Haven't a Clue
by Sarah Gottesdiener·
Even as a seasoned Tarot reader, sometimes I just get a spread as I'm reading my own Tarot cards where I'm like, "WTF?"
I wanted to briefly go through my process of reading my own Tarot cards when I don't immediately get a hit or an aha moment! Hopefully, some of these will help you too. The image above is an example spread and some ways I was able to process and eventually work with the messages I received.
Give your spread time to show up
Oftentimes, we just need to pull cards and wait a while. Sometimes we need to make sure the cards are read in the context of their prompt. We can always revisit our spreads, especially when we’re more connected to the circumstances transpiring in our lives
Notice your resistance to cards
My main resistance to these cards was they were all majors, which felt really heavy, and the placements of them in the spread. The Fool as being the hard lesson? Come on, I generally LOVE this card and don't want it to be "challenging". Having to release Death? Come ON, my ego LOVES being in control! The Judgement card nudging me forward into stepping out old constraints—out of the boxes illustrated on the card, and embracing my true freedom. No THANKS! I like my patterns old, and my behaviors subconscious!
I'm being dramatic here, but the reason why I was initially resistant to this spread had to do with my own resistance to needed change, painful transformation and allowing myself and my loved ones to be more vulnerable. With that vulnerability comes the breakthroughs of Judgment and the ego shedding of Death.
So next time you pull a card, and you find yourself feeling stubborn and wanting to toss the cards back into the deck, sit with them. Notice where in your life you may be having any resistance. Try to connect those areas to the messages in the cards.
Process your cards subconsciously
Whenever I am stuck with a reading for myself, I free write (see the image above- this is also what many of my workbook writing looks like: pages and pages of scribbles!). Free writing is a great exercise to connect with your subconscious, your guides, or your higher self. Personally, it is similar to turning on a faucet of inspiration. This process always helps me tap in to my intuition. I reccomend you try it for ANYTHING, not just Tarot readings!
Come back to the cards and look for patterns
After gaining perspective with free writing and meditation, I revisit the cards. In this spread, the Fool and Death were deeply connected to one another for me—both of them illustrating fear of the unknown, fear of ego release, and moving forward with trust and faith. Death has been my stalker card ever since my dog died in October, and I felt profoundly that this card showing up in this placement was a final goodbye to the visceral tugging of grief that had visited me daily since her death. It was now time to let her pass on completely into the astral plane: my preoccupation with her had kept parts of her spirit from fully leaving this plane. I also felt through my deep inquiry of Death that drawing this card repeatedly had brought on was coming to an end. It was time for me to integrate this knowledge into my life and writings. I also read the placement of Judgement as emphasizing this as well. In the Major Arcana, it is the card before the World, the very last card. The Fool in the first placement here emphasized this end and also, of course, this beginning.
Incorporate the Cards into Your Waking Life
After this reflection, I had to ask myself:
- What behaviors would help me embody the Fool?
- How can I further break down my Ego?
- What would getting more free LOOK LIKE?
And then I had to go and embody them.
Tarot is all about reflection, yet the magic also lies in action.
I have already found that by shifting my thought patterns, behavior, and the way I respond to certain situations- I am changed. And so it is.
These are just some quick tips, culled from my own life. Of course there's
so much more – but that's better put into a Tarot book.