What is not in your Tarot Reading?

It’s not always what is in the cards, it can be what’s not that makes it great a memorable reading!

As tarot readers we interpret the cards that are drawn and read them in context to the question.  We continue our interpretation with relevance to the position each card is placed.  We strive to enhance the quality of the reading by applying the meanings and techniques we have learned through on line courses, books and even YouTube tutorials.  These are all great resources and valuable to our development.  

We do, however, need to be careful not to fall into the trap of applying all the “theory” we have gathered but rather we need to find that balance between the learned (and practised) techniques and allowing our intuition to flow and guide us.

Art Illustration - Reading what is not there in a Tarot card reading. Card deck is The Pagan Otherworlds deck.png

For the novice, interpreting the cards can seem overwhelming, rather like when learning to drive a car, there is so much to think about in seemingly a short space of time.  Soon driving becomes almost automatic (I use the term lightly) and so will your tarot readings.  You will soon identify what techniques work best for you and use these repeatedly, therefore not being overly concerned about other applications that don’t necessarily resonate with you.  Every reader is different and we soon develop our own style.

One of my go to techniques and one I use in most of my readings is the one I am sharing with you in this article.  I came across this little snippet from “Tarot Techniques” a Divination & Fortune Telling on line course designed and developed by Lisa Boswell.

When we lay out the cards in our chosen spread it’s a really good idea to look at the suit combinations and see what the balance of the suits are to identify which are the most dominant?  This can quickly indicate the overall theme for your reading. However, one of the most overlooked techniques is observing what suit (or suits) is missing or weakly represented. This can add a whole new level to your reading, enriching the experience for your Client and for your progress as a tarot reader.  A quick summary would suggest that the absence or limited representation of a particular suit could indicate what is lacking (and therefore impacting) in any given situation.  For example, the lack of:

Pentacles - Would likely indicate the lack or limited resources: time, money, in wrong job or no job etc. 

Swords - Would indicate that little thought or analysis has gone into the situation.   An emotional rather than a logical approach is being applied.  

Wands – Indicates little or no interest being expressed.  Lack of motivation, energy etc.

Cups – Emotional aspect is missing.  Little or no feeling applied or displayed.  

Of course all of this needs to be read in conjunction with the cards drawn for the reading but it does add another dimension, another layer to your interpretation.   

Here I share an example to demonstrate this technique.

A Client comes for a reading concerned that her relationship with her husband has deteriorated from what was once a loving and caring relationship has now declined to an all-time low.  She adds, “We just don’t have the time for each other and can’t talk to each other without snapping and I feel the love has gone”.

You prepare and place the cards in your chosen spread. You cast your eye and note that the suits of Pentacles and Swords dominate.  Intuitively you immediately recognise that it is likely pressures from responsibilities (Pentacles) e.g., work, finances, children’s needs are impacting negatively on the Client and having implications on her relationship with her husband.  This, as indicated by the Swords, has resulted in stress manifesting as irritability, tiredness and likely conflict between them.  You share this observation with your Client and ask “does this sound familiar?’  She confirms that it does.

So we have clearly established what’s going on for our Client and by looking at what is not in the cards we have insight into some practical suggestions we can discuss with our Client to get her relationship back on track.

In this example there is a lack of both Cups and Wands. The passion and emotional needs are not being met and here lies the heart of the problem.   We can confidently share with the Client that there is a lack of an emotional connection (Cups) and the passion they shared in the past has died (Wands).  Outlining the issue and likely cause of it we are now able to confidently offer the guidance the Client was searching for and the reason they came for the reading in the first place.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get your Client to feel involved in the solution. You can ask, for example:

·      What were the things they enjoyed as a couple in the past? 

·      When was the last time they had a break away, just the two of them? 

·      How does she feel about planning a date night, romantic dinner etc?

It is important, especially for newer readers, to understand that we don’t necessarily provide the solution or instruct on what they should do but rather by highlighting what are the influences at play enabling them to generate ideas and showing direction to help them move forward; empowering them to formulate decisions and actions for themselves.  Sometimes the Client is unaware of the cause or subconsciously passes the blame onto others, failing to accept some personal responsibility. By uncovering what is not in the spread, this can raise awareness of what they failed to recognise and the impact this was having on their situation.  Aha!! I hear her say.

It is my personal belief that whatever problem we have, the answer’s lie within us.  As a reader, I feel it is my job to facilitate my Client’s understanding of the true situation and stimulate the dormant ideas within them into practical ways allowing an address their problems.  

Have fun with this technique, if it doesn’t help you then don’t use it.  But Im putting my money on the fact that you will see the potential it offers and it will quickly become one of your go to techniques and the Client leaves feeling empowered with a feeling of renewed hope, likely viewing the reading as a memorable experience.

Article by Jennifer Kelly. Touched by Tarot. Find out more about Touched by Tarot here: .www.tbt.co.nz