Tarot Techniques that go Beyond the Spread
Many people have asked me to describe some of my most successful reading techniques. Here are some easy-to-follow bullet lists to show you the methods I use to give readings that go beyond the simple spread.
Begin the Reading
Start with a comprehensive spread, such as the Celtic Cross or the Rainbow Spread. Before you interpret individual cards in their positions, notice and interpret:
- Colors, images and cards that “jump out” at you.
- The ratio of Major Arcana to Minor Arcana.
- Which suits are present, and in what quantities.
- Which suits are missing.
- Numbers, by sets and by runs within a suit.
- Court cards, and consider who or what they may represent, and how they relate to each other.
- The ratio of reversals to upright cards.
- Where significant cards appear spatially.
When interpreting the spread, do not:
- Be confined to card-by-card interpretations.
- Struggle to fit a card’s interpretation into the position in which it falls. The position is a suggestion or a guide only.
- Pretend to understand something. If it doesn’t make sense, say so!
When interpreting the spread, do:
- Look for information about the client’s personality.
- Use it as an opportunity to get to know your client, and the situations at hand.
- Use it to develop further questions, and figure out areas you would like to further explore.
- Decide if there are cards that are most significant, and why.
- Make note of anything you do not understand to try to figure out later in the reading.
Go Beyond the Spread
- Make note of the cards in the original spread, either mentally or on paper. Then pick them up and shuffle them back into the deck.
- Address each question or topic one at a time, by asking a question and picking cards to answer it.
- Look for cards from the original spread to show up again.
- Pay attention to trends, as you did in the original spread.
- Remember key words when interpreting the cards, and pay attention to how key words make sense in light of the question. Use the key words in your answers to describe situations, people and emotions.
Ask the Questions
- Yes or No questions, or direct questions trying to predict the future, are not as effective as asking “What is the likelihood of. . .” or “What should I expect . . .” or “How should I prepare for. . .” .
- When asked to read about a person who is not present, ask the client for some information about the person, such as name and age, and simply pull a few cards to see what shows up about this person.
- It is always helpful to ask “What about. . .” a person, idea, plan, job etc., and pull a few cards.
- If your client is shy about asking questions, remember that most people are interested in knowing about their career, family, home and spiritual purpose.
Pull the Cards
- Pick a few cards off the top of the deck and lay them on the table.
- Pick a few cards off the top of the deck and hold them in your hand in a fan.
- Spread the cards face down on the table and have the client pick a few.
- Spread the cards face down on the table and have you or the client hold a hand over them and feel the pull of the energy in the cards.
- Spread the cards face up and have the client choose the images that call to them.
- Be intuitive about the number of cards you pick, or keep picking until it feels right, or keep picking until you reach a Major Arcana card.
- Once you have a few cards on the table, move them around until you can make a sensible story of them.
- Ask the client to comment on the images, or the feelings that the cards evoke.
- If you are reading over the phone and the client cannot see the images, give the keywords or describe the images to get feedback and involve the client.
- If you are not sure about the meaning of a particular card, ask the question “What is this card trying to tell me?” and pull another card to answer it.
Incorporate Other Tools and Skills
- Use a pendulum, another oracle, palmistry or psychic skills such as psycometry to confirm your Tarot reading, or to “flesh out” your reading.
- The Tarot is limitless in the information it can give. Feel empowered to use it to aid you in spirit communication, to give information about pets, dream interpretation or past lives if the reading calls for it.
Conclude the Reading
- Ask for, and answer, any final questions.
- Recap the important points of the reading, and suggest a theme for the reading.
- Make any necessary referrals (counselor, doctor, attorney, auto mechanic etc.).
- Have the client draw a one last card or token from another oracle to give some final insight.