Never be stuck during a reading again!
Have you ever done a Tarot reading where you were completely thrown by a Tarot card?
Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Even I have done readings a professional where I felt completely stumped about what a card means for that particular reading.
That’s why today I want to give you my top strategies for interpreting any Tarot card in any reading.
In today's episode, you'll learn:
- Why reading from the heart instead of the book creates more powerful readings
- How – and why – to tell the story of the card
- See the Tarot cards as energy expressed in different ways
- How asking powerful questions leads to more impactful readings
- Free Workbook: 5 Simple Steps to Read with Confidence
- Blog Post & Podcast Transcript: How to Interpret Any Tarot Card in Any Reading
You’re listening to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, and this is Episode 75: How to Interpret Any Tarot Card in Any Reading.
Welcome to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, where you’ll learn how to connect more deeply with your intuition and live an empowered and enlightened life with the Tarot cards as your guide.
Listen as Brigit and her guests share their very best tips and strategies to help you read Tarot with confidence.
And now here’s your host, Brigit Esselmont.
How to Interpret any Tarot Card in Any reading
Hello, and welcome back to the Biddy Tarot Podcast.
Have you ever done a Tarot reading where you were completely thrown by a Tarot card? Maybe you were doing a reading about a new romance, and suddenly the Eight of Pentacles turns up as a blessing. You remember from your book that the Eight of Pentacles is a card of apprenticeship and mastery… but in finance and career. You cannot for the life of you see how it relates to your new relationship.
Or maybe you’re asking about your soul purpose, and then suddenly the Tower card shows up as your key strength, and you’re thinking, “Oh my goodness. Is my strength really in being able to stir stuff up and create mass destruction?”
Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Even I have done readings a professional where I felt completely stumped about what a card means for that particular reading.
That’s why today I want to give you my top strategies for interpreting any Tarot card in any reading. Now, of course if you want to download the show transcript or find out more about the show notes, you can head on over to BiddyTarot.com/btp75 to get all of that good information.
Let’s dip into four of my favourite strategies for interpreting any Tarot card in any reading.
1. Read from the heart, not the book.
If you’ve been listening to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, or even following me at all, you will know I am all about reading Tarot from the heart and not the book.
Let’s go back to our example. You’re doing a reading for a new relationship, and you draw the Eight of Pentacles for a blessing. If you are more of a book reader or you’ve been memorising your Tarot card meanings, you might be completely thrown.
For example, one of the books I actually started with a very, very long time ago is simply called The Tarot by Adam Fronteras. “I’m curious: What does this author say about the Eight of Pentacles?” It says this: “The seeker is a patient, skilful person who puts in much effort. He or she has artistic skills and is perhaps looking for artistic expression, rather than simply financial reward, though financial success will result to a certain extent.”
If you were a book reader, you would look at that and go, “OK, how does that have anything to do with a new romance?” Even just reading this interpretation, I think, “Oh my goodness! This is completely different to what I know of the card as well,” so that might throw me into a bit of a tailspin. If you were simply rote learning the Tarot cards, you would see that and you would just be completely thrown in a Tarot reading.
It comes down to this: Memorising from the book means creating rigid and inflexible interpretations. It’s great for giving you maybe a base-level understanding, but if you’re simply memorising the card meanings, you just get tripped up when it comes to applying those meanings in your readings, so that’s why you really do need to read from the heart, and come into your Tarot readings ready to read intuitively. In fact, I spent a whole podcast episode on this particular topic back at Episode 73, so if you want to check that out, you can check that out at BiddyTarot.com/btp73.
The most important thing for reading Tarot from the heart and not the book is simply put the book down during a reading and learn how to read intuitively.
Let’s now move into our second strategy for how you can interpret any card in any reading.
2. Tell the story in the card.
Again, telling the story in the card is a technique that I use frequently. I teach it frequently, because I believe it to be so incredibly powerful, not just for connecting intuitively but also turning your readings into highly specific, targeted, and insightful readings, and that’s really the idea of Tarot, isn’t it? We go beyond just regurgitating book meanings, but we’re getting into something that’s really meaningful and relevant, whether it’s reading for yourself or reading for a client.
You’ve laid out your cards, you’re drawing a blank, though, because you’ve got this Eight of Pentacles in a new relationship. The best way to get out of that funk is not throw the card and pretend nothing happened, but start describing the picture. If your mind is going, “What is this card? I don’t know. I don’t get what it means,” just describe the picture.
For example, if we had the Eight of Pentacles, we might see the man is sitting here on his little bench, he’s got a coin right in front of him, and he’s got that chisel, and… Oh goodness me, I don’t know what it would be! Anyway, he’s got some tools. He’s making a pentacle shape, a star shape in this coin, and it looks like he’s already made seven of these, and he’s just doing the same thing over and over. He looks quite focused and concentrated. I’m looking at his facial expression right now, and he’s looking down and really focused on what he’s doing. It’s kind of this theme of repetition but also focus.
OK, so if you’ve drawn this card as a blessing in a new relationship or a new romance, then you might start to think, “How does that story relate to me as I am in a new romance? What am I really focusing on in this new relationship? Is there something that I’m doing over and over until I get it right? Maybe I’ve already been through a number of relationships in the past, and I’m learning the same lesson over and over, and this is another relationship to help really embed that lesson.
You’re not going to find that in any Tarot book. You’re going to find that through connecting in with the Tarot card and the story and then your intuitive feel. Here’s the thing – if you look at the Eight of Pentacles in another reading in a completely different setting at a different time in your life, you're going to see something completely different, but it’s about what attracts your attention in that point in time, and that is what is really important.
If you are finding yourself a little bit stuck in a reading, and you’ve got a card that’s just throwing you, start to describe that story. Say what’s happening in the card, and then relate the story back to your situation, and ask yourself, “In what ways am I doing X, Y, and Z?”
Let me just do another quick example. What might be a question? What do I need to focus on in my business?
Ah, Ten of Pentacles. OK, again, I might go into describing this card. Do you know what’s really interesting? Normally, I would focus on the family in this card, but I can’t help but see all of this fine detail in the card – in fact, detail I’ve never noticed before. If you look closely at the Ten of Pentacles – and I’m looking at the Radiant Rider Waite – you see all these fine etchings on the buildings, and even on the older man’s coat are some really specific details.
Perhaps this is a sign for me to focus on the details in the business, and instead of looking at the really big picture, maybe I need to go back into the detail and make sure to do all my checks and balances, make sure that we’ve got everything in place that we need to have before taking that big zooming out.
Now, that’s fascinating because, again, had I looked that up in a book, I would have something completely different and perhaps completely irrelevant to what’s going on for me, but because I’ve allowed myself to tune into my intuition and uncover the story in the card, I’ve found something that is unique to this situation in the card.
And who knows? Again, if I do the Ten of Pentacles in a completely different reading in another time, I might see something completely different, and the story I might tell may be completely different.
Right now, I’m starting to look at this little kid. I never noticed this either, this little kid peeking out from behind his mum, and he’s either patting the dog or he’s about to pull the tail of the dog. Even though we’ve got this beautiful card scene, it’s a cheeky little kid about to pull the dog’s tail, and all chaos will come into the situation. Imagine if that was for business. I might say, “You think you’ve got everything under control right now, but all it takes is just one little thing to happen, and chaos could come through, so maybe that’s why I need to pay attention to the fine details that I was seeing before.”
So there you go. That’s telling the story, and that’s another way of helping you to interpret any card in any reading.
Let’s step in now to the third strategy, and this is probably more of a conceptual level or a way of understanding the Tarot.
3. See the Tarot cards as energy expressed in different ways.
You might be wondering, “What are you talking about, Brigit? No idea. What are you talking about?” Here’s what I believe. Every Tarot has a core essence or energy about it, and no matter what the Tarot deck is, the essence or the energy of that card is always the same. It’s just more that it gets expressed in different ways.
In a Tarot deck, you might see it visually expressed in a different way. For example, if you have a look at the Seven of Pentacles across a number of different decks, you know that the concept or the energy of the Seven of Pentacles is the same, but then you’ll start to look at it through different visual images, and it’s coming into manifestation in different ways.
Now, in a Tarot reading, it’s the same kind of thing. We’ve still got the core essence or the energy of the card, but it’s being expressed in each unique situation in its own way. For example, I know that the Seven of Pentacles, for me, the core essence or the core energy of this is long-term reward – put in the effort now, and over time you’ll be rewarded, but you have to be patient. To me, that’s kind of the core essence of the Seven of Pentacles.
Now, I could apply that to business, and it’s this whole idea of passive income, for example. Passive income gets touted as “make money as you sleep,” and it has this whole idea that you can just make money without doing anything, which is totally wrong. The way that I see passive income is you’ve got to put in the effort at the start, and then you see the rewards in the longer term. For me, say the Seven of Pentacles might be a sign of passive income in a business situation or a business reading.
How might that apply in a relationship reading? Maybe I was thinking about “How can I improve my relationship with my partner?” Again, coming back to the core energy of the card, about putting in the effort now for long-term reward, well, maybe I need to put in a little bit more extra effort into the relationship, and I might not see an immediate reward for it, but in the long term, the relationship will be better off for it.
Use this technique where you are connecting in with the core energy of the card and then thinking about “How is that core energy expressed in this particular situation?”
I guess this is really a side note. What’s interesting is a lot of people say the Tarot cards never lie. OK, fine, but I actually think that’s kind of true and not true. The cards themselves don’t really lie. Well, they don’t lie because the core energy and the essence is the truth. It’s true. But I think what often happens is when we as Tarot readers take these cards and apply the meaning into a situation, sometimes we can trip up and we get it wrong, but the core energy has always been the same. We’ve just seen it being interpreted in the situation in a particular way, and we might have been a little bit off. Just a side note, just interesting to think about. Do the cards really lie or not? Maybe that’s a whole episode in itself.
That’s our third strategy: See the Tarot cards as energy expressed in different ways. Think about “How is this core energy being expressed in my particular situation?”
Now, the final strategy is…
4. Ask questions.
I want to tell you a tale of two readers. They do a reading, and the reading is about your soul purpose, and they draw the Tower as the strength (What is your true strength on your soul journey?).
One reader tries to interpret it and says, “You like destruction. You like chaos. You want to destroy everything around you.” The client hears this and sort of agrees but then doesn’t really agree with all of it and starts to think, “I don’t like destruction. What are they talking about? I don’t like chaos.” Then basically, by the end of that reading, the client has really just started to think, “You know what? That wasn’t really me. I’m not really going to pay attention to that reading.”
Now, on the other hand, the other reader sees the Tower in the strength position and thinks, “Well, that’s interesting. Unexpected, but interesting.” Instead of telling the client what the card definitively means, the reader starts to pose questions based on that card. Maybe “What role does destruction and creation play in your life right now? What’s being destroyed right now? In what way is destruction a strength for you?” In asking these questions, what happens is the client is forced to think about it on their own, and the client needs to come up with their own answers, rather than simply being told what it means.
The idea of this is that, as Tarot readers, we don’t have to have all of the answers. In fact, sometimes it’s better that we don’t. And perhaps it’s even better that we don’t have any answers in some ways, because I think what’s more powerful is when we ask our clients questions, and we hold the space for our clients to do some self-exploration and to arrive at the answers on their own answers. Again, this is all coming back to encouraging people to connect with their own intuition, whether they are the reader or the client, and if you as the reader are posing questions for the client to then dive deep into their own journey, then I think you’re having a really great impact in that way.
I want you to be thinking about “How can I ask questions?” If I’m seeing a Tarot card in a reading and I don’t know what it means, it doesn’t mean I have to figure out exactly what it means. I could just use that card as a prompter for asking questions.
Here’s the thing… You might see the Tarot card as a strength, and in your mind, you’re thinking, “How on earth is that a strength? Oh, chaos is the worst thing ever!” However, if you simply asked your client, “How is chaos a strength for you?” they might say, “Oh my gosh! Yes, I know how chaos is a strength for me. I love chaos. Chaos moves me into action. It moves me into doing something new. Oh my goodness! I’ve never seen life this way.” You don’t have to have the answers as a reader, but you can simply reflect back the core message of the card and then have the client arrive at their own insights with that card.
I know for a lot of readers, you really do believe that you have to have the answers, and I would just want you to know you do not have to have the answers. It’s OK as the reader to ask questions, and I really encourage you to ask questions.
So if you’re in a reading in the future and you get a Tarot card that comes up for you and you’re feeling a little bit stumped and think, “How on earth am I meant to figure out what this Tarot card means?” you now have four strategies to help you.
Just to recap:
1. Make the commitment to read from the heart and not from the book.
When you're reading from the book, you find yourself stuck with these rigid and inflexible meanings that are very hard to translate into all sorts of questions and specific Tarot readings. Instead, if you come at it from a more heart place or a more intuitive place, you’re going to have a lot more flexibility in how you interpret the cards.
2. Tell the story in the cards.
This is a really good practical technique to help your intuition kick into gear and to be able to turn a Tarot card into a very specific insight for that moment in time.
3. See the cards as energy.
Understand that when you're doing a Tarot reading, you’re taking that energy, and you're applying it to the specific situation, so that energy always remains stable and consistent, but how it gets applied to our lives in the different situations that we are dealing with is the bit that changes. That also explains why if you look from different Tarot books, there may be some real differences in the meanings of the Tarot cards. It’s because the authors have connected in with the energy of the card, and then you’re interpreting that energy into your specific situations. The author is also doing that. They’re putting their own slant on that core energy.
4. Ask questions.
Use the Tarot cards to pose really smart, reflective questions to your clients. You don’t have to have all of the answers. If the card is stumping you and you're saying “What is this?” then just think, “What’s the core energy here, and how can I reflect that back to my client, because maybe there’s something about this core energy that’s important and relevant to them?”
So there you have it. I hope that those four strategies will help you next time you're in a reading and figuring out what the cards might mean.
Master the Tarot Card Meanings
Now, if you want to go deeper and learn how to truly master the Tarot card meanings, then you’ll want to find out more about my Tarot training program. In my online Tarot course, Master the Tarot Card Meanings, I’m going to show you how to build a personal connection with the Tarot using simple yet powerful techniques for interpreting the Tarot cards.
I’ll teach you all the must-know systems that sit behind the Tarot cards that make learning Tarot super easy, and we’ll walk through the 78 Tarot cards, so you can master each and every one of them once and for all. I’ll also show you how to connect in with the energy of the cards and translate them intuitively into any kind of Tarot reading that you do. It’s all about embodying Tarot and being fluid and flexible with what Tarot has to offer.
By the end of the Master the Tarot Card Meanings program, you’re going to know how to build a deep and personal connection with the Tarot cards, and intuitively and confidently interpret the Tarot cards without ever having to memorise the meanings or consult your favourite Tarot book. Ultimately, you’ll be a more confident and intuitive Tarot reader using the Tarot to transform people’s lives and make a real difference.
You can learn more about the program at BiddyTarot.com/MTCM. The good news, if you're listening to this podcast episode as it comes out, the doors to the program are open right now. Make sure you check out the Master the Tarot Card Meanings program. It’s at BiddyTarot.com/MTCM. It is really the #1 training program online for helping you to master the Tarot card meanings and create a beautiful, intuitive connection with the Tarot cards.
I hope that I will see you inside the program. For now, I hope you have a wonderful day. Thank you again so much for listening, and I look forward to jumping into your earbuds next time. Bye for now.