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Finding the detail in a Tarot reading.

If I said the word "blue" to you it is such an undefined word that we could be thinking of two very different colours. To really communicate the colour blue I am thinking about I would need to add a couple of adjectives. Perhaps "Deep navy blue", or "metallic baby blue" or even "sea green-blue". We may not be thinking of exactly the same colour- but our colours will now at least be similar.


If Tarot is able (as I believe it can) reflect every human experience, then 78 cards is not enough to add the detail. We need "adjective" or "descriptive" cards to add the nuances to a reading.


My most used spread when reading professionally is a 9-card spread (10 really as I do include the card at the bottom of the pack). where:



  • The bottom three cards (1-3) are the past leading up to this point.

  • The middle three cards (4-6) are the present moment and read as advice- because this is the place of power from where we create our future.

  • The top three cards (7-9) are the most likely future.

However I place the first card of each row in the middle, and this is the focus card ("blue" if you like), and for each row the cards each side are adding detail to the focus card. Technically I could do a reading with just the three central cards, but the added cards either side allow me to add a lot more detail.


In the example shown, which is a "How is my work going" there is a thread from the page of wands (loving what I am doing, totally absorbed) to the 10 of wands (feeling a bit overwhelmed right now), to the ace of cups (the love for my work is back, in a nurturing and higher form).


It's the cards either side that perhaps add the detail. In the past (4 of wands/king of swords) I felt quite secure and was managing my time well. But now (page of swords/fool) my mental health and time management is less secure- at the same time as trying to move the business to a new phase. With the future (knight cups/high priestess) looking as if I have more space for content creation, and personal development- meaning I can get the love back for my work.


Reading like this does demand that you really engage with the cards, and I truly think the most important part of this style of reading is to LOOK at the cards. I was demonstrating this on my Zoom workshop last night, and I really noticed a slowing down in my reading (I am usually very fast) as I was trying to "teach" and engage visually with those on the call I was unable to really LOOK at the cards. I am looking in particular for the core symbol that connects all three cards in a row. Sometimes its obvious- they all have a similar meaning, the same suit, a number, sky colour etc. But sometimes its so subtle I need to let my mind be relaxed to see it. The cards were 3 pentacles, 6 wands, High Priestess (Rider-Waite). As I looked I saw the connection- "hidden". The High Priestess can be linked to secrets, the 3 of pentacles is in the crypt with black pentacles, the 6 of wands hides the horse's body- which in-fact looks more like a pantomime horse than a horse. Its these subtle connections that can lead you to find connections between cards that are not always based on logic or perceived wisdom, but on finding the subtle connections between the images. Another in a later spread was the similar arm/body positions between the magician and the 10 of cups.


If you are looking to play around with this style, to develop it to see how it could work for you, then a four card spread is a great one to work with. I often use the question "How am I doing, right now". Where:




  • Card one is the main focus

  • Card two & three add detail and description.

  • The card at the bottom of the pack is something you need to know.

Here you can see my main card is the 4 of swords- The need for rest, taking a rest.


With the defining cards (9 of pentacles/3 of wands) being very much about hard work and creating business success.


The card at the bottom of the pack (7 of pentacles) is about reflection and consciously choosing how to create my future.


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