The good, the bad, and the ugly cards in a relationship reading…
This is quite a flippant blog post, I am not attempting to “define” any card, just refer to my experiences in relationship readings.
In a reading I am looking for the narrative between the cards, rather than one card in particular. I have included a picture of the relationship spread I typically use with card placements at the bottom of the blog.
I take relationship readings very seriously, they carry a lot of emotional weight for a client. Matters of the heart can bring much joy and sorrow, and the wrong advice from a tarot reader can bring much pain.
The cards I love to see,
Knight of pentacles-loyal and steadfast.
King of pentacles- all about the joy and pleasure.
Knight of wands- strong sexual chemistry.
Knight of cups-Its all about the love, a romantic partner.
Page of cups- a message from the heart, fun.
The Lovers- the coming together of two people.
The 10 of pentacles- a classic “relationship” where two people have a shared mundane life. This can feel like a “gilded cage” so you’ll also see this card on my “list of dread”. It depends on the cards around it.
9 of cups/star- both “wish cards” suggesting the reading is positive.
Fool- “falling in love”
6 of swords- moving onto calmer waters.
3 of pentacles- a firm foundation.
3 of wands- Success and happiness.
Queen of pentacles- happiness in home life.
Empress & Emperor in a reading- a matched pair, two people who are good together (also king & queen of pentacles)
Ace of cups- unconditional love.
Ace of wands- sexual chemistry.
Tower- This card makes it to both lists- it can be great sexual chemistry.
10 of cups- the hope of a long lasting and happy relationship.
2 of cups- two people together, in love, equally matched emotions.
4 of wands- feeling at home with the other person, celebration, possible sign of commitment.
Sun/Judgement- such high numbered major arcana are often a yes in any question answered if they show in the right position in a spread.
World- “successful completion” it’s a yes from me.
The cards of “doom and dread” (a bit overstated, but in the wrong place, or the wrong combination= these are not the best in a relationship spread…)
King of wands- notice how he’s trying to edge of that throne? He does not want to be here, in relationship readings this can signify and arch manipulator.
Queen of cups- yes she’s psychic, intuitive, creative… But in a relationship she tends to be self obsessed with unclear boundaries- take care.
Queen of swords- often comes up for someone who is in a relationship but acting/thinking as if they are single.
5 of pentacles- This could be low self esteem, which can cause issues in a relationship. But more the feeling of being "out in the cold" can indicate problems.
7 of wands- Linking to Independence of mind, fine if this works for both of you. Often a sign one person is seeking to change in a way that will not fit within the relationship.
6 of cups- Infantilising, rose-tinted glasses, the desire to “be safe” or “keep someone safe” Not keen on this card in relationship readings (can indicate trauma from childhood which is influencing the relationship)
5 of wands- arguments and power struggles.
3 of swords- honest communication, which can mend or break a relationship.
3 of cups- friendship rather than a romantic relationship.
Justice- consequences. I would always dig deeper with this card to find out what the meaning is.
Death- a change, an ending. Possibly a new way forward to the relationship if the other cards were positive.
High Priestess- Emotional detachment from the relationship.
8 of swords-Self limiting beliefs, Unable to speak your truth, at its worst gaslighting and emotional abuse.
9 of pentacles- an independent minded person, which has many benefits, but often not looking to compromise in a relationship.
9 of swords- over thinking, unable to see a way to make it work.
10 of pentacles- classically a card of marriage, but it can be a “gilded cage” where someone is unhappy in the relationship but can’t see a way to leave based on finances. The financial benefits are now more important than the emotional benefits.
9 of wands- defensive and projecting the problems of the past onto the present. (my last partner had an affair, and now I’m certain my current partner is).
7 of swords- There is much I love about this card, but in a relationship it is often lies.
6 of pentacles-Control, power play and manipulating. I literally call this “my controlling partner”.
5 of swords- arguments and power plays.
5 of cups- grief, sadness, loss and depression. It may the sadness of the past is blocking someone from moving forward.
4 of swords-I’d need to check the other cards, this can be a card of healing. But also a card of withdrawing to find inner healing which may not be helpful in a relationship.
2 of swords- Isolation and looking inwards.
10 of wands- over working, not able to see the way forward.
Hermit- Isolation and looking back on life. This may be someone who wants to be alone right now, or is withdrawing to make important decisions. I have also seen this in a more negative meaning being a “Peter Pan” energy of someone who doesn’t want to commit to a relationship.
Moon- Fears and not seeing the full picture. The moon is reflected light, something isn’t being seen clearly.
Tower- unexpected changes, arguments, ending of a relationship, anger.
Devil- Controlling behaviour, addictions, trauma, toxic relationships.
I always start the reading focused on the client (person 1), with person 2 the "other".
#2 A problem or issue I need to resolve
#3 How I am feeling about this relationship/other person.
#5 A problem or issue they need to resolve.
#6 How they are feeling about this relationship/person.
I would then either do three cards for past/present/future. Or three cards for advice, not everyone wants a predictive reading. Often I will do both.
As a reader reading for a "Third party" I feel the burdens of ethics fall to me to ensure I am being respectful to the third person and only focusing on the relationship/possible relationship rather than prying into other areas.
I am always looking for my client to validate my understanding of how they feel to know that I am reading accurately.