Tuesday, October 2, 2012


By Judy Jennings © Copyright 2012

Someone asked me recently how many different ways there are to do a Tarot reading?  That’s like trying to count the stars in the sky, or more to the point, like trying to guess the number of people who have ever consulted the cards.  It’s sort of like a fingerprint, everybody has their own style. 

Take the French woman in our Tarot Meetup, for instance.  “I used to read the cards professionally,” Giselle told us, “but I do not like to read them for myself, that is why I came to this group.  When I was doing them professionally, the shop owner would ask the client first what kind of reading they wanted.  If they wanted uplifting and motivational, he did not send them to me.  Once,” she confided, “a woman ran out of the room shouting after her reading, she was so angry!  But the next day she came back to tell the shopkeeper that everything I said had come true.”  How dark could she be, I wondered, when some of the cards are so unwaveringly positive?  Do they not speak for themselves? 

Next, Giselle demonstrated how to get your personal life card, as well as a card for the year, through numerological reduction.  My card for next year, coming up soon with my birthday in January, is Strength.  I was thrilled, because I love that card.  It speaks to me of compassion and self-discipline, and the triumph of love over hate and indifference.  “This will be very difficult,” announced
Giselle.  Her reply to my question was a swift stroke of prophetic insight.  “Well,” she intoned, “you will become stronger because you will somehow manage to survive.”

Suffice it to say that the same cards in the exact same layout will turn out to have different implications if interpreted by Giselle and myself.

I once visited a web site with a slogan posted emphatically at the top of the page that read “We guarantee no one will ever be frightened by anything we say regarding the cards”.  Whew!  Is that really necessary?  Personally, I didn’t feel the need to run shouting from Giselle’s interpretation of my card for next year, because I know that the truth of what she saw will be tempered by the truth I know, as well.  Getting other people’s perspective is a good thing.  But yes, I suppose some people do fear the cards…and in that case, what is our responsibility to those people as interpreter?  Do we have one?

“Who wants a reading?” was the question that started off yesterday’s “Exchange Readings!” session, and eleven hands shot up immediately.  “Who wants to do a reading?” was the next, but this time only two hands went up right away, followed by a rippling mutter around the table about being “kind of rusty”.  A little encouragement was all it took, though, and soon I found myself gazing in awe as the quiet, gentle Iris delivered one profound utterance after another in a seven-card layout that she “just kind of made up for myself”.

The energy of eleven people commenting on a single reading was almost dizzying at times, frankly, but I’m a Capricorn and we’re like that.  We got in about six readings in two highly charged hours, using almost as many different decks.  The moral of this happy story is simply this:  Don’t be afraid to experiment!  Make up your own layouts.  Try decks you haven’t used before.  Then keep the best of what resonates with you and discard the rest. 

Everybody was so intent on the readings yesterday that no one was really interested in discussing the questions I wrote on the board, though, leaving me without the fodder for this article that I’d been hoping for.  I suppose I’ll leave them with you then, instead.  How do you feel when you read the cards?  Do you have a personal philosophy about how you approach a reading?  I’ll leave you to ponder the first on your own, and chip in on the second.  I do take a specific approach to readings.  I look for patterns that suggest the best course of action for going forward.  Everybody does that, right?  Or not?

We’ll wrap up for now with a look at Iris’s Seven-card Layout.  Enjoy!  Then try making up your own.

1.    Focus/Desire
2.   Home/Family
3.    Finances
4.    Work/Career
5.    Physical Body
6.    Romance/Pleasure
7.    Unexpected


  1. This is a great spread. When Iris said she developed it for herself, I thought "you can make up your own spread?" Well, duh, of course you can! I'm not at the point where I feel confident of my own skills to try to develop my own spread, but Iris has inspired me to think outside the Celtic Cross box. I noticed that Judith also uses a spread she developed for herself. You readers rock!

  2. Side note: the people at the store never asked if clients wanted it to be motivational or uplifting. They would ask if the client wanted the truth or not..
    You can be motivational and uplifting whether or not whether it is what you call a "dark" reading or what you call a "light" reading. Personally, I like the truth, so I can be prepared, rather than expect that everything will be ok, and then have it be hard.. I guess it depends on how one approaches life.
    Tell me in a year if this is an easy year ;) I look forward to hearing your answer.