It’s happened to all of us. A strong card appears in a prominent position. You explain the card to your client but it just doesn’t ring a bell.
You are sure the meaning is significant to the reading, and to the client’s issues at hand. But the client can’t see how your description of the card relates to their situation.
What should you do?
First, don’t panic!
Second, continue the reading. Explain to the client that the meaning will be clear in a few minutes.
As the rest of the reading unfolds, return to the card in question. Find ways that it relates. Often, it will become the cornerstone of the reading.
Why does this happen?
Sometimes it is a communication issue. There are so many ways to communicate about the cards. Perhaps the words you chose just didn’t resonate with the client, even though the meaning of the card eventually will.
Sometimes it is a resistance issue. People resist their own truth, even when they are seeking healing. That is why being patient and coming around to it again later works so well.
Sometimes people just forget. Clients are often nervous during a reading, no matter how we work to put them at ease. It is frustrating when you ask “Who is the young boy you are worried about?” They shake their head quizzically. Then five minutes later they tell you their son was just in a car crash! Again, be patient. Tarot reading is as much a process for the client as it is for the reader.
Every card that comes up in a reading is significant. Some are more significant than others. This is part of how intuition works. Sometimes when a card doesn’t make sense it is easy to pay attention to the other cards that do.
Sometimes, though, the card that doesn’t make sense is the most important card of all. You intuition will tell you to stick to your guns, and your skill will help you unravel the story.
Here are a few techniques to help you make sense of the pesky card.
- Describe the image to the client very specifically. Include the symbolism in the card as you see it. Ask the client what they think it might mean.
- Ask the card itself why it is there. Listen to the answer that you hear intuitively.
- Ask the card why it is there, and pull another card to answer your question. You can ask the card questions like “What do you mean?” What part of the client’s life do you reference?” “Why does this client need you right now?” Pull cards to answer these questions and see how this shapes your perspective. You can do this silently, without sharing the process with the client if you prefer.
- List all the key words, traditions and interpretations you can think of for this card. See which ones resonate most for you and your client.
- Compare and contrast the card with other cards in the spread. How does it work with the other cards?
- Consider what resistance to the energy of this card looks like. Is the resistance to that energy significant in the reading?
In a tarot reading you can pay more attention to some cards than to others. It is easy to gloss over certain cards in certain situations. But sometimes the cards that are hardest to interpret become the most meaningful, if you take the time and patience to figure them out.