Tarot Tip #2: Writing It Down

July 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

When you’re learning to read, it’s an excellent idea to keep a note of all the readings you do. But this can quickly turn into a chore, especially if you’re doing larger spreads, and it can make quick, spontaneous readings seem an impossibility.

At the same time, making notes on what the cards seemed to be saying in a given meaning helps you learn more quickly and – more importantly – helps you to start trusting your own interpretations more quickly instead of relying on the interpretations in books.

So what to do? The trick is to keep it short and simple. You don’t need to write down everything little thing. Make a note of the date, your question or the subject of the reading, and the deck you’re using. Jot down the spread positions and which cards you drew in each position. Then write down something specific about the image on each card which catches your eye. Don’t try and write about every detail on every card!

For example, for the High Priestess in an Advice position you might write: “The High Priestess is covering her book with both hands. She really doesn’t want anyone to read it. Maybe I should keep my thoughts to myself for now.”


7 and 9 of Wands, 7 of Swords

July 18, 2010 § 2 Comments

Hi Tarot Doctor, I always have trouble grasping the meaning of the seven of wands , the nine of wands and the seven of swords. Could please explain them to me . Many thanks Eunice.

Hi Eunice,

Thanks for the question!

A lot of people struggle with the 7 and 9 of Wands as visually they are quite similar – that is, they both show someone in a defensive position. But a significant difference between the two images is the position of the wands.


In the 7, the wands are in front of the person, effectively blocking his path. For whatever reason, he’s coming under fire and he’s clearly outnumbered. I think of the 7 of Wands as a test of your convictions. Wands are all about what we do – the actions we take, the efforts we make, the goals we pursue – and the 7 raises questions about our level of commitment. How strongly do you believe in your idea? How much do you want to achieve your goal? How fiercely will you fight for this relationship?

To give a concrete example, say you came up with a brilliant ad campaign at work but your boss doesn’t get it, the head of marketing thinks it’s way too ambitious for the budget and your colleagues are trying to pick holes in it because they’re annoyed they didn’t think of it first. You’re trying to stand up for your idea and they’re all trying to shoot you down. It’s at this point that your belief in your idea is really put to the test. If you don’t believe in it, those jabbing wands are just going to knock you down. But if you’re really committed to getting the ad campaign out there, there’s a much better chance it could succeed. Of course, as this example demonstrates, the 7 of Wands also puts your project to the test. If there are any holes in your idea or if it isn’t good enough, here’s where it will fall down.

In the 9 of Wands, the wands are behind the person. They can be seen as representing his achievements so far and he stands in front of them protectively, as if he’s on guard duty. You could come up with any number of theories about what he’s guarding – whether he’s keeping the bad guys out or keeping them in – but the specifics aren’t really important. What’s important is what he’s having to do. Keeping watch over something requires continued vigilance and effort. If you were to draw this card as advice, it’s telling you to take nothing for granted, to do what you need to do to maintain what you’ve got. Even if you’re at the top of your game and everything’s going great, it probably took a lot of work to get there and this card is a reminder that you should sustain that effort to stay where you are. Or to put it another way, you can’t expect to stay afloat if you’re not prepared to keep paddling.

Being on your guard also means being cautious. It raises such questions as, are you as safe and secure in your current situation as you think you are? Are you doing enough to keep your job or to keep that important client (and if so, is enough good enough – should you actually be doing more than you need to, to keep the competition at bay?)

Of course, the interpretation of any card always depends on the position it falls in. For example, if the 9 of Wands were to appear as “Situation”, followed by, say, the Wheel of Fortune as “Advice”, I might read that as saying I was being too cautious and too guarded, perhaps that I’m afraid of getting hurt, and that I should allow events to unfold naturally and go with the flow.

Okay, finally, we come to the 7 of Swords and here we see someone apparently sneaking off with 5 swords.

Is he stealing or is he taking what belongs to him? Again, the specifics aren’t important (it could be either, depending on the situation!) What matters is how he’s going about it. He’s clearly trying not to be seen and he’s looking back over his shoulder as he leaves. For whatever reason, he’s felt it necessary to take indirect action. Perhaps he’s already tried the direct route by asking for his swords back and it didn’t work. So he’s had to find another solution.

Swords are associated with thought and also conflict. In the 7, we’re seeing an example of how brains can be just as mighty in a conflict as brawn. This card is all about strategy, planning, and tactics. If you can’t defeat the enemy by traditional means, you’re just going to have to outsmart them.

As a descriptive card, it can suggest that someone isn’t being entirely upfront – they may be keeping something from you or working on a secret project. As advice, it’s telling you to work smarter, not harder. You need to find a creative solution to your problem. It can also simply signify working alone and keeping your plans to yourself – not to be sneaky, but maybe just because the time isn’t right to reveal them yet.

Anyway, I hope this helps a bit.

Tarot Doctor

The Sun

July 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

Dear Tarot Doctor, I ended things with my boyfriend yesterday but then I did a reading last night and the card I drew for him was The Sun. In the book it says it means “joy, happiness, success”. Does that mean I shouldn’t have broken up with him? Thanks, Alys.

Dear Alys,

Thank you for your question!

First, I don’t know you or your boyfriend so I’m not qualified to say whether you should have broken up. I assume you had (good) reasons for ending it with your boyfriend, in which case you shouldn’t let a pack of cards change your mind. However, there’s nothing wrong with spending some time evaluating what went wrong.

Second, there’s more than one way to read the Sun card (as there is for every tarot card). For example, two possible meanings immediately spring to mind:

1) Like the real sun, your boyfriend always wanted to be the centre of attention. That might have made you feel like you weren’t important in the relationship.
2) Your boyfriend was too intense and full-on and didn’t give you any space. The sun’s wonderful, but if there’s no shade anywhere it can be difficult to take. Similarly, a boyfriend who’s constantly calling, asking how you are, and wanting to be with you can drive you mad – even if he’s just doing so because he really, really likes you.

I’ve deliberately plumped for more negative interpretations there, just to show the range of meaning the Sun can have. Which meaning is correct? Whichever rings true for you. You were there, after all.

Anyway, I hope that helps.


Tarot Doctor


March 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Dear Tarot Doctor, should I keep my tarot cards wrapped in a silk cloth? Thank you, Jen xx

Dear Jen,

Only if you want to.



2 of Pentacles

March 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

International Icon Tarot 2 of PentaclesAdrienne asks: Hi, can you help me to understand the 2 of Pentacles please?

Hi, thanks for the question. Actually, the 2 of Pentacles always used to give me problems too! There seems to be a big difference between understanding book meanings and actually “getting” a card well enough to feel comfortable interpreting it in readings. So, I’ll do my best to help you “get” it.

Imagine somebody surfing. They have to keep their feet firmly on the surfboard and they have to keep their balance. But they also have to stay flexible, to let their muscles relax and move in sync with the motion of the waves. If they’re too stiff, they won’t be able to go with the flow – their body will fight against the natural movement of the ocean. And if they’re too loose, they’ll just fall off. It’s this easy, relaxed attitude that the 2 of Pentacles is all about.

When you watch someone surfing, it looks so easy but there’s actually a lot going on to make that happen. A surfer uses their brain – to gauge wave strength, direction, and to keep their balance – as well as their body. Think of all the subtle muscle adjustments that are going on all the time. It takes a lot of practice to get in sync with the water, just like it takes a lot of practice before you can make riding a bike look easy. You have to be constantly aware of what’s coming up and yet you also have to relax and let your body take over.

A good phrase to bear in mind when the 2 of Pentacles comes up is “bend, not break”. That’s really the essence of the card. Stay relaxed and keep in sync with your environment or whatever’s going on around you – that way you won’t be bowled over by it but can move with it and harness its energy.

I hope that helps.

Learning to Speak Tarot

February 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Tarot readers are great at spending oodles of time pouring over books, posting on forums, making notes, trying to get to know our cards. What we sometimes forget is that there are easier ways. Tarot is a language and when you learn any language there are objects of reference you can use to help you understand. For example, a French person can point to a dog and say “le chien”. If you happen to be standing next to the French person when they do that, then you’ve just learnt how to say dog in French.

There are a number of ways to use this method to learn to speak Tarot. Here’s one thing you can try:

1. Ask your cards to tell you about the top news story before you see it. Be specific. Ask: “Tell me about the top news story on Radio Two at 8am this morning.” Ask about a news programme that’s coming up soon as a lot can change in just a few hours and that could affect the accuracy of the cards.

2. Shuffle your cards thoroughly and then draw 1, 2 or 3 cards – whatever you feel comfortable with.

3. Put the cards aside until the allotted time when you will get to hear the news. Try not to interpret them ahead of time as you’ll just be enforcing your own idea of what the cards should mean. This exercise is all about letting the cards teach you. If it’s easier, leave the cards face down when you draw them.

4. After you’ve listened to or watched (or read) the top news story, jot down a summary of it. Then look at the cards you drew and see how they fit with the story.

As an example, here’s one I tried earlier, at 8:55am on Saturday 21st February to be exact. I asked, “Tell me about the top news story on BBC Breakfast News on channel 503 at 9am”.

I drew The Emperor, the 2 of Swords and the Knight of Cups:

International Icon Tarot EmperorInternational Icon Tarot 2 of SwordsInternational Icon Tarot Knight of Cups

The top story was along the lines of “Downing Street strongly denies allegations printed in the Observer newspaper about the Prime Minister’s temperamental and moody behaviour.” 

It’s easy to relate to the Emperor as the Prime Minister in this instance. What is the Emperor if not the leader of a country?

The 2 of Swords tells me about denial. The figure in this card is blindfolded and has his arms crossed. He’s not willing to acknowledge or discuss the subject at hand.

I guessed that the Knight of Cups was referring to the Prime Minister’s alleged moody behaviour. Knights can be volatile and the Knight of Cups is concerned with emotions and emotional behaviour. You could also look at this card more literally, as it showing the Knight riding roughshod over other people’s feelings.

Make a note of your thoughts but don’t feel you need to understand every card. The more you repeat this exercise, the easier it will become. This is a great way to get a lot of reading practice without actually doing any readings!

Tarot Tip #1: Phrasing Questions

February 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

In the DVD you’re shown how to rephrase yes/no questions to get more out of a reading. This is because how you phrase your question has a huge impact on how successful your Tarot reading will be. 

By far, “how” and “what” are the strongest words to use when phrasing your question. For example, you could ask “How can I achieve x?” or “What is going on between me and Bob?” and simply draw one card. That card would then show you your answer. That is, the image on the card demonstrates how you can achieve x or depicts what is going on between you and Bob. This makes interpreting the card and getting your answer really easy – all you have to do is read the picture.

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