6 Ways to Masterfully Interpret Your Tarot Card Reading

6 Ways to Masterfully Interpret Your Tarot Card Reading

Picture this: you've asked the cards a question, you've laid out three cards in front of you, and....you have no idea what they mean. You need help interpreting your tarot card reading.

You've been studying tarot for some time and you do have a handle on the book meanings but you look at the spread in front of you and your mind just freezes up. You're thinking: how do these cards relate to MY situation?

You know that each card could represent several different meanings but which one to go with? How do you know that you have the right one? It can feel so overwhelming sometimes and you wonder how people do it. 

I completely understand where you're coming from. I've had that many times too and so have many tarot readers, even those that are way beyond the beginner stage! You want to read the cards expertly and intuitively but you don't know how you can even manage that when you can't even get a message from three cards!

Okay, first of all, breathe. That's the 8 of Swords in you talking. We all have those moments where we doubt our own ability or feel overwhelmed but the key is to find the right strategy to help you work through it.

Today, I'm gonna give you my top techniques for getting yourself unstuck from a particularly challenging tarot reading. Before you put those three cards away, I want you to try this out and let's see if we can understand those three cards you pulled together.

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We all have those moments where we doubt our own ability or feel overwhelmed but the key is to find the right strategy to help you work through it.

Get Into Receptive Mode

I cannot stress enough how important this is! What is receptive mode? Well, a quiet mind is a receptive mind. You'll be able to notice more in the images and be more receptive to messages from Spirit when you are in the right frame of mind.

One reason I prefer to do my readings in the mornings is that mornings are my meditation and contemplation time. I use that time to centre myself and open up to Spirit. Not only that, but I find that my mind is generally quieter before my day has really begun and so it's already in receptive mode. 

Let's explore this a little further. Whether you're doing your reading in the morning, afternoon, or evening you should always take a moment to centre yourself and get into receptive mode before you begin. How are you going to receive any messages from Spirit, your own higher self, or just get those amazing intuitive insights if your mind is all over the place? That's like walking up 20 flights of stairs when you could simply take the lift!

All you have to do is:

  1. Take in a few deep breaths, imagine white light pouring into your body

  2. Hold your breath for a few seconds and feel the light relaxing and cleansing every single cell

  3. Exhale and as you do so breath out all your thoughts and troubles out. Just let it all go.

  4. Repeat steps 1-3 as many times as necessary.

That's it. You can use whatever visualisation you want or if you're not into visualisations, listen to some uplifting music or anything really that gets you into a calm and tranquil state of mind. 


Struggling to go beyond individual card meanings and understand the big picture? Register for this FREE masterclass to learn how to tell the story of your tarot spread in 5 steps!

The Right Question Gets You The Right Answer

Structure of a Clear Tarot Reading

Asking the right question is key! A  vague question, gets you a vague response. The cards will pick up on whatever you're really asking while you're shuffling the cards.

Sometimes you ask one thing but you mean another. Then you look at the cards and you're confused because it doesn't seem to relate. If the question itself makes no sense then how can you expect the answer to make sense? You need to get crystal clear about what it is you're really asking.

Tarot answers your questions long form, not in short form. The responses you get aren't yes or no, they tell you a story. So first of all, avoid asking yes or no questions. The pendulum is the perfect instrument for yes or no questions and probabilities. The tarot gives you a detailed explanation.

What you should do instead is ask open ended questions that allow for more long form responses. For example instead of asking "will I get the job?" you might ask "what can I do to get the job?" and "what other factors do I need to know about?". Break your question down into components in order to get a clearer picture of the situation. Divide and conquer!

Begin your questions with:

  • What - What do I need to know about xyz?

  • Why - Why is xyz?

  • How - How can I xyz?

Trust Your Gut

The first impression is usually the right one. Remember that, write it down, print it out and frame it in your workspace because this is the most important thing when it comes to intuitive tarot reading.

You deal out your three cards and your heart tells you one thing but it doesn't strictly match the book meaning. So what meaning do you go with? Always go with the meaning you're initially drawn to whether it's in the book or not! You see, the book meanings are there to help us at the learning stage, to get a feel for what the cards are and get familiar with the situation. Knowing what meaning to apply in which situation relies on intuition. You do need the book meanings as a basis but what really catapults the reading into outer space is your intuition!

During my first experience with a scarily accurate tarot reader she mentioned my that I was with my now husband in a past life but we were separated by war. I have always felt that my husband and I had an epic journey and that we were star-crossed and when she said that everything just clicked. She even mentioned being drawn to water, which I am, and being drawn to angels, which I also am.

Do you think she got all that just from the card book meanings? NO! She was able to do that by referencing her internal library of card meanings and overlaying that, enriching that, with her own intuitive insights and psychic impressions!

So what I want you to do when you feel stuck with a reading is:

  • Pay attention to your feelings. What emotions or sensations come up when you look at the cards?

  • Pay attention to any images, words, or thoughts that enter your mind when looking at the cards

  • Look for any repeating symbols or things within the images that catch your eye.

Here's an example: I was doing an exercise while learning mediumship and on a whim decided to pull some tarot cards out while trying to make contact with someone's deceased friend. One of the cards I got was the Sun and normally the sun means triumph, happiness, growth, and great joy. I could have just taken that to mean that my querant's friend was happy on the other side and called it a day but, in my deck, the Sun card has a little sail boat in the background. For some reason my eye kept going back to that sail boat and I said "your friend either used to enjoy sailing or the sea was very important to him". As it turns out the querant and his friend used to go sailing together in high school all the time! 

Let your intuition point the way! According to my experience, it never leads you to the wrong place. Whatever your gut feeling is just go with it and keep practising. 

The first impression is usually the right one. Always go with the meaning you’re initially drawn to whether it’s in the book or not! 

Throw Your Assumptions Out the Window

Have you ever heard of this saying: "When you assume you're making an ass out of you and me"? Same thing goes for tarot as well. You need to throw your preconceived assumptions out the window. Sometimes when we're in a difficult situation we make assumptions about the outcome and about what the other person is thinking or feeling. We ask the cards a question but we may have already decided the answer in our own minds.

Note that this is not the same thing as trusting your gut. This is when you assume things based on your own fear and insecurities. Tarot tells you want you need to know not what you want to know.

For example, you're having some difficulties with a friend and you think to yourself "she doesn't want to hang out with me any more because she thinks I'm not good enough for her" or whatever other assumption is on your mind. You deal out the cards and you feel stumped because you're looking at them but you're not really seeing them, you're not letting the cards do the talking. You can't see the forest for the trees!

Sometimes those three cards that made no sense to you before make complete sense after the fact. That's because you realise that you were making an assumption that was blocking you from truly understanding the meaning.

Maybe that friend of yours was just busy and that's why she didn't want to hang out and that's why you got the 8 of Pentacles! What you can do instead is just try to put aside any assumptions you may have already made and look at the cards and nothing else. Let them tell you the story.


Struggling to go beyond individual card meanings and understand the big picture? Register for this FREE masterclass to learn how to tell the story of your tarot spread in 5 steps!

Look for Dominances

Another thing that can help you understand the messages that are coming through to you is to take a step back and look at the overall spread. What you want to do here is look for dominances or absences of major arcana cards, individual suits, court cards, or numbers. This will tell you what the situation is all about (dominances) and what energy is not present (absences).


For example let's say half of the cards you drew are majors. A dominance of majors in the spread indicates that the issue is something that's important for your life path: a life lesson, karmic reasons behind it, or it's part of your destiny. These things are difficult to change. It means that larger forces are at work here. The opposite is true if there are no majors at all.

Court Cards

A lot of court cards in the spread is a clue that this is a situation where many different people are involved and there could be some clashing of different personalities.

One time I did a reading for a client in which there were 5 or 6 court cards present in a 12 card reading and I just took one look and said to her "Looks like everybody around you has an opinion about this huh?" and this was completely accurate. She felt like she didn't have space to make her own decision regarding her job because it seemed like everybody had something to say about it.

Minor Arcana Suits Tarot | Tarot Suits

Individual Suits

Like I said, dominances and absences tell you what type of energy surrounds the reading you're doing and what it's all about:

Wands: A lot of wands indicates that the situation is one centred around passion, creativity, and establishing

Cups: Cups means that the main thing that's of concern here are the emotions, how people feel about things, as well as relationships and intuition.

Swords: A lot of swords indicates that the situation is centred around communication, interpersonal conflict or aggression, and mental energy.

Pentacles: Pentacles is the practical suit. A lot of pentacles means the issue is mainly about money, health, education, or other material concerns.

For example let's say your question is "What should I do about this situation?" and you draw three cards, all minor arcana, two of which are from the cups suit. Just by looking at the dominances you can already see that the advice is to consider the emotions of everyone involved or if you're asking about something that doesn't involve others then it would be to trust your intuition and gut feelings.

Look for Connections Between the Images

The images in the cards tell a story. To me the cards are almost like windows into the land of the tarot, as if each card is a moment of time that's been photographed. They're almost like living images that interact with each other.

I want you to take a look at just the pictures here and see what the overall scene looks like and what that could mean about your question. Some things to look out for are:

  • Do certain figures in the cards seem to be facing each other as if in agreement, or facing away from each other as if in disagreement?

  • Are all the cards facing forward, looking to the future, or facing backwards, looking to the past?

  • Do the figures in some cards look like they're pointing to other ones or looking in the direction of another card?

  • Do some cards look like they're part of the same scene or different parts of the same place? For example two cards having a mountain in the background. Could it be the same mountain seen from different perspectives?

The images in the cards tell a story. They’re almost like windows into the land of the tarot, as if each card is a moment of time that’s been photographed.

When you look at the cards in this way it forces you to think outside of the box and add a layer of your own intuitive interpretations on top of the book meaning. This is a good thing! When you start thinking of the cards in different ways you really start to unlock your abilities as an intuitive tarot reader.

The key point is that the book meanings are a starting point. Different cards can mean so many different things in different situations and the interpretation can even change depending on what cards are surrounding it. It's up to you to decide which meaning to go, according to your own intuitive guidance, your internal GPS system.


Struggling to go beyond individual card meanings and understand the big picture? Register for this FREE masterclass to learn how to tell the story of your tarot spread in 5 steps!