Trusting Your Tarot Cards

Message from the Spreads

Empress Guidance Spread InstagramIf you’ve followed my blog for any time at all, you might have noticed that I like to post spreads. They’re a lot of fun to make and play around with, but I like to use them for writing prompts.

I am not alone in my enjoyment of spreads. My Instagram and Pinterest are filled with beautiful and amazing spreads. created by wonderful individuals. Most people know of Emerald Lotus, but they definitely should get a shout-out when it comes to generating layouts for cards.

However, there are a lot of spreads that I dismiss, and I wonder how people do readings with them. I’ll look think how interesting a card position is, and consider it for a moment. Then my mind generates a card falling into that place, giving an unrelated message to that position.

What if I’m doing a spread on discovering your Spirit Guide and the card representing them is the 10 of Swords? Or what if when looking at my Deeper Purpose in life, I get the Devil? Or the 3 of Swords? What if when looking at what advice I can give to a grieving loved one is the 8 of Cups?

The What Ifs

The key phrase to these questions is ‘What if.’

When my mind comes up with these scenarios, I dismiss a spread, thinking the creator of the spread clearly hasn’t thought it through.

But that isn’t true. These are just card positionings. The problem in this is me.

Where There’s Trust…

Writing PromptThere is a trust that has to happen between the reader and a deck of cards. The reader must trust that the cards are aligned with them, that their own intuition is tuned in, that they, as a reader, are centered and grounded enough to bring the messages of the card into the moment.

What this boils down to is that the reader has to trust that the cards are going to fall correctly.

When I was learning tarot, or at least, dabbling within the first couple of years of my first deck, I really liked to over-think. I questioned what was there in the cards, wondered if the cards falling from my hands, or my incomplete shuffle was a sign, was a message, or if it was just me being clumsy. I think we all, as tarot readers, have these moments. I hear this question often enough.

I wish I could remember the book I read this in, but just know, there is a published book at least 13 years old that had these words in it (approximately):

There are no accidents in Tarot.

This changed my view on the Tarot. The cards do as they do and we need to see them as we do in that moment. This realization

  • Cleared my over-thinking confusion
  • Put me in a better mental space to trust what came into my mind whenever a card fell out, or an alternate meaning came up.

I began to trust.

What to Consider

Day 5 Creating a Mentor
I really had to write short hand to convey this Mentorship Spread (Creative Writing)

With social media being very image-focused. Thus, lots of readers grab attention by dispensing shareable tarot spread images—myself included. It’s catchy, and sometimes it sticks in the mind of the receiver.

When it comes to spreads, I know perfectly well that when I’m creating that image, I need a quick snapshot of the spread for the picture-skimmers. The words on the image are the best keywords to show the position, but not its whole story.

Thus, I’m not trusting that the spreads I’m coming across on social media are completed elsewhere.

Furthermore (and this is the most important part), when I look at these spreads, I’m not trusting that the cards will fall correctly.

If the 10 of Swords really is my Guide, then there is an aspect to the 10 of Swords that I have yet to discover. If my advices is the 8 of Cups to a grieving friend, I’m probably looking at the card in a one-sentence definition. I am likely forgetting that this is a card of listening to their intuition to know when to move on.

The cards aren’t going to lie. That’s all there is to it.

If the connection between positioning and card isn’t there, then that is on me, not the cards.

Mentorship Spread
Trippin’ Waite Tarot

Calling Myself Out

As you might know, I spend a lot of time on Benebell Wen’s YouTube channel (Love it!). She likes to walk the viewer through tarot spreads she comes across. The idea behind it is that you, watching the video for the first time, do the spread right along side the video.

Without thinking, I’ve been happily doing these spreads, and getting really great results. Some of them I have actually incorporated into my regular readings.

Yet, while I was writing this post, I realized something. One of my key rules for a new spread is to make sure I know the spread before I start reading. I believe the cards are a connection between the reader and the energies around. Because of this, the cards need to know where you will read their message for proper application. So, I focus on the spread while I shuffle to get this down. Makes sense, yes?

Then again, I’ve been reading alongside these videos without knowing the spread at all. And getting perfect, beautiful, and wonderful readings.

How do I reconcile this?

Trust the cards, they know what they’re doing. I can’t explain how, I can’t explain why, but they just do. Trust yourself, your intuition, the surrounding energies, and trust your cards.

Aquarian Tarot in a Tin
Aquarian Tarot


    1. Exciting! Have you picked your deck? When you get it, spend time with it. I highly recommend Benebell Wen’s book, Holistic Tarot if you really want deep study. Otherwise, spend time observing each cars. Keep a journal and record you thoughts and readings. Ask yourself what the images mean to you and write that down before you refer to the meaning in the little white book. Read widely on if. Hear as many definitions and stories behind the cards as you can. Most importantly, have fun with them!

      1. It is very exiting! I was going to choose between Rider Waite or another deck that the store I go to will have. Most of the stores I’ve gone to only have Oracle Cards. I already have two decks of those, so I wanted to try Tarot. So it really is whatever they have in stock at the time. (Brisbane is really running short on meta-stores). So, I’ll think i’ll know my deck when i see it on the shelf. Thats what i did with the other two decks and they have been awesome so far! Do you recommend this method? Or is there another way you pick out your Decks? I would love to know from your experience.

      2. Definitely go for one that speaks to you. I’ve been on the look out for a new deck for a while and been frustrated at the lack of pagan/metaphysical stores in the Northeast of England, and that now if any form of divination tool is carried at a store, theyre oracle. I’m on the look out for one of those too, but one hasn’t spoken to me thus far. All that to say that yes, go for one that speaks to you, but don’t be afraid to look online too. I’m all about supporting local and in person mom and pop shops, but it’s hard to do if theyre not around. A Rider Waite deck is great if you resonate with it. Definitely good to get started with. I personally never resonated with it, but have mostly had RWS-based decks, so decks that keep to similar imagery but are stylistically different. Know that there is no right or wrong way to get a deck (other than stealing).

      3. Haha! No I won’t steal any decks. But yes I totally get the struggle of the lack of local meta-stores and good local stock of Tarot decks. I will definitely go with my intuition as per your recommendation. I wish you good luck on finding your oracle deck(s) in the future. My oracle decks are Earth Magic and Messages from your Spirit Guides both by Steven D. Farmer. I definitely would like to get RWS because I feel drawn to it at this time, but if its not there I’ll have a look at other decks they have instore or online 🙂 Thanks so much Nicola for your advice.

      4. Hey Nicola, at this exact time on Australian television there was a guy on Hot seat that took out his Tarot deck! Oh my God. on National Television. Well, thats a little ironic!

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