Q: How do you know those are the right cards for me? Do you ever draw the wrong cards?
A: There are no wrong cards AND they happen all the time.
As always, there is no easy answer to this. Tarot is all about nuance and context.
Let’s break this down a little bit.
Do I ever draw the wrong cards? Sure. Before we look at that part, let’s think about what makes a care right or wrong in the first place.
Tarot doesn’t predict the future. Tarot is all about ideas, inspiration, creative problem solving, empowerment, and spiritual enrichment. There is nothing external or definitive to “come true” so there is nothing measurable to prove that a card is the right one or the wrong one.
Our feelings are the only thing that can define a card as right or wrong in any given reading in any given moment. Often you’ll hear people use the word “resonate” to define that feeling. When we say a card “resonates” with us it means that the card’s inherent message rings true to our individual situation, makes some sort of logical sense or it just seems to vibe with the energy of the moment. A card or Tarot reading that “resonates” with a person is analogous to two music notes that literally resonate and vibrate together..
When a card or a message doesn’t resonate that means there is a mis-match in energies, like two music notes that don’t harmonize even sound outright unpleasant. Musicians call that dissonance.
So for now, let’s define a card as being “right” when it resonates with the reader or the person getting the reading.
The cards I draw really are random. The weekday Short Sip blogcast is a good example. The companion videos lets you see the real world random card drawing process. I start each Short Sip episode by shuffling the cards, even though that part happens off camera so that the video can fit into the Shorts and Reels time limits. Then I’ll either cut the deck and grab a card out of the middle of the freshly shuffled deck or fan them out and grab a card that way.
The vast majority of the time the card resonates with the general energy of the day so well that it will highlight which one of the card’s many meanings is the best one for the episode. Some days the card just doesn’t feel right. When you have been reading Tarot as long as I have, the difference between right cards and wrong cards is immediate and obvi0us. It usually takes one good look to know whether the card resonates with the energy of the day or whether there is some sort of mis-match.
To borrow from the sound analogy again, a card that feels right is like the DING on a cell phone when you get a notice. A card that is off-energy feels like something between like the annoying choppy static of a radio station that is almost out of range and a leaf blower outside your window just as you are trying to concentrate. When that happens in a Short Sip video, I just delete and start over until the DING happens.
And yes, the off-energy thing happens in private readings and full layouts too.
If it is a live reading, I’ll point out the parts that feel off and suggest we re-draw that card. I’ve never had anyone refuse a new card. 99% of the time the person I’m reading for senses the dissonance with the card too.
If I’m doing an email reading I’ll just swap out the card and go on. There have been times where I have scooped up whole layouts and started over.
There are hunches to follow for email readings too. Scoop and re-deal feels like right thing to do for wrong feeling cards most of the time. Every now and then, with clients I know well and who are fairly intuitive themselves, I’ll get the I’ll feel pushed to let THEM decide if they want to stick with the original cards or scoop and shuffle for new cards.
So yeah, wrong cards happen all the time and that’s what I do about it.
At the same time, there is no such thing as a wrong card.
We have been talking about the cards as if they are an outside source of information that has the ability to be accurate or not. If only it were that simple.
Let’s keep up the analogies with sound.
Go back to that radio. Sure, sometimes the station doesn’t come in well. But if we tune in to the news station does that mean the rock channel is playing the wrong song?
That’s the kind of question non-linear logic we deal with in Tarot. Tarot cards aren’t anything magic or mystical. They are bits of paper with stuff drawn on them. Cards, runes, pendulums, stars, tea leaves or what have you only serve to amplify our inner human intuition. The cards help make our intuition loud enough that we can tell if our intuition is resonating with the energy of the message or the energy of the day – or not.
Spirit speaks in whispers. Tarot just helps us to hear it better.
Even if a particular card isn’t the best symbol for the energy message, spirit and energy have the capacity to whisper just a little bit louder. Somehow the right message finds its way through. The message gets through by making one card uncomfortable and prompting us to draw another card that is a better conduit for the energy message. The message gets around the cards all together with purely intuitive mental images, words, sounds and pop culture references separate and apart from any specific card. When intuition is allowed to do its thing, there is no wrong cards. Either through the impulse to re-draw a card or through direct intuitive input, we get to the right message in the end.
So yeah, there is no such thing as a wrong card because the energy gets the right message to you one way or another.
Thanks for hanging in there through this longer behind the scenes blog post and listening to this bonus Q & A episode of the podcast.
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Please stay tuned over the weekend. I’m hoping to upload a new interactive Tarot in addition to the the usual Weekend Tarot Turnover intuition building exercise. I’d be interested to hear which meanings you choose and why for the Turnover exercise. Let me know your questions – ask me anything. Comments are open on the blog and the podcast. I’m on instagram and Twitter all the time – maybe too much. give you an answer of some sort in the blog cast, maybe even one using Tarot cards. If I don’t know, I’ll give you my best guess how to find out. It’a been a long couple of years and it really does feel like its time to get social and chatty again.
Thanks again for reading and listening. See you at the next sip of some kind of Tarot post or another.