Interpreting other people’s Tarot spreads?

reading other people's tarot layout

What do you see?

From time to time, someone will ask me if I can interpret the cards they drew for themselves, often accompanied by a written list of their cards. I’m always¬† hesitant about doing so. It’s not that I’m unwilling or have performance anxiety. I don’t declare myself the one, true voice of Tarot wisdom, after all. Duh!

And it’s not 100% out of the question. There have been occasions when I’ve seen another person’s layout, and an interpretation was just…there. Popped right into my brain. So I share it, when that happens. But more often than not, I avoid it.

Tarot is a visual medium, so seeing cards listed doesn’t evoke diddly compared to seeing images. But it’s more than that. For me, the cards themselves are the least important part of a Tarot reading!

The magic isn’t just, say, the Temperance card appearing on cue. It’s knowing if Temperance is a warning to cut back on the drinking, a call for balance, a suggestion for integrating disparate forces, or something else I haven’t thought of until I’m right there, in the flow, tuned in and asking for guidance. It’s the flow of a reading that is magic and the real insight doesn’t come from a cookbook definition of “this card in this position means X.” It’s organic, it’s visual, and it’s very nebulous. That’s why an automated reading will never give the same experience as a live reader.

I haven’t actually tried reading a whole spread from another person’s image, although I’d be open to experimenting. The cards are far more than a prop to me, for sure, but they are the medium of communication, as opposed to the actual message.¬† That’s why learning Tarot isn’t just an exercise in memorization, but a spiritual practice in energy work. You can’t take the spirit out of it and expect the same results.

What do you think about reading other people’s Tarot spreads? Can you? How does it work for you?

Comments

  1. I have one friend who does her own readings and then gives me a call. I think it’s hard to interpret her cards for her. I’d rather talk about the various meanings of the cards and then let her take it from there. There’s a lot of energy at the time of the reading which (IMO) makes a big difference. That energy can change or dissipate afterwards as we let the initial reading settle in.

    • See, I find the flow to come very much in the connection during the reading as well. To the point it sometimes lingers for a while afterward, often when I’m emailing a client discussing it. That’s nice because I can come up with more for these conversations and it has more punch. But the connection definitely is a time-and-space sensitive event for me.

  2. I never tried it, although I’ve seen people post their cards on forums. I never even thought of trying it, though. I 100% agree that it’s in the flow and the interaction. Although I’ve done IM readings a lot and I’m extremely surprised at the accuracy.

  3. I am such an amateur I wouldn’t even attempt this. I’m still learning to interpret my own. LOL!
    But, if ya ever wanna practice you can look at mine anytime

  4. This is something I watch in curiosity on the different tarot FB pages. I love it when they talk decks, techniques, superstitions, history and offer readings or discounts on them, but am fascinated by not only how many people spread on the pages, but ask others to take a look.

    I’ve asked for help when I’m horribly attached to the outcome and have an emotional breakdown avoiding the truth. Lupa’s been one to kick my butt in the most polite way possible in that instance. Asking 100+ strangers? And the interpretations run the gamut. I’m glad you addressed this. I didn’t realize how much it was itching my brain until you did.

  5. Well, Dixie, I never have, but I’ve got to tell ya – that picture just cracked me up this morning! Thanks for the laugh!

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