You know your deck so well. You hold it in your hands often, and maybe even slept with it under your pillow. But for some reason, it’s given you a “bad” reading and thrown you for a loop. How could it be wrong? You heard the cards were never wrong.
Tarot is a marvelous, magical tool for intuitive insight. When the cards don’t give us a clear answer, it can be disheartening. What could be the matter?
First, check in with yourself. If you are not in a balanced mental state, the cards may be picking up your energy. This can happen because of a crisis or just because you didn’t slept well the night before.
If you are reading for someone else, and they’re giving you a look and a headshake for every card, be sure to ask them what your interpretation means to them. Together you can figure out how the card fits into the person’s life.
Another thing to consider is that a tarot reading is just a snapshot in time. As soon as you put your cards down and read them, the future can change based on what you learn. Sometimes what you think is a “bad” reading is you learning what you actually want, which may have been unclear before the reading. Tarot readings are not prophecies because we are never static.
Remember tarot readings are a mixture of present and future. If just part of the reading seems off, it could mean that those energies haven’t entered your life yet.
Consider that the energy of the cards is there… but the story you’re associating with may be wrong. This is easy to fall into if you use a certain deck for a while. For example, in Rider-Waite, the Ten of Swords shows a man stabbed in the back. If you were to read just what is pictured in the card, you’d see a betrayal. However, while each card represents a focused and isolated energy, realize that the energy is faceted. The Ten of Swords, being a 10 card, can simply mean the end of a cycle. Together with the suit of swords, it’s the end of a cycle of great upheaval and change. In this case, the Ten of Swords can actually be a relief.
As a last resort, you can also clean your cards. After so many readings, your cards will absorb energy—good and bad—and may feel a little off. You can clean your cards by placing them under the light of the full moon overnight or placing them in salt overnight with plastic wrapped to protect them. A quartz crystal also helps as it absorbs energy indiscriminately as well.