I have an idea!
Tarot as you DON'T know it (updated 27 March 2023)

So is it true?

If you enjoyed the Where does it go? technique, here is another way to read tarot cards for introspection.

[Updated 31 August 2022 to add a sample exercise.]

Wheel of Fortune, Fantastic Menagerie TarotFor this technique, you will read tarot cards in a spread but not assume that everything you read is true. It is a sceptic's reading, in which you draw random cards to help you think. Some cards will be true; others will not. This is how it should be.

The subject of the reading is "How did I get here," which can be a positive or a negative place.

How it works

Lay out the cards in the spread below, then using only one keyword or phrase per card, do a strict 'use the right keywords' reading. Pretend you are reading for someone else and are only allowed to use one keyword or phrase per card.

If you wish, set your intention to introspection and accept cards in the reading may not reflect the whole truth. That is the point. Once you have done the reading, for each card, ask yourself: "In my situation, is this true?"

Your answer will be one of the following:

  • Yes, it is true. So how does that make you feel? Is it the whole truth, or just a partial truth? What else is true?
  • This is true, but I want to change it to something else. What would that be?
  • This is true, but why is it true? Am I happy with that?
  • No, this is not true at all. For each card that doesn't fit, decide what the truth would be.
  • Not true, but I like certain aspects. Note which ones and why.
  • I wish! How can you make it true? What will you have to change?

You should now have plenty of material for introspection!

The spread

8-card horseshoe spread

  1. Where am I?
  2. How did I get here?
  3. What did I do right?
  4. What mistake did I make?
  5. What do I want out of this situation?
  6. Who or what will support me in this time?
  7. Where will all this lead to?
  8. What is the best I can do under the circumstances?

Remember, this is not divination; you are looking at the cards in a 'sceptic's way' to do a reflection.

Sample reading

Here are some notes I made for a reading of mine about marketing my work. The notes are not a complete reflection, but I share the interpretations and notes about them.

  1. Where am I? Seven of Wands. Defensive. True, I'm not comfortable with marketing my work. Why? I don't feel accomplished.
  2. How did I get here? Three of Pentacles. Teamwork. Not true (I wish it were true!). Worked alone. Would have liked to work with a team. Why? How can I deal with it?
  3. What did I do right? Six of Wands. Victory. True. Completed the work. But would I call it 'victory'?
  4. What mistake did I make? Six of Pentacles. Generosity. Not true. I don't like sharing this work. Why? I don't feel like an expert.
  5. What do I want out of this situation? Queen of Cups. Emotions under control. Yes, but not wholly true. I also need money to make a living.
  6. Who or what will support me in this time? The World. Fulfilment. True, a feeling of knowing what I'm doing will support me.
  7. Where will this lead to? Queen of Wands. Passionate. Passionate about my work, and not so full of doubts. I hope!
  8. What is the best I can do under the circumstances? The Lovers. Love. Love my work. Again, I hope! Need to conquer 'imposter syndrome.'

*The deck is the Fantastic Menagerie Tarot by Magic Realist Press.

[This technique was first described on SynTAROTis.]


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