Tarot cards and problem-solving: What works and what doesn't?

Card and question markIn a previous post, I showed you how to solve problems with tarot cards without reading the cards. I mentioned some problems are suited to be explored by a tarot reading, while others are not.

Tarot cards help you find solutions by telling stories.

So which problems should you not try to solve with tarot cards?

Problems not ideal for tarot cards

Problems needing a yes or no answer don’t work well with tarot cards.

There are techniques that tarot readers use, including counting upright and reversed cards and deciding it’s “yes” when there are more upright than reversed cards. But this is not reading the cards unless you do both: finding a yes/no answer and then reading the cards you drew.

Another type of question that isn’t effective for a tarot reading starts with “When …”.

Again, you get tarot readers who use various methods to determine time (for example, with astrology or seasons associated with the cards), but this is also not reading the cards.

A third type of problem not suitable for tarot reading is one where you want a list of things to choose from. These problems could include:

  • ways to please your boss so he stops picking on you;
  • types of easy yet enjoyable parties for small children;
  • gift ideas for a birthday;
  • options for games to play when your family visits over Christmas;
  • ways to stop employees from resigning and leaving with valuable information;
  • methods to reduce your exam anxiety; and
  • marketing ideas for your book.

Problems like these are easier to solve with brainstorming methods, including brainstorming with tarot cards. With brainstorming, you use several cards to stimulate creative solutions.

Many other creativity techniques will also help you find lists of possible solutions. I’ve written about creative-problem-solving techniques you can use with tarot cards, including brainstorming with tarot cards, appreciative inquiry (also known as “what is working well) with the cards, active verbs using tarot cards, changing perspective, what would tarot do, and more.

So which type of problems work well?

The perfect problem to solve with tarot cards is one where you want to understand the situation and delve into causes and consequences. And then find a solution.

The most significant difference between this type of problem and one where you brainstorm solutions, is that in brainstorming, you look for many solutions to choose from, while in reflecting on a problem, you could find solutions while exploring the cards in a spread. You could also use a spread position such as “Solution,” “What do I do next?” or “Advice.”

Probably the most effective questions to ask in a tarot reading are those starting with “Why?” and “What do I need to know about …” You could re-read a previous article on The Sceptic’s Tarot, “Asking the question.”

These questions are open-ended and perfect for story-telling cards.

You can use many tarot spreads, including the famous Celtic Cross, to explore a problem and find solutions; however, the most effective ones are spreads tailored to solve problems.

Here are a few of mine:

Find, define, solve

How else can I solve this problem?

What’s my problem?

The root of the problem


What if I do nothing?

As always, if you need a brief refresher on reading tarot cards, look at my free article, "How to read tarot cards: A quick guide."

You might also consider my tarot-reading course, "Reading the cards for your self."

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