Question to those experienced in Tarot:

For those with tarot reading experience, how do you interpret the cards?

I have alittle bit of experience myself, but not enough to be confident in my ability to read a spread accurately all the time.

So do you go by the books definition of the cards (and I know each book for the different decks and vary of their interpretation), by intuition, a mix of both? Maybe even by the symbology of the symbols shown on the individual cards you pull?

I was originally going by a mix of intuition and the books definition, but from recent observation it seems like everyone has a slightly different style? I thought the cards had their concrete meaning/etc, but it seems like even that can vary on the deck and how the cards relate to what ever question the reading is for.

It doesn’t seem like there is a “one way fits all”. Is what I’m observing. I’m considering getting a book that might help me understand the tarot better lol.


I go by the book, but each card has multiple meanings so my intuition finds the right one and it weaves a story.


That’s pretty much what I was doing. Going by the book for my deck, then using my intuition to fit that into my question/reading and how it fits in with the other cards.

I figured I’d see if others had better methods lol, since sometimes I still have a hard time putting everything together. However most my readings do make sense for the question, so I dont doubt the accuracy - more so my ability to understand the spread.


I read my cards within a balanced ritual space in order to connect with my own internal demonic wisdom or insight. Usually reading cards is about connecting with your higher self and your intuition in order to find answers.

From my experience people experienced enough in reading will not merely memorise the booklet that came along with it but people who are true empaths, intuitive and mediums will read the symbolism of the card and what the card means to them and will use the cards as a tool to find out their intuitive feeling about the situation.


I usually just connect to my intuition. Not everyone follows the HS stuff.

I was going by the symbolism for a time being, but updated my reading style as I got more experienced.


Intuition are the way to go with it, in the end all the methods of divination are just tools you can use to tap something you already have.

For symbolism in cards I like to get one of those color your own decks and meditate on each card and Then I add my own personal symbolism. It works pretty well for me. :sparkles:


I don’t use spreads most of the time, I usually draw until I feel compelled to stop, around 5 - 7 cards.

If I’m not 100% certain of a meaning I will go by its traditional definition, although some cards have personal meanings to me in certain contexts, e.g. if I read for another practitioner the 3 of Pents usually represents working with spirits/general spellcasting, and I associate certain entities with as particular cards, or I’ll interpret it based on numerology for the minor arcana occasionally.

The way the cards are grouped also lets me intuit the narrative; some reads are harder than others to make sense of but I find it’s easier to go with less cards and don’t second-guess your first impressions as they’re usually correct. Also the distribution of minor arcana suit cards can be an indicator as well, e.g. a lot of water cards = the querent is focused strongly on their emotional state at the time; a lot of pentacles = they’re concerned with money or material matters, etc., but that’s more supplementary to the read overall.


I do it the same as @Velenos then. I go by the books, using all the Kabbalistic, Astrological, Elemental and I Ching aspects of the cards. I’ll use my intuition for more insight into a certain card during the reading, if it comes to me.

I’ve once had someone who has never done a tarot reading and knows nothing on the Tarot do a tarot reading for me, and the reading was perfectly accurate by the books (Which they were completely unaware of), but was completely inaccurate by their intuition.


Technically that would still fit the traditional meaning of the card.

I’d be interested to hear your associations. Of course a spirit can be assigned to each card by their forces, or personal experiences, but there are actually Angelic, Goetic, and Enochian assignments to each of the Minor Arcana cards.

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Sounds intriguing, do you have a link/resource where I can read more?

So far it’s only a handful of spirits, Lilith = High Priestess, Hekate shows up often as the Empress, Aphrodite is the Queen of Cups


I do a mixture, but far prefer intuition.

Each deck has its own “personality” in my experience.
“Death” in the Rider Waite deck I have is mostly about gentle transformation of the environment, moving on and leaving something behind, such as a change of seasons or an emotional burden and weight has been lifted. “Death” in my Night Sun tarot deck is about sudden destruction, more violence, and sometimes literal death. It’s very angry. “Death” in my Shadowscapes deck is about personal transformation, like leaving behind a personal shell, growing into a new person with new thoughts and ideas, its about revelation. All three are about change and transformation but in different ways. Sometimes I use multiple decks (tarot and oracle both) to give a full reading to someone, because some decks (ahem, Night Sun) can feel one-noted at times. Also, it’s hilarious the few times someone gets the exact same card multiple times (imagine how terrified someone’d be getting three towers. Rest in Peace).

Even then, some people also don’t read the “reverse” meanings of the cards. I always do, and in decks that don’t offer them, I create my own meaning. It’s a conversation, to me. The cards tell me, and I “translate” and I have to work together with the cards in order to know exactly what they’re trying to say.

I never use anyone else’s spreads. My go to is to just draw the cards and intuitively figure out if they want to go in a certain order or pattern. I have eventually curated loose “spreads” to more easily dissect cards, such as a “V” shaped spread to help tell two people (or entities) in a relationship reading, or a straight line of 3-6 cards in a row then two or three in a column at the end to indicate a pathway or branching road.

I only Sometimes refer to the books that each deck specifically came with, otherwise I cultivate my own meanings with a partnership regarding each deck.


Every deck is different. No one is same. I use the book they come with as a guide and go from there. I have many tarot decks and oracle decks. Oracle tends to be a little more tricky because they are not a “normal” format.


777 by Aleister Crowley. Almost all of the popular interpretations of the tarot cards are based off of that work from Crowley as I understand it.
OTO members work with the assigned spirits through the Tarot through those assignments.

Lilith is usually associated with the Moon so that’s an interesting link as The High Priestess represents the Moon. Although traditionally Hekate would be assigned to the High Priestess as well, and Aphrodite to The Empress as it represents Venus.


The Major Arcana take on different meanings based on the question and which Element the question falls under in a sense. In my experience, the Rider Waite ‘Death’ card can mean all those things. In matters that relate to the Earth element, Death can refer to destruction. Regarding matters that fall under the element of Fire, it refers to such changes and transformation.

But yes some decks can have different meanings from others.


Oh neat. I have that book. I should probably go take a look. Bought it years ago and never read it :upside_down_face:


For some people it can do that, yes. I strictly avoid anything involving the “traditional” elements, they are not a part of my belief or culture. After reading for over fifteen years, the way I read cards is cultivated to my specific impositions, so while I respect that this is how it works for you, its not how it works for me. Hope you understand. Thanks.


I apologize if I came off the wrong way there, I did not mean to make it sound as if I think there is only one way it can work. One can definitely assign their own meanings or they can develop without issue, I’ve also done so in the past.


No worries! Sorry for the defensiveness, I often have to deal with that sort of attitude in occult circles; there’s quite a lot of ways to explore tarot and divination! Hopefully OP can explore what they like with everyone here and figure something out for themselves :sparkles::v:


I know what you mean, I particularly hated that among some Norse Pagan circles, and I hate it when Armchair Occultists act like that. But luckily having been quite experimental with divination, and even asking through divination how things work has made me very open. This forum is very unique in how open most on here are.


I know this is strange, but if it’s a single card pull, I “charge” the card like I would a sigil, and then I turn it over, face down, and I go about my business. The meaning usually explodes in my brain later in the day, to the exclusion of all else- like it overrides my thinking in the moment - sometimes an hour, sometimes 3 hours.

If it’s a multi card pull, I do alot of the same- but I try not to jump to any conclusions too quick. When I look at the spread, it’s more about gathering the data and then waiting until later when I meditate, do trance work, etc…that’s when the spread’s significance reveals itself.

But the key for me is to force myself to not think about it until the meaning overrides everything else in my hamster cage.