Annoying Tarot Cards

Last week I did a post about the Tarot Court Cards and how for a long time, they totally baffled me. I overcame this by spending quality time learning my Court Cards, but what about those cards that you’ve tried to learn, again and again and again….and they STILL baffle you?

the hierophant tarot card meaning
Card image is from The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck published by U.S.Games Systems, Inc.

For me, the Seven of Swords, Five of Swords and The Hierophant are the three Tarot cards that almost always leave me stumbling for words (when doing a professional reading) and just plain confused when reading for myself. I have meditated on these cards, wrote pages about them, read all my Tarot books, etc….and I still feel like I am seeing these cards for the first time when I get them.

Why is that?!

The only explanation I can come up with is that they must represent aspects of myself which I have not fully accepted. Or something along those lines.

What about YOU? What Tarot cards continue to confuse and baffle you, despite your best efforts to understand them? And why do you think that is? Let me know in the comment section below!…

19 thoughts on “Annoying Tarot Cards”

  1. Alrighty, Kate, I actually did spend much of today pondering this (I worked in the yard–perfect tarot-thinking time).

    So, (hello, Stephen), first of all, I thought about the Courts, and how I don’t really have much difficulty with them, and why that is. For me, the Courts are always people (or an attitude someone’s having). For some reason (??), when I look at a Court, I’m pretty sure I know who it represents. (In fact, weirdly, sometimes the face on the figure will actually resemble someone I know. But, really, that happens with ALL the cards from time to time.)

    For instance: Me? I’m always QSwords (work life) or Princess of Wands when I’m having an impatient, demanding attitude. (Not PAGE of Wands, mind you, but Princess.) The rest of the time, I’m 9Pents.

    My friend Gary is always King Cups. Except just lately, because he’s been doing this really cool thing that’s shifting his energy. Now, sometimes, he’s King Wands or Magician. (Yay, Gary!) But it still “feels” like Gary–just Gary in a different role/attitude.

    A couple of weeks ago, when someone else and I were doing some fast-talking, he showed up as Emperor (not a Court, I know) and then as King Wands–which “felt” different and “looked” different than Gary’s King Wands. Go figure.

    So, no problem there. But here IS the problem! It’s a little run of Majors: Chariot, Strength, Temperance. Particularly Strength and Temperance. Maybe it’s because I’m not a particularly temperate person that the meaning of that card slips from my grasp when I’m trying to read it in spread. But all three of those seem to me to be variations on bringing two energies together. Chariot: with force and will; Strength: internally (which could mean sucking it up or standing up for oneself, I guess); and Temperance: blending the two energies. But even as I write that, I know that these still baffle me.

    And then, seriously, the freakin’ Two and Three of Wands. Jeez!

    Anyone out there want to offer up some help to a sister?

    1. Hi Jamie,
      Thanks for your well thought out response! I don’t have any issues with The Chariot, but I agree about Strength and Temperance – particularly Temperance….it always seems the message with that card is just not all that exciting or something. But the Two and Three of Wands? I love those cards!!!!

      1. Okay, then, Miss Kate. I think you’re going to need to smarten me up about those Wand Sisters. I look forward to your explanation!


        1. Well….I see the two of wands as a pause where you are evaluating where you would like to go, which direction to take. It is not indecision like the two of swords, though. The Three of Wands is about reaping the rewards of your hard work – seeing your “ships come in”. How do you see them?

          1. Okay, I can see that.

            For me, I’ve sort of made the distinction that the 2Wands offers two directions–both of which are viable; while the 2Swords offers almost a stale-mate: a choice between two courses of action, neither of which feels fantastic. (Also, of course, sometimes 2Swords says, “WAIT! You don’t have all the information!”)

            What do you think of that?

            And the 3Wands? Well, just bugger-all. I don’t know. I hear you, but like you with the 7Swords, I just don’t “get it.”

            Is it like the beginning of the response of the choice/direction you took in the 2Wands? It never seems like a “full” enough response to be complete, if you know what I mean.

            (Ah. It might be time to–ugh–consult Crowley.)

            1. Seriously. How hard can it be to look up a single cards meaning? The three of wands is SYMBOLIC of the universe itself. The card is also called “Virtue.” Representing the FULL picture, the universe in which all archetypes ever exsistent thrives. Let’s alter this card with death. Death is the universe where darkness thrives, change is the only option and Scorpio is lord. This is symbolic of the place where our souls will slumber until having gained a new “vessel.” Hence, death means change for mortals. Underworld has incomplete souls and others waiting to be complete again. A shadow of our universe. Now take the world card. This is often renamed “the universe” which is fine, though this card is all about completion. World is completion while 3 of wands is virtue, big bang, the stars, ALL – the biggest physical picture and you are (or SHOULD be) truly doing something auspicious, it is a yes-card and is like saying you “have sent neccesary ships to sea, thus stay a while and BE.” (2oW is more like a MIRROR btw.)

            2. Jamie, if you are looking for choice in 2oW I’d say best stick to VI The Lovers. Sorry I can’t type too many chars before having to make a part II reply – my bad. I have a few more helpful things to say. Its about the chariot, temperance and strength. Strength is about conquering the inner beast, which is why Strength is the card of lust, of confidence, role experientation and in love questions, good one night stands. No blending. Temperance: actually a sin. blending fire and water. But a yes card. looks like judgment. Fallen angel. skt peter. healing. forging. you figure it out. I understand it. And finally the chariot which can be driven by deep fear. He is a returned warrior – liked by the villagers for his heroism but may have ultimately destroyed the wrong enemy. Too much dark/light and he loses control. CHARIOT people I met were heroic and physically attractive but too lost in their own feelings, loving or hating too much. A no-card per se. But I had a crush on a Chariot girl and I’m still not over her.

  2. As Jamie taught me these baffling cards call to be opened up, pull the card then shuffle the deck and pull three cards to flesh out that card – it is always a winner to me, (thank you J). I think the Tarot has trends and to me the Tarot keeps stressing a point and then a new trend or perspective comes in. I always find that when a card keeps coming up – like the 5 of Cups or the 9 of Swords it is telling me : Oh, Hi. Just thought I would pop in so you won’t forget me and I know the Sun and The Star and The Ace of Cups are here but anyway, have a nice day… Open it up.
    I have actually been pulling The Heirophant the last few days(today) or a week or so, after the great run with the EMPEROR. Is he a step up, The Heirophant? He tells me to play by the book and only the book. Be methodical and think twice before speaking, whether you like it or not the BOOK is on the table and that’s how it will be done. Period!The Emperor is traveling for a while, okay – I am here. The 7 and 5 of Swords seem to be again reminder cards – that one has been taken advantage of, as we all have and that one could be feeling their “oats” and to watch your back – there is a bully and a theif on every corner and don’t forget it. They also say don’t gossip now – save it. Wear those glasses. My sweet dog is always telling me something when she barks, always. Surprise!!
    I am new to this so…grains of salt.
    Great discussion topics, Kate.

    1. Lol! I know what you mean, Stephen, about the difficult cards repeatedly coming up when you know there are some really good cards that never seem to show themselves. I think the Heirophant is almost worse than The Emperor! They are similar, although I see the Emperor as following your own inner authority, while the Heirophant is all about following the authority and rules of an institution (yuck, yuck, yuck!). It is strange though when you keep getting a card that you just can’t relate to!

  3. What a great question, Kate. I’m going to take the day to ponder it and get back to you later on. But for now, thanks for creating a forum to discuss this!

    Happy Saturday.

  4. I really agree about the Hierophant. Also, I have a hard time with the Four and Nine of Swords, especially when they appear in reverse. Also the Two and Three of Wands sometimes make me confused. Also, I sometimes have to struggle to get it right with the Hanged Man, is it a situation that one must break free from, or does it simply suggest to look from a different perspective, etc. Thank you for this post and giving us the opportunity to think about it Kate! I believe this is a way to get to know these cards better. 🙂

    1. Deniz!

      Aarrggh! The Two and Three of Wands!! Oy! I have such trouble with those, also. AND with the Hanged Man. Does he signify sacrifice? A new perspective (as you say)? Or just a time when one must wait for the “tide to turn” before rejoining the activities of the world.

      I’d love to hear how you think about these cards–especially those pesky Wands.

      (On the other hand, as a Swords-y person, I don’t have any trouble with the Four or the Nine. I experience those states in my own life often enough to recognize what they mean in a tarot draw.)


      1. Jamie, thank you for sharing your thoughts! Those wands give me a bit of a hard time because I usually have a lot of creative thoughts going on and I’m passionate about them, so I feel a rush when they appear in a reading!

        Two of wands is being more determined, successful, having an authority (not necessarily among a group but in my opinion about some interests or ideas) and is more focused than the Three. The Three of Wands have some similar qualities I think, but is more like a visionary card. There are more than two possibilities or ideas and even though success has been reached, one should think about new projects to accomplish ahead.

        I have the Crystal Visions Tarot and the cards quite suit this. There is a man on a dragon with the world on its tail, heading toward a castle across a body of water on the Two of wands. And there is a woman sitting on top of a hill gazing at a crystal ball with her familiar dragon beside. Sometimes I find it hard to state the difference between them.

        It’s almost the same with the Swords, I tend to have a mental process view with thoughts and creative ideas an action and etc. 🙂 and this effects my card interpretations, I have a hard time with the contemplative, meditative rest situation in the Four of Swords and the rest-a-while-because-you’ve-been-seriously-stressing-out situation in the Nine of Swords. With this brainstrom though I think I migt get over all of them!


        1. Thanks, Deniz–

          I appreciate you and Kate taking the time to consider the Two and Three of Wands at greater length. I’ve just gotten the CVT, and will have to go look at it some more to see how its images help me discerning the ideas that these two cards embody.

          Or maybe I just need to take a Four of Swords nap!


    2. Hi Deniz,
      The Hanged-man…this is such a fascinating card! I never see it as something to break free from (The Devil means that, to me) but I see it as meaning that we need to surrender and stop trying to control things and make things happen. Just accept what is and this will bring enlightenment. It is actually a very spiritual card. It seems like it represents a kind of powerlessness, but really it shows how we can take back our power in a situation where we feel powerless – by surrendering to it and not trying to change things. Hope that makes sense! 🙂

      1. Hi Kate, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the Hanged Man, I really really needed this! 🙂 the reason I think about breaking free is the general way of the card, like something that has been leaving us feeling powerless and hung up in the air, and we need to surrender to break free from it, a more gentle and spiritual breaking free, I guess more like “release”. I totally agree with the Devil card meaning of “breaking free”. This is why I’m waiting for your e-courses, I love your interpretations and ideas about the cards, they resonate with my mind a lot! 🙂


        1. Thank you, Deniz! I am working on my e-courses right now! Its taking me longer than I thought but it will be worth it 🙂

    1. Hi Henry,
      Today was not my usual “daily reading” – on Saturdays I like to do a blog post about learning tarot or a special Tarot topic. 🙂

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