What’s Missing in your Tarot Reading?

Today I want to talk about the “missing cards” in a Tarot reading – the cards that are conspicuously absent.

For example, lets say you are doing the Celtic Cross Spread and you have some Pentacles, Swords, Cups and a Major Arcana card or two….but absolutely NO Wands. What does this mean?

Usually, if a reading is void of Wands it can mean there is a lack of passion. So if you were asking about a business idea, the above reading example might indicate that you’ve thought things through (Swords), made practical plans (Pentacles) and your heart is in it (Cups) but you don’t really want to do it – there is no real passion there.

the sun tarot card
The Paulina Tarot

An absence of Cups can mean this situation needs more love, emotion or feeling. No Swords show that more rational thought and clear communication is needed. Few or no Pentacles can indicate that your ideas are not grounded in reality and practicality.

Tarot Tip: The cards that are absent from a reading are just as important as the ones staring back at you.

A really cool thing you can do right now is go through your favorite Tarot deck (the one you most often use) and look at each card. You will notice right away the ones that almost never come up for you in a reading. They will jump right out at you!

Ask yourself if these “no show” cards represent something that’s missing from your life, or do they simply not relate to your situation right now? Sometimes, its the Tarot cards we want the most that never seem to show up for us!

What cards are mysteriously absent for YOU? And what do you think it means? Tell me all about it in the comment section below…


26 thoughts on “What’s Missing in your Tarot Reading?”

  1. thank you for your help ,really ,, I sometimes wants to know some secret about my ex boyfriend ,, and I do tarot reading ,,do you think ,,its really works ? I mean can I get
    true answer ? how I should do this ? could you help me please ..

  2. I’ve noticed something odd in my readings. I have two different decks, one of which was sold to me with the Queen of Pentacles missing — so obviously I use the complete deck I do have. However, even with the complete deck, that Queen never shows up! Not sure what to make of this — thoughts?

    1. That’s really interesting, Rose. I think that possibly, you don’t need to see the Queen of Pentacles. How do you feel about this card? Do you feel you have many of her qualities?

      1. That Queen could very well represent me — I am an earthy gal, both in the astronomical sense (Taurus with a capital T!) and otherwise, and I like nurturing others when I can, by gifting them pretty and practical material things. It makes me happy when I can do things for others in this way. I hadn’t thought about this before! In a way, it would make sense that the Queen of Pentacles is missing from that incomplete deck, if I don’t need to see her. Interesting! 🙂

  3. Actually I was just thinking the other day I have done a lot of readings for myself and the only two major arcana cards I never see are the Hierophant and the Devil. I get an awful lot of swords in my readings which makes sense as I am more in my mental body.

    1. Hi Anna!
      That’s interesting – although its nice you never see those cards 🙂
      I have noticed I will go through phases of getting tons of swords in my readings, then a few months later it might switch to cups or pentacles.
      thanks for commenting 🙂

  4. Thanks for the insight. It makes sense to me. I have been overemotional lately and need a clearer communication with certain individuals in order to move forward.

    Your help is very much appreciated. 🙂

  5. Kate–

    A pet idea I have about Majors and Minors relates here, a bit, with a good example in response to YOUR example about a lack of Wands suggesting a lack of passion, perhaps.

    In my mind, some of the Majors and Minors relate so closely that I think of them as “higher and lower octaves” of each other. An example would be, The Empress as a higher octave of the Queen of Pentacles. Similar energy, just expressed differently.

    So, in The Case of the Missing Wands (ha!), if, say, The Sun appeared, or The Magician (maybe), or The Chariot (?), or even Judgement (!), I might see that the fiery or regenerative or creative energy that the Wands would have signified is, instead, being expressed through one of the Majors that is a higher octave of the Wands suit, in general.

    Does that make any sense?


    1. Hi Jamie,
      Yes, that makes perfect sense! You wouldn’t need to be worried about an absence of swords if say, the Emperor was present. I have often seen the Empress as being strongly related to all the Queens, but particularly the Queen of Pentacles.
      Thanks for adding your amazing insights to this discussion, Jamie! 🙂

  6. Thank you so much for the info! I’ve heard before- “pay attention to what suit is missing in your spread” and I did but was left thinking- “uhhmm…ok now what? What does it mean when its missing?” lol! (Deep sigh….) Thank you! 🙂

  7. Wow… Thats really interesting… thank you… Kate… I did not know that.. will keep in mind…

  8. Great topic, Kate! 🙂 When doing a reading for myself, I’ve often caught myself surprised that certain cards didn’t turn up for me because for whatever reason, how things were going for me, etc. I almost expected to see them and honestly, felt a twinge of disappointment when those cards were a no show. I’m always surprised when The Hermit never shows for me, also The High Priestess, The Empress, The Star, The Moon, The Sun as well. To top it all off, when I do a reading for someone else, BAM! Almost everyone one them makes themselves known! Kinda funny, they keep me ever hopeful, anxious to see them, and on my toes! Not sure what it means other than teaching me patience and that everything is due in its own time?!? Thanks for some wonderful insight, Kate…you always suggest great topics to focus and work on! 🙂

    1. Thanks Mel, for sharing this. You know, an interesting thing I have heard is that even when we do readings for others, those cards are still supposed to apply to us. I am not sure if I believe that, but its something to consider. By the way – I love all those cards you mentioned and I often hope to get those ones!

      1. Yes, that is an interesting concept, Kate. Perhaps it’s a message to us that when those cards that we are partial to show for others, that it should give us a better persepective of what they’d mean for us in our own self-readings? Just a thought. Blessings for a great week for you 🙂

  9. Thanks for this reminder Kate! I just realized, that I tend to forget to look at the absent cards, especially if I am reading for myself and of course then missing out on some valuable information. No more. Have a wonderful weekend.

  10. Thank you Kate! I do receive a balance of Minor Arcana in my personal readings, but I know that Swords are generally the ones that show up less in quantity. I usually decide with my heart and passion, and it is understandable. Also Hanged Man, Hierophant, Death, Moon, Emperor cards are general no show cards. Maybe I need to meditate upon them to know why, but I know a little about their absence. Hanged Man doesn’t bother to show up, the guy knows I always surrender to a higher power and sometimes I sacrifice so much, instead of showing up he sends the Devil reversed to me. 😀 Hierophant is perhaps waiting for the right time to inform me, Death also doesn’t bother, Ive been good at understanding transformation and endings lately. Moon knows I love her so much, I think she is showing up seldom to make me miss her and dive into my subconcsious without her first, and Emperor shows up less because he can’t find a gap since the Empress is all around my readings in general! 🙂 A little funny for first attempt, I believe I’ll get deeper meanings when I meditate upon them. 🙂


    1. Those are some wonderful insights, Deniz! I agree that often the cards we totally understand rarely show up, while the ones that may not make sense to us tend to show up more frequently. But how wonderful that the Empress is all around your readings! 🙂

    2. Hey, Deniz–

      I was just reading your response and it made me think about how often I DO get Swords cards in readings for myself. And how fitting it is that I do so. I’m pretty “Swords-y,” personality-wise–can be sharp, judgemental, clear-sighted, conflictual, decisive (or super-indecisive!)–but these are such familiar states for me, that seeing a lot of Swords come up in a reading FOR ME doesn’t worry me at all.

      But (and I know that conversation is about what DOESN’T come up, but your comment sent me in this direction, sorry!) when I’m reading for someone ELSE and a lot of Swords come up, that DOES freak me out a little bit! I feel anxious when I see a lot of sharp, conflictual, or anxious energy in someone ELSE’S reading.

      !!! (Those are three swords),

  11. Once again, soooooo very insightful! You are simply amazing – keep up the GREAT work, Kate! Thanks again for sharing all your wonderful ideas. I am so thankful to my spirit guides for finding you – you have added so much JOY to my readings! I love all your tips.

    Blessings, friend.

    1. Yay! I am so glad you found this helpful, Sage. Thank you for your compliments – I am happy you found my site, too 🙂

  12. Thank You Kate!
    This is really helpful.

    The other day a friend of mine asked me if his financial situation will improve. He is far from being a rich man and he has lost his faith in money. He passionately waits for the money and bank system to collapse. I have told him many times not to be afraid of money because its just a form of energy.

    I did a reading for him about abundance and money and there was not a single card of pentacles even though it showed some better times ahead. So I told him about that. He has issues with money still.

    So thank You for sharing this topic.

    1. Hi Kaia,
      That is interesting – and a perfect example of how the missing cards can indicate what is truly missing.
      Funny he is waiting for the collapse of the bank system – but I guess if you aren’t successful within a particular system, wishing for its collapse makes total sense!
      Thank you for sharing this story 🙂

  13. Hi Kate, this is very insightful, thank you.

    Certainly puts a different slant on things and particularly with cards that we wish would show up and don’t. Definitely a nudge to look at why they don’t show up.

    I also agree about the lack of wands in a reading, as so often is a duty thing thing that we are doing, without the passion.

    Really enjoy your blog and interpretation. Thanks again for sharing.

    Best wishes.

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