What to do When Your Tarot Reading Makes No F*%king Sense!

We’ve all been there before. You ask a question, draw a Tarot card and low and behold the Tarot card you choose makes absolutely no f#*king sense.

What to do? It can be tempting to just reshuffle and redo the reading, but chances are the second reading won’t make any sense either….and you will feel like you kind of cheated.

Yesterday I did a three card Tarot reading for myself regarding launching my new Life Purpose Coaching services. I asked for insight into what my potential clients deepest concerns and needs were. The three cards I got were:

Hanson-Roberts Tarot

At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of this miserable trio. The Knight of Pentacles made a bit of sense, but the Seven of Swords and Five of Pentacles had me confused.

I was about to walk away from the reading, but then I remembered a technique that I mentioned in a previous blog post about “encore cards”….

If a Tarot card does not make sense in the context of the reading/question, notice which symbol your attention is drawn to first. Then, ask yourself what that symbol means to you.

When I did this for the Seven of Swords, my gaze was drawn to the little birds flying in the sky (which is weird since its the least obvious thing in the card!). To me, these birds represent having a “bird’s eye view” and understanding the big picture and how things connect.

The snowflakes in the Five of Pentacles jumped out at me and in my opinion they represent uniqueness and understanding one’s unique gifts and talents. Suddenly, these cards were making total sense in the context of my Life Coaching question!

After I had this epiphany, the traditional card meanings made complete sense as wellSeven of Swords was trying to tell me that my potential clients would need help with making thoughtful, practical plans.

The Five of Pentacles was showing me that overcoming “poverty thinking” would be a theme and the Knight of Pentacles was displaying the importance of moving forward with deliberate intention and thoughtfulness.

Now it’s your turn! Think back to the last time you did a Tarot reading that left you scratching your head. If you remember what card(s) you got, recreate the spread and try this technique. Or…simply ask a question, draw a card and intend for it not to make any sense – then you can test out this Tarot trick! 😉

Feel free to share your results in the comments below!!!

24 thoughts on “What to do When Your Tarot Reading Makes No F*%king Sense!”

  1. I drew the Three of Pentacles today as my daily Tarot card. Since I’ve drawn this card numerous times over the last month I took your advice and paid attention to what my eye was drawn to: the 3 pentagrams in the alcove (Rider-Waite).

    I had my “aha” moment! I’ve recently become engaged to a man who has 2 teen-aged kids and feel like I’m the “odd man out”.

    Thanks (as always) for your excellent, helpful tips!

  2. This just helped me out so much. I did the spread on How To Move On and was presented with the Two of Pentacles as the root of the issue, the King of Cups as what is keeping me from moving on, the King of Wands as what I need to do to move on, and the Hermit as the advantage of holding on. I was really confused by the King of Wands at first and then I decided to look here for some help. The symbol I noticed was a lizard at the foot of the throne. (I use the Rider-Waite deck.) I looked up the symbolism of the lizard and found this: “St. Gregory “the Great” observed that the lizard might symbolise “the soul that humbly seeks enlightenment,”” which made sense that I need to find the enlightenment in myself, rather than my ex who was a light in my life (represented by the Hermit card).

    1. Hi Brittany,
      I’m so glad this helped you out 🙂
      And I love how the lizard made it all make sense for you – thanks for sharing this!


  3. I really enjoyed your take on reading the whatthef!$% cards, as I occasionally pull them from the deck too and say, “Wa???” I also liked how you described how to pull a life purpose card and read it intuitively. Based on other posts I’ve read on your blog, I try to intuit the meanings of color, action/nonaction, and whatever image pops up for me first. This has been a terrific way of finding the “truth” for me more so than primarily relying on the traditional meanings of the cards. I also read the many definitions you have supplied us from outside sources as well as your own.
    I am a newbee to reading the Tarot, but the reason I keep returning to your website/blog is not only because your Tarot readings are generally “spot on”, but I feel that you inspire your readers to empower themselves through trusting their own sense of “knowing” and intuition. Once again, thank you for your fine insights and delightful postings.

    1. Maria – I am so touched that you find my approach to Tarot helpful and inspiring 🙂 Your observation is correct – my whole mission with my website is to empower my readers to trust their own intuition – so its good to know that that’s apparent! Thank you so much for your nice comments – I hope you continue to enjoy my postings and articles 🙂
      Warm Regards,

  4. Hello Kate,

    I really liked this tarot tip. I have never reshuffled cards – to get one I could read – but I have had a lot of WTF moments, luckily I am only doing free readings on-line, so I can take as long as I want. I will definitely be using this in the very near future, I am sure.


    1. You are very welcome! I hope you find this tip helpful 🙂 Yes, that is the nice thing about online readings – you have the luxury of time and don’t have to come up with an interpretation under pressure!

  5. Love that idea! That really helps me out! Definitely makes it a good workout for your intuition too, to have to learn to tune into those little signs. 🙂

  6. Thanks kate i read this a few days ago and today i had a difficult reading and used the technique you talk about and my gosh did it work, what i thought was going to be an unaccurate reading with 100% spots on so thanks kate. I really appriciate your videos and blog posts.
    Ian xx

  7. Reading all these comments have helped me a lot. Just recently i drew some cards for May. One card for each week and an overall meaning card. The meaning card for all May was 3 of Swords. I think You agree this is one of the cards You do not want to get. It really started to bother me deeply. I had no clue what this was all about. Took out my pendulum and asked a lot of questions and NOTHING. Everything seemed to be as good as possible. But it was still in my unconcious mind. And now I took the card out and took another look (its a morgan-greer 3 of Swords). And something else came into my mind. Its not MY heartache. Its a love triangle. The bleeding sword in the middle is a man who loves 2 women. Its he who is in trouble.

    1. Kaia – that’s an interesting interpretation of the 3 of Swords! I think that kind of relates to what Jamie was saying about the cards having a personal meaning for us. I have also noticed how sometimes you just need to let a card “marinate” in your mind for a while and then eventually the meaning will reveal itself. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  8. Been there a few times.

    I try and listen to the card and I usually get guided to the symbols on the card for clues to the meaning on top of it. I have started doing for spreads in drawing an oracle to see if it sheds light on what the tarot is saying.

    So far, I have managed to get it clearer with the oracle card as it seems to make it a little clearer than just straight tarot cards.

    1. I have done that as well, Janine. I really like how oracle cards can add clarity to a Tarot reading. Thanks for commenting!

  9. Great, great topic, Kate, and such a nice illustration with your own draw. Thank you for that.

    As this is something that I’ve been really working at/on/with diligently for a while, I have a bunch to say about it. Consider the following me just putting my last years’ tarot study in a nutshell!

    As you and I have discussed, it seems that as a whole, we who consult the cards for insight are moving, collectively, it seems, to a wider understanding of how to do so. There is more emphasis I see on reading “intuitively,” by making the actual images on the cards (as Erica, below, says, “what do you see”)–and what associations we as readers make to those images–at least equal in importance to the meaning as the standard definitions for the cards. And sometimes even MORE important, as in your example.

    The most important shift I’ve made in my reading style in the last year is to FORCE myself not to think of the traditional definitions first when I look at a layout. Instead, I MAKE myself soften my focus and see what the pictures are saying, asking myself instead: Which directions are the various figures moving in? What colors or moods predominate? Is there a prominent object? Does one of the figures actually remind me of someone I know? If so, why would that person suddenly make an appearance? Etc., etc., etc.

    The reason for this approach if for me, is to find a place–even if it’s just one or two cards–where I get a sense of the purpose, the PERSONAL purpose, of the reading. Since I’m the reader, the cards need to make their message(s) known to ME–even if someone else wouldn’t get it.

    Another thing that helps me sometimes has to do with cards that have accrued particular meaning for me. For instance, I had a WTF reading for myself a couple of nights ago. When I realized that the Strength card was acting as my signifier as a tarot reader, all of a sudden, the whole reading re-constellated and became a brilliant message, exactly what I needed to hear, and deeply helpful. And, yes, eventually, the book meaning of Strength did play a part, but not as much as the way it has come to point to my relationship with the cards.

    Another example was a wonderful reading you did a few months ago (can’t remember the topic or date) in which you drew the Two of Pentacles for yourself and explained how, after much consideration, you realized the image (Crystal Visions Tarot version) reminded you of belly dancing, and how that was a perfect suggestion for you in response to your question: Get back to belly dancing.

    Now, there is very little chance that the Two of Pents is ever going to mean “belly dancing” to me; and probably equally little chance that Strength will ever refer to YOUR work as a reader. But for each of us, as we continue to read, take our time, LOOK at the images, and trust our intuition, each new AHA moment will build not only our confidence in our ability to hear what our cards are telling us but, as importantly, our own personal tarot vocabulary.

    Thanks for the chance to put all of this in words.
    And may I just say, Baba Studio ROCKS.
    Happy Saturday.

    1. Well put, Jamie!
      Its quite magical what happens when we just throw the book meanings out the window and really dive into a reading. And as you pointed out, the cards have such a personal message for us, that if we just stick to the traditional meanings and don’t look any further, we miss that.
      Thanks for adding your valuable insights to this discussion! 🙂

  10. This has happened to me and I too used to want to reshuffle. It just always felt wrong to do so. Then I heard “what do you see?” And my eyes would quickly go to something in the background on the card and I would do the same as you and think about what it means to yourself.
    I’ve done readings where I’ve felt guided not to use the meaning of a card but to say what I see on the card’s background. It works and even if it doesn’t make sense just trust it will.
    Wishing you the best with your Life Purpose Coaching services! That is awesome! 🙂

    1. Thanks Erica! Yeah, its amazing what we can get from a card if we are just patient and look a little deeper.

  11. Hi Kate,
    I just sent you an email and it has an attachment. Just wanted to mention it here in case it lands in your spam.

    Great reading and nicely handled. It would’ve been easy to freak out with those cards and your method of finding a symbol helps a lot with that.

  12. The sentence ” the Knight of Pentacles was displaying the importance of moving forward with deliberate intention and thoughtfulness,” brought me back to the wise advice from a tarot reader I know who, talking about the 9 of swords on 4-23 wrote, among other things:
    “Put things in perspective.”
    “Accomplish small goals to produce an energy shift. ”
    Personally that last sentence has became a daily affirmation, and the energy shift has been noticeable. Doing so with “deliberate intention and thoughtfulness,” adds another layer.

    Thanks Kate,


    1. The whole idea of accomplishing small goals to shift the energy is very much like the Knight of Pentacles, who likes to move slowly, yet deliberately. Thanks for your comment, Antonio!

    2. Antonio–

      I’m just re-reading your comment, and I want to thank you for putting those ideas/quotes of Kate’s together here so I can see them and make them an affirmation for myself, too.

      They are wise words, and you are a wise person to notice, and bring them back to Kate’s readers’ attention.


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