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how do your read?

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 18 May 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.

jade  18 May 2002 
i have noticed, over the years of being a member of this wonderful place :D that many people read the cards, one by one, giving a meaning for each card.

i was wondering if there is anyone who reads like i do.........i look at the cards and then read the story. i see connections between cards and that just all fits into the 'story' that i'm reading.

so i'm you read like a story or card by card?

in light,
jade :) 

DollChica  18 May 2002 
Because I'm still very much the beginner, I look at all the definitions first. Then I connect them all into a coherent story. I'm looking forward to not needing the crutch of the books. 

Alex  18 May 2002 
one needs more experience to do it the way you do it.

It also has to do with the way people's minds work. I'm more "analytical" so I'm better at dissecting the whole into little pieces. Some people are better in making connections between pieces, i.e., making a whole from piecies

Geenius at Wrok  18 May 2002 
If a connectionóor a conflictóbetween cards leaps out at me, I'll consider those cards first and ponder how the other cards revolve around them. Other than that, I usually read the cards in a fairly linear fashion. However, especially in spreads that contain more cards, I think of the reading as an attempt to present all sides of the case, as it were, and try to reserve final judgment until I've glanced at all of them.

Hmmm .†.†. that gives me an idea for a spread: the Court Case!

Begin with the opening statements of the plaintiff ("What is the issue?") and the defendant ("What force(s) run counter to it?").

Call witnesses for the plaintiff ("What has happened with this issue so far?") and allow the defense to cross-examine them ("In what light should I reexamine what has happened?"). Then call witnesses for the defense and allow the plaintiff to cross-examine them. Call as many witnesses as you see fit ;), but draw at least one pair for each side.

Conclude with the closing statements of the plaintiff ("How might I act to change the status quo?") and the defendant ("How might I act to preserve it?"). Finally, let the court deliver its verdict (outcome card)! 

kayne  18 May 2002 
Great Poll Jade!

I chose "I read like a story" but when I think about it some more, I probably do read more card by card... well... the cards tell the story and I make reference to their meanings. But it is also like a story because I don't hesitate and I make it sound interesting and, depending on the spread, there is usually always a biginning, middle, conflict and an ending... So I guess it is a bit of a combination... (confused yet??? :P) 

jade  19 May 2002 
i'm not confused at all. that's what i do too!!!


Kaz  19 May 2002 
hmmm, hard question.....
actually both, but mainly i read them as the flow of a story and then add the meanings of the cards to that. hard to explain, can't do it better, hope this makes some sense. that's why i like linear spreads better than say celtic crosses.


Diana  19 May 2002 

Jenny-Li  19 May 2002 
Well, I hesitated a bit between "reading like a story" and "other", but decided on the storytelling-option in the end. Usually there are a few connections that stand out when you first look at the spread, and then I start from there and relate those to the problem and current situation. If nothing stands out to begin with, I usually do an overview of the suits, you know: how many Cups, how many Wands, how many court cards, how many Majors? etc. And all of that put together will usually give an overall image that I can speak rather freely about, like a story.

On the other hand, in most cases I get to the card-by-card-level to clarify what I mean here and there, use the specific cards and what I read into them as examples and bases for a metaphor that allows me to share what I see with the querent. (That's an other thing that makes Tarot so great - even though we speak different languages, images and metaphores speak a universal language that allow us to share a common ground by just being people!)

Hm... I guess that means I do both, after all...! :D

/Jenny :) 

Emily  19 May 2002 
I like to read each card individually, then look at the spread as a whole, I'm also very much a newbie lol, but I can usually see how the cards connect to each other and it also depends on what spread I use. If its a simple past, present, future then I tend to see the cards individually. :) 

magicmadrigal  20 May 2002 
I picked other, because the first thing I do is count the number of Majors. any more than 3 and I immediately know there is something major going on with the querent. Usually the cards and their placement give me a good idea of what the plot of the story is about. If there aren't a lot of trumps then I look for court cards - usually this will immediately indicate if there are a lot of personalities influencing what is happening. If neither of the above, then I look at which suits are in the majority and if there are any suits missing - that can also be an indication of something missing or not ready to be brought to the forefront at this time. I rarely have the querent ask me a specific question initially, since most of the time the cards just tell us what they want us to know whether or not that's what we want to hear.

Sometimes the cards just fail right into a story line and it's very easy to see very clearly what the person really needs to know.

Other times I just have to work my way around the spread explaining the positions of the spread and what the cards can be interpreted as. This helps by pulling the subject into the reading and they will often add clarification which makes the reading more substantial for them and helps make the story much clearer. Quite often what is not clear to me is very clear to the person I'm reading for. This is when I will ask them if they had a specific question in mind when they were shuffling the cards and sometimes that makes things fall into place.


napaea  05 Sep 2002 
i chose "other" cause i do both.
there are times i look at three cards at once, to get the feel of what is going on, get the overall view. then i look at the cards individually, and also with each other.

there are times i concentrate on one card only at a time.

it depends on what my brain or intuition tells me to do. :) 

Strega  05 Sep 2002 
Both. :) 

Sally Gardens  06 Sep 2002 
In a larger spread (more than three cards) I tend to read the "flow" of the story from beginning to end, though of course, as others have pointed out, it's impossible to do this without some sense of individual card meanings. But I find that I favor reading intuitively, first, looking at each card in turn and looking at how they connect or flow from one to the next, and all over the "web" of the layout. Then I go back to the books and read for additional insights; sometimes an author will have a turn of phrase that adds a necessary additional "click" or two. 

Major Tom  06 Sep 2002 
Originally posted by Diana
I can't vote, because I do both, depending on .... I don't know, depending on something.

Me too. :) 

Starfish  06 Sep 2002 
I do both also. It depends on the spread and my mood ;)

:TQP Starfish 

Jewel  06 Sep 2002 
Like Geenius I also look at the overall spread and if something jumps out at me a hone in on that and look at how the other cards in other positions relate to it. Then the story flows. Analysis and connection.

If a spread calls for turning one card at a time then I read one card at a time, then once they are all revealed I go through the same process as noted above. I prefer having the whole picture before trying to interpret the spread.

Geenius great spread! I really like that! 

ChrisTheObscure  06 Sep 2002 
What I've been trying to do (and failing at lately) is to do the spread and look over the cards, letting them speak to me before I run to look up their meanings. After getting a general impression, I'll then look up the meaning both in the book/let that came with the cards, and a book I've got called "Tarot for Beginners" (can't remember the author, but it's a Llewellyn book).


Rhiannon  06 Sep 2002 
I chose other because I guess I do both too. First I look at each card and explain it individually, then I start looking for the way they connect to each other... sometimes even rearranging them so that they are sitting next to each other or apart from each other... whatever. It helps me to explain them better that way, both verbally and visually.

R :) 

Laurel  06 Sep 2002 
I've thought about it and realized that I approach each reading like a unique entity.. sometimes I explain each card first and then sumarize; sometimes I "tell the story" and then point out important attributes of specific cards; sometimes I ask the querent specific questions to clarify situations the cards are trying to express; sometimes I talk about the alchemical or astrological symbolism first and then describe the story....

Its all completely spontaneous depending on the querent and other factors.


Lady Anna  06 Sep 2002 
Originally posted by DollChica
Because I'm still very much the beginner, I look at all the definitions first. Then I connect them all into a coherent story. I'm looking forward to not needing the crutch of the books.

I have to say that for me is the same...I first look it separately and then make the story...I think that eventually I would be able to see the connections right away but now I'm taking it step by step.


Analisa :TQC 

Trogon  07 Sep 2002 
Fun poll Jade;

I voted "other". This is because I also do both. This is mostly because I have only recently been able to start putting the cards together into a story. Before this I'd only really been able to see and interpret the cards individually, but since I started learning so much here on AT, I've finally been able to start putting it all together. :D


Fuzzmello  08 Sep 2002 
I guess I'm a "both."

So far, MagicMadrigal has my system down. I think Majors are giving me more information and I let them set the tone and provide the key points of the story. Next, I look for card pairs, then Court cards. The Minors fill in the rest. It's usually a pretty good system, and matches my "feel" for the spread fairly often.

I have to say though, sometimes I just tell what I'm feeling about the spread. This happens most often when the question hasn't been thought through well enough for a clear (well, readable) response.


Angeline  10 Sep 2002 
I think I do both ...not that I read much yet as still very new to it.
I tend to do 7 card spreads and get a fairly good read from that..I've not even attemted the celtic cross spread yet!
Oh well we all have to start somewhere. 

DarkElectric  11 Sep 2002 
I tend to see groupings, and relationships between cards based on their position in the spread. Many times, not only will a story emerge, but several stories. I've found that some groupings will explain the issue in detail, and the other cards in the spread are suggestions. Then there are those readings where I get 2 or 3 different things going on, with "intermediary "cards which indicate to me how these situations affect each other. Every reading I do is so different, I never know what to expect. 

The how do your read? thread was originally posted on 18 May 2002 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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