Do motivations & emotions taint impartial results?


Hello All,
I am new to Tarot but am already impressed by the results I have seen from readings I've done on myself. So far though, I have only done readings that focus on my inner growth. I have never done a reading that seeks advice for how to handle a particular situation, but I would like to do so now for a very delicate issue I am dealing with. (There is a link below to my original post if you want more info on the specific situation).

So my question for the forum is: When there are strong emotions involved, could the reading be affected by those personal feelings or even by one's subconsciously preferred way to handle a situation? Will my own feelings taint the results? For example, will my subconscious somehow pull cards that will support the reading I secretly want or will the cards be neutral and just show me the best course of action? What do you think?

Thank you so much for considering this question.


Generally speaking, the problem of bias will be in the interpretation of the cards rather than in the cards themselves.


Agreed. I don't think that you can actually cause a particular card to be drawn, kind of seems against natural law. But you can twist the interpretations very easily to fit your wishes and needs.


Reading about issues in which the reader has a vested interest is something that we all come across sooner or later. Much like tarot reading itself, approaching a reading in which we have a vested interest is a skill that needs to be developed. Not every reader can master that skill, and those who admit that to themselves know to get a reading from someone else when they need a reading on such a subject.

I do agree that knowing too much about the subject at hand could cause you to interpret the cards in a particular way. My general rule of thumb for such interpretations is, "Would you say the same thing if you didn't know so much about the situation?"



Thank you all so much for your input. I will be extra careful to read as objectively as possible. I also plan to write everything down and review it again later to see if anything different occurs to me.

I am encouraged to hear that the opinion is that the cards themselves will remain impartial. I was afraid that they might show me what I wanted to see or, conversely, would show me my fear if I was overly anxious. I do try to meditate before doing readings so that I can be impartial and receptive, but you know how it is, sometimes meditation works well and other times it is difficult to really get into it. I am glad to hear that I can use my cards even if I am not 100% calm and zen at the moment.


I also plan to write everything down and review it again later to see if anything different occurs to me.
Doing that, imho, is one of the best ways to fight bias in interpretation. I include my feelings in detail, typing or writing out what I'm feeling about the question. That way, after things have played out, I can look back on it and see where, if anywhere, I went wrong and WHY I may have went wrong so I can avoid doing that again in the future.

It also helps me grow my confidence when I can see later where I went right. That's always really cool when that happens. Strengthens that part of my intuition and knowledge as well.


I wouldn't use the word "taint", it's too negative IMO. Do you come from the academic sphere social sciences, education, psychology...? I noticed that the fear of "tainting" results by involvement can come from an ideal of purity that is actually quite impossible to reach, even in science. And tarot is definitely no science.

Look at it as art. If you practice it with good intentions, are open also to uncomfortable insights, and feed your knowledge from many good sources, then you can let go of your fear of "tainting" the results. Your feelings won't taint a poem, a painting or a melody, and they won't taint a tarot reading.

A tarot reading is a complex act and never free from bias. Are you an introvert character? Then the introvert cards will speak to you differently than to an extrovert. Do you like warm colours? Then you'll react differently to a yellow sky than a cool colour lover will. And that's fine. You, your personality, life experience, your eyes and voice are part of the reading. Over time, the cards will have more and more complex meanings. You'll remember times in the past when the Hermit or 6/Wands appeared, and you'll connect the dots.

Try to be honest, that's more important IMO than some lofty impossible ideal of purity. Accepting your bias and taking it into account neutralizes it.

Every eye has a blind spot, it wouldn't see without it because the blind spot is where the nerves leaves the eye to lead to the brain. I accept my blind spot because without it, I couldn't see.

At least, that's how it works for me. And yes, a journal is a great idea. Over time, you'll recognize where your illusions and wishful thinking lead you on. In retrospect, you can see that.


I don't believe your emotional investment affects the cards drawn. It WILL affect the interpretation as others have already said.

As for motivation (intent), I do very much believe the cards drawn are affected a great deal.


So my question for the forum is: When there are strong emotions involved, could the reading be affected

Yes. It's as simple as that.

I read best when I read for total strangers. I read okay for friends, until I get too close to them. I read badly for people I love. I can't read at all for me.


Nemia: I am chuckling as I read your response because this issue of me needing to be less of a perfectionist keeps coming up over and over again recently. I find it quite insightful of you to beam in on that. And yes, I do have a very analytical mind. I have always blended my right brain and left though, which is what I think draws me to tarot and astrology. My left brain doesn't think it should work but can't deny that it does. My right brain speaks a different language altogether of course, and the cards, astrology, and the practice of autogenics, all help me to understand the language of my right brain and possibly of something deeper and larger. I mean, what is it really that we tap into when cards show truth?

And I guess that is the heart of my original question. Do tarot cards read universal truth? Are the cards somehow pulling the truth from somewhere that we do not understand? Or are they reading us, or pulling through us? Or is it a combination? If either of the latter, then I would be concerned that I could accidentally influence the cards. It is fascinating and compelling, is it not?

There seems to be a difference of opinion on this. Whether the cards drawn, are or are not affected by personal bias.

EyeAmEye and Nisaba: Very interesting. So you do believe that our motivations or intentions could cause certain cards to come up? Do you think that hidden fears could cause certain cards to come up as well? For example, could a deep fear of losing someone cause one to pull cards that confirm that fear even if the person is ultimately going to live a long, healthy life? What is your opinion?

Thank you!