The Bad Cards in Tarot

the-bad-cards-in-tarotThe Bad Cards in Tarot

Why People Are Scared

It’s part of the human condition to be scared of the unknown. A lot of people when they get over their fear of Tarot in general, then become frightened of the ‘bad’ cards. I think that as readers if we get over ourselves and our own fear of being scary, and stop trying to convince people that the Death is Super Not Scary and Wholly Light or whatever, we’d be doing not only the community a favour, but anyone who is interested in Tarot.

Life sometimes sucks, and sometimes it sucks really bad. If everything was going great, you probably wouldn’t bother with reading the cards. Here are some ways that ‘bad’ cards might be interpreted. When you ignore bad things out of fear, you only limit yourself. The world isn’t lightness and sparkly unicorns. It’s wholly neutral, and sometimes you get tripped up and drop your stuff everywhere. Bad cards in Tarot can be a warning to look where you’re putting your feet, a clue as to how you’ve landed yourself in a dark place, or a simple ‘Life sucks, dude. I’m sorry about it.’

As a Warning

If you’re asking questions like ‘Should I do a thing?’ and you’re getting all manner of swords and Towers in response, then you should not do the thing. I know this is common sense, but we’ve all ignored dire warnings because we were SURE the thing would work out.

But whilst we’re on the subject of things not working out, make sure to bear the following things in mind:

  • ‘Not now’ doesn’t always mean never (unless we’re talking about people giving consent, in which assume the person will tell you if they change their mind)
  • ‘Not that precise thing’ still means you have options open
  • ‘Not like that’ indicates you’re going about things to wrong way

Warnings can also be about other people’s behaviour towards you. Take these as they are – it’s always good to be suspicious. If someone explodes when you question their motives, they’re guilty as Hell. People who mean you well might be slightly narked at the suggestion, but will forgive you. Obviously, you don’t go running up to someone shouting ‘The Tarot said you’ve done a Bad,’ but keeping your mind open to bullshittery never did anyone any harm.

As Bad Behaviour

Sometimes it’s you doing a Bad. Getting bad cards in a reading can be an insight into behaviour that you need to modify. Remember always that just because you did a Bad, doesn’t mean you are a Bad. Bad people don’t tend to take correction or constructive criticism very well. Take heed of what you’re being told, and try the new way you’re being shown.

We All Have Cycles

Life can’t be good all the time. The Wheel of Fortune will always spin – sometimes we’re at the top, and sometimes we’re at the bottom. Sometimes, life just sucks, and you have to keep moving forward and building it back up.

Sometimes, things have to die for us to move on. A muscle is broken down before it gets stronger. So long as we can keep the lantern of hope going in our darkest times, we’ll do okay.

Week Ahead Tarot Spread

Week Ahead Tarot Spread


This is a spread that can also be used daily, and works very well with runes as well. It’s incredibly simple, yet can give you some vital insights.


  1. What You Need to Think About – a sort of ‘card of the day’, almost. This is a notion, energy or thought that you should keep at the forefront of your head throughout the week. Are you being urged to be kinder? Are you being told to rest more? Are you being warned about deceit in your circle?
  2. What You Need to Do: This card refers to a specific ‘action’. Do you need to ask for a promotion? Do you need to call your Mum? Do you need to take a day off?
  3. The Challenge: This card will give you a warning about what will crop up to stop you from achieving the above. Pay attention the other cards, especially Number 1 as that might give you clues about how to overcome this challenge. Is the challenge a person? Yourself? Circumstances? Money?

This is a good spread to do regularly and record the results in a journal. Not only will you have a record of your progress in Tarot, but you’ll be able to see what advice crops up on the regular. If you’re being told to keep a lid on your anger more often than not, you might need to learn ways to control your emotions or find a less stressful job. This can be a valuable guide to ourselves, and give us inspiration about specific questions to ask the Tarot (or ourselves) when we can sense there’s something amiss but just don’t know what.

Week Review Tarot Spread

week-reviewtarot-readingThis Tarot spread is designed to help you understand the week that’s just gone by, and how you can improve or expand upon your efforts or wins.

The top line is all about relationships – any significant relationship occurrences or advice will show up here, whether that’s coworkers, partners, family or friends. The world is formed of an interconnecting web of relationships, and it’s important to watch out for issues before problems form.


The bottom line looks at your goals, work, and everyday To Do list. Did you hit your goals, or did something get in your way? How did you handle things?

  1. Relationship Triumph – what went well in your relationships this week. Was it an event or an attitude? Did you ask or give a favour? Have you made a friend, or an enemy?
  2. Relationship Challenge – a relationship where things aren’t going so well. Are you ignoring a friend? Are you irritable and snappy with those you love?
  3. How to Improve – this card gives you an idea of how to move forward and improve the relationships usually detailed in the other cards.
  4. Task List Triumph – Did you hit a goal? Do well at work? Create something awesome in your spare time?
  5. Task List Challenge – Are you struggling to get the housework done? Do you need to learn to delegate? Are you procrastinating?
  6. How to Improve –   this card gives you an idea of how to move forward and improve the relationships usually detailed in the other cards.

If you use this spread in a blog or on your Tumblr, let me know and I’ll reblog/retweet you!

Free Tarot Workbook

Did you guys know I made you a free Tarot workbook? You can get it by signing up here!

It has two worksheets per card, and I’ve designed it so you can print off however many of those sheets you need at a time, so there’s no need to print of 156 sheets at once!

There’s a handy dandy guide with further instructions, and two filled in worksheets so you get the idea of what you can do with it.

This is the EXACT method I used to teach myself Tarot, and it’s the method I use whenever I get a new deck or learn a new divinatory method. I’m sharing this with you because it WORKS. I’ve been practicing Tarot for nearly a decade at this point, and my knowledge increased suddenly two years ago because of this technique. My memory is not fantastic, yet with this method not only do I remember various meanings of the cards, but I can also intuit meanings and relationships on the fly – and be accurate around 80% of the time.

No Tarot method – or reader – can guarantee 100% accuracy, but I’m really confident in this method.

If you wanna try it out, it’s FREE and all you have to do is sign up here.

PBuP: 05 On Resting, Generosity and Pinterest

Today I’m talking to Samantha, from This Crooked Crown.
1) Why did you choose to start your business? Why choose witchcraft and divination as a base? What drew you to it?
Because I love it! I love witchcraft and divination; it’s one of my major passions and something I could never grow bored of. Starting my own business came about when I was unable to work in the mainstream workforce anymore due to medical reasons. Once I hit on the idea of starting my own business, I went with two of my major passions – divination and witchcraft. It just evolved from there.
I’ve been practicing witchcraft and divination for over twenty years now and never really experienced a time where I didn’t believe in magic. For me, discovering that witchcraft didn’t exist in the realm of fantasy and people still practiced it was really eye-opening. It meant that there was so much more to the world than what I’d been taught and there’s so much possibility! I love sharing that awe with my clients.
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2) How do you balance what you give away for free (in terms of tutorials and spells, free readings etc) with what you charge for? 
I like to make generosity part of my business. I offer free advice and consultation on my blogs and to clients. I love offering resources like free spells and tutorials. I do free readings each Tuesday on my twitter, public meet-and-greets on Sundays, and give away readings for charity. I like to give back and help out as much as I can.
Balancing what’s given away and how much time I spend on non-paying work can be difficult but I try to break up the amount of daily work I do as 2/3 paying work versus 1/3 non-pay (donations, free spells, etc.). Monthly number crunching helps keep things real and makes sure that I stay on track.
3) How much time do you spend on blogs and social media, and how do you make that pay off, so to speak? What’s your social media strategy?
I’m a lurker! I’m always on social media but I like to sit back and see how people interact with each other. I find that really fun and really fascinating. I spend roughly two to three hours a day on various social media and sometimes twice that much when I’m setting up things like my daily tips on facebook. I try to update at least one social media platform a day. If I’m not on tumblr then I’m posting to boards on pinterest, tweeting on the go, or updating my instagram. I have a posting schedule of what to post and when but I like to keep it flexible. If I make it too rigid, it’s no fun anymore. Social media’s really great to get more people interested and drive more business to your doors but it’s really just a lot of fun to interact with the people that are reading my work.
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4) What’s your best piece of advice for someone who is starting a Pagan business, or hoping to improve their existing one? 
Take time off! It’s very easy as small business owners, especially in a niche like ours, to work all the time. You put in more time then you get more money, right? But it weighs on you until you begin to grow bitter or resentful. Taking time off seems counterproductive at first but it’s healthier, gives you a chance to have a life outside of work, and boosts your motivation and inspiration. It gives you a chance to reset your spirit and recharge your batteries which is critical when you a lot of energy-based work. It’s absolutely my number one tip to being happy, having a successful business, and following your dreams.
Siobhan’s Advice
You need to take time off, and actually take in blocks of time worth a damn. Don’t take loads of ten minute breaks instead of a day off. Doesn’t count, doesn’t work, and you spend more time messing around instead of working OR relaxing.
If you can’t work out where the time goes, try RescueTime. It’s free, and tracks exactly what you’re doing on your computer. The paid version also tracks what you are doing off the computer, too. You can also set goals with it, both the ‘Do this’ and ‘Don’t do that’ kind. You can get alerts, block distracting websites, and so much more. It basically does the work of about eight different apps all in one.
I’ve managed to get back about eight hours of working time last week without really trying. It’s amazing, I don’t know how I worked without it.
(It is an affiliate link, which means is you buy the paid version I get a commission, at no extra cost to you.)

5 Tips for Professional Tarot Readers


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Know Your Strengths

Are you better at distance or in-person readings?

Which would you like to concentrate on?

Which subjects do you prefer to read on? Which won’t you read on?

What are you best at?

You need to clarify this for yourself, so you can focus your efforts on providing the services you are good at.

You also need to spell this out for your potential customers. You can’t give everyone what they want. It’s better to serve a small audience well, than serve a large audience poorly.

You want repeat custom, not bad feedback, right?

Curate Your Content

No Tarot reader can read on every spread under the sun.

Even if you could, no buyer – especially someone new to Tarot, is going to be able to sift through 50+ spreads to find the one they want.

Most readers could stand to lose about 20% of what they offer. Are two of your readings/products very similar? Lose one or combine them.

Make sure your descriptions describe precisely what each spread (or product, or type of reading) is, does, and what it’s for.

What’s Your Style?

Another reader once told me she had all of her banners and promotional material made pink, to make her appear softer and kinder.

She worked in the MBS side of the Tarot world, so her readings were simple, and soft and kind, working more about building up the client in a therapy like way. Obviously, she wanted the attract the sort of client that likes that sort of reading.

However, personality wise, she had a very commanding presence and was quite brusque and appeared quite stern at first impression. This did not encourage her preferred clients to purchase from her.

So, she had all of her physical promotional material made pink. She said this was to soften her harsh aura, but whether you agree with that or not, your branding says something about you.

What does your shop, website or promotional material say about you? Do you like or agree with it?

What’s In it For the Buyer?

Most buyers couldn’t give a toss about all the fancy Tarot facts you know. If they did, they would buy a book on Tarot, not a Tarot reading.

What’s in it for them?

What, precisely, are they buying for their money? What can you tell them?

Why should they pick you, and not another reader?

Nobody really cares if you’re the Sixth High Priestess of Saturn’s Third Moon, if that isn’t going to get them a better product for their money.

The Law, and Third Party Guidelines

Make sure you are always acting in accordance with the law, and operating within the terms and conditions of any third-party websites you are hosted on, like Etsy or eBay. Etsy can and will shut your shop down without warning if they suspect you’ve been breaking the rules. And that’s fine, because it’s their site, and you agreed to their terms.

I don’t need to say that getting into trouble with the law could be so much worse. The law regarding Tarot reading and similar activities differs from country to country, and probably state to state or area to area in larger countries as well. Check your local laws, and check them again.

The deck pictured is the Wildwood Tarot and you can buy it here (affiliate link): The Wildwood Tarot

Tarot Decks I Use

I currently only use one deck for professional readings, and that’s the Wildwood Tarot.


Buy it here: The Wildwood Tarot

I’d had my eye on it for ages, and picked it up at an MBS fair. I was attracted to it by the massive stag on the box, if I’m honest, because I have a Thing* for stags and I think I was being nudged by the Spirit Guide.

Anyway, I took it home and fell in love with it. It is very simple to use, and has the name and number of the card on each card so is perfect for beginners, or people who have used a traditional deck and want to branch out into something different.

However, it is not a simple deck, and I learn something new every time I read it. It is a very inutitive deck, and you are urged in the guidebook to form a relationship with the cards beyond what the guidebook tells you. I am endlessly impressed, not just with the use of the cards, but with the novella-sized guidebook that comes with, the depth and detail of the imagery, and the general sturdiness of the cards and box.

I am learning to use the Gods of the Machine deck, and hope to offer it in the shop around August, to coincide with the possible appearance of myself at Lincoln Steampunk Fair.


Buy it here: The Steam Punk Tarot: Wisdom from the Gods of the Machine

This is the other Steampunk deck, not the famous one, but I preferred the look of this one. It’s different, and features Steampunk paraphernalia other than cogs and gears. I can’t give you many reading points on this one yet, but it is also an intuitive deck.

What’s especially good about this deck is that the guidebook includes twenty two spreads in it, one for each of the Major Arcana. This deck uses reversals, and gives detailed hints and tips about reading each card in a number of ways.

If you’re looking for a Steampunk deck, I recommend this one.

Buy it here: Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot Deck (Anne Stokes Collection)

This was one of my first decks, and whilst it is stunning, I don’t think it’s a good deck for beginners. If you already read with traditional decks, you’ll get on great with this one. It’s got a touch of drama about it when you read with it, which goes very well with the beautiful illustrations for the court cards and Major Arcana.

*A spiritual Thing, not a weird Thing

(Some of the links on my blog are affiliate links. That means that I earn a small commission when you purchase something through them.)