What exactly are synergy and tarot, the interactions between tarot cards?
How can you use this technique in your tarot readings?
Tarot card interactions are when the characters (animals or objects) depicted on the tarot cards are looking or “interacting” with the other cards in a tarot spread.
When we look at what the cards are doing in relation to the other cards, we can get clues about relationships and insight into situations or matters.
You’ll see that some of the people (or objects/animals) on the cards often look left, right, up, down or on an angle.
This is commonly found in the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) tarot version method, but this technique can also be applied to other decks different from the RWS.
Where the character (or object/animal) on the card is looking can give you clues and insight to let your reading go deeper to another level.
You may also find similarities with characters in other tarot decks (and tarot systems) in which characters/people/animals in the cards are looking in a direction.
Here we’ll cover an introduction to this tarot reading method.
Directions of the Tarot Cards
Let’s examine each of the major arcana, minor arcana and the court cards to see where these cards are facing directionally.
Then we’ll look at what it can mean when people/objects/animals are facing a certain direction.
For this, we’ll use the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) tarot deck.
If you want, you can use a different tarot deck or one that you favourite.
Grab your deck (any deck) and follow along to group them as follows (or how you see fit based on your deck.)
In the major arcana, we’ll separate the 22 cards into four groups:
- Looking to the left
- Looking to the right
- Looking straight ahead
- Looking in opposite / different directions (two or more characters on the same card)
After we separate the 22 major arcana into these groups, it looks like this:
Major arcana tarot cards looking to the left:
- The Fool
- The Hermit
- The Star
- The World
Major arcana tarot cards looking to the right:
Major arcana tarot cards looking straight ahead:
- The Magician
- The High Priestess
- The Empress
- The Emperor
- The Hierophant
- The Chariot
- The Hanged Man
- The Sun
Major arcana tarot cards looking in opposite / different directions:
- The Lovers
- Wheel of Fortune
- The Devil
- The Tower
- The Moon
Let’s do the same as above for the minor arcana:
Minor arcana tarot cards looking to the left:
- Ace of Wands (hand points left)
- Two of Wands
- Nine of Wands
- Ace of Cups (hand points left)
- Four of Cups
- Five of Cups
- Eight of Swords
- Seven of Pentacles
Minor arcana tarot cards looking to the right:
- Six of Wands
- Eight of Wands (staves point down to the right)
- Ten of Wands
- Seven of Cups
- Eight of Cups
- Ace of Swords (fist points to the right)
- Six of Swords
- Seven of Swords
- Ten of Swords
- Nine of Swords
- Ace of Pentacles (hand points to the right)
- Two of Pentacles
- Five of Pentacles
- Eight of Pentacles
- Nine of Pentacles
Minor arcana tarot cards looking straight ahead:
- Three of Wands (in the Rider Waite Smith, we see the character from behind, so we can imagine we’re looking forward in the same direction)
- Four of Wands
- Seven of Wands
- Nine of Cups
- Two of Swords
- Four of Swords (the character is actually looking up while lying down, but we’ll group this card here as straight [upwards])
- Four of Pentacles
Minor arcana tarot cards looking in opposite / different directions:
- Five of Wands
- Two of Cups
- Three of Cups
- Six of Cups
- Ten of Cups
- Three of Swords (the swords point in three different directions)
- Five of Swords
- Three of Pentacles
- Six of Pentacles
- Ten of Pentacles
Now we’ll look at the court cards:
The court cards only have three (3) categories – there aren’t any court cards that look in opposition or different directions since there’s only one person on the card.
For these categories of the court cards, there are cards looking to the left, right or straight ahead.
Court cards looking to the left:
- Page of Cups
- Queen of Cups
- Knight of Swords
- Page of Swords
- King of Wands
- Knight of Wands
- Queen of Pentacles
Court cards looking to the right:
- Page of Wands
- Queen of Wands
- King of Cups
- Knight of Cups
- King of Pentacles
- Page of Pentacles
- Knight of Pentacles
- Queen of Swords
Court cards looking straight ahead:
- King of Swords
Synergy and Tarot
So what does this all mean when we look at synergy and tarot?
Let’s look at the tarot cards as people (objects, animals and/or things depending on your tarot deck.)
We can then see them as having conversations, interactions and/or relationships among each other.
We can often picture the court cards having relationships within their own suits and the other court cards of other suits, but all the cards in tarot can interact with any other card.
Reading the synergy between tarot cards is ideal and helpful when doing large or medium-sized tarot spreads such as the Celtic Cross or Romany tarot spreads.
You can look to see where each card is facing in the tarot spread and see/feel what kind of interaction is happening.
Let’s look at what some of these conversations can mean and how to spot them.
Here are a few examples of what you may find in your tarot readings:
Tarot Cards Facing Each Other
Do you have two tarot cards next to each other or in close proximity on the same line and they’re facing each other?
This may mean that what or who these cards represent may have a close relationship.
Read what the card’s interpretation means and use your intuition.
This may suggest that it could be a harmonious relationship or there could be tension (depending on the card and suit.)
Some kind of interaction and communication is likely happening between the cards, so trust your intuition to find out what the subject or topic is between those two cards.
Tarot Cards with Backs to Each Other (i.e. Not Facing Each Other)
This may suggest a break in communication, a disagreement, argument, lack of friendship or relationship, etc.
When you have two tarot cards next to each other or in close proximity on the same line, this may mean an issue, problem or relationship is being ignored.
This could be a refusal to confront something or someone.
Tarot Cards with One Facing the Other and One Looking Away
Two tarot cards in which one card is looking at another card, but the other card isn’t looking back at the card, can mean a one-sided issue or relationship.
Look to see where the other card (not facing the card that’s facing it) is looking to get a sense of what may be drawing them away from what’s trying to get their attention.
Tarot Cards Facing Forward / Straight Ahead
Tarot cards that are facing forward / straight ahead (such as Justice) may be looking right at you (the reader and/or querent) to bring your attention to current affairs or matters.
This may suggest that you (or the querent) is ignoring what’s around them and may suggest to address issues that are happening in the present and not get distracted by everything that’s going on.
Tarot Cards Facing Opposite or Different Directions (within the Cards)
Tarot cards that face opposite or different directions (such as The Tower) often have something actively happening in the card.
They’re a scene unto themselves and don’t seem to interact with any of the other cards in the spread (but other cards may interact with it.)
Take special note of what’s going on in the card, but also look to see if there are other cards that are looking in the direction of that cards.
Examples are: The Lovers, Wheel of Fortune and the Ten of Pentacles.
Tarot Cards Above, Below or on an Angle
Tarot cards that are above, below or or on an angle can also have interactions and connections happening to other cards.
Take notice of what’s on the bottom of a card (in the picture/image of the card) that’s above another card and what card is below another card.
Look for how the persons or objects may interact with the other card.
This can be helpful when doing the Celtic Cross or large tarot spread.
Have a look to see if a card is looking on an angle in the direction of another card.
Keep in mind what card is on top (this could mean an advantage or power over something/someone) and what card is on bottom (it could mean a disadvantage or lack of power.)
A card on an angle in the direction of another card may also hint at an advantage/disadvantage or simply looking at a situation from a different angle or viewpoint.
Trust your intuition on this one.
Tarot Cards and the Past, Present and Future
This is a simple technique that you can use just by looking at where the tarot cards are facing in your reading.
Past / Left:
If a tarot card character/animal/object is facing towards the left (or on an angle towards the left), this can mean looking to the past or something to do with the past.
Future / Right:
If a tarot card character/animal/object is facing towards the right (or on an angle towards the right), this can mean looking to the future or something to do with the future.
Present / Straight Ahead:
If a tarot card character/animal/object is facing towards the front/straight ahead, this can mean looking to the present and not being affected or worried about the past or future.
Want more tips for reading tarot synergy and interactions?
This post here is just an introduction of how to read the synergy of the cards.
You’ll definitely want to check out the book, Tarot Interactions by Deborah Lipp if you want to learn more. (*not an affiliated link.)
Deborah Lipp’s book, Tarot Interactions, can help you to get more practice with examples, tarot spreads and exercises on how to read the synergy of the tarot cards.
As with any tarot reading technique, take what works for you and leave what doesn’t.
Knowing about tarot interactions and synergies may become useful for you in a reading in the future.
Stay open to possibilities and let your intuition guide you to what you need to see in the cards.
Until next time!
Stacey & the Tarot Pugs
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