In some tarot traditions, the client / querent doesn’t tell the tarot reader what their question is and the tarot reader does the reading only based on the information that they receive from the cards.
A “General” tarot reading is often a type of reading without a question in mind by the client / querent and the tarot reader picks up on whatever messages and information that they intuitively or psychically see in the cards.
This type of reading can be done with a tarot spread, but often is better without predetermined card positions and done with a limited amount of cards, often between three to seven cards.
In this post, we’ll look at how to do a “general” tarot reading and examine the following:
- What to look for in a general tarot reading
- How to determine the topic or subject of the tarot reading
- What the suits of the minor arcana in a general tarot reading may indicate
- How to trust your intuition
- How to make note of card synergy and interactions
- How to sum up the general reading
Let’s begin with what to look for in a general tarot reading.
How to do a “General” Tarot Reading
What to Look for in a General Reading
Doing a tarot reading without a question may seem intimidating when starting to learn tarot, but with practice and learning to trust your intuition, the art of general tarot readings can be learned.
There are a few ways to get started with general tarot readings, especially if unsure where to begin.
If you’re familiar with certain interpretation techniques, you can start with numerology or astrology interpretations, or even making a note of what suits, majors and even the colours of the cards in the reading.
Start with one of these techniques when learning and continue with that method as your practice to give you a starting point.
Noticing the suits is the easiest and simplest method. Make a note if there are any Cups, Wands, Pentacles or Swords and how many of them are in the reading. Read further below to find out what these may indicate.
If you choose to start with numerology, make note of any repeated numbers in the reading such as multiple 5s, 10s, 3s, etc.
If there is more than one of the same number, you may wish to examine what that number means in numerology as a theme for the reading.
If you choose to start with astrology, you may wish to make note of the astrological associations of the cards, if any of the cards repeat the same planets or signs (in major and minor arcana combinations).
To know more about the astrological associations with all the 78 tarot cards, check out How to Make Time Predictions with Tarot.
How to Determine the Topic or Subject of the General Reading
A simple way to find the topic or subject of the general reading is to have a look at the major and minor arcana cards and see how many Cups, Swords, Wands and Pentacle cards are in the reading, what major arcana cards are in the reading, and if there are any minor arcana suits missing from the reading.
If there are more Cups in the reading than any other suit, then the reading may indicate about love, friendship, emotions, feelings.
If there are more Swords in the reading than any other suit, then the reading may indicate about thoughts, ideas, problems, conflicts, intellect, communication.
If there are more Pentacles in the reading than any other suit, then the reading may indicate about money, work, finances, career, business.
If there are more Wands in the reading than any other suit, then the reading may indicate about ambition, projects, planning, travel, experience.
If there are more majors in the reading than minor arcana, then the reading may indicate about major life events, situations, spiritual journeys, life changes, significant factors.
If there are specific combinations of minor arcana suits in the reading, this may indicate something good or problematic in the reading such as:
If there are Cups and Swords, this may indicate problems in love, relationships, family.
If there are Cups and Wands, this may indicate passion, intensity, competition in love, relationships, family.
If there are Wands and Swords, this may indicate struggles, strife, ambition or intense focus and concentration.
If there are Cups and Pentacles, this may indicate love of money, money and relationships, grounded in love, family, relationships.
If there are Swords and Pentacles, this may indicate concentration at work, mental work, communication in business.
If there are Wands and Pentacles, this may indicate financial planning, business competition, long term projects for work, money or finances.
When combined with major arcana cards, the major arcana give a backdrop or additional layer to the minor arcana of something profound or significant happening.
How to Trust Your Intuition in a General Tarot Reading
The best way to trust your intuition when doing a general tarot reading is to let your eyes be drawn to a specific card in the reading.
Whatever card that your eyes or mind feels drawn to or fixated on will be your “key” or “main” card of the reading that the reading will be centered around.
The “key” card will give an indication of what the other cards will center around.
To find the main card, this may be a card that something in the picture of the card will draw your attention.
It could be a figure/person in the card, a colour, an animal, the number or you may get a sensation or feeling that you keep being drawn to that card.
Another layer of this is also determining if the cards are speaking of the past, present or future which will require you to look within and sense if the story of the reading is indicating a time line, and which cards are indicating the past, present and future – if you aren’t using a standard past / present / future tarot spread.
Generally cards on the left usually indicate the past, cards in the middle indicate the present and cards on the right indicate the future, however this isn’t written or set in stone and intuitive readings can be fluid and unstructured.
Reading the Synergy and Interactions between the Cards
Another step in doing a general tarot reading (which is also helpful in any tarot spread) is to see and make note of the interactions between the tarot cards in the reading.
This is where it may seem that certain cards are “talking” to one another; this may be seen in instances when certain court cards or minor arcana cards are facing towards or away from each other.
By reading the interactions between the cards, this can give more insight into the connection and relationships that may be happening in the reading which build upon more of what may be happening in the reading.
For more about working with interactions between cards, have a look at Synergy and Tarot: Interactions between the Tarot Cards.
How to Sum up the General Tarot Reading
For a general tarot reading, the best way is to simply say what you see in the cards and allow your mind to flow from one card to the next, making connections and links between the cards.
Some readers prefer to weave the cards into a story, while others may read the cards in more of a fortune-telling / predictive manner.
The best way is to start with what you feel the reading is about (e.g. love, romance, relationship, work, career, money, finances, travel, ambition, struggle, anxiety, strife, conflict, etc.), then continue about the people or persons (such as a description or type of persons involved) and then what you feel the subject of the reading is centered around.
If performing a general reading with someone in person or by video chat, you can always ask the person if you are on the right track so that you can get instant feedback.
If doing the reading by email or other written forms to be sent, this will require more taking the chance and allowing the information to flow as much as possible.
At the end of the reading (in person or by video chat), it’s always best to summarize the reading again so the client / querent can have a final message to take with them especially if there was a lot of information revealed in the reading.
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