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Special Purpose Tarot Cards

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on September 28, 2010 | Comments (11)

As many of you know, I love tarot spreads. Mostly I love inventing them. And reading about them. And sometimes even using them. I like shaking things up a bit, so I like to add little something extras to my readings. Like what, you ask? Well, I’ll save those for another time (I’m polishing and tweaking for my next book…Tarot Spreads for Beginners). In the meantime, let’s look at some ideas from someone who taught me a lot about spread design. In Teresa Michelson’s book Designing Your Own Tarot Spreads, she included a chapter on “cards that stand a little outside the main reading and have an added purpose.”

The most commonly used card of this type is the Significator. That warrants a discussion all to itself, so let’s see what other gems Teresa has in mind:

Question Card

An extra card can be used before a reading to identify the general subject area of the question or to decide which of many questions to deal with. The first  position of the Celtic Cross (“What covers you”) is really a question card, and defines the question or situation on the querent’s mind. This is one reason it is used in cold readings where the client does not state a question out loud. Drawing a question card is useful when the client is unsure of what question to ask, has a vague or complicated question or has questions on unrelated topics. The reader can simply ask “what does the Universe believe that you most need to know about right now?” The question card is not interpreted as part of the reading, it only determines the subject area of the reading.

Comment Card

This is a card that jumps out of the deck while you are shuffling, falls to the floor, or otherwise attracts your notice. Many readers believe these cards are significant, and should be held out and set aside. These cards provide additional commentary on the reading. “Commentary” may be too bland a term for it; at times thse cards may seem to be shouting, lecturing, or even making a sly joke about the situation.

Clarification Card

This is a card that the reader draws to get further insight into one or more cards in a reading. It may be layered on top of, or placed next to, the original card. Clarification cards can be greatly overused. My advice to beginning readers is not to use them at all, because they can quickly become a crutch. One of the keys to becoming a great reader is trusting the tarot to provide you with the right cards in the right positions.

Foundation Card

Some readers draw a card from the bottom of the deck at the end of the layout or after the interpretation, which is called the foundation card. This card provides further commentary on the reading by showing what is hidden or what is at the foundation or bottom of the situation.

Bias Card

This card shows any possible bias the reader may be introducing into the reading. If you get a positive card, don’t assume the situation is really gloomier than you think. Instead, think of the card as a pair of glasses you are looking through that colors everything you see. For example, if the bias card is the Two of Cups, you may be missing the fact that some of the cards in the reading actually have to do with the querent’s work and not your recent engagement.

Would you or have you used any of these (or variations thereof)? Which ones worked for you? Which ones didn’t? Any different ones you’d like to share?

As a learning exercise, pull one card from your deck and read it as each of those purposes. It’s interesting to see how looking at a card for a certain purpose opens your mind to different subtleties and applications of the card.

Reader Comments

Written By Teresa Michelsen
on September 28th, 2010 @ 10:19 am

Fun! In general I love the way you pull out existing wisdom from books that people may not have or know about. I didn’t expect to see this on though! I’ll look forward to the responses 🙂

By the way – I think the “Bias card” is most useful when reading for yourself. When teaching, I noticed that many excellent readers would suddenly become overly pessimistic about meanings when reading for themselves, or alternatively, overly optimistic. This allows the tarot to “self-correct” any possible tendencies to exaggerate or slant one’s own situation, and may also give a clue as to with what attitude one is approaching one’s life in general.

Written By Stella Luna
on September 28th, 2010 @ 5:02 pm

I often use a foundation card and find them very informative. I usually take a peak prior to a reading as they give a sense of the issue at hand. Similarly if a card jumps out of the deck I take notice of it. I sometimes find clarification cards useful too. I like the sound of the bias card for when doing reading for yourself… I have not yet done that, but will try it!! Thanks for the article. I will definitely get Teresa’s book out again now and have a read.

Written By Bobbie Jo Drake
on September 28th, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

I LOVE foundation cards! I call them “shadow” cards, and I feel like they shed some very important light on the unconscious motivations or hidden outside influences of the querent during a reading.

Written By Victoria Evangelina
on September 29th, 2010 @ 2:32 am

Teresa’s book is on my desk right now. It is a Russian language edition and I was more thn just surprised to receive it from my Mom, who in the beginning of my Tarot passion was beyond cool to it! But she is such a wonderfully supportive lady that she could not pass a book the value of which she recognized on some intuitive level!!

I use a “shadow” card with pretty much each reading I do, but I found it to be especially useful for the daily 3-card reading. For example, today the “shadow” was from 10 of Cups, and indeed, the bliss of yesterday fades away, but I realize that it cannot last forever, and, being notified by the card, I can adapt easier and with less stress. I draw the “shadow” card from the bottom of the deck as the last additional card of a layout or after the interpretation.

The “bias” card is pretty cool, too, and lately mine were from more pessimistic spectre, but usually I am “hiper-ventilating” with all the pinks, LOL

Thank you Teresa for the wonderful book and Thank you Barbara for reminding me to read it again!!

Blessings from Uzbekistan!

Written By Ty
on September 29th, 2010 @ 6:43 am

I find myself using comment cards to great effect when one ‘leaps out’ (I’ve always called them ‘leapers’), believing that they are something you defintely need to know about the question. When it happens in a 1 card reading or mediatation, well, it is THE card.

I’ll also try the Bias card next time I’m in that situation.

Written By Brian
on September 29th, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

A couple of months ago the idea of the question card popped into my head. I didn’t have a name for it, just the idea of pulling a card and seeing if the querent might have a question in relation to what the card means. At the time I wasn’t quite sure if such a thing was possible. I’ve never read Teresa’s book and regretably I haven’t tried the idea out even though I’ve had a couple of opportunities to do so. Looking forward to trying this out. Thank you Barbara for the validation! 🙂

Written By Blackbird "BB"
on September 30th, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

Comment Card: This is a card that jumps out of the deck while you are shuffling, falls to the floor, or otherwise attracts your notice. Many readers believe these cards are significant, and should be held out and set aside. These cards provide additional commentary on the reading. “Commentary” may be too bland a term for it; at times thse cards may seem to be shouting, lecturing, or even making a sly joke about the situation.

Personally I do think Rouge cards are important and will jot them down if I can in the moment, not so big on keeping them in my head, because we dont want to overly engage the L brain. After Shuffling If its a card from a Deck I have Multiple copies of I will lay it out on the side, but I like to give the Rouge and Oppertunity to reappear in the actual spread. Your thoughts. BB.

Written By Psychic Reading 
on January 30th, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

The process to get a live tarot reading to get a very different nature, tarot online reading. Of course, you have to fix an appointment, but in addition there are some things you can do to ensure good read.

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