Most tarot readers agree that any card can have many meanings. Determining which meaning apply to any specific reading depends on several factors, such as the deck used, the question asked, the reader (including her/his intuition), and spread position.
Some spread positions have what we might think of as “negative” meanings, such as “challenge,” “problem,” “roadblock,” or even the “crossing card” in the Celtic Cross.
What happens when a card that we generally read as a “positive” card falls into a negative position? How do we interpret it? For these examples I will use the “stable family life” interpretation. Yes, I know there are many other possibilities!
Here are some tips:
1. Leave your assumptions at the door: just because you think that having a stable, full home life is a positive thing, it might be your client’s worst nightmare, a suffocating ball and chain that they’d rather not have
2. Avoidance: read the card as the client’s action in relation to the card rather than the card itself. For example, the challenge is that the client is “avoiding a warm, stable family life.”
3. Grasping: this is the reverse of number 2; it is the client’s “grasping for or obsessing about a warm, stable family life.”
4. Reversed: if you read reversals, read upright cards in negative positions as if they were reversed and read reversed cards as if they were highlighted or intensified.
5. Cues from other Cards and Numbers: Since the 10 of Pentacles, is a 10, bring the number into play. A 10 means the end of a cycle. If other cards in the reading support this (Tower or Death, for example), it can be the ending of a stable family life. 10 can also mean completion or too much. If the Queen of Cups is present (and particularly if reversed), read it as “being suffocated by family life.”