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The Llewellyn Journal
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Tarot: What To Do If You Get Stuck

This article was written by Barbara Moore
posted under Tarot

Weíve all done readings that go along very well until suddenly your brain freezes and no words are coming out of your mouth. If youíre reading for someone else, this can be awkward or embarrassing. Even worse, it may cause you to lose confidence yourself or create a disconnect between you and your reading mojo. Luckily there a lot of techniques that can help you overcome just such a moment. And, as is the way of Universe, these methods may become some of your favorite tools for accessing intuitive, divine wisdom, whether or not youíre feeling stuck.

Before we get into some of these practices, I want to mention a different experience of being stuck.† In an earlier article I wrote about the importance of community and provided some sources for you to connect with various aspects of the tarot community either online or in your local area. When I was working on this article, I got a stuck (a bit of writerís block). I turned to the tarot community and found tons of support. In particular, Amy Lamash, creator of the Tarot Calendar (found at http://www.tarotcalendar.com/) shared some of her own ideas with me and said to share them with you.

Back to when you find yourself drawing a blank on card. Try any or all of these until your intuition starts flowing again:

  1. Take a deep breath and relax. Reground.
  2. Say the name of the card aloud.
  3. Describe the card in detail out loud.
  4. Focus on what draws your eye (if reading for someone else, ask them what their eye is most drawn to).
  5. Talk about the numerical, elemental, or astrological correspondence of the card.
  6. Draw another card and focus on the similarities and differences between them, as well how they relate to each other visually (are the characters facing each other, away from each other, or in the same direction?).
  7. Imagine the card is a scene in a story. Tell the story, including what happened just before and what will happen next. If reading for someone else, ask them to do this.


If you are reading for someone else, using these techniques should get things flowing again, particularly if you incorporate the methods that invite the querent to participate.

If you are reading for yourself, you might need or want to take more time with a troubling card. Doing a short meditation can provide some interesting insight. Look at the card until you have it memorized. Sit back, relax, close your eyes and visualize the card. Let it grow in size until it is like a life-sized scene that you can enter. Imagine yourself entering the situation. What is it like? What do you do first? Do you talk to someone? What do you say? Does someone speak to you first? Once you take that first step into the image, the experience seems to take on a life of its own. This is one of my favorite techniques when Iím stuck. And unless Iím being willfully obstinate and donít want the message, it usually works very well.

If you want to create an excellent toolkit of tarot reading techniques for yourself, do read Mary K. Greerís 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card. Many of the ideas here are from her book. It really will give your readings a level of usefulness and depth that may surprise you.

Barbara MooreBarbara Moore
In the early 1990s, at a party, someone put a tarot deck in Barbara's hands; she's held on tightly ever since. Tarot provides just enough structure so that we don't get lost as we explore the mysteries, plumb our dark corners, and locate our North...  Read more

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