Tarot Workout: Two Pages

“Renaldo” brings me the following question:

“There was a person in my life who was very special for me, and I was very special for him.  We argued and stopped talking to each other.  Do you see him
messaging me, e-mailing me or coming to see me any time soon?”

Sun Gold 700x600pxAs I plan out the tarot spread, I consider two aspects of the question that deserve special attention. Continue reading “Tarot Workout: Two Pages”


Tarot Workout: Court Tester

We’ve been talking about the Court Cards in the Tarot Salon, so I’ve chosen a reading that features them for this next Tarot Workout. 

“Micheline” writes in with this question:

“I am studying for a professional exam that is offered only every 4 months. There is pressure for me to take it as soon as possible, both financially and for reasons related to my visa. What are the chances that I would pass the exam if I take it right away?”

Using the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, you lay out the following spread:


  1. Covering energy (Micheline as she stands now): Queen of Pentacles, reversed
  2. Opportunity crossing for better or for worse (Taking the test right away): Page of Pentacles
  3. The most likely outcome of these together: 4 of Cups

Here are the cards from my deck:


What do you say to Micheline?

Bonus questions for fun:

  1. Pull an “advice” card from your deck. What further guidance do you get from that?
  2. Do you read these Court Cards as different people, aspects of Micheline, or a combination of the two? Why, and how would your reply differ if you saw it the other way?
— Stop here to complete your reading before looking on for my response. —

Continue reading “Tarot Workout: Court Tester”

Tarot Workout: How’s My Timing?

“Beverly” has surprised herself by getting excited about someone new very shortly after a breakup. She asks:

“What potential does this new relationship have, especially given my timing?”

Using the Golden Tarot by Kat Black, you draw a 4-card spread for Beverly. What do you tell her when you see these cards?

Present Day Tarot Spread


******** Tarot Students, pause here to create your own interpretation of this reading. Then read on to compare my response to yours. **********

Continue reading “Tarot Workout: How’s My Timing?”

Tarot Workout: Speed Dating

‘Silvia’ writes in with the following question: “I have several dates planned in the next few weeks. How can I find the best guy for me?”

This Tarot Workout shows a common question asked of tarot readers, and is based on an actual reading I did some time ago. I’ll just set you up for now, and ask you to leave comments with your thoughts for Silvia. I will post my written response in a few days. You do not need to consider yourself a tarot reader to weigh in. Simply find your intuitive response to the pictures, and go for it.

Using the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, you lay out the following spread:

Present Day Tarot 3-card spreadCARD 1 (Sylvia’s ideal romantic partner): 9 of Cups, upright

CARD 2 (Helping energy): 6 of Cups, reversed

CARD 3 (Blocking energy): Ace of Cups, reversed


Together, the spread looks like this:

Present Day Tarot image for Silvia

Upright in 1-2-3 order, the cards look like this:

What do you tell Silvia?

(Stop at this point if you’re doing the tarot workout. Put out your cards and come up with your own interpretation. Then read on to see the answer Silvia got from me — Y)

Continue reading “Tarot Workout: Speed Dating”

Tarot Workout: A Longing Heart

My Tarot Workouts are based on real-life readings, minus the identifying details. Add them to your Sunday puzzle routine! If you want even more exercise, search for “Tarot Workouts” on my blog.

A Longing Heart

‘Candace’ asks, “Will I ever reunite with my ex?” You design a simple 4-card spread, which loosely mirrors the center of the Celtic Cross:

4 card visual alternate cropped

CARD 1 (Overall energy between them): Knight of Wands, reversed
CARD 2 (Opportunity for better or worse): 10 of Wands
CARD 3 (What direction are they headed?): Death
CARD 4 (Lesson from the universe): Queen of Wands

Using the Modern Spellcaster’s Tarot, you draw the following cards, placed all upright here for you to see clearly:




What do you say to Candace?

Continue reading “Tarot Workout: A Longing Heart”

Tarot Workout: The Deck Makes the Difference

Tarot Workouts are short, real-life case studies to help you exercise your tarot-reading muscle. Enjoy this as a sample reading. Or, if you are a tarot student, read the question, check out the cards, and then step away from the essay to formulate your own response. Read the end later to see how my response compares to your own. Leave comments for me about how your interpretation may differ.

The Question

The question wasn’t particularly unusual. Alison explained, “I love my career but am terribly unhappy at work. I was hired because of my expertise, which is desperately needed during a transition. My supervisors tell me they love me, but I get the feeling they are keeping me on just to train the next team, and then will let me go. Should I beat them to it and just leave before they fire me?”

Something about Alison made me want to step off the beaten path. I decided to use an unusual deck – the Tarot del Fuego by Ricardo Cavolo. (I’ve written about it before). Although I love this deck, its quirkiness can make for some unwieldy readings, and I don’t use it very often. It turns out that the idiosyncrasies served me well this time, as I pulled this simple 3-card spread.

The Layout

  • CARD 1 (Overall energy of Alison at work): Knight of Swords, upright
  • CARD 2 (Opportunity crossing for better or for worse): 3 of Cups
  • CARD 3 (Tarot advice for Alison): 6 of Swords, reversed


Here is a better look at the 3 cards in their upright positions:


(To complete the Tarot Workout, stop reading now to come up with your own interpretation of Alison’s cards. Read on only after you’ve settled on your answer, then enjoy a comparison to mine).

My Response

Tarot del Fuego Knight of SwordsAlison, my first take on this is that there are more positive things going on in your work than you are seeing. The Knight of Swords – representing you – is high-energy, action-driven, and sometimes impatient. (This description made Alison laugh at its accuracy). In this particular deck, the Knight is shown as a blindfolded stallion in full gallop, while a half-dozen eyes look on from the distance. To me, this validates that people notice your hard work and are thankful for it. While it may be true that they treat you like a workhorse, I get the feeling that the emotional distance between you does not come from their direction alone.

Version 2The second card, which is an opportunity that crosses you for better or worse, is the 3 of Cups – a card of abundance and friendship. If you are working toward an urgent goal now, I could see the frenzy of the Knight being needed. However, the 3 of Cups shows an enjoyable environment around you. That is either in the future, or, more likely, available to you now, if only you choose to see it. Is it possible that you are so intent on the workload and goals that you are less likely to truly see your colleagues as peers? To me, these cards suggest that you re-evaluate to see if there is more goodwill there than you realize. (Alison explained that, besides her supervisors, she enjoyed many of the other members of her team. She said there were several people she would miss if she were to leave).

Version 3With that, the advice card is intriguing. The 6 of Swords, when upright, typically says that it’s time to move on. In your reading, however, it has shown upside-down, which tweaks the message. That this card shows up at all for advice says that moving on
is a real option. However, upside-down it cautions you to be circumspect about how you proceed. Switching jobs may be a good move for you, but perhaps not for the same reasons you have in mind. While there may simply be a great job out there for you in terms of better pay, more status, or otherwise advancing your career, you (like any other person) run the risk of importing the same dynamic into a different setting. As you keep the door open to new possibilities, why not also be deliberate in making your daily experience better by enjoying the company of the colleagues you like? You may find that it changes the parts of your work that feel unbearable now, putting you on better footing to make a well-chosen move when it is the most advantageous for you.

We left the reading there, with Alison saying she felt both validated and challenged by the cards. As I have reflected on this reading, I think how much richer it was for having been done with the Tarot del Fuego deck. The Knight of Swords showed so much more individuality than the Rider-Waite-Smith card would have in this instance. The 6 of Swords is usually shown as a placid scene of someone sailing to calmer waters, but the Tarot del Fuego card shows a much more painful transition. I associate Cavolo’s card with plantar fasciitis and the agony of indecision, which highlighted the idea that she should move forward with care. I won’t be giving up my beloved Rider-Waite-Smith deck any time soon, but I’m happy for the interesting twists provided by this other deck.


If you are a Seattle-area reader, join the Tarot Salon — a twice-monthly gathering to talk and practice tarot in the Present Day Tarot studio.

For more information about Ricardo Cavolo, he’s got a very cool website and sells his decks here. The Rider-Waite-Smith, of course, can be found in many places.

Tarot Workout: Reconciliation

Tarot Workouts are short, real-life case studies to help you exercise your tarot-reading muscle. Enjoy this as a sample reading. Or, if you are a tarot student, read the question, check out the cards, and then step away from the essay to formulate your own response. Read the end later to see how my response compares to your own.

The Question

A man — I’ll pick the name Xavier — wrote to ask if his ex would return to reconcile after a fight. He gave me no more information than that his ex is a man whom he loves dearly.

This is the kind of question that often brings people to a tarot reader. It is wonderful because it is heart-felt, and tricky because it is a yes-no question largely focused on someone other than the questioner. I opened up the question and gave it a twist to allow for Xavier’s free will to enter while honoring the spirit of his inquiry. I asked, “show me this relationship’s most likely next stage, with a guidance card for Xavier.”

The Layout


  • CARD 1 (Covering energy) This is like the card in the center of a Celtic Cross spread. It represents the overall feeling of the time in question.
  • CARD 2 (Crossing energy) This is like the second card at the center of the Celtic Cross. We often say that it “represents the opportunity that shows itself for better or worse.”
  • CARD 3 (Guidance) What it sounds like.

The Cards

  1. 10 of Pentacles, reversed
  2. Princess of Pentacles
  3. The Empress, reversed

Present Day Tarot reading workout

I used the Light and Shadow Tarot deck by Brian Williams and Michael Goepferd. I love the bold block prints and energy in this deck. However, the cards are oversized and printed on very tacky card stock, which makes them unusually difficult to handle. I reserve this deck for email readings to avoid the inevitably awkward situation of having a client struggle to shuffle the cards.

***** Tarot students, stop here and formulate your own answers ***** Continue reading “Tarot Workout: Reconciliation”