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4 tips to read tarot cards in weird positions in a spread

Reading the cards when they throw you for a loop

If you are like me, you prefer to use set spreads to read the cards, for you or others. This is because a set spread helps me align the narrative with the cards, and gives me a foundation for reading the cards honestly and clearly.

However, even in specific spreads with specific positions, there can be cards that come forward that throw you for a loop. I know because it has happened to me often.

So, what to do about this surprising card in this position that now has you asking more questions instead of providing clarity. Here are the ways that I read the cards that surprise me, or throw me for a loop.

1.) Focus on the spectrum of the card

The Sun from the Herbcrafter’s Tarot

Let’s use an example:

Let’s say you are doing a simple two-card reading with the spread positions WHAT TO FOCUS ON and WHAT TO RELEASE. For the WHAT TO RELEASE position you turn over the Sun. The Sun is always a welcome sight in any reading, so what to do when it is in this position? I mean, who wants to release the energies of the Sun card? Go to the spectrum of the Sun card.

It isn’t saying you need to release your luminous light. It isn’t a bad omen. The Sun card invites needed illumination, and nourishment to feed your wild spirit and the growth you working through. So, in this position (at least the way I would read it), is to say that you have gained what you needed from the Sun. You have been given the clarity and the nourishment. You have fed your wild appetite. The burial part of the spectrum of the Sun would be to stay in this energy now could merge into complacency, or a comfortability that is no longer serving you.

Simply put, what you are releasing is the inclination to stay. You have gained what you needed. You have the clarity, the resources, and the strength. At some point, comfortability confines you to a space you have outgrown, and your spirit is ready to go forward.

2.) Look to where the card resides within the deck

Let’s go back to our previous example. Another way to read the Sun from the position WHAT TO RELEASE is to look at where the Sun sits within the deck.

The Sun comes after the Moon, and before Judgment. The Moon invites us to call in our wild magick, the Sun gives it nourishment, and Judgment invites us to take that wild magick and move into a position of purpose and interconnection with the world, or the bigger picture.

So, in releasing the Sun (again, how I would read it), it is saying that your wild magick and wild reclamation are ready to align into your devotion to yourself, and your bigger purpose.

The Sun has given you everything you need to take your wild and beautiful spirit into a position that expands to cosmic reclamation and sacred devotion. There isn’t any bad omen in that, is there?

3.) Look to how the cards interact with each other

From the Hush Tarot

I hate to depart from the example of the Sun, but for this section I have to highlight a real moment that happened to me, because it speaks to this tip perfectly.

For a little backstory, a little over a year ago I was looking at potentially renting office space with another person to do in-persons readings. I knew the person, adore and admire her still, the office was intimate, and was in a location that I loved (downtown Littleton to be exact). This little hamlet was my stomping ground since I was little, and I thought the location was a sure sign that I should sign the contract and get the keys.

I left the meeting with a lot to think about. Much of it seemed great, but I was also dealing with a lot of personal changes that could affect my decision, and before I make any big decisions like this, I consult my cards. So, I sat down when I got home and pulled three cards. These were the positions

Card for renting office space / Card for not renting office space / and a card for myself between these two huge choices.

The card pulled for renting the office space was the Page of Pentacles (not a bad sign). The card pulled for not renting the office space was the Queen of Wands (again, not a bad sign), and the card that represented myself was Strength. Look at how the Strength card is looking clearly at the Queen of Wands.

I had my answer. The Strength card was literally directing her focus, and mine, to the option that would best direct me. The Strength card was also looking away from a card that may have provided a lot of opportunity and growth, and I needed the strength to let an opportunity like that go.

I didn’t take the office space, and moved a few months ago to Conifer. The drive would have been over an hour if I taken the office and was committed to a lease.

So, look at how the cards interact together, or don’t interact. This isn’t about forcing it either. They may not interact, but you have the previous tips to help if there is no interaction to be had. However, if you look close enough, many times you will find interactions that you initially didn’t catch.

4.) Look to the symbolism in the card image

Sun Card from the Ostara Tarot. Perhaps my favorite depiction of this card

The final tip is to look at the symbolism in the card. Symbols speak to the unconscious mind, create depth outside the rudimentary understanding of what the symbol is, and encourage a deeper narrative and connection to occur within us. Most decks are stacked full of symbols.

The beautiful thing about this is that symbols create a very personal dialog within us to help take the invitations of the card and work them into the fabric of our lives. This is also subjective. I don’t connect in any way with the traditional symbol of the baby or the sunflowers in traditional depictions of the Sun card. I do, however, connect deeply with the beautiful warrior in the Sun card from the Ostara tarot.

The symbol of the wings, the armor, the scepter all speak to me on an unconscious level that the Sun invites us to take all we have, use it promote more light, protect what is sacred, and journey to the places that need our light and our fight.

So, use the symbols to create connections that transcend the spread position. Use what you see to create an internal dialog that helps build the foundation for the card energies to move from surprising to clarifying.

Certain cards can throw us for a loop in reading, but these are the tips that I have found to really help for my personal and professional readings. May they do the same for you. Thanks for reading!

If you like the way I work with the tarot, and need some guidance, check out my Store and Services page to see the spreads I offer!

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How to Work with the 6 of Pentacles


As each day begins to bring us closer to March, distancing us from the shortest month of the year, it is therapeutic, dare I write it…….even cathartic to write my workings with this card onto the public page of my platform. In working with the 6 of Pentacles, and as I mentioned in the podcast episode (click here to listen), it is important to see and work with the 6 of Pentacles beyond an act of charity. I don’t like to work with the 6 of Pentacles based on a capitalistic narrative that puts money in the form of hierarchy between people. Instead, I am going to discuss how the themes within this card open the space for sharing for the bigger picture, and what that means. I am also going to discuss how abundance and generosity make magick and reality a fluid cycle, ending within the metaphor of pollination- and how it relates to this card.

When talking about sharing for the picture, I cannot help but reflect back on 2020, and the beginning of this year. I know…I know, we have discussed about the last year to the point that it has become a trope of itself. However, when I look back on the last year, I see that our lives are communally based. We may not be the most social of people (I am definitely not overly social) but the good of the individual enhances and elevates the good of the community. The good of the community leads to the good of a society.

This is not merely related to health, although 2020 showed how health is not a individual issue. When discussing the theme of sharing for the bigger picture, it is about all of that, and more. Sharing for the bigger picture means that we do not seek to shut ourselves off or away from the world. Instead, we open ourselves to the goods that abound with gratitude and companionship. We share with the community, with our spirit guides and ancestors, with our friends and family, so that the layered energies become enriched with stability and support.

From the Herbcrafter’s Tarot, the 6 of Pentacles is shown as Pine. Pine offers it’s medicine, resources, and support all year. This consistence supports all living things.

The Herbcrafter’s Tarot deck shows the layered meaning of this card. When we share for the bigger picture, it is not merely monetary or based on someone’s altruistic acts. This card speaks to sharing in ritual and magick and community because that is how the bigger energies change for the better. When working with this card, we are being asked to commit to sharing in the ways that we can, so that the community, society, and the very Earth experiences more stability, more support.

Building on this narrative, when we look to generosity and abundance, we are being asked with this card to be generous with all the layers and faculties of ourselves. We can use our hearts, our minds, our bodies, and our spirits to direct the bigger picture towards more support and stability. By offering out and being generous with ourselves, we charge the Universe to send back to us what we have put out. We merge into the large and small cycles of what is, was, and will be with more direction being paid towards wider description of abundance.

From the Hush Tarot deck, the Meadowlark is the only bird that sings while flying, indicating joy and bounty. Meadowlarks are a symbol of abundance and good harvest.

When we look to generosity, prosperity, and sharing it is important to find the space to really sit with what abundance means to us. Abundance and prosperity are not terms and themes that exist in a vacuum. They are around us all the time. It requires that we take notice, be part of the collaboration for prosperity’s own sake. Being part of the abundance for the bigger picture means that we actively choose the ways we are fulfilled continuously, constantly.

When abundance and prosperity move and guide us, we are freer to offer out our internal truth more. We are freer to find the small and subtle layers that bring abundance into our days. With all of this glorious energy, it can be easy to see this card as all love and light, sunshine and rainbows shit. Not true.

This card is a positive card, and indicates quite beautiful themes, but this card also points to work that needs to be done. It points to what is out of alignment with prosperity. It can also indicate our attention to money, the privilege that many (me included) hold and how that privilege has created deep, systemic imbalances. This card indicates and guides us toward move and bring abundance into spirit, but it also shines a light on where the balances of power are tilted.

When we work with this card, it is important to look at how we build and collaborate from a space of prosperity. When we take abundance and prosperity into our spirit, and then give it out to the world along with our truths, it is vital to see and reflect on how these systems, resources, and guiding forces can be called on and cultivated in times of hardship. In short, this card encourages us to not see and work with abundance as some fleeting, charitable influence. Rather, it is a form of stabilizing and ensuring that all things have a seat at the table of abundance.

From the Wild Unknown, we see the 6 of Pentacles as a form of growth, symbolized by the seed. Through pollination, more and more living things thrive.

Finally, we can work with the 6 of Pentacles by calling to mind the role of pollination, both metaphorically and physically. If you really want to be share in the totality of abundance for the bigger picture, go thank a pollinator! metaphorically, we can use pollination as an analogy for the 6 of Pentacles. Through the act of pollination the plant can grow and thrive, and others plants can grow and thrive. Pollination contributes to the whole ecosystem, with each living thing benefitting and offering their own abundance to keep all things in equilibrium. For us, on a spiritual scale, we can see pollination as a way to encourage our spiritual thriving, as well as the thriving spiritual ecosystem for all things.

I would love to hear how the 6 of Pentacles has benefitted you. I really love this card, and see the prosperous blooming in all things. In you, in me, in all things, we bloom together or we wither together. Thank you so much for reading.

Many blessings and much love,

Ashlie