When a Tarot Card Just Doesn't Make Sense

Black and white tarot spread with leaves

We've all been here before. You've laid out your cards, looked at their meanings and connections, and spun them into an insightful reading. The catch? One of them just doesn't seem to fit. It could be a rogue major arcana, a pesky minor, or a theme that won't tie in no matter how you look at it. Either way, its meaning won't reveal itself to you.

This can be frustrating and a bit of an ego blow. We all know there's nothing like a smooth, free-flowing tarot reading. It's exhilarating and illuminating. We get the insight we want and the satisfaction of pulling it all together.

What would you say if I told you that my favorite part of reading tarot is not knowing what a card means?

Over the years I've done a lot of readings. When I first stumbled on a tricky card I was upset. No matter how many books I consulted it just didn't gel with the rest of the reading. And then I let it sit (definitely more out of frustation than wisdom!) I simply didn't know what to do.

And then the magic happened. 

All the times I've encountered a difficult card it was for a reason. Sometimes a card doesn't reveal itself because it has a larger message that needs time to unfold in real life. These instances have always stuck with me as the most powerful moments in tarot.

An example: I was doing a reading about an opportunity I was going to pursue. Everything was looking peachy and about as "logical" (or understandable, rather) as a tarot reading can be. Then I drew a card that represented "something to watch out for." It was the six of cups.

Now this is perhaps one of the rosiest tarot cards in the decks. It represents connection, innocence, and tenderness. I couldn't for the life of me see how it related to my situation, especially since what I was asking about had very little to do with friendship or relationships.

Fast forward two days and I found myself in a sticky situation involving a friend trying to take advantage of the situation I had been doing the reading for. Suddenly, I understood what the card had been trying to tell me. In the left corner of the six of cups there's an often-ignored figure. It appears to be walking out of the frame and holding a spear and can refer to moments when you let your guard down.

I had been letting my rose-colored vision of this relationship cloud my judgment, choosing to ignore my doubts and "let my guard down." It was an exciting a-ha! moment that drew me deeper into the card and cemented a facet of its meaning with a real life experience.

These tarot moments are unique and special - I never forget them when they happen and they've led me to embrace the times when I can't seem to make a card fit. It may seem counterintuitive, but give it a try for yourself. When you encounter a tricky card let it rest. In time, it will reveal its meaning in your life and leave you with a magical tarot experience and story.