How to Tell Time with the Tarot


Blessed Litha! And welcome to the Summer Solstice Tarot Blog Hop: Does anybody know what time it is? Hopefully you have arrived here from Raine Clara Shakti’s post over at Tarot of Change. If not, you can check it out afterward by following the “PREVIOUS BLOG” link at the top or bottom of this post.

Questions about timing are amongst the most commonly asked by tarot clients and at the same time regarded as amongst the most difficult to answer by many tarot readers. What follows is the method that I have found to work best for me. If you are familiar with various tarot methods, you will see I am essentially handling these as choice questions. Depending on the question asked, this will require more or less rewording to turn a question I can’t answer into a question that I can answer. So let’s first discuss how to ask an effective timing question!

There are three basic types of timing questions I get asked. Here is an example of each:

1) The “When will I find love?” question:

Some variations:  When will I meet me my soul mate or twin flame? When will I get married? When will I get pregnant? When will I win the lottery? I see these questions often in ads for psychics, so I don’t blame anyone for asking them. But, as they are, they are not effective tarot questions and there are a few reasons for that. 

Assuming an outcome.

These questions assume that a specific thing is going to happen. Not to be too pessimistic, but what if you are never going to get married or win the lottery? What if soul mates don’t exist? What if a twin flame connection is not even what would make you happy in a relationship? If, in the midst of a reading, it comes up that one of these things is going to happen, it makes sense to ask when. But these are generally not a good starting place for a reading. If it happens that, at this moment, your life is not headed toward marriage, or pregnancy, or lottery winnings, then the answers provided by the tarot to these questions are going to be misleading at best. 

Many people will try to remedy the assumed outcome question by changing it into a yes/no question. Will I ever get married? Will I ever get pregnant? Will I ever win the lottery? Unfortunately, these questions are equally ineffective. First of all, tarot is not really designed to answer a yes/no question in the way a pendulum would. And even if you do get an answer–what then? What if you get the answer that you will never get married, win the lottery, or even find love at all? Do you stop trying? I would hate to be the reason you stopped trying! There is actually another deep assumption embedded in these questions–the assumption that your fate is set in stone. 

Leaving it up to fate.

One reason people like to believe in fate is that it absolves us of all responsibility. The questions we’ve looked at so far assume no action on our part. How lovely it would be for nice things to just happen to us. But it reminds me of something I heard as a kid about predicting the weather–that you will be something like 95% correct if you predict that tomorrow’s weather will be the same as today’s. I’m not sure how accurate this is about weather prediction, but I can tell you it is true about your fate. If you don’t have love now–and you plan to do nothing about that–it is likely you will still not have love tomorrow. 

These questions assume that you have no say in if or when these things might happen to you. If you have read this far and are hoping I am going to tell you how to answer the questions above, I’m afraid my answer will disappoint you. I suggest instead that you ask how to manifest these desires that are not yet set in your future. Did you know that you can do something to bring these things into your life and the tarot can help you to do that? The catch is, you need to be willing to take some action toward these goals. I’m not going to discuss manifestation in detail here,  but here are some alternate questions to get you started: What is getting in the way of my finding love? What can I do now to meet my goal of getting married one day? What steps can I take to manifest more money?

2) The “When will I get a response?” question:

This is a much more straight forward timing question. It might be about love or a job or a test result. Like the first type of question, it is still very much grounded in fate. However, it also assumes you have taken some action already. You have professed your love and are waiting for an answer. Or, you have applied for the promotion and are waiting to see if you get it. Or, you have taken the test and are waiting for the results. There are some things in life you have no control over. If you have done all you can, all you can do is wait. 

But, have you done all you can? If you are not sure, a good question to ask the tarot is “What more can I do to reach this goal?” If to wait and see is truly the answer, there are several cards that can express this. Assuming you do have a real “wait and see” situation on your hands, the timing method I describe below can at least give you some idea of how long you will have to wait. Even if it will be a long wait, it can put your mind at ease to simply know that answer.

3) The “When is the best time?” question:

Some variations: When is the best time to respond to that email? When is the best time to go back to school? When is the best time to adopt a new cat or dog? This final type of timing question is the one I find to be the most effective use of tarot and is the type I will give a brief example of below. It may be clear at this point that I have a bias toward taking fate into our own hands! These questions all assume that you are ready to take action and simply want to know when the timing will be best for that action.

The steps to telling time with the tarot:

1) Define the time frame. As I stated earlier, this is essentially a choice reading style. So we need to define what our choices are. If you know you need to complete the action within the next week, we will pull 7 cards–one card per day. If you know you need to complete the action within a month or a season, we will pull a card per week in that time frame. 

2) Shuffle and lay out the cards. Your layout or spread will depend on the time frame. Think this out before you start so that you don’t forget which card is which. If I am looking at a couple of weeks and am pulling a card per day, I will often lay out the cards just as they would fall on a calendar. If I am looking at a full year and pulling a card per month, I will generally lay out four rows of three as that is what makes the most sense to me. 

3) Reading the cards. This part will vary from reader to reader, but I will describe what works for me. I first scan the cards for reversals. While I don’t always consider reversals in my readings, this is one type of reading where reversals will hold some weight. Because we are asking about timing, and reversals often indicate delays, a reversed card in this reading can be a simple “no, not now” to me. The second thing I look for is any card that aligns with the purpose of the question. If we are asking a love question, the two of cups can be a clear yes. However, if a card that aligns very clearly with your question is also presenting as reversed, it might be a “hell no!” After looking for these two things, I am looking at the general energies of each card for what they say about that particular choice in timing. 

An example.

A client recently asked this type of question and provided positive feedback as she happened to know that the answer aligned with what she already knew to be true. She has kindly given me permission to share a summary of her reading here. Her question was about possibly moving to a new city and she wanted to know the best time to go.

She defined her time frame as the spring of 2020 which, where she lives, begins on March 19 and ends on June 20. I laid out a row of cards for each month–March, April, and May–with two cards for the last weeks of March, four cards for each week of April, and three cards for the first weeks of May which make up the spring of 2020 in the northern hemisphere. Note: I didn’t pull a card for every month of spring as it became clear where this was headed. 

LeGrande Circus & Sideshow Tarot by Joe Lee © 2015 U.S. Games Systems Inc.

A summary of the results: The above cards each represent a week–the last two weeks of March, four weeks of April, and first three weeks of May. The Magician shows the most perfect time to make this move would be at the very beginning of Spring (Mar 19-28) and the following week is the runner up as Aces make for perfect beginnings. The four cards for April are okay, just not as magical. The three cards for May show this is definitely not the best time as there will be quite a few obstacles that will continue into her trying to settle into her new home.

If needed, I would of course go into detail about any of the above cards, but I think this is enough to give you the idea. I hope you find these suggestions and this example useful. If you would like me to explain my interpretation of a specific card in more detail–or have a question about any other aspect of this reading–please do ask in the comments!

And if you have any timing questions you would like to have answered for you, Timing Tarot Readings are now available in the shoppe here!

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you are enjoying the Summer Solstice Tarot Blog Hop: Does anybody know what time it is? Please continue on to Joy Vernon’s post at Tarot in Love by following the “NEXT BLOG” link at the top or bottom of this post.

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