Has this ever happened to you? You pull a Tarot card, or a card comes up in a spread, and either you have a reaction to it, or you just don’t get it? Having an adverse reaction to a card or not understanding it is often an indication that its message is all the more important to you. Here’s what to do if this Tarot WTF moment happens to you.
What’s happening and what to do
The reaction could be about anything. Whether it’s a card that you have set associations with, or maybe there’s something about the illustration that rubs you up the wrong way, if you have a reaction or just don’t understand, that is an invitation to dive deeper into that card, or deeper into yourself.
1. Deeper into the card: Tarot knowledge
Every single card in Tarot is its own universe. Its meanings are vast. Multilayered. There are myriad associations with every single card. There are whole systems of thought and understanding behind every single card. This means that the associations that come to the top of mind are only the tip of iceberg of that card’s meanings.
Do you need to know all of that information for every card? No, you don’t need to learn and know it all right now. It’s a long-term journey of learning and reflection that will develop as deeply as you allow and pursue.
But if a card keeps coming up (frequently referred to as “stalker cards” in the Tarot community), or if a card comes up and something about it bothers you, or if a card comes up and you’re just not understanding its relevance, consider it an invitation to DIVE DEEPER. Study books about Tarot from a range of different perspectives. Find ways to enhance your Tarot knowledge.
No card meaning is one-dimensional, and so having a deeper and broader understanding of Tarot will help you not only to invest in your own knowledge, but also it will bring you to the fuller message that card has for you.
2. Dive deeper into yourself
If a card comes up and you’ve read the description and you’ve looked at multiple reference materials and you’re still drawing a blank, it may be that the card is reflecting back to you something that you’ve been inadvertently avoiding, or an area where you would benefit from undertaking some shadow work (in a Jungian sense).
One way to gently help yourself surface something you’ve been avoiding but are ready to reflect on is to start with some freewriting journaling (read this blog post on how to do that). Just start and don’t stop writing for even a moment until the timer goes. Once the timer goes, look at what you wrote and notice the key themes and other things that pop out to you.
When you go back to the card and your reference materials from other sources (e.g. books, guidebooks from other decks, various websites, etc.), you’ll realize why that card came up. If it’s still not making sense, I suggest doing some research and reading on shadow work. And always access appropriate professional help when you need it.
In other words, if a card comes up and you have a WTF reaction, consider it an invitation to dive deeper into the card and yourself through study and reflection. It’ll come. And your healing and empowerment are worth it.