Conversational Tarot

These days I have a particular style when I work with most oracles, mainly tarot cards.  I will, on occasion, use a prepared spread but even when I do it’s typically a spread I have designed with my own questions and my own thoughts on the central subject.  I call this style – conversational tarot.

The whole idea is to engage the cards in a conversation, as if there is someone sitting right there with you and the cards are the only form of communication.  On occasion this might only be one card, oftentimes it is more like three to 10.  It depends on the subject and your time limit in doing the reading.  I do not claim to have invented this.  I know it’s not new.  It goes by other terms as well.  (One of them being Intuitional Reading, I believe.)

The only difference between doing this and a standard card layout is there is no structure.  Whereas a standard layout provides a nice flight plan for you and the reading, conversational mode is much like jumping in your plane and going for a spin with no destination in mind.   All you know is that you’re looking for an answer to a question.  Both ways can be fun and both have innate strengths and weaknesses.

Note – Conversational mode can also be a bit difficult for a beginner.  It could cause frustration until you become well versed with the system you’re using.  The best way to become acquainted with conversational readings is to practice doing them.  Here are some very basic steps on how to get started.   Then, see my example below.

1.) Have a question in mind, imagine someone sitting with you and then ask/write down a question.

2.) Once done with the question, draw a card.  What does it tell you?  What does it suggest to you?  Let your intuition roam free and go with the first things or inputs that come to you.

3.) This card will sometimes cause another question to come to the surface.  Alternatively, you may need some clarity to the card given.  Ask, “Can you make that last statement a bit more clear for me?”  Then, draw another card.  Make sure to make notes along the way or, even better, record the session with a digital recorder so you can make notes later.

4.) What often happens at this point is that a “conversation” begins and you can begin to dig into the information you need to answer the question for yourself.  You will usually know when you are finished.

5.) When finished, give a heartfelt “thank you,” and gather the deck.  Close down the reading and make any further notes.

Here is a quick example that I did right after writing this post.  Here I’m using the Llewellyn tarot.


Subject:  In an action of moving through death/rebirth/transformation, I’m going through many of my old item and getting rid of them.  What’s been happening though is that I make slight progress and then lose my momentum and have to settle for piling them in a box and putting them in a garage.  (At least they are out of the main living space, right?)

Well, I know the error of that decision.  The items and their energies are still around, still in my life and now clogging up things in a box in a garage. Things need to be streamlined and all I’m doing is re-arranging deck chairs!

So, with my issue firmly in mind I went to the tarot, grounded, shuffled and drew a card.

The Reply: Ace of Swords

If this isn’t worthy of a laugh, I’m not sure what is!  Action.  Rising force.  The beginning of a mental undertaking.  Take control with determination.  Discriminate between what stays, what goes and then slice away!

Ok, I got it.  At least, I think I do.  One way of looking at it is that everything needs to go in one fell swoop.  Either it’s important or it’s not.  If it’s not then waste no time and toss it in the dumpster and be done!  Is that what you are driving at?

Reply: 6 of Cups

The card of reminiscing!  Hah! Fond memories of the past.  Good memories are important to use and give us a foundation.  Here I think the cards are telling me that no, do not just sweep everything out the door.  There is no discrimination in that!  No skill!  No finesse!  Some things that are important DO need to be saved and treasured.  The key is learning which ones are which.

That makes a lot of sense.  Thank you.  However, I’ve found that a big hurdle for me is keeping the emotional  attachments from slowly seeping into the process.  This alone can be distracting and exhausting when a session of purging might take hours.  What’s the best way to deal with this attachment when it begins to encroach and slow things down?

Reply:  The Queen of Pentacles

The Earth queen.  Calm, steady progress with a mature, feminine instinct.  A queen (and a king) looks at the big picture of why something is being done.  Stay grounded and stay nurturing.  Remember why you are doing this and what progress will look like!  Also, take breaks if necessary.  When you are ready then re-approach with the unsheathed Ace of Swords in mind.  When you start looking over old pictures or memories then go to the Queen.

All in all, it makes perfect sense.   I found I had no other questions and so I gave thanks for the information present, shuffled the cards and wrapped things up.

Get talking with your cards and see what they say to you.  I hope you enjoyed the example.  If you did then let me know and I’ll make sure to do more in the future.


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