First, I’d like to start by telling a short story. When I was just a 13-year-old teenager, I used to leaf through my aunt’s tarot books. In one of those books, an odd description about nine of swords caught my attention (which I still remember!). According to the book, nine of swords were like a very devilish and spooky card. It was even written those fortune tellers who saw this card fainted. As a teenager, when I wanted to do a tarot reading, I was terrified of drawing nine of swords. Of course, after reading the description about it, the card jumped out of the deck. Guess what I felt? I was so scared. 🙂
Imagine, one day you prepared questions in your mind and you wanted to do a tarot reading. In response to your questions, you started to draw cards with a black-scary background, swords, etc. from the deck. But are these cards really bad? How can these cards be interpreted if they are bad? Should we be afraid of tarot cards? Let’s talk about these:
1) What Do We Mean By “Bad” Cards?
In the case of the tarot, major arcana cards such as the Devil, Death, and the Tower, as well as minor arcana cards such as five of pentacles, three of swords, four of swords, five of swords, seven of swords, eight of swords, nine of swords, ten of swords and five of cups are considered to be “bad” cards. Sword cards -in particular- are notorious for being cold and unemotional. In addition, the Devil card can represent addictions, traumas, and unhealthy attachment patterns such as fear of commitment, Death card represents endings or sometimes a literal death, the Tower card represents destruction, unexpected and sudden changes, and ten of swords represents betrayal, self-sabotage and painful endings. But the purpose of the tarot is to help you add different interpretations, rather than simply interpreting the cards as evil and scary.
2) It’s All About Perspective
All cards known as “Bad” have a positive side, while all cards known as “Good” have a negative side. For example; seen as one of the best and most positive tarot cards, The Sun may represent a self-centered person. Maybe this person, like Icarus himself, is too self-confident and flying too close to The Sun. Likewise, The Devil card may represent pleasures, sensuality, sexuality, and passion. Pleasures, sensuality, and passion don’t always have to be interpreted badly. The perspective that the tarot adds is based on seeing the big picture.
Tarot is closely related to your subconscious and what you have experienced recently. The cards you draw most likely reflect your energy, your perception of the world, and your personal experiences. So try to focus instead of blaming the cards or being prejudiced. For example; let’s say you draw The Tower. Have you experienced a shocking and upsetting event recently? Are you anxious? Tarot asks us to reflect on what we’ve been through, and perhaps events that we hadn’t paid attention to before. It should not be forgotten that The Tower card also has meanings such as falling in love and having an orgasm, in addition to its “evil” meaning. You may want to rethink these experiences as well. 🙂 I told you, it’s all a matter of perspective.
3) Draw Another Card or Look At the Entire Tarot Spread
Interpreting the cards according to the spread, the question that you ask, or the position of the card can change the whole meaning. At the point you do not understand, you can draw a clarifier card, ask a more suitable question, or look at the overall spread and reach a conclusion. Interpreting the cards as only “good” and “bad” prevents you from receiving the tarot’s answer to your question. At the end of this, you may not receive the message given to you.
Tarot gives very good advice. Whenever you draw a card that you think is “bad“, ask tarot for an advice card. Tarot tells you things you can’t admit to yourself. In this respect, it can be frightening, but at least it’s honest. The cards speak the truth. Maybe you can’t change the outcome of the spread; but you can change what you can do next, right? Remember, there’s always a possibility, no matter how small it is. And as long as the possibility is still there, the hope is still there.
4) Maybe Tarot Just Telling the Bitter Truth
During a tarot reading, it’s important to trust your intuition, energy, and how the cards make you feel, rather than interpreting the cards from the perspective of good and bad contrasts. For example; five of swords can represent fighting, disagreement, or even bullying. Maybe you are at a time in your life when you feel powerless and the tarot may be telling you to stand up for yourself no matter what. Maybe the cards you see as “bad” are giving you signals that tell you to accept the situation and not run away anymore. You may perceive this type of interpretation as both advice and the tarot’s way of telling you the truth.
Here are some reasons why your reading can be negative; you may be having a bad day, you may be asking the same questions to the tarot over and over again, you may be spending too much time with the cards, or you may be expecting the worst.
Negative cards are another way the tarot tries to communicate with us. There are lessons to be learned from these “notorious” cards, too. We can look at the tarot-like it’s a projection of life. Just as we can’t always experience good things or receive good news every day, we can draw bad cards in tarot too. It’s perfectly normal. In this case, instead of being afraid, running away, or asking the same questions over and over again, it’s necessary to pay attention to the message that the cards want to give.
So what are your experiences with bad cards? Do you interpret the cards as good or bad? Let us know 🙂