Anatomy of the Tarot: When?

I realized as I was editing and re-reading some of my original posts in this series that of the big questions (i.e., who, what, where, why, how) I left out one: when. It’s the question we all want to know (otherwise, what’s the point of fortune telling).

This is the one question that you can’t rely on one part of the Tarot to answer. It’s a cumulative answer based on many factors. There are many different systems, probably one for ever reader. There are spreads out there and decks that can give you timeline. My system gives a general timeframe, basically a season and at what stage of the process you are in.

Trying to tell time from a reading is difficult and imperfect. Our choices affect how the future happens. We make the choices that shape our reality, so timing isn’t everything.

Each suit is associated with one of the seasons; you can get an idea of when something will happen based on which suit is most prevalent. (Different books will have different associations for each suit; these are mine. If you want a system that will work for you, you need to develop your own.)

  • Cups – Spring
  • Wands – Fall
  • Swords – Winter
  • Earth – Summer

You can tell the stage by the number of the pip; if it is early in the stage then there will be lower cards and a late stage will have higher cards.

I don’t use the Trumps for timing readings, I’ve never found them particularly useful because they focus on why the situation is happening, they are the big issues.

This system is not perfect; there are flaws in it and our choices will affect it (just like our choices affect our future). I like it because of it’s simplicity, it’s focus on the cards themselves. But when you read for someone, when is probably (in my opinion at least) the least important question. Tarot gives you an understanding of the situation; the how, what, and why of it. If you get an accurate when reading, it’s the icing on the cake.

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