Setting Limits

I spend a lot of time in the Minimalist Tarot Card series talking about setting limits. But I don’t talk about how to do it or how to use the cards to do it. I realized this was a perfect excuse (like any of us need a reason to use the cards) for the tarot. So here is my technique for using tarot to help establish limits.

This is a question and answer method to use one cards. Basically, you pose a question, shuffle & cut the deck and pick the top card. (pretty minimal)

  1. Where do I need to establish limits in my life? (Pay attention to the suit of the card)
  2. Why do I need to set limits in this area of my life? (Look at the corresponding Trump card)
  3. How do I set limits in this area of my life? (Now pay attention to the actual message of the card)
  4. What happens when I don’t set limits? (Look at the card at the bottom of the deck)

Using only one card you can pretty deep into limit setting in your life. The important thing with this technique is first to understand why you need the limit in your life. Though we often think of limits as restrictive and constrictive, they can be liberating. When we know what we aren’t going to be able to do or don’t want to do, we can put our energy into the things we love (and need to do).

The second important thing is to follow through. Just because you do a reading doesn’t mean that things will happen. You have to put some energy into the situation to get results. Take the lesson and start following the advice you get. If you don’t work to set the limit, it won’t happen. (Plain and simple) If you put the time and energy into it, you may falter (we all do) but by and large you will have a limit set.

Once that limit is set, you can redirect your energies into the things you love. Having the freedom to say “no” gives you the power to say “yes”. What are you going to say “yes” to now?


Here’s what happened for me when I used this method.

My Card: 4 the Emperor

  • Where I need to set limits: With this card, I need to set limits in my professional life. The Emperor is ruler of his domain, he surveys all his projects and know what is going on with them.
  • Why I need to set limits: I over exert myself, trying to take on more responsibility than I need to. Though this is what makes me good at my job (i.e., taking personal responsibility) it is my weakness because I can become more gung-ho and need to reign myself in.
  • How do I set the limits: I need to focus my energies on my own projects and not things that are only tangentially related to my job. I need to spend more time discerning whether a project/task is really within my realm of responsibility or if it belongs to someone else.
  • What happens when I don’t set limits: (10 of Staves) When I take on too much, I wear myself down. I’m not able to regulate what is going on in my life and I, generally, become exhausted. I’m trying to carry the world on my shoulders and I don’t need to.
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