Good Card-Bad Card

By Mita Bhan


“Oh no, that’s a bad card!” she exclaimed when she saw the Death card in the spread in front of her. And before she could react any further I clarified that the card had nothing to do with physical death, which isn’t for a merely mortal reader to see in the first place. It had to do with endings and beginnings, which isn’t necessarily bad at all. For example, the Death card appeared as a possible outcome to her current job which wasn’t giving her much satisfaction or many returns, signifying a time for positive change. By saying goodbye to her present situation and by opening her mind to new possibilities, even in new industries, the Death card would usher for her a brand new chapter in her career.

The Tarot cards are here to encourage, to give hope, to identify options for future behavior and to give us that inward glimpse of our own soul. Nowhere is it written or said that they are good or bad. At the end of the day there are no bad cards, only bad interpretations. 

Take for example the Devil card which could mean obsession, control, greed, domination, addiction, lust—darker sides of human nature, yes, but nothing to do in the literal sense. If this card appears in a reading, it may be describing a side of your personality. For example, are you asking the same question again and again, where you may need to learn that the harder we hold on to something, the more we need to learn the art of letting go? I have heard of a case where a middle-aged man was told that the Devil card was a ghostly spirit in his house and it would require intricate and expensive poojas and rituals to remove it. Clearly a misinterpretation motivated by someone’s greed.

If you see a lot of Swords in the spread ahead of you, you’re not getting stabbed all over the place; it only signifies a lot of energy in the mental plane. Maybe you’ve been thinking too much or worrying needlessly. 

The Tower with its grim picture of people falling out of windows and rooftops speaks to us of the unexpectedness of life. At the end of the day, nothing is in our hands, is it? No reading will reveal every single thing that will happen. No person will ever be able to tell you everything in advance. The majority of the knowledge truly does lie out there in the Universe. And the Tower card, which could signify shocks and surprises, is just the way life operates when we need to learn certain life lessons. If the Tower appears in a relationship reading, it may signify a shock, and a time to learn about people, love, relationships, and trust. It may appear painful or tough at first, but in the long run it will make us stronger and wiser.

At the end of the day, the cards serve only as a guide, and another way of making sense of the world around us. If we look at our lives and label everything as “good” or “bad” then we allow life to treat us in that manner, giving us those kinds of experiences. But if we look at life just as it is, and the cards as just what they mean, we discover that every challenging experience has something valuable in it to learn from.

Remember to always trust your own feelings about a reading. Don’t judge one card and think it’s all downhill from here. Look at the spread in totality; try and understand the deeper meaning and the overall message of the Tarot cards. And realize every message is for the highest good, even the tough ones.

Copyrighted card images used in this article are from the Golden Tarot by Kat Black, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc., and the Legacy of the Divine Tarot Standard Edition by Ciro Marchetti, published by Llewellyn Worldwide and are used with permission.

All submissions remain the property of their respective authors. 

Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2009

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