Lessons from the Dark Side…

In Tarot Tipsby David HarveyLeave a Comment

So I choose a slightly scary picture but that was just to grab your attention!

I’m finding that even though tarot is heading into the mainstream day by day there is still a lot of fear when it comes to tarot reading. This got me thinking about where that fear could be coming from and I started to think about some of the “darker “cards in the deck.

Sometimes when I am doing a reading I actually see people almost recoil in horror when they get some of these cards.  My belief is that every tarot card has a dark and a light side, much like every one of us!  To be honest sometimes I am more scared by some of the super positive cards as they can reflect you being too idealistic or maybe you are focusing on the wrong things.  Anyway, I digress, I wanted to examine some of these so called darker/scary cards in more detail to see if we can find some valuable lessons from them.

The Devil

IMG_3637Oh the good old Devil. More traditional meanings can be about bondage or fear holding you back.  It can also be about over-indulgence or maybe even addiction.  However, it really does depend on the position of the card in the reading.  This card could well be telling you that you need to let your hair down and throw caution to the wind for once.  If I saw this next to say The Hierophant or The Emperor then that could well be the message I’m passing on to my client.  Sometimes it can be good to listen to that little devil we have on our shoulder, but it’s all about balance my friends.

The 5 of Cups

IMG_3643This is not really a dark card, more of a grey card, but I threw him in for good measure.  He can pop up when there is grief or even depression present.  I actually think this is one of the most helpful cards in the deck as there is a really nice message saying “all is not lost”. If you look closely at the card you will see that he has spilled 3 of his cups but if he can just get his head up for long enough he will see that he still has 2 cups behind him.  I’ve seen a lot of readers talk about not crying over spilt milk but for me the message is usually that it’s ok to grieve and cry but just remember you still have some really great positive stuff going on in your life that you can focus on.  I also feel that once the person can identify what they are grateful for then they can start to get their life back on track.  This all sounds a bit heavy but sometimes it can show up when a person is just having one of those days and can’t get themselves out of a funk!

The 5 of Pentacles

IMG_3644Everybody hates this one as they instantly assume that they are going to be poor.  Actually for me this card often shows up when marriage is concerned.  I often see it as the ‘for richer, for poorer’ card.  Yes the people are down on their luck and out in the cold but the lovely message is that they have each other.  I also always feel that they are really getting back on their feet and on the path to a better life.  It can also show up as a warning for me about the client making money their god and focussing on the wrong things in life.  One of the key messages for me is that no matter how bad things get, and it may not be that bad, you are not alone and have others around you.

9 of Swords

IMG_3639Usually about stress, anxiety and sleepless nights but this is just part of a process that you have to go through before reaching the 10 of swords, which is all about moving on.  You are   still on the journey when the 9 shows but nearing the end.  I quite often get this card when people have something really heavy that’s keeping them up at night but I always want to give some hope but telling them that the darkest hour is just before the dawn.

10 of Swords


This is one of those cards that scares people but I think it’s a great card.  To me this means getting rid of your old baggage so you can make way for something new.  It can be about finally letting go and putting an issue to bed for the last time.  This quite often shows up after a break up and one of the people is struggling to move on.  What I love most about it is that you have done your grieving in the 9 of Swords and realised that it’s time to move on.  I also really like that the darkness is finally fading and there is a lovely sunrise on the horizon which symbolises a new beginning.  I don’t know why but whenever I see this one I also think about a snake shedding its skin so it’s kind of like rebirth for me.

3 of Swords

IMG_3642Those pesky swords get everywhere!  To be honest there is not a lot of good to say about this card.  It shows up when there is heartbreak and sorrow but that is something that we all have to go through and it’s what makes us human.  It can sometimes show as a warning that you are going to have to make a tough decision, that will weigh heavy on your heart, such as putting a pet out of its misery.  You know it’s the right thing to do but it doesn’t make it any easier. 3s for me are all about learning so what you are going through will be one of life’s lessons, which will ultimately make you a better person.

The Tower

IMG_3641My least favourite card in the deck!  I actually need to make friends with The Tower as it’s not as bad as it seems.  One of the big things with this card is that whatever happens is unexpected and will result in chaos for a time.  I recently pulled this card for myself and the next day broke a tooth!  However, when I went to the dentist he fixed it easily but spotted something else that could have been much worse, if he had not caught it in time (every cloud!).  There can definitely be destruction in one’s life when this shows but we must always remember that from destruction comes creation.  Again it can be about having an emotional spring clean to make way for something new.  This can also be the proverbial foot up the backside from the universe to get you out there on your way.  One example of this could be being made redundant unexpectedly from a job that you have been unhappy in for a long time!  It seems traumatic at the time but when you find something new you will be glad that you universe gave you that push that you needed.



IMG_3640Good old trusty death.  I actually really like The Death card but don’t like when he shows up in a reading for others as I can always see the panic in their eyes.  I do want to say that this card rarely actually means death, oh and even if it does, I won’t be telling you that.  This card is really a symbol new beginning and transformation.  The sunrise in the background is telling us that a new day is dawning and it’s a chance for a new beginning.  This is an opportunity to really let go of whatever you need to let go and start over.  There is plenty of light and beauty in this card but you need to embrace the darkness to see the light.  This could be about a relationship coming to an end to make way for a new true love or it could be about you leaving your current job to find your dream job.

So you see, they are not so bad, are they?  We definitely need some darker cards in the pack to balance out the deck.  We will never really understand happiness if we haven’t experienced sadness.  The tarot cards and different combinations are really an expression of every experience we will go through in our lives.  I believe the best use of tarot is to help us understand those experiences by shining a light on all the reasons they are happening to us.

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