Finding Themes in Your Tarot Reading

In Learn Tarot, Self Improvement, Tarot Tipsby David Harvey1 Comment

One of the key elements to a successful tarot reading is finding the themes in the reading as this will help you with story telling.

When I ask my tribe their biggest struggle with learning tarot there are few answers that always come up.  Finding the story in the cards is one of the regulars that I see.

This little exercise is a great way for you to look at your deck differently and spot things that you have never seen before.

Searching for themes

When looking for themes there are many things you can start to notice such as colours, numbers, symbols etc.

In this particular exercise I want you to look at cards that are similar to each other.

This can be really obvious such as The Lovers and The Devil but I want you to go a bit deeper and see what you can come up with.

Maybe a character in the cards looks similar and they have grown up?

Perhaps there are similar animals or shapes in the card?

What could the message be when you see these 2 cards together?


In these examples I'm working with a few different tarot decks to show you what I have come up with:

These first few are from Llewellyn's Classic Tarot.

Here is the Lovers and The Devil.  This shows me that there is a fine line between love and hate but also a fine line between love and lust.

The Lovers is often about choices so be careful what you choose as that Devil is always there trying to tempt us over to the dark side!

I chose this because the ships in the background look very similar, even thought they are in different seas!

This is telling me that we need to get on solid ground before we make our next move.  The seas will calm but you have to wait for conditions to settle to truly enable us to move forward.  Don't try to run before you can walk.

The pillars and stance are quite similar in these cards.  I'm taking that Justice will be served.  Even if we feel we have been treated unfairly there are lessons to be learned.  There are definitely teachable moments from the biggest injustices in the world. We don't always understand the reasoning behind decisions being made but if we take a step back and surrender, the veil will come down and we will start to be enlightened.

This is from the Rider Waite.  Look how similar these cards are!

Death is a chance from us to shake off the past and start afresh.  We come out the other side with clarity and an understanding of what is truly important in life.

It's a reminder that Death (transformation) is essential if we can to experience growth. 

Here we have 3 cards from the Fountain Tarot. I was drawn to the boxes that the Hierophant is eventually opening.

For the Page of Cups, the lesson is that we don't always have to focus on the shiny object in front of us.  We really should go deeper and find out what is in the box rather than what is just on the surface.

The 4 of Cups is feeling a bit listless and can't see much hope.  However,  all they need to do is open the box to find the lessons that will help them move forward.

I see the box representing the mysteries and lessons of life.  There are always opportunities for us to learn and grow but it takes a bit of effort to get there.

It's your turn!

There you have it.  That's a few examples from me.  It's now your turn.

Post your thoughts in the comments as I would love to hear what you are coming up with.

Let your imagination and creativity soar.  This of opening the box and revealing the mysteries of the tarot!


  1. An interesting exercise thanks David. I tried this using the Sharman Caselli deck.

    I noticed that the 7 of Swords shows eagles on flags with their wings out. In The Emperor, there is an eagle with its wings in. This made me think that the Emperor got to where he is after being very strategic and thinking on his feet, cleverly outwitting his opponent. He’s now in a good position and can sit back and supervise (as his eagle’s wings are now in – he doesn’t have to fly off and be the boots on the ground, so to speak, he can relax and enjoy his position).

    I also noticed the 3 of Wands and the Knight of Wands both have pyramids in the background. It looks like the 3 of Wands is wistfully looking out to sea, dreaming of adventure and wishing he was the Knight of Wands.

    The figure in the 5 of Cups and the 8 of Cups are wearing exactly the same black cloak, from which you can only see the back. It looks like the figure has suffered a loss of some kind and is now embarking on a journey to gain some perspective on his life.

    Just a few things I noticed. I’m sure there’s more but they are the ones that stuck out.

    Thanks again David. Great exercise!

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