While tarot is thought of in its stereotypical form of fortunetelling, people use tarot cards and tarot readings for all sorts of reasons. A lot of times, people look to tarot for help with their intuition or clarity on a situation going on in their life. Are they on the right path with their career? Is their recent heartbreak for the better? So it only makes sense that there are specific cards that people might be fearful of getting when asking such vulnerable questions. But which tarot cards do tarot readers not like to see?
Of course, some of the main rules to keep in mind before going into a tarot reading (especially if it’s your first one) are to never go in when you’re clouded by intense emotion and to always be prepared for not-so-great answers. So definitely don’t go right after a breakup. But what is the worst tarot card to draw, according to a tarot reader and how do you handle a tough tarot reading session? Our tarot expert, Theresa Reed, has some great advice about all of that and more.
The Worst Tarot Card To Draw, According to a Tarot Reader
The card most tarot readers don't like to draw is a surprising one.
“You might think it's The Tower or maybe you think it's the Three of Swords,” Reed says about tarot cards that get a bad rap. “Those cards are difficult, they are. But the one card that a lot of us don't like, and maybe I'm speaking for myself, it is the Five of Swords.”
So the worst card for a reader to pull isn’t Death? Nope, even the Death card could mean something less plain-and-simple as actual death (it could just mean the end to something like a relationship or current life path). But when it comes to the Five of Swords, Reed says it’s not a fun one to pull because it means there’s cheating or fraud going on.
“It is a card of deception, dirty deeds done dirt cheap and somebody winning through unfair means,” she says. “So it's a really stormy, ugly card no matter how you slice it. Somebody’s actually getting away with something and it’s just not good to see, whether we're looking at this in a love reading, a work reading or anything. Nobody wants to see somebody winning through deception.”
However, it's important to note that even common tarot cards thought of as “bad” aren’t always what they seem, as Reed explains to Parade in the video above.
What Do You Do When a Tarot Reader Pulls a Card You Don’t Like?
So, what do you do if your tarot reader pulls the Five of Swords in your reading? Or what if there’s another card that’s kind of negative and fills you with a lot of anxiety? Reed, who has over 40 years of experience doing tarot and astrology chart readings, tells Parade that she always gets more clarity surrounding a card if there’s a problem or anxiety about it.
“I would say if it scares you, pull another card,” she says. “We call that a clarifying card…”
Obviously, this card is doing just that for you; it’s clarifying what the meaning of the “bad” card means in your case. When pulling this clarifying card, ask the questions: What do I need to know about the situation or what can I do about this situation?
Reed explains that sometimes she’ll also pull the card out and do a separate moment just to ask the cards what the “negative” card is all about.
To do this, Reed says she’ll pull three more cards after shuffling without that one card in the deck to see if she can get more clarity on what that specific card is saying. For example, if the “bad” card is The Tower, and she pulls the Three of Swords, the Queen of Cups and the Knight of Cups reversed, the original Tower card might just be saying that two partners aren’t on the same page. It’s saying that the two partners need to really try to find common ground because otherwise, the relationship might “blow up.”
What To Remember During a Difficult Tarot Reading Session
As we said up top, you should always be prepared for anything—good or bad—in a tarot reading. Just like you might be coming in for clarity on a tough situation, you might also get some tough answers back.
“Life is a full spectrum. It's not always gumdrops and Ten of Cups,” Reed says. “ Oftentimes we do have things in our life that happen like we get deceived by by somebody. We get let down, we break up, we get ill. Things happen. And so we have to be very realistic and practical and not look at these so-called negative cards like, “Oh my God!’”
She also notes that it’s best to look at a situation with “clear glasses,” meaning not to go into doom and gloom mode, but you also shouldn’t have “rose-colored glasses” and indulge in “toxic positivity.”
“We have to be realistic. Good and bad, all will show up in the world,” she says. “You will have times in your life where everything's great and you will have times in your life where the universe gets very personal with you.”
Reed also advises not to be afraid to sit with feelings and knowledge that make you uncomfortable. Again, being unrealistically optimistic isn’t helpful. “Sometimes things are Tower moments,” she reminds us.
While she wishes life was always positive and full of happiness, that’s not how it works. So even if we’re having a tough time and the tarot cards don’t give us reassurance, it’s good to remember that every low point can be made into a valuable introspective experience.
“There's a proverb or some statement. I heard once,” Reed shares. “‘If you never taste the bitter, you never taste the sweet.’ That's really important to remember. That's what I tell myself. When life isn't going the way I want.”
Next up, if you need some help restoring your inner peace, these quotes will help.
Theresa Reed (she/her)—known as The Tarot Lady—is a tarot expert and author who has been reading tarot and astrology charts for over 40 years. She’s written several books about tarot, and her newest book dropped on October 2nd: The Cards You’re Dealt: How to Deal When Life Gets Real - A Tarot Guidebook.