Tarot Card Keywords at-a-glance

Narratarology: Using the Tarot to Increase Your Empathy… with Kelsey Lynore

By March 27, 2013

Today, Kelsey Lynore, from The Tarot Nook, shares an experiment in narrative using the Tarot. Working with 25 cards, she’s created a spread that is designed to help you empathise with yourself, with others, and connect to the various stories you juggle day in and day out. Not only is it a new way of working with your cards, you can see how Kelsey has interpreted her own Tarot reading/narrative.

Over to you, Kelsey…

The stories that we tell ourselves, be they private, familial, national, etc. allow us to position ourselves in relation to others and articulate ourselves as an individual.  Being conscious of these stories allows us greater control, healing, and freedom within our own lives.

Today, I want to take you through an experimental exercise with the Tarot that will draw upon these stories to create a true narrative for your own life.

The exercise consists of five identical spreads of 5 cards in the following positions:

  • Position 1: Foundation/Distant Past
  • Position 2: Recent Past or Influence
  • Position 3: Present
  • Position 4: Near Future or Influence
  • Position 5: Far Future/Outcome

Since you’ll be doing five spreads, the Tarot will be telling you five separate stories.  Sound complicated?  It’s not.  You have only one task – to try to identify with every single story.  Keeping a record will aid you greatly in achieving this.  It will also aid your facility and speed interpreting the card meanings and finding conjunctions.

Since this exercise involves so many spreads, I recommend staggering it out over the course of one day. Do one spread and process it. Leave the Tarot, and then come back and repeat.

When you have finished processing the first five spreads and recorded them in your journal, you’ll reveal all 25 cards to yourself so as to identify themes.  Often times, this will change the context of each spread and give you a much deeper understanding of how these narratives interconnect.

Finally, you’ll gather all the cards and throw one final summation spread.  This final spread will be more objective, whereas the first five reveal something about your current subjectivity.

Let’s Start!

You’ll need a large flat surface covered by a sheet.  Invoke and shuffle.  Don’t ask any particular question of the deck, but do be focused.  Lay out the first row low on the sheet, leaving enough room for the four spreads which will follow.  You’ll need the upper half of the sheet to cover each spread as you proceed.

I have shared with you an example of my own reading so you can see how it works out.

Row 1


Summary Insights: There’s an overburdened feeling in the past wherein the querent accepted too much responsibility.  Recent influences see the querent realizing that they have all they need to succeed, leading to a fresh creative start.  But beware of becoming overly ambitious.  The querent could become a slave to their own desire, success, or others.  They should instead focus on their capacities and what makes them unique.

Key Themes: Beginnings and Endings, Creativity, Career, Personal Power.

Record the first row in your journal, hopefully spending more time on it than I did.  Cover this row with the uppermost part of the sheet.  Do not reshuffle the deck, simply cut it and move on to Row 2, immediately beneath the first.

Row 2


Summary Insights: The querent’s background includes a loving, stable community/family.  There has been a great deal of diligent work done by the querent and they may be starting a new career or business.  Their originality and inventiveness will be central to their success.

Key Themes: Fulfillment, Others in the Querent’s Life (particularly as pertains to career; these people may also be Earth and Fire Sun Signs), Hard Work, Finances, Individuality, and a Progression from Community to Autonomy without Sacrificing the Former.

Log this into your Tarot journal, cover both rows, cut your deck, etc.

Row 3


Summary Insights: The querent’s past is founded upon the exchange of rarefied knowledge.  It’s not clear if the querent gave this information away, received it, or did both.  This exchange has led to current stability, a sense of wealth and wellbeing, and a desire to put down roots.  However, be careful!  Overwhelming passions, desires, or a new/young love – an event resembling an emotional deluge — could destabilize the querent in the near future.  This might lead to travel and the experience could be quite pleasurable, although it risks leaving the querent dazed.  This future event might leave their life just as quickly as it came, but their circumstances will never again be the same.

Key Themes:  Having/Not Having, Knowing/Not Knowing, Circumstances and People Beyond the Querent’s Control, Stability, Finances, and Upheaval.

Log this into your Tarot journal, cover, cut, etc.

Row 4


Summary Insights: Quite some time ago, the querent struck out and distinguished themselves from communal standards.  This led to a time of conflict with competitors.  The intervention of an institutional agency will cause a squabble to turn into a fight.  There is no way for the querent to win.  If the querent insists on fighting, they will be left wounded and at odds with others.

Key Themes:  Power, Struggle, Strife, Competition, Imbalance (2, 5, 5, 5, 9), Creativity and Individuality, Loss.

Log this into your Tarot journal, cover, cut, etc.

Row 5


Summary Insights – The querent’s background was happy and fulfilled.  There was perhaps an inheritance and they may be investing it now or they may have spent much of it.  In either case, they presently have some accumulated wealth.  The future indicates the querent tending lovingly to a new creative project, relationship, or perhaps even a child.  The Wand of the Page has new growth, indicating health and fragility.  Combined with the Empress and the Ace, it’s difficult not to see this as pregnancy, motherhood, and child-rearing from a position of great comfort.

Key Themes:  Wealth, Abundance, Happiness, Fertility, Motherhood, and the Future.

Log this into your Tarot journal.  Uncover all the cards that you have drawn and consider them carefully.

All 25 Cards


Things to Note Immediately –

  • Predominant Colours: The upper centre is a block of alternating yellow and black which indicates an emotional rollercoaster ride.
  • Predominant Suits: Pentacles are the dominant suit, followed by Wands and Trumps.  In all 25 cards, there is only 1Sword.  This is not a time of deep thought, but rather a marked era of financial and creative discipline, preoccupation, upheaval and transformation.
  • Predominant Numbers: The dominant number is 5, followed by 1’s, 2’s, and 10’s.  This supports the colour theme.  The querent’s fate is tottering back and forth like a see-saw.  There are no 7’s or 8’s, and there are 6 Court Cards.  Others have a huge impact on the querent’s life right now.  There’s perhaps a feeling of being at the mercy of others, particularly as regards to fiscal solvency.
  • The Centre Card: The King of Pentacles.

Finally, follow each thread and decide which storyline corresponds to each aspect of the querent’s life.  With the cards that have been pulled, a few things are quite clear:

  • Energetically, the querent has recently recovered from an overburdened, unproductive standstill.  This recovery risks being too quick however, and the querent must take pains to maintain balance and not get overambitious.
  • The querent can rely upon their loved ones for support and recognition of their talents.
  • Exchanges of knowledge and/or promotions with powerful individuals might give rise to sweeping and unforeseen changes.
  • Avoid institutional and corporate power struggles.  Indeed, in light of all the positive Court cards in this spread, I’d recommend avoiding all hegemonic environments in favour of positive one-on-one relations.  Invest energy in specific people, only.
  • The querent should be grateful and tend to themselves, those they love, and their immediate environment.

Now, Go Deeper

Now, identify when, and if, any of these plots have already played out in your life.  How current are they?  Do they have different speeds?  Which ones do you identify with the most and which seem the most baffling?  Since you know your own past and present, you’ll be able to connect each spread to specific aspects of your life, as well as noting recurring issues.

In my case, since I pulled these cards for myself, I know that all five story lines have already happened.  There is no new storyline.  However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not surprised!

What I realize when I gaze upon all 25 cards is that these are the stories I have been telling both myself and others without even thinking about them.  They should have been conscious, but they weren’t before this exercise.  In seeing them all together, I am much more aware of those past experiences which haunt me, as well as the information that I give to others about myself.  These story lines are my subconscious baggage.  Now that I can see them, I can decide what I want to do with them.

Grand Finale

After having recorded all of your interpretations, shuffle the cards back into the deck.  Throw one final reading.  After the five previous spreads, this last throw will reveal new information you weren’t aware of and give indications of where you’re headed if you integrate and transmute the past.


This is a new storyline that has yet to unfold, however we do have two repeat cards, The Empress and the 9 of Pentacles.  The addition of The Hanged Man, 4 of Cups, and The World, puts a fresh spin on those ghosts we scrounged up in the five previous spreads, as there were themes of power and abundance taken to extremes on either side, as well as a stress on the role of key individuals in the querent’s life.  Again, the absence of Swords is notable, as is the appearance of three Trumps.

Exhausted?  Me, too.  This exercise can be quite taxing, psychologically.  However, in my experience, it’s always worth the effort.  Being confronted with those key stories that have left the deepest impressions can be a bit scary, but it can also lead you to greater personal freedom and healing.

Over to You!

I would love to hear how this experiment goes for you, as well as any other alternate interpretations that I may have missed in my own spreads.  I’m sure there are tons…. Let me hear them, as well as your response to your own narratives!  Did they surprise you?  Or were you conscious of them already?  For me, I’m almost always surprised!

About Kelsey Lynore

KelseyLynore1Kelsey Lynore is a professional Tarot Reader currently residing in San Diego, CA.  If you’d like to have your cards read by her, you can visit her at The Tarot Nook.  You can also follow her on Google+ where she posts updates, recent articles from her website, and will gladly welcome you into her circle.

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