Creating the various Tarot card combinations has been one of my favourite activities ever since I wrote my eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings. Combining Tarot cards enables you to see the interactions between different cards in a way that may strengthen a specific meaning, add some ‘light and shade’ to a meaning, or give it a different meaning altogether. It’s an activity that can be enjoyed by Tarot beginners right through to Tarot experts, adding a completely new dimension to the practice of Tarot reading. It helps the reader create a true ‘story’ from the cards and encourages a more integrated view of Tarot card reading.
In this post, I provide you with some suggested techniques on how you can create your own Tarot card combinations.
How to Create Your Own Tarot Card Combinations
Working with Tarot card combinations requires you to first select a pair or group of Tarot cards, then develop the meaning and interpretation for those Tarot cards when combined. Let’s take a deeper look at how to do this.
Select Your Tarot Card Combinations
There are two main ways to select your Tarot card combinations – a random draw or a more ‘conscious’ selection of the cards.
A random draw means that you randomly select two or more cards from your deck and then start working with the meaning associated with that grouping of cards.
A ‘conscious’ selection means that you draw one Tarot card from your deck, and then consciously choose other Tarot cards that aligns with your selected card. Consider the general meaning of the card you are studying, and ask yourself which other Tarot cards:
- reinforce the card’s meaning?
- oppose the card’s meaning?
- give this card a completely different meaning?
Use these ‘thought starters’ to help you choose other cards that tie in to the selected card.
Develop Meanings for the Tarot Card Combinations
Once you have selected your pair of Tarot cards, then you can begin to explore the various interpretations for those cards. Start with the following questions to help you to develop your Tarot card combination meanings:
- What do these two cards mean together?
- How do the energies of these cards interact with one another?
- How do the cards reinforce or oppose each other?
What do these two cards mean together?
One interpretation could be that you’re faced with several different options and not sure what to pick (Seven of Cups), but you know you’re ready to strike out on a new path (the Fool) and once you make a choice there will be no stopping you.
How do the energies of these cards interact with one another?
Well, the Seven of Cups carries a bit of stuck energy. We can get so lost in the myriad choices that we resist moving forward. And the Fool carries forward momentum. A new adventure awaits! So, the energies compete with one other, but also complement each other because they can help create an apropos balance. The Fool and his desire for motion is sure to get the Seven of Cups energy unstuck.
How do the cards reinforce or oppose each other?
While the energy of reflection in the Seven of Cups may appear to compete with the adventurous go-getter energy of the Fool, notice how both figures are looking up. The person in the Seven of Cups at the choice he must make, and the Fool at the world that awaits him. The most successful ventures are well planned, and the Seven of Cups holds the Fool back until the appropriate time, while the Fool makes sure we don’t get weighed down with options and stagnate.
Consider the Interactions
Consider the tarot pairing of the Queen of Cups with the King of Pentacles. If this were a relationship match it could pair pretty well! The Queen of Cups is keeper of emotional intelligence when not in her shadow aspect, while the King of Pentacles is master of the earth. Water (Queen of Cups) and earth (King of Pentacles) mix quite well, and chances are the ‘garden’ of the relationship will thrive.
We saw that in our example above. The Seven of Cups (a Minor Arcana card) held the Fool back a bit from too much impulsivity, while the Fool (the Major Arcana card) helped move the decision-making process along.
- Numbers – for example, how does a Two interact with a Nine? (See my post on Tarot and Numerology for more insight into the significance of numbers in Tarot.)
In this instance, a Two can indicate being at a crossroads and determining what path to take forward, while a Nine can represent that you’re almost at your destination/goal. Put them both together and you have one last decision that needs to be made before you cross the finish line.
- Symbols – what symbols are common across the selected cards and what does this signify?
- People – how do the people featured on the cards interact with one another? For example, is it a male and a female? Or is it a Page and a King? How would these people ‘talk’ with each other? Would they get along or would they compete with one another? What is the significance of the direction they face?
Let’s go back to our Queen of Cups/King of Pentacles pairing. We’ve got male and female energies here that could very likely stand in for actual people in a given circumstance. They are on the same playing field as King and Queen. The earthly emphasis of the King of Pentacles may pair very well with the watery characteristics of the Queen of Cups, as water helps the earth flourish with life. Notice, however, how focused the King of Pentacles is on his pentacle (his earthly desires and duties) and the Queen of Cups is on her ornate cup (her emotions and creative inspirations). They might be so concentrated on their own undertakings and proclivities, that they fail to connect in a meaningful or sustainable way.
You can add a further layer by looking at various Tarot card combinations in different contexts. Randomly draw a pair of Tarot cards and then identify the various meanings or interactions for, say, a relationship reading, a career reading, a spiritual reading, and so on.
Remember to keep note of the various Tarot card combinations for future reference in a Tarot journal, Tarot Workbook or notebook. Your notes will help you quickly identify the “story” in any future Tarot reading. They may also highlight further Tarot card combinations that you have not yet discovered.
Tarot card combinations will facilitate more effective Tarot reading skills, enabling you to draw upon the various layers and interactions that exist within a Tarot reading. Not only will you be able to interpret what each card means in a reading, you'll be able to draw relationships between each card. This creates a much more comprehensive and insightful reading for your client.
If you’re loving the power of Tarot combinations as much as I do, the Biddy Tarot Planner is the perfect journaling tool for you. With an abundance of different Tarot spreads guiding you through your year, and lots of space to jot down your insights, you'll improve your interpretations AND manifest your best year yet.