How to Interpret Tarot Card Combinations

By July 27, 2011Tarot Tutorials

As I have been writing my new eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings, creating the various Tarot card combinations has been one of my favourite activities. 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 is 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 to 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 align with your selected card. Consider the general meaning of the card you are studying, and ask yourself:

  • What other Tarot cards reinforce the card’s meaning?
  • What other cards oppose the card’s meaning?
  • What other cards 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?

Next, consider the following interactions:

  • Suits – for example, how does a Cups card interact with a Pentacles card?
  • Minor / Major Arcana – how does a Minor Arcana card interact with a Major Arcana card?
  • 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.)
  • 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?

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.

You can also use these methods for both upright and reversed Tarot card combinations.

Take Note

Remember to keep note of the various Tarot card combinations for future reference, in a Tarot journal, Tarot Workbook or notebook. When you do Tarot readings, you may like to look back at your notes and use this to quickly identify the underlying ‘story’ in the reading. The reading itself may also highlight further Tarot card combinations that you have not yet discovered.

Overall, 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 will be able to draw relationships between each card and create a much more comprehensive and insightful reading for your client.

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  • Marianne Kristelle Quintinio says:

    Dear Biddy,

    I always have had problems with Tarot Card Combinations and as I’ve said before, found them to be the most challenging on Tarot readings. While reading this post, I realized that you are right, it is important to be detail-oriented when interpreting the events, people, and circumstances happening in the Tarot Deck in this way, the reader can create a more accurate story for the client. 🙂



  • Sylvia says:

    I’m wondering if you could interpret my 3 card spread I did for a relationship. I don’t hold much hope for this relationship, as it is something I think is impossible to ever happen, but the cards I pulled have me flabbergasted. I got the Sun, the Star, and the Queen of Pentacles.

    Thank you in advance!

  • Hilga says:

    Dear Brigit, I’m learning gypsy tarot (Cigany Kartya, Joseph & Vincent cards, product of Hungary) and most meanings are coming about fairly straight but I’m baffled on this one reading and would be so grateful for any feedback you would have for me. I have no particular spread but asked the Universe what it had for me today. I layed out 8 random picked cards left to right as follows: Thief, vsit, message, loss, lover, officer, widower, judge. I’m pretty sure it is referring to a potential man I have interest in but I don’t know why three men in a row are appearing in my reading. Thanks in advance, Hilga

    • Brigit says:

      Hilga, I’m not familiar with this deck, I’m afraid. Plus, the reading will have personal significance for you that may not be revealed just yet. So, sit with it and see what evolves over time.

  • Aditi says:

    hey brigit! i’m a total beginner here, i’m really having troubles combining meanings through keywords… could you maybe help me out a little bit?

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