5 Simple Steps to Read Tarot with Confidence

Tarot Circle: Healing from a Difficult Relationship

By October 24, 2012Tarot Circle

This month’s Tarot Circle is from Joanna in Singapore.

As with all Tarot Circle posts, I’ll provide my initial thoughts and then I’ll hand it over to you, the reader, to use the comments section to write what you see.

Remember there’s no right or wrong and you don’t have to be an experienced Tarot reader to comment.

The Question

For this Tarot reading, Joanna was working with her client (who generously gave her permission for the Tarot reading to be shared in this forum). Her client asked, “What can I do to move on?”

Joanna added that her client was going through a turbulent relationship that had seen her suffering years of verbal and mental abuse, infidelity, and volatility.

Joanna’s Tarot Reading

To answer her client’s question, Joanna designed her own Tarot spread (good on you, Joanna!) which she calls the Transformation Tarot spread. It is a seven-card spread that has the intention of helping a client who is in the throes of transformation.  I think you will really love it!


For the Tarot reading, Joanna drew the following cards:

Card 1 – Magician: Self in Situation – Assess where you are now and what is influencing your actions in the current situation. (You may choose an appropriate significator representing you in the situation.)

Card 2 – Reversed 6 of Pentacles: Identify Cause – What is the root cause of the negativity surrounding the situation.

Card 3 – 2 of Pentacles: Response – How have you responded to the cause of negativity in your current situation?

Card 4 – Reversed Page of Wands: Hopes and Fears – What are your hopes and fears pertaining to the current situation?

Card 5 – Hermit: Response – How have you responded to your hopes and fears pertaining to the current situation?

Card 6 – Reversed 5 of Wands: Change – What can you change about the current situation?

Card 7 – Queen of Cups: Commitment – What can you do to commit to making these changes?

My Interpretation of Joanna’s Tarot Reading

Joanna sent in her own interpretation of her Tarot reading which I would love to share as part of this post as I think you will gain a lot of value just by reading how she has interpreted the cards. It’s always good to see how different Tarot readers work.

So, below, you’ll see Joanna’s interpretation first and then my additional thoughts and comments after each card.

Significator – The Magician

Joanna: As her life path number is a 1, I had decided to choose the Magician as her significator. She was indeed a resourceful person, very capable at work and had the ability to meander the volatility of her relationship with maturity and perseverance. When anyone meets this beautiful woman, they wouldn’t have figured out that she was undergoing a terrible time with her partner.

Brigit: The way in which Joanna has selected the Significator certainly makes sense. Personally, I tend to draw a card randomly for the Significator rather than consciously select a card – but this is just a personal preference!

Cause Of The Issue And Her Response – Reversed 6 Of Pentacles And 2 of Pentacles

Joanna: The root cause of the issue was that her partner was self-employed. Often he would not be able to make enough money to sustain their lifestyle, depending on my client to provide. Her role as the sole breadwinner may have caused him to feel increasingly insecure, and she also felt unappreciated and was beginning to feel that her commitment to the relationship seemed to be one-sided. As money is tight, she had been juggling financial commitments while balancing her priorities between his needs and her career. She was doing everything she could to hold the job down because she needed the money, and in so doing, her late nights at work exacerbated her partner’s insecurities.

Brigit: Firstly, I really love how Joanna has created these two positions in the spread – not just what’s going on but how her client can respond. What this does is create a very empowering reading.

I often see the reversed Six of Pentacles when there is imbalance in the exchange of something, whether it’s money, time, energy or something else. So, the main issue here is that she is giving so much of herself to her partner, but she’s not receiving anything in return. Even if he is without money, he can give back through his energy in the relationship, but it appears that he is not doing this.

With her response, she is constantly trying to balance things out and make up for his lack of financial stability. She doesn’t seem to be addressing the issue of imbalance but is rather continually trying to counter it and make it all OK again. But there’s an elephant in the room and that is that he is not contributing to the relationship.

Hope and Fears And Her Response – Reversed Page Of Wands And Hermit

Joanna: The reversed page of wands was a manifestation of her genuine attempts to resolve her issues with her partner through various means from attempting to get a relationship counsellor into the picture, to going on short “reconciliation” holidays together, to even threatening to leave him. However, each time, she was confronted by obstacles in the form of his refusal to see the counsellor, or his numerous broken promises to her. She wanted to make it work between them, but feared that she had come to the end of the rope with this vicious cycle and was thinking of leaving him. The past few months had been a time of introspection for her as she re-evaluated her relationship goals, and she had been quite withdrawn, quietly seeking some solace on her own. However, this had perpetuated her actions of staying away from home and keeping very late nights at the office, her only place of refuge.

Brigit: I often see the Page of Wands reversed when someone has tried to start something that held the promise of growth and development, but there has been a setback or a delay of some sort which inevitably leads to the abandonment of that project. It’s interesting that Joanna’s client tried to initiate counselling, but he would not go ahead with it – very Page of Wands reversed!

The Hermit shows a desire to be alone, to contemplate life and to re-evaluate goals, as Joanna has pointed out. Her client is really trying everything but not getting any traction. It may be time for her to take a step back from the relationship for now while she gets her head together about what’s best for HER. Remember there’s a strong spiritual element to this card, so working hard and doing late nights isn’t really the type of ‘withdrawal’ that she needs most. It is more something that is conscious and that gives her the space to think through her situation, and it may happen through a spiritual practice of some sort.

Changes Needed And Her Commitment To Change – Reversed 5 Of Wands And Queen of Cups

Joanna: In the end, she acknowledged that there were changes necessary between them if they chose to continue with the relationship. The reversed 5 of wands suggested the fundamental differences in opinions about roles and responsibilities between them. One example of these differences is his typical old-fashioned Asian mentality that he had to be provider, and head of the household while she played the subservient and servile Asian spouse, taking a back seat and minding the home. When she discussed her wish to do what she could to save the relationship, the Queen of Cups advised her to maintain emotional control and continue to nurture the relationship with maturity, patience and compassion. The fights between them had escalated to just noise and shouting, and no one’s giving way, no one understands each other’s needs. She needed to govern the relationship with a measure of intuitive listening and calmness. She had to start rebuilding the emotional connectivity between them.

Brigit: I certainly agree with Joanna on the Five of Wands reversed. I also see this card come up when the client is going through an internal conflict and there’s an underlying feeling of tension and discomfort as a result. She is clearly in turmoil about what changes are needed and she is unclear about which path to take. The Queen of Cups balances this out nicely, suggesting that she needs to draw on her emotional well-being and her place of peace to work out her next steps. I am again brought back to her need to do what is right for her and her own emotional well-being rather than always reverting to what her partner needs.


Overall, this is a really tough situation. I can just see Joanna’s client trying so hard to make everything right again in the relationship, but her partner just isn’t coming to the table. At some point she may just need to accept that this isn’t working and she may need to do what is right by her, and her alone. I can sense that she doesn’t like ‘failure’ but sometimes there are only so many times you can try to fix something before you accept it’s not working and you move on.

Let’s just cycle back to her question – “What can I do to move on?” Well, I would say that it is time to stop putting so much energy into saving the relationship, and instead channel the energy into nurturing and caring for herself. She has given so much to the relationship, but it clearly isn’t moving it anywhere because it takes two to tango. It may be time now to retreat and to focus on what she needs.

What’s Your Read?

Over to you! How would you interpret these cards and the spread overall? What is your advice to Joanna’s client?

Post your response in the comments below. Use this as an opportunity to hone your Tarot reading skills or to get your opinion out there!

Want Your Tarot Reading Interpreted?

If you are interested in having your own Tarot reading interpreted for the Tarot Circle, I will invite submissions at the end of each month via my Facebook page.

Or, you can request a personal and private Tarot reading interpretation with me here.

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  • Dianna says:

    my boyfriend and i broke up over the weekend cuz he blew me off for 5 days after receiving a sum of money when i have been helping him for the past 10 months with everything he needed and when i called him out on it and told him he hadnt asked me if i needed anything he told me he was sick of hearing my shit and said it was over .. and didnt even pay me back anything and just left me . are we ever going to get back together cuz right now i never want to see him again ,he asked me why i dont get it to leave him alone

  • Aasheesh says:

    The cards clearly are indicating an unsettled feel to the dynamics of the relationship.A lot of balancing is being asked for.This is an unhappy situation.Personally i feel the client should call it quits and try to build her own life on a more stable platform.Alternatively she can back off from the relationship for few months and later try to work out the future with her partner.All the best to her.

  • Louise says:

    Card 1: I’m with Biddy 100% on this one; I would always pull a random significator as part of the reading, as this will give more information on how the querent expresses herself in this specific situation.

    Card 2: The Reversed Six of Pentacles seems to me to the most important card of the reading, giving us a deeper insight into the cause of the querent’s current relationship situation. Upright this card talks to us about how much we feel we are worth, and tells us that the universe will give in exact mathematical proportion (symbolized by the scales) to what we expect. Reversed, I think this card indicates low self-esteem and low self-worth. I suspect the querent doesn’t expect much support from relationships. This is a money card, and I get the strongest feeling that the querent expects relationships to be a financial drain, to be unsupporting, that she will have to give and not receive much in return. I think we are looking at really low expectations; she might not feel she is worth much more than this. As an indicator of the cause of the problem, I would say it stems from her low expectations and feelings of what she is worth…or not worth. She doesn’t value herself highly enough and this is reflected in a difficult relationship.

    Card 3: Two of Pentacles shows that she is juggling a lot of different demands in order to try and keep things afloat. Her response to her situation is to be practical and try and keep things financially afloat. This is a precarious situation, and it might sometimes be really hard to keep those pentacles in the air. One false move and it could all come crashing down. She’s likely to feel stressed because of this.

    Card 4: Reversed Page of Wands. Upright this Page is looking for what he believes in, what he can get fired up about, what he is passionate about, how he can express himself creatively. He is learning how to be straight-forward, how to speak his mind, how to strive for his potential, how to get fired-up, how to be in the limelight, how to radiate, how to nurture enthusiasm, passion, optimism, vision, how to be self-expressive. Reversed suggests to me that all these developments are being blocked and subdued in this current relationship. The inner-fire is dying. Too much giving and not enough receiving has probably left her feeling neglected, dull, flat, listless, and miserable. Her inner-fire and sense of her own passion has been suppressed.

    Card 5: The Hermit. I would say she wants to withdraw in on herself, be alone, crawl into a shell and hibernate. Perhaps she doesn’t want to face a “show down” and is sick and tired of all the drama. She wants to be left alone.

    Card 6: Reversed Five of Wands. Upright we are looking at playful tussles, play fighting, trying things out in a safe and unthreatening environment. This woman doesn’t feel she can speak her mind and have a tousle without fearing being hurt or things escalating too far. She is holding back and her learning and growth is compromised. This card along with the reversed Page of Wands suggests to me that she has stopped growing. Things are stagnant. She’s not learning or developing in any way in this relationship.

    Card 7: Queen of Cups. This is a highly imaginative and sensitive soul; the harshness and inharmoniousness of her situation will be fraying her nerves and numbing her sensibilities. Perhaps she withdraws into her imagination, into fantasies to cope with the stress and harshness of her relationship reality? At the end of the day she needs to get in touch with her deeper feelings, she needs to find the courage and inner strength to protect herself.

    I sincerely hope things improve for her in the future.

  • Karen says:

    Picking the self card is very interesting, but wouldn’t you need to know the person? The client has the ability to do what ever she wants. She is smart, strong, loving and you can take care of yourself, that is very important in todays times. her partner is not giving her the love and respect she deserves, and may be spending her money feriverlessly on others. You have been juggling the books and working late not only to be away from him but because you need the money. You know what you must do, but you dont have the strength right now, maybe later. You want some time to think about the situation, there are many things wrong with this relationship and he wont accept any help to fix it. So you are on your own, but thats OK because you are Strong and you Love life to much to waist anymore time on this POOPY HEAD.

  • Marianne Quintinio says:

    The lesson of the Five of Wands reversed indicates that either Joanna or her partner is avoiding compromise. She’s avoiding compromise because both parties are plainly tired of the arguments currently happening on the relationship. In the beginning, the client did try to save the relationship by working through a mediator. Instead of easing the dramas of the relationship, the partner became stubborn to go through the healing process.

    As a “change card”, I think Joanna needs to go back and learn the lessons of the previous card: Four of Wands. Although she tried to bring the filial atmosphere that used to exist within the four corners of the house, perhaps it’s the best time to pursue a creative hobby or interests that will make her feel like home again. She can try spacing her mind out by going on a countryside or going on a trip for the weekend in the parks just to relax; anything that will put her mind at ease. She needs to bring her harmonious life again somehow, and this can be started by heading towards a homely lifestyle.

    • Brigit says:

      Great advice by going back to the previous card. This is an excellent technique for creating a more empowering reading for the client, especially when there are a lot of reversals.

  • Joanna says:

    Thanks much for all your comments. My client did go through a very hard time with the relationship. She’ll be heartwarmed to see all the wonderful advice you all are giving her.


  • natalia says:

    Too much efforts made from the part of the client without an adequate gratification and responce from the part of her partner. Unhealthy one-sided relationship. I wonder why this so competent, efficient and dynamic woman has been retaining and accepting this relationship which is so unfair for her. I think this has to do with her self-esteem and eventually with her self-respect. THis is time for her to withdraw from this unhealthy environment and to contemplate over herself. I mean to regain her self-respect which her partner had absolutely broke into pieces. He is selfish, unbalanced and will never co-operate to re-establish the relationship because he is what he is and this is his way to survive. Very soon he will find another “victim” to stick on. I would recommend the client to run away from this guy to save herself while this guy is a “vampire” – he only gets without giving anything. Moreover, to keep his “prey” under control he constantly undermines her self-esteem and self-respect. Whatever she does is never good enough. Run away as farther as possible , the soonest possible – only then she can find her old good self and go on with her life.

  • Liza says:

    Just commenting on Natalia’s comment….”Why does this woman stay for this?”
    I think that sometimes a person just gets set in a situation. One that they have been in for SO LONG, and they start to feel like this is what their life IS. You start out with such a light, and many times it was great in the beginning. But things don’t turn this way overnight. Years of a slow decline, and trying to continue to fix it because you really do love this person, and before you know it, 10 years has gone by and you have NO IDEA how you ever let it get this far, and just how far it actually got. A confident, efficient, beautiful woman on the outside, can be made to feel at home as if she is actually quite useless, and overtime, this amazing woman may wonder if it’s true, if she really does have a light to shine? She wants so badly to fix this, not walk away, after all that she has invested. She is looking for a possible solution, because she could have walked away at anytime, that is the easier choice. She should walk away, but does she WANT to?
    My only additional insight on the cards pertains to the Hermit. I feel that she needs to let her own light shine. “In letting our own light shine, we unconciously give others permission to do the same”.
    She is trying to provide everything to someone who feels he should be the provider. While this relaionship is full of imbalance, it also includes a feeling for him that the roles are unbalanced, and likely makes him insecure. So to make it better for him, she darkens HER lantern. It is so important in a relationship to care about the well-being of others and not just self. But self IS important too. You really have to let your own lantern shine bright.
    Thank you Brigit for sharing this spread and this reading. I find it timely and look forward to trying it. Thank you Joanna for designing such a useful and empowering tool.

    • Brigit says:

      I think this leads into another key point which is around reading the cards, rather than judging the situation. These situations are tough because on a personal level, you want to say, “Get out!!” but on a professional level, you can simply just read the cards and convey the message. There’s a fine line between the both, but it’s important to acknowledge where that line is so as to remain ethical in approach.

      If ethics are of interest, check out my recent post on the topic –

  • Anith says:

    I think your last comment is beautifully stated, Brigit. A friend who got a reading years ago around a difficult relationship was told by the reader,”I would never advise someone to leave a relationship based on the cards, but the cards are clearly telling you that you need some time to yourself.” The cards for Joanna’s client are different, but some version of that message might apply here, as others have interpreted.

    I don’t know if other readers also refer to other support sources, but I was taught to and often do. I might refer someone in this situation to Love Safety Net, by another lovely Aussie offering her healing, support and teaching gifts. Since her priority is both to repair/build your self-esteem and empower the relationship to continue if at all possible, it may be a fitting referral.

    • Brigit says:

      Anith, great point about having a list of referrals available. This is definitely advisable if you are reading professionally. You should always have a list of key resources including a support phone line, suicide prevention, domestic abuse protection, counsellors, psychologists, etc. Or, at the very least, be prepared to recommend your client seeking professional help locally.

  • Cheryl says:

    I am so glad that you have brought this type of exercise back to the blog’s forefront. I find that I learn so much from this exercise, especially how others word messages such as this. Great advice Brigit regarding non-judgment of a situation. There is far too much that we do not know about the situation, family, culture, etc. I love the way Anith stated how her friend received the message.

  • Kelly says:

    Wow this is great seeing others interpretations. It was really insightful and gave me ways of saying things to person reading for. Interesting to see the varying insights of the cards too. I liked the spread ‘transformation’.
    Card 1 – Magician: – When I look at this card…I note he has hand pointed at earth and other at heaven. Figure 8 above his head. A lot happening in picture. It is all about coming back into balance. Person has to find ways to balance everything going on…and to be careful not to become imbalanced. The Magician as a profession and person can be a please-er…plays the role of entertaining or pleasing others. At same time can be a person who creates magic around them and people, events etc…by drawing on their qualities as the Magician. This can be a positive and negative thing if Magician doesn’t learn to keep things in balance.

    Card 2 – Reversed 6 of Pentacles: I have always seen this card as a power issue regardless of whether it is reversed or not. Each person in the card perceives the other to have more power over their life/situation.

    Card 3 – 2 of Pentacles: Response – The figure looks like a joker juggling the pentacles…the figure 8 is around the pentacles. The joker could be seen as skipping perhaps or about to fall. This seems that their is juggling of serious matters and because of the figure 8…it’s perhaps a repetitive cycle.

    Card 4 – Reversed Page of Wands: Hopes and Fears – Fear of moving on, taking the necessary steps required. Spirits are low due to a task seeming difficult, obstacles and delays.

    Card 5 – Hermit: Response – Dealing with things internally. Reflection. Isolation or isolating self from a person, situation etc can be both positive or negative. A time to seek help externally too rather than dealing with things alone.

    Card 6 – Reversed 5 of Wands: Change – I’ve always seen this card as battles with others. When it is reversed…it’s a battle that is no longer worth fighting. Stepping out of the battle means one less person fighting, or a lightening of a load/problem. Letting go is sometimes a good thing. It can mean you lose(may feel like you lose) but the battle too is over because you step out for good or temporarily.

    Card 7 – Queen of Cups: Commitment – The queen holds the cup…she is or has learned to love herself. Her throne is right at the edge of the water so she has dealt with her own emotions, fears, beliefs and has grounded herself. The queen is alone and has come into her own power which has always been love, she understands this by holding the cup.

  • Venktesh says:

    Brigit, the interpretation you made is truly awesome and intellectual. I would like it the most. Also, for those are looking for relationship test or want to get rid from trouble, must access the tokii. Brigit, I like your way of expressing the communication thread through the cards. Thanks

  • Elizabeth says:

    The relationship overall is not solid; There is no commitment via spiritually, physically and materially. She should not allow herself to be a doormat for him to walk as he please over. There should have been boundaries at the onset of the relationship. Lets’ take a closer look at the reverse pentacle, nothing is grounded nor solid. Therefore, the relationship is not rooted and cannot bear fruit. The universe cannot replenish back to the scales in this case the client, if she allow this person to take advantage of her whole persona; This is not love, but a detriment to one’s soul that depletes her vitality of life. This person is completely drain emotionally, spiritually as well as physically. One cannot allow this type of abusive power to continue yet alone exhibiting feeling of indifference towards her. The Queen of cups indicates to nurture and love herself first; remember to be secure as to who you are, let no one change you. The Hermit indicates detachment and achieve your goals at the highest level without any negative attachment. With this card also, in your darkest hour there is light that will dispel all evil influence. Be strong because you are that light. To bad he is blinded to the fact.

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