Timing Techniques in Tarot – How to Predict When an Event Will Occur

By April 14, 2010Everyday Tarot

One of the most common types of question in Tarot readings is “When?” When will I find true love? When will I find a job? When will I have children? People want to know when something will happen and they look to Tarot readers to accurately predict the timing of these important events. However, for the Tarot reader, timing an event using the Tarot cards can be incredibly daunting and challenging! In the following post, I’ll show you a few Tarot timing techniques to help you to pinpoint when an event will occur, using the Tarot cards.

Using Divinatory Meanings of the Tarot Cards

One of the easier methods for determining the time in Tarot is to look at the divinatory meanings of the cards and use them to create a ‘story’. The story focuses not only on the ‘when’ but also on the ‘how’ by understanding both when something will happen and what may need to occur before that particular event will happen. For example, your client asks, “When will I meet my future husband?” and you draw the Five of Cups. Your response may be, “When you first get over a past relationship that has lead to disappointment.” Or, your client asks, “When will I get a promotion?” and you draw the Three of Pentacles. Your response may be, “When you demonstrate your ability to work effectively in a team.”

Reversed Tarot cards can also be very telling in timing questions and often indicate that an event is unlikely to occur until the client has made some important changes in their lives.

Personally, this is my preferred approach when reading the Tarot cards because it empowers the client to make positive change in their life and to achieve the outcome they desire. It assumes that each person has free will, rather than a predetermined destiny, and that their actions will dictate their future. Additionally, it assumes that the event may or may not occur, depending on what the client chooses to do, and places the ball back in the court of the client. Be careful that you do not fall into the trap of assuming the event will occur as the question dictates (e.g. asking “When will I have kids?” assumes that the client will have kids some time in the future).

Using the Suits and Elements

Using the suits and respective elements of the Tarot cards can help you pinpoint a more specific time in your Tarot readings. For example:

  • Wands – Days or Summer
  • Swords – Weeks or Spring
  • Cups – Months or Autumn
  • Pentacles – Years or Winter

For the Pip Cards (i.e. those numbered Ace to Ten), simply combine the suit and the number of the card. For example, the Five of Wands indicates five days or, more broadly, Summer. For the Court Cards, the timing of the event may depend on another person, however you can still gauge an approximate indication of time using the suits.

Now, take a look around on the internet or in Tarot books and you’ll find different all sorts of different associations. For example, some readers associate Swords with months instead of weeks. As with many Tarot techniques, go with your gut instinct and what feels right for you.

Using Tarot and Astrology

I am certainly no expert in Astrology, so I’m not even going to attempt to try to explain how to combine Tarot and Astrology to time certain events. Instead, I recommend taking a look at Paul Hughes-Barlow’s approach. It is highly detailed and can effectively pinpoint even the specific hour for when a specific event is predicted to occur.

At a more basic level, the Tarot suits can be used to determine the associated astrological signs.

  • Suit of Swords (Air) = Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
  • Suit of Wands (Fire) = Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
  • Suit of Cups (Water) = Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
  • Suit of Pentacles (Earth) = Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

Incorporating Timing into your Tarot Readings

So, now you know a few techniques to interpret the Tarot cards to determine the timing of an event, but how do you incorporate this into your Tarot readings? There are a couple of options. Firstly, you can simply include, as part of your overall reading, a card to focus on ‘when’. For example, as part of a potential relationship reading, you may include one card on ‘when’ the client may find the right partner.

Secondly, you may focus an entire Tarot spread on ‘when’. You could use a yearly forecast spread, drawing one card for each month. Or, try the following four-card Tarot spread which is useful for understanding what needs to happen before a specific or desired event will occur.

The desired event will happen when…

  • Card 1 – You realise…
  • Card 2 – You accept…
  • Card 3 – You acknowledge …
  • Card 4 – You do…

In Closing…

In this post, I have presented a number of different timing techniques you can use in your Tarot readings. Try out each method and find which feels most comfortable for you and which produces the most accurate results. You may be surprised at how ‘spot on’ the cards can be!

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  • Marilyn says:

    Thank you!! this was both helpful and fascinating. I am definitely going to start trying that 4 card spread!

  • Dear Biddy:

    What a good and useful article that is. I appreicate that you don’t tell people that it’s not appropriate for the Tarot to give specific information, and I like the bit about telling people what can or ought to be done before what is desired can happen. That’s like letting the person recognize when things are happening, without taking away their participation in their own life events.

    You might like CC Zain’s Sacred Tarot method of relating minor trumps to ten-degree portions of the zodiac, so you can get a ten-day period, from the dates when the Sun will be there, for when the event is likely to happen.

    A blend of methods gave the following information recently. A family wanted to know how long their aged and very ill mother would last. We asked, in the first week of February, and having been told by the doctor that death was immiment: How many days does she have left? Tne answer was the 6 of Cups, so we thought it would be 6 days. A week later she was still going strong, and showed no sign of giving up her life.

    The 6 of Cups, in Zain’s system, is the Cancer decanate of Scorpio.

    I use 6 as Venus, and I happened to know that Venus was about to go into Pisces, a water sign, that has a Cancer and a Scorpio decanate.

    I chose the decanate rather than the sign, and looked up when Venus would be in the 2nd or Cancer decanate of Pisces – the 19th to the 27th.

    The mother died on the 24th.

    Best wishes,

    John Ballantrae

    • Thank-you for sharing your story, John. While it has a sad and unfortunate ending, it is interesting to see how you used the Tarot cards to predict this event.

    • jodie says:

      Dear Mr Ballantrae
      I was just reading your post above as i am looking for a reliable method to time events using astrology and tarot. I am exploring CC Zain’s method using the astrological decans so i was interested to read your example above.
      However i just wondered why you say you used 6 as Venus?!
      I could not think why!
      I would have thought 6 maybe relates to Virgo and therefore Mercury..
      or were you perhaps basing it on Friday being the 6th day of the week, if you count Sunday as the first day; in this case it would make sense to me as Friday is Venus’s day
      thank you very much for your advice.

      • Vamsee says:

        Hi Jodie,

        the reason 6 was used as Venus was perhaps because, in Numerology, the number 6 stands for Venus…

        you must be knowing this already, but just so that it might help someone who might not know…

        1-Sun, 2-Moon, 3-Jupiter, 4-Uranus (Raahu in Indian Astrology), 5-Mercury, 6-Venus, 7-Neptune (Kethu in Indian Astrology), 8-Saturn and 9-Mars.

        • Ruci says:

          I have a question…
          What it means Raahu in 4th & Ketu in 7th??
          Are you talking about the replacement of uranus and neptune in indian astrology numeric series or you just translate it?
          Cause in translation North node means Rahu and South node means Ketu…
          And i am just wondering why in indian astrology there is no information about ARUN (URANUS) & VARUN (NEPTUNE)

  • Mark says:

    Thank you so much for giving us such important information. For me personally, your usage of reversed cards has now become a favorite of mine and I’ve been a student of Tarot for 10 years now.

    My life lesson is that I have many life lessons to learn and that the most important one is that in order to reach my outcomes and goals in life is to DO SOMETHING and if I am NOT getting the outcome I desire then DO SOMETHING ELSE. Which is the heart of all good psychotherapy. Your article just hammered home even more of what I already knew.

    I will always remember your lesson you taught me. I’ve heard the lesson before but now the lesson doesn’t fall on deaf ears, for a change.

    Many Blessings,

  • Paula says:

    Hi everyone, My question to the Tarot was: Is my husband facing an imminent life-threatening health situation? The card I pulled was the Ace of Wands. I intended to pull only one card, but thought a three-card spread might help clarify. The second card was the Queen of Pentacles and the third card was The Devil.

    I’m relatively new to Tarot reading, so would be interested in what other more experienced readers may make of this spread.



    • Hi Paula,
      Thanks for your question. My advice would be not to use the Tarot cards to read on yours or others’ health. I think the cards are great for understanding our personal responses and how we can support others through challenging times, but I am very reluctant to ever provide advice from the cards regarding health. My view is that it is best that a medical professional provides advice in this area as they will have the greatest expertise here. Also, you’ll find that most Tarot readers include in their Code of Ethics that they do not read on health issues.
      Perhaps you can reframe the question to something like, “How can I support my husband through this difficult time?” or simply go to the doctor!
      Warm regards, Biddy

  • Michelle says:

    This is wonderful. I find that I am pretty good but this clears up a lot of questions. Thank you so much

  • Aasheesh Kumar says:

    I often try this method in timing an event.Shuffle the cards well. Start picking from top. The first court card you pick denotes the season. Then go on picking cards until you pick a suit card from 1 to 10.This denotes number of weeks into the season.Next you continue to pull up cards from deck from top until you get a major arcana.This denotes the day from the week selected previously .For e.g.,if you pick King Of Wands as 1st card it means Aries starting Mar 23rd.Next is 5 of cups.It means 35 days from 23RD March.Next you pick High Priestess .You add 2 more days. So the event will occur on 29 April.

  • Cheryl says:

    Aasheesh, my sister and I have tried your method of timing, and love it. However, how did you assign King of Wands as Aries (as above Wands = Aries, Leo, Sagittarius). Can you explain further. Do you have a chart for each element (fire, air, water, earth)? You mentioned “season” are you referring to the astrological sign, or to the four seasons (summer, fall, winter, spring)? Your method is concise, we’d love to learn more. Thanks so much.

  • Marianne Quintinio says:

    HI Aasheesh Kumar,

    I am also willing to learn more about your method. Please kindly tell us more about it.

    Thank you,


  • Aasheesh says:

    Thanks Cheryl,and Marianne for your comments.I apologise for the delayed response. The first card is related to season. Cups denote summer,pentacles denote winter,wands denote spring,and swords correspond to autumn,or fall.Next is the suit card which means number of weeks,and then Major Arcana which gives number of days. Wands is related to spring,hence I used it for Aries.Please let me know if you have further queries.

    • Brigit says:

      Thanks for sharing, Aasheesh.

    • Hilga says:

      Hi, this is an interesting article and discussion. Aasheesh, I was playing with your calculation formula and it may be eerily true for me. But I must ask – are all the cards you pick part of the querent reading or only for a date prediction.

      Thanks for sharing!

      • Hilga says:

        Hi again Aasheesh, I’m new to tarot, i also want to understand Roman numerals on the Major Arcana cards and your calculation… I pulled the judgment card and want to clarify that I add 20 days to the formula. Is this correct? Thanks Hilga!

        • Aasheesh says:

          Hi Hilga,
          Sorry for the delayed response. Yes you add 20 days for Judgement card.When asking for a time frame the card should be pulled out only for date prediction.Very specific.

  • Simmi says:

    Which spread or card can be used for bird fobia

  • Stefan Beckford says:

    Very interesting Biddy, You have taught me alot since ive started looking at your site.

  • Fiona says:

    Dear Aasheesh

    It was wonderful reading how to predict an event for someone. However, I commonly hear from my clients ‘when will I see my ex again’ and they want a month/week/date. Now if the client wasn’t going to see the ex again, what would I need to look out for?

    Thank you


    • Aasheesh says:

      Hi Flona,
      In such cases you need to first do a spread on how the relationship dynamics are playing out currently.Then you go for the time frame.

  • Cynthia says:

    Hi – I saw on a site yesterday that Wands were Spring, Cups Summer, Pentacles, Winter and Swords Autmn. How is it that they differ from yours? Should accept that I should be providing my own seasons to each suit by how I feel about the cards? I am learning and getting confused. Thanks – everything has been great, just got caught up on this!

    • Brigit says:

      Hi Cynthia,
      It’s tricky because there are different ways of interpreting the associations between the Suits and the seasons (and other methods of timing). I think the best way is to use these as a guide, to try out different methods, and eventually settle on the method that feels right to you and gives you the best results. And that method may be completely different to someone else’s but it works just for you!

  • jennifer says:

    Hi Brigit, you left out Majior Arcana…. is there a way to tell time (how long or when) with the Majior Arcana? Like if a spread has alot of Majior Arcana…

  • Jamie Morris says:

    Hi, Brigit–

    I’ve been reading quietly and very much enjoying your posts and the others’ comments.

    On this topic, I usually just tell folks that a reading typically covers a three-to-six month period, and that they can look for the outcome energy to manifest during that time–if all proceeds as is.

    If I’m reading a Celtic Cross, I might add that the “near future” position might indicate just days or months–unless something in the card itself suggests something else to me.

    This is so much less sophisticated an approach than those suggested by your other readers, but as basic as this is, I’d love to hear what others might think of my approach.

    I appreciate everyone’s input on this blog and Brigit’s consistent, wonderful work.

  • Brenda says:

    Hi There,

    I was told (in a reading) when I asked was it ‘weeks or months’ and I was told two to three weeks (because the cards were Cups) but now it is over 7 weeks since that reading. So, does that mean that it is really two to three MONTHS?

    • Brigit says:

      I would typically trust the reader’s interpretation as they have gone with their gut feeling. It is possible, though that the situation has changed and therefore the timing prediction has changed. Reflect back on the other messages that may have been part of the reading to ensure that you took on the advice of the cards.

  • jennifer says:

    Hi Bridget,,,
    What about a 3 card past present future reading.? Is it safe to say that, the reading is valad for weeks or months?

  • Natalie says:

    This was extremely helpful (as all of your postings are)! But I have a question. You mention Ace-10 and the elements of the suits for answering timing. But what if one of my clients asks me a question like you’ve used as an example, “When will I meet my husband?” and a court card comes up? For example, Page of Wands. I’ve also read the Page of Wands as standing for 10 weeks.

    Is it possible to say she will meet him soon? As the Page of Wands is quick and the element itself is summer. So I personally would read it as this summer in a message. So my response to her would be “When you’re proposed to.” I’m sure she’ll be insulted with that response. But it’s just some food for thought. My clients are my friends and I always refuse timing and past life readings as I’m learning them now.
    What are your thoughts?

    • Brigit says:

      With timing, there really is no ‘one way’. So, experiment with some different methods and choose what works for you.

      With the Pages, these can sometimes be seasons. So, the Page of Wands is Spring (or some say Summer).

      I would also advise looking at the meaning of the card – a need to start a new path and take action.

  • Lysa says:

    Hi I tried the 4card spread to find when I would meet my new partner
    These cards came up and they don’t say much of anything,!
    1. King Cups

    2. Seven swords

    3. Queen of wands

    4. 10. Swords

    Please what does this mean??????

    • David says:

      Just saw this and was moved to reply. I know it has been over 4 years since this was posted, but the cards seemed to reveal a lot to me and I thought I would share my interpretation. Also, this is the first time I have seen this spread so I am sharing how I would interpret each positions meaning. Thank you for the question.

      1. To REALIZE the King of Cups may suggest that you need to ask your self, “Are you a mature man who is sensitive to the needs of his partner and is open minded and sees the inner beauty first. ” That is, you may need to develop your feminine side before you can find your partner. I see the King of Cups as reflecting what you need to become before you are ready for a partner. Do you REALIZE this?

      2. To ACCEPT the Seven of Swords might suggest that you have not been sincere or honest with yourself in your last or previous relationships. Or more generally, are you fully committing to your relationships? This cards suggest sneaking around the outside of relationships and perhaps being a bit selfish or insincere. Or it is simply not wanting to fully commit and keeping your stuff to yourself and fearing being to close. Do you ACCEPT the responsibility of a deep relationship?

      3. To ACKNOWLEDGE the Queen of Wands may suggest that the women (or partner) you seek will be a mature, creative, inspired, and very capable person. Will you acknowledge your partner as your equal and perhaps even someone who may have certain strengths that exceed your own?

      4. To DO the Ten of Swords is perhaps the most critical aspect of all. In fact, I would suggest that everyone looking for a partner needs to DO the Ten of Swords. That is, LET GO OF YOUR EGO. When you decide to share your life with a partner, you are sacrificing a part of you self so that the two of you can enter into a union. You were two and now are one, together. Its not marriage, per se, but it is the beginning of a commitment to the other person. It is a type of death.. The 10 of Swords suggests a great sacrifice. Moving from a single life to a coupled life is a big shift and like all 10s, indicates entering a new level in your life. Are you sincerely willing to DO this and let go of part of your past life? When you are, you should be ready to meet you new partner.

      I think these cards were very powerful and can provide you (or anyone really) with a lot of insight into what you may need to successfully find a partner.

      • David says:

        Well, I am embarrassed, and apologize. I just realized that Lysa is probably a women and I interpreted the first card as the querent being male. I saw the King and and Queen and just started with the King reflecting the querent. So, if you reverse it perhaps the King of Cups suggests that Lysa may need to REALIZE or look for a more sensitive male type, not such a macho guy. Also, the Queen of Wands may suggest she should ACKNOWLEDGE that she is a strong, intelligent and creative women and should be confident in her ability to chose a partner if she seeks her partner intelligently and not fully by emotion. Again sorry for the oversight.

  • Denise says:

    The timing instructions were very helpful and insightful. I now understand more clearly what my cards are saying to me. Sometimes when I just want to know when a particular event will happen, I shuffle my cards and pull one out randomly from within the deck. I will sometimes get a Major Arcana. How do I determine when(timing) with these cards?

  • Nehal D says:

    Thank you so much Biddy for sharing this link!! This information is very useful to me.

  • caroline says:

    wonderful post, so informative! thanks for sharing your knowledge! 🙂

  • Karunaagaran says:

    Hi All,

    Biddy, I read on a few websites that the Season can vary based on the location (north or south hemisphere) hence the location of the querent also needs to be considered and the suits need to be used accordingly.
    Could you throw some light on this aspect.


    • Brigit says:

      Yes, it is important to mindful of whether your client is located in the Northern or Southern hemisphere if you’re translating a season into an actual month. E.g. Summer = Dec to Feb or June to Aug.

  • Mahala says:

    I pulled the Death card when I asked when I’d find love next… hahahaha! I have to admit, I laughed! What are the possibilities of that meaning?

  • Jeffrey Llewellynn says:

    Thanks for this useful info…I feel like a owe you something now…maybe buy that Rider-Waite deck in a while…regards Jeff

  • heidi says:

    My son wants to buy a car but before he buys it i wanted to know if he should and these cards came out. 3wands(r), death, 6wands(r), empress, 8swords, 4swords(r),. Can someone tell me what it means.

  • Sam says:

    Hi Biddy, I just did a time prediction check with 4 card spreads and cards were as follows
    1) Ten of Cups
    2) Queen of Wands
    3) Ace of Pentacles
    4) Nine of Wands

    As I m new to the tarot world, can you please help me understand the meaning of this spread?


  • ARUNKUMAR says:

    dear, first of all a huge thanks for not deleting these posts. they are from a time when i have not even heard of tarot..!. but 4 years since the post i am reading this and finding it useful. thank you so much for your time and dedication..

  • Thanks for a very interesting post. One of the more challenging aspects of Tarot card reading. I personally try not to give a time frame as the expectation of the recipient is heightened and that energy can change the prediction. I don’t have definitive proof that this is the case but from previous experience it does seem to be true.

  • Sonal says:

    I wanted to predict when il give birth as am 35 weeks now and the last baby was early and quite small. I pulled out 8 of pentacles, 2 of wands and then 4 of wands. Any ideas? Does it mean weeks or days?

  • Tejashree says:

    Hi Aasheesh,
    It was very interesting to know your technique for predicting the time in a reading. The cards I pulled are Page of Cups, IX of Wands & Strength. Would appreciate your guidance to know how to interpret the seasons since I live in India .
    Many thanks……Tejashree

    • Aasheesh Kumar says:

      Hi Tejashree,
      Page of Cups refers to Pisces starting 23rd Feb. Add 63 days for 9 of Wands.This comes to 27th April.Add another eight days for Strength.This comes to 5th May.

      • Radhika M says:

        Hi Asheesh. Loved your method. My query is if I am assuming suit of cups to be Cancer, scorpio and pisces. Then how do i know i need to select pisces and not capricon. Basically I am confused on which date to start with. Appreciate your help. God bless

  • Tejashree says:

    Thank you Aasheesh.

  • MiaStar says:

    hello, I have The Celtic Wisdom Tarot cards. it tells me that wands is spring, cups is summer, swords are winter and pentacles are the fall! how to I know what is days weeks months and years? thx

    • Brigit says:

      There are lots of different systems for timing. Go with what feels intuitively right. Think about what Suit feels ‘faster’ and what suit feels ‘slower’ (e.g. Pentacles) and match that up to days, weeks, etc.

  • Loveisshy says:

    The hierophant card keep jumping out or im picking the card out about feeling and whats in store for someone. What does it mean?

  • Huy Duc says:

    Hi Biddy Tarot !

    I’m so happy with these information which you gave us.

    So my question is, just draw one card or 4 cards?

    And If I use Suit and Elements, I have to put Major Arcana out, that means I just use 56 cards only ?

  • David says:

    Thanks for such a wonderful site. However, in the individual minor arcana pages, you give the timing of Wands as Weeks, Swords as Months and Coins as Years, and nothing for Cups; yet in this article you give the timing of Wands as Days, swords as weeks, Cups as months and Pentacles as years. I’m wondering if I’ve missed something or has there been a typo???

  • Jane says:

    I have just done the four card spread, and it is similar to one listed on here so it was great getting the interpretation. But I am confused on my card 4- You do- Five of pentacles, does that mean when I am in poverty I will meet my life partner?
    I asked, I will meet my life partner when?
    Card 1 you realise – King of cups
    Card 2 you accept – 10 swords
    card 3 you acknowledge -5 cups

    I came across this spread as I was looking up timing for the Queen of Swords, which was my answer for when will I meet the one I will spend my life with.
    Im not sure of the accuracy as I understand you shouldn’t ask the same question over and over I was curious to try the spread and see what the cards said.

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