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If you have been reading cards for any length of time, you have inevitably encountered a question such as:
When will my raise come through?
When will this court case be settled?
When will I find true love?
These types questions are some of the most challenging that tarot readers face for they involve timing. For those readers who do not typically read predictively, this is not so much an issue. But for those who do venture into predictive readings from time to time, connecting a time frame to a client’s question can be a tad tricky. There are several methods available for handling time and I’ll mention a few of them in this post. The most important thing, is to choose one that works for you and to be consistent. That is to say, choose a timing tool and use it whenever a timing question arises.
One way, is to look at the images that clearly depict a specific time of year. For instance, in some decks the Empress card clearly depicts summer or early fall. Or perhaps the Sun card may represent summertime to you. You can also use this method to determine specific times during the month. For instance, the Moon card can suggest that an event may occur around the next full moon. Other cards may illustrate a waxing or waning moon thus pointing to a time period in weeks. Look for snow in a card suggesting winter or early spring.
The numbers in a cards can also suggest a specific time period. For instance, a 3 could indicate 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years.
Another approach is to apply the energy of the suits to a specific time period. Theresa Michaelsen in her book “The Complete Tarot Reader” uses the movement and speed of the horses in the Knights cards as one method to determine timing. The Knight of Swords depicts the most rapid movement, followed by the Knight of Wands and then the Knight of Cups. The horse belonging to the Knight of Pentacles is not moving at all. Thus, a possible time frame could be:
If you want to be more specific, use the numbers on the cards along with the season. Using example above, the 4 of Wands would equal 4 weeks.
Another approach I have seen among various tarot readers is:
You can also correspond the suits to specific seasons. There are many variations of this – you will need to find the one that makes the most sense to you. For example:
To me, summer is the hottest season, spring is the wettest, fall is the windiest and in winter, there is the least amount of movement. Thus, another possible permutation is:
Another way of determining timing is by using the astrological associations of the cards. This is the method that I personally prefer to use. Keep in mind however, that there are many ways to associate tarot and astrology so you should have a basic knowledge of astrology before using any of them. Below is the table of correspondences that has worked fro me. This is assuming that the following suit and element associations:
Suit of Wands: Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius)
Suit of Cups: Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces)
Suit of Swords: Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius)
Suit of Pentacles: Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn)
Signs of the zodiac and the Associated Tarot Cards
Aries (March 21 to April 20): The Emperor, 2, 3,& 4 of Wands, Queen of Wands
Taurus (April 21 to May 20): The Hierophant, 5, 6, & 7 of Pentacles, King of Pentacles
Gemini (May 21 to June 20): The Lovers, 8, 9 & 10 of Swords, Knight of Swords
Cancer (June 21 to July 22): The Chariot, 2, 3 & 4 of Cups, Queen of Cups
Leo (July 23 to August 23): Strength, 5, 6 & 7 of Wands, King of Wands
Virgo (August 24 to September 22): The Hermit, 8, 9 & 10 of Pentacles, Knight of Pentacles
Libra (September 22 to October 23): Justice, 2, 3 & 4 of Swords, Queen of Swords
Scorpio (October 24 to November 21): Death, 5, 6 & 7 of Cups, King of Cups
Sagittarius (November 22 to December 21): Temperance, 8, 9 & 10 of Wands, Knight of Wands
Capricorn (December 22 to January 20): The Devil, 2, 3 & 4 of Pentacles, Queen of Pentacles
Aquarius (January 21 to February 18): The Star, the 5, 6 & 7 of Swords, King of Swords
Pisces (February 19 to March 20): The Moon, 8, 9 & 10 of Cups, Knight of Cups
Now, the above correspondences may seem like a lot to memorize, but here’s a little trick: Memorize each of the court cards correspondences (i.e Queen of Pentacles = Capricorn) then use the following trick to learn which pip cards go with which sign/suit:
Kings: 5, 6 & 7
Queens: 2, 3 & 4
Knights: 8, 9 & 10
As an example, the 2, 3 & 4 of wands would correspond to the same zodiac sign as the Queen of Wands, the 8, 9 & 10 of wands would correspond to the same sign as the Knight of Wands, etc.
It is important to keep in mind that Tarot is better at pointing out trends then determining specific timing so there no guarantee of the accuracy of any of these methods. They may however, help you to hone in on a general time period. Give some of the above methods a try until you find one that works for you.