Decks in layered spread above - The Light Seers Tarot, The Wild Unknown Tarot, The Wild Unknown Spirit Animal Deck, The Wild Unknown Achetypes, Postcards from the Liminal Space, and The Sacred Creator's Oracle.
In this blog, we will discuss layering readings by mixing tarot with other divinatory methods such as runes, oracle and Lenormand cards, numerology, crystals, astrology, and pendulums. From the beginning of my tarot journey, I mixed in at least oracle cards with most of my tarot spreads. Over the years, I’ve expanded to include a mixture of all kinds of divinatory tools. Tarot will always be my first love, but I am attracted to almost any type of divination. I always suggest that people start out with either oracle or tarot and then work up to including other layers of divining tools because the more data I use, the richer and more accurate my readings are.
Divination has been used since the dawn of time as best we can tell. It’s even included in the Bible. Over the millennia, many methods have been utilized to divine information from beyond. That leaves us with a variety of tools to pull from. Years ago I took Truth in Story’s History of Divination class and learned all about earlier forms of divination using oghams, runes, dice, and bones used across millennia to divine answers from Spirit. The cards came later after paper was created of course. Early forms of fortune telling with cards used playing cards and hand painted cards used by royalty as a game. Later the cards were used for divination, and the rest we know is history.
I find it comforting to know that my ancestors had the same urges to know more about what is out there. As a child, I used bibliomancy as my main source of divination; although, I didn’t know that is what I was doing at the time. I would ask a question or ask for advice and concentrate on that question and then open my Bible, and the place my eyes landed was my answer. I was surprised at how comforting those messages were. It helped me to feel connected to something out there and helped me feel that maybe someone was listening to me and watching over me or at least cared enough to communicate with me.
In my preadolescent years, I like so many other kids in the 80’s clung to my Magic 8 Ball for answers to my burning questions. This cheap plastic toy hardly ever gave answers that were satisfying, but it was always fun coming up with a list of questions I wanted to throw out there for the Universe to tackle. Shaking this dime store toy gave me butterflies in my stomach every time as I wandered what the answer would be. Usually, it was “outlook not so good” or “reply hazy try again.” But that didn’t ruin the magic of this ritual.
Paper Fortune Teller
As a teenager, I would make the paper version of a divination reading, which I’m sure many in my generation did. This is what you call a paper fortune teller. I included an easy tutorial on this method from Youtube from Cristie's Kitchen. Using this method, we would fold a piece of paper into eight flaps, each concealing a prediction. And once constructed and colored in, the seeker would choose a color and then a number. Then the diviner would then flip through the number of motions chosen by the seeker until their prediction was revealed, which could be anything from who we would marry, how many kids we would have, and what car we would drive. Trivial but still loads of fun for young inquiring minds.
Humans will always have questions we yearn to have answered. Over 3.5 years into my tarot journey, I still haven’t run out of questions to ask, and I assume I never will. Divination is likely to only increase in popularity as time goes on. Who knows what we will use in the future for divining answers.
Blending Oracle and Tarot Decks For Layered Readings
Decks in the layered spread above - The Light Seers Tarot, Sacred Creator's Oracle, Postcards from the Liminal Space, and The Wild Unknown Archetypes
The most common combination of divinatory tools that I use would be tarot and oracle. I love oracle decks. I have way more oracle decks than tarot decks because I have a diverse collection of themes and genres to play around with. I currently have 53 oracle decks and 18 tarot decks. I use oracle cards almost always when pulling tarot unless I’m just throwing down a quick spread and in a rush.
I like to use oracle cards as opening messages to set the tone and energy of the reading, messages from guides or ancestors, closing messages to the reading, to clarify other cards, to represent blockages and how to move through those blockages, comforting messages for clients, and as advice for dealing with obstacles. For example, I may pull a power of surrender card, if a tarot card said to let go like with The Hanged Man. This can help show the client what exactly needs to be released and adds depth to the message. I use archetype decks to work with psychological concepts, universal themes, and shadow work. In the photo above The Wild Unknown Archetype cards are the round cards on the ends of the spread, and I find that they add immense value to a reading.
Oracles are great for insight into all kinds of questions. Self-care oracle cards are wonderful for offering guidance on how to nurture ourselves, and chakra oracle cards are great to identify which chakra to work on at that particular time. I love mixing them all together. I love using oracles in a year ahead spread as well. I will pull a tarot card for each month of the upcoming year, and then pull an oracle card for each of the 4 seasons. This helps me to get a glimpse of the energies and themes that will be present during those times of year, and I check in with this spread through out the year to see how I’m progressing.
I often design spreads with questions where some are geared toward tarot and some are better for pulling an oracle card. For example, the majority of the spread might be tarot card pulls for where I am currently, root cause of the issue or obstacle, steps moving forward, and possible outcomes in this situation. And then I devote a few positions for oracle pulls for blocks, insights into those blocks so I can understand them better, advice on moving forward, and message of support from guides or the universe; however you like to word it. The closing message might also be an oracle card pull to wrap things up nicely. The reason I like using oracle cards for blockages is that I find it gives depth to the blocks showing up in the spread. They show us what is holding us back and why we are so resistant in that area. You can even pull a tarot card and an oracle card for blocks to go even deeper. See in both the photo above and the one below how seamlessly these tarot and oracle decks work together to add more layers of messages and depth to the overall reading.
The Lights Seers Tarot and The Sacred Creator's Oracle - both by Chris Anne Donnelly
Some people avoid oracle decks because they find them too gentle or comforting, but in my experience each oracle deck stands alone. Yes, there are decks that only cover the light side of things, BUT there are plenty of oracle decks out there that cover the entire range of the emotional experience. It is all in the decks you choose to work with. When using oracle cards, look at the images because that can spark even more messages for you beyond what the guidebook gives you. This is where your intuition guides you, and you are able to tap into personal meanings, which will make your readings more unique and powerful.
Also, remember to notice the numbers on the oracle cards too just like in tarot. Numerology is important no matter what card system you are using. I even have numerology oracle decks to pull from. The Numerology Guidance cards (shown below) are my favorite to use. Numerology is mixed in with the tarot beautifully, so this layer is easy to weave in to the analysis of your readings. There are 4 suits in the minor arcana, and each suit has an ace through 10.
So, in spreads, train yourself to look for repeating numbers. Each major arcana has a number as well. If you notice 3 nines in a spread, that shows you are close to an ending of a cycle. If you pulled several aces, you have a new cycle beginning, especially if you get The Fool or The Magician along with it because those are assigned a 0 and 1 respectively. And the Wheel of Fortune card is the tenth card, which represents an ending of a cycle, and a new beginning will soon arrive.
Numerology is also involved when calculating your personal tarot year card each year and your tarot birth card and life path number. I cover those in depth in Ep. 20 of Healing Thru Tarot, if you need a refresher on the importance of those cards for you.
Life path numbers play an important role in readings. I’m always aware when I pull 4s of any suit or in the major arcana or even multiples of 4. I’m a life path 4, so those will jump out at me. Note when your life path number pops up. When reading for someone, I always ask their date of birth so I can calculate their life path number and tarot birth card before I begin the reading because I place a lot of emphasis on these numbers. And I want to note when these cards present themselves in a spread. Add up the numbers of the cards in your spreads as well. If you have a 12 notice any other 3s in the spread since 12 reduces to 3. Notice any numbers in the spread that are repeating numbers that you see in your life like 11s or 5s. Signs are everywhere. I see 11 almost every day, so if I see 11 in the spread that gives me another sign to factor in to my interpretation.
NUMEROLOGY AND TAROT
I want to quickly walk you through the numerology present in the tarot. There are themes associated with each number in the suits and majors that you could use to add another layer of depth to your readings.
Aces represent the beginning of a new cycle. They are new energy and ideas, inspiration, potential, gifts from the universe and universal support, and opportunities. Aces are the purest form of each suit and hold the essence of that element.
Twos in the tarot represent balance, duality, choices, and reflection
Threes represent growth/expansion, creativity, synergy, groups, relationships, friendship, cooperation and collaboration
Fours signify foundation, structure, stability, and planning
Fives symbolize conflict, challenges, competition, and change
Sixes represent advancement, success, harmony, and travel
Sevens signify struggle, changing course, discipline, planning, cunning, strategy, and patience is required here rather than instant gratification
Eights represent re-evaluation, evolution/change, strength, release, and movement from one phase to the next
Nines symbolizes fulfillment, contemplation, getting close to achieving a goal, getting closer to the end of a cycle – and here, you can see the finish line
Tens represent the end of a cycle and could be the end of a stressful cycle especially with the 10 of Swords and 10 of Wands. We also have karma, completion, transformation, and taking responsibility. Here, we reap the rewards of our work or deal with the consequences of our actions along the way. We complete the lessons from the journey. A new cycle will soon begin as we close this cycle out.
ASTROLOGY AND TAROT
Black Moon Astrology Cards
Now, let’s cover how to weave in astrology with your readings. This is one of my favorite aspects of layered readings. With Astrology – again we have this built into the tarot now because the Golden Dawn Society added astrology to the tarot around the late 1880’s I believe. I’m grateful for this addition because this allows us to see the astrological energies at play at the time of our readings. I often see the energy of full and new moons as well as eclipses and retrogrades pop up in my spreads. We can also factor in planets and zodiac signs at play for you or other players in your life when looking at birth cards and court card signifiers. I’m going through a Pluto transit to my Capricorn sun (CAP stellium) currently, and I can’t tell you how often the Death card comes up for me, which represents Pluto the ruling planet of the Scorpio sign associated with the Death card.
I love to throw astrology oracle cards with certain spreads like a monthly spread or year ahead spread and definitely with eclipse spreads to see which planets or astrological events are at play. I use the Black Moon Astrology Cards and the Moonology oracle cards, and they work really well for me to give me extra information on how to navigate certain astrological energies and events. There’s always something going on in the sky, and the more we tap into that energy unfolding, the more we can understand how to work with this energy for our benefit.
To learn more about the association with tarot and astrology you can read Tarot and Astrology: Enhance Your Readings with the Wisdom of the Zodiac by Corrine Kenner. Learning the astrological associations with each tarot card helps you add depth to your tarot readings and vice versa. You can even use tarot to understand your birth chart more fully. And knowing astrology helps you to interpret the meanings of the cards and assign court cards to people based on zodiac signs. The more I learn about astrology, the more I see it throughout the tarot.
Corrine gives you the correspondence between the planets and the Major Arcana cards, and she covers the 12 signs of the zodiac and shows you which cards represent them. Then she walks you through the Minor Arcana and their astrological associations. This book helps you match which tarot cards represent your month of birth. This is important to learn because I have noticed how often my sun, moon and ascendant sign cards come up in my tarot readings along with my birth card. These show important life lessons that you will encounter repeatedly in your life.
Corrine walks you through all 78 tarot cards and gives you the astrological associations. For example, The Star is Aquarius and The Seven of Pentacles is Saturn in Taurus, so the minors get really specific. She even gives you the Golden Dawn card titles and meanings, so for the 7 of Pentacles this meaning is Lord of Success Unfulfilled because he delays gratification and reward until they have been earned.
Corrine provides meanings for each card in the tarot and gives a time table for each. Using the 7 of Pentacles again, we see it falls in the third decan of Taurus, which usually falls between May 11 and 20th when the Sun is between 20 and 30 degrees of Taurus. So, if you want to layer in timing in your readings, this book helps narrow down specific dates and timelines. Just specify your intention to use the date assigned to each card before you shuffle and pull. It is always important to set specific intentions first to assure accurate readings.
The book, Tarot and Astrology, also covers some basics in astrology regarding reading and interpreting your own birth chart, the details of the 12 astrological houses, and sample chart readings to help you understand how to dissect your own chart. To get the most out of blending tarot and astrology get in the routine of pulling tarot spreads on new and full moons, eclipses, mercury retrograde, planetary transits, and your birthday. These two systems when used together can open up a whole new way for you to navigate your path forward on your journey through life.
Elements And Tarot
Aces in The Dark Mansion Tarot
Elements are all throughout tarot and a common thread throughout divination readings. The four elements (Air, Fire, Earth, and Water) are showcased in the four suits of the tarot. So, this is a natural layer to use in your reading analysis.
The element of fire is associated with the wands in the tarot. With the wands suit, we have creativity, areas you are passionate about, business, and spirituality. I always think of adventures or a journey with wands. This energy is active yang energy, so it is masculine in nature. Within the wands suit, you have surges of energy, adrenaline, excitement, movement, and pure enthusiasm.
The element of water is associated with the cups suit in the tarot. With the cups suit, we have relationships either in love, friendship, business, or partners in other endeavors. The cups are about emotions, intuition, art, joy, spirituality, harmony, and blessings. The cups suit can also represent creativity and imagination, like the wands suit. This suit represents intuitives, empaths, psychics, healers, and artists. This is yin energy, so it is feminine in nature and receptive not active.
The element of air is associated with the swords in the tarot. With the Swords suit, we have ideas, thoughts, new perspectives, knowledge, communication, truth, and justice. Here we can have epiphanies, inspired thoughts, strategy, or a stroke of genius. This can relate to academics, writing, communication, or in relation to legal cases or matters of justice vs. injustice. This energy is yang energy, so it is active and masculine, not receptive.
The element of earth is associated with the pentacles suit in the tarot. With the pentacles suit, we have security, manifestation, and grounding. Pentacles represent our work and finances, so in this suit we may see opportunities related to work, areas of study, or acquiring skills. Pentacles also represent our bodies, health, and possessions. Pentacle energy is yin energy, so it is feminine and receptive, not active. This is the slowest moving element regarding time and progress. Slow but steady.
Earth Magic Oracle
Using oracle decks heavily themed with the elements adds an elemental layer to your readings. The Earth Magic oracle is a great oracle deck to include as it is comprised of cards with naturalistic scenes associated with oceans, volcanoes, deserts, and forests. Each card has a keyword on the front to help you. For example, rain is purification, desert is a vision quest, the fire card denotes passion, and lightning is power. These nature scenes help infuse the elements into your readings. Always pay attention to the elements coming through in your spreads.
Lenormand Card System
Did you know that Lenormand cards can even be added to tarot readings? Lenormand is a completely different system than tarot. It is a 36 card system. You can throw 3, 6 and 9 card spreads and even a grand tableau using all 36 cards. Lenormand cards are more specific than tarot and are great for narrowing down root causes of everyday events. For example, several times that I have had appliances go out at home, I have used Lenormand cards to help identify the cause of the failure as I waited for the repair man to come fix the AC! The cards revealed problems with the fuses in one spread, and the second time it happened was related to the thermostat. It’s fascinating to work with a system that gets this specific.
Ana Tourian's Claire de Lune Lenormand with her Tarot of the Abyss deck
Remember though that Lenormand cards are meant to be read together as a line and not as individual cards. For each tarot card I want to clarify in a spread, I usually pull 3 Lenormand cards. Other times I will pull a full tarot spread then pull a small Lenormand one, and this helps identify specific causes to the issue or specific actions to take. I’ve found this method of combining tarot and Lenormand quite helpful in readings on complex issues.
Rana George’s book on Lenormand is my favorite book for Lenormand spreads and card meanings. It’s called The Essential Lenormand: Your Guide to Precise & Practical Fortunetelling. If you are interested in learning Lenormand, Toni Puhle is an amazing teacher. I took her Lenormand from Scratch class a few summers ago. She also has many levels of Kipper and Lenormand courses on her site through the World Divination Association. If you want to watch a master read a grand tableau, watch Toni on her youtube channel The Card Geek or Becca at the House of Lenormand. It is mesmerizing to watch them pull a 36 card Grand Tableau with the Lenormand and dissect it thoroughly.
Runes can be cast over your cards in a spread offering you deeper meanings for each of your messages. For me, runes call out with certain decks and certain topics. I don’t often use them, and I don’t cast a full rune reading. I usually just pull a few runes at a time. When I am working with the Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot or the Wild Unknown Tarot and Wild Unknown Archetypes (shown above), I feel pulled to use my tiger eye runes because these decks tap into ancient wisdom, crone energy, and ancestral work which pair nicely with the runes. Runes can also be great for a closing message to a reading or an ancestral message. Runes can also be used for a clarifying message as well. They pair with tarot nicely.
I have one rune book I work with called A Little Bit of Runes (shown above) that I picked up at my local Barnes and Nobles store, but there are plenty out there.
Did you know you can use Pendulums in your readings? They are quite easy to incorporate. Sometimes I use a pendulum for clarifying if a card is a certain meaning. I don’t do this often, but it comes in handy, if there’s a card that could mean very different meanings in varying circumstances. Let’s say I pulled the 4 of Cups, and I want to know if its saying to just meditate or not to pass up a particular opportunity that is being offered. Most of the time I can tell this on my own by the surrounding cards or with intuitive hits, but this is an option if you are stuck. I’d say I use this maybe once every three months or so to settle a card meaning. I wouldn’t want to overuse this because your intuition is like a muscle, and you want to build it up by allowing it to work these problems out. But this is an option when you need it.
If I’m reading for others, I do often pull out my pendulum at the end of a reading to ask if all the messages have come through. I usually can feel when a reading is complete, but I always ask to make sure I received all of the messages from the client’s guides. This is just a nice way to close down a reading. And I think it is respectful to the guides I’m working with at that time. You can also ask your pendulum if you should pull more cards in a spread or ask if a court card represents you or someone else. When you first start working with your pendulum you will spend time programming it for each of your responses, so you will know when the answer is yes, no, or inconclusive.
Crystals are a nice addition to divination readings. I pull out crystals to start the reading. I use carnelian for creative spreads, rose quartz and golden healers for healing work, and moonstone, lemurian quartz, selenite, and clear quartz for intuition and the third eye. I like to have a few crystals in my pocket as I read, a few around the area I am placing the cards, and I place some on top of the decks before I pick them up. You can do this to charge the decks before you begin or leave the crystals on top of the decks overnight.
I also use a crystal deck to find which crystal energy is best to work with myself or for clients. My favorite to work with is the Crystal Spirits Oracle (shown above) by Collette Baron-Reid. This is a great deck to use to identify crystals you would benefit from working with on a daily basis. It’s also a great way to learn the properties of each crystal because the guidebook has a lot of information dedicated for each crystal represented in the deck. This deck gives you 58 crystal cards and helps to pinpoint which chakras may be unbalanced since crystals are paired with certain chakras like we talked about in Ep. 22. In this deck, each crystal has distinct and unique energies and each has its own message. Reversal cards help you identify where you need improvement quickly and where you are experiencing resistance at the moment. You can also add chakra cards to your readings to narrow down the chakras that need work related to the issue you are inquiring about.
The Chakra Readings cards (shown above) by Rachelle Harman is an oracle based deck with 36 cards divided into 9 chakras so each chakra has 4 cards dedicated to them. Rachelle uses the 7 main chakras plus the Soul Star chakra above the crown chakra and the Earth Star chakra, which lies several inches below our feet and is connected to Mother Earth. These cards are color-coded according to the colors associated with each chakra. Each card holds messages to give you ideas on specific techniques to use to work through blockages with your chakras. If you pull the family card, this clearly states that you have issues with your root chakra and need to heal old family wounds, work on releasing outdated family beliefs, or find a way to reconnect and clear the air with family to feel more secure. Adding crystal energy and chakra work adds two other layers to your readings to help make them richer and more meaningful.
Everything that happens in a reading is important. Notice if a phone rings or a siren goes off when pulling a certain card or if you hear animal noises like birds/dogs, or even if lightening crashes outside your window. Pay attention to the time on clocks in your eyeline. It all counts as signs and messages once the reading starts. Any noisy disruptions could be calling attention to a card or message that is highly important! I often have an email or phone notification go off during a reading, and when it draws my attention, the phone will say 11:11 or 2:22 and then I immediately look at the card I just pulled. That then might become a focus of the reading, if my intuition pulls me there.
I covered a lot of different layers you could build into your readings to help make them richer. But there are even more that I’ve yet to try. For instance, you can use charms, astrodice for astrology, dominos, dice, and oghams. I’m currently collecting trinkets from my own life to use as charms to cast over my readings. I feel it will mean more to me, if I choose items with personal connections rather than buying a charm kit. That’s probably the next layer I will add in. Experiment with different methods to see which click for you. Everyone has their own preferences. And it makes it unique to you.
If you are looking for spreads to use with your tarot and oracle decks as you start layering your divinatory systems, I have released 2 spread ebooks that offer 15 custom spreads in each ebook. This gives you are wide range of spreads to dive into. Tarot and oracle cards can be used with any of these spreads. I prefer to mix the two systems here.
Healing Thru Tarot Spread Ebooks
A Spread for All Seasons (shown below)
A Spread For All Seasons contains 15 custom tarot/oracle spreads designed to guide you through the seasons of any year. It covers holidays, full and new moons, mercury retrogrades, seasonal spreads, year end and year ahead spreads, and eclipses with weekly and monthly spreads that you can reuse again and again year after year. You can find this spread book on my website healingthrutarot.com for $10 or click here to purchase
Healing Thru Tarot's Healing & Mental Health Spreads Vol. 1 (shown below)
Healing Thru Tarot Healing's and Mental Health Spreads Vol. 1 contains 15 custom spreads centered around healing and mental health issues. Vol. 1 contains a spread for family healing, wound healing, as well as spreads for self-care, blind spots, empowerment, how to step into your full potential, a way back to self-spread, and much more. I’m really proud of this eBook, and I’ve worked months on this to create spreads to guide you through the healing work needed to heal old wounds and step into brand new energy of empowerment. You can find this eBook on my website healingthrutarot.com for $13, and above is a list of all the 15 spreads, so you can see what you are getting with this spread eBook. Click here to purchase
Books and Decks shown in this blog or recommended are below: click on title to go to the product. Some of these are amazon affiliate links and it helps me out if you use these links. Thanks for your support.
The Light Seers Tarot, The Sacred Creators Oracle, The Wild Unknown Tarot, The Wild Unknown Archetypes, The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck, Numerology Guidance Cards, Black Moon Astrology Cards, Moonology Oracle, The Crystal Spirits Oracle, Chakra Reading Card, Earth Magic Oracle, The Dark Mansion Tarot, Tarot of the Abyss, Clair De Lune Lenormand, Postcards from the Liminal Space (out of print) Tarot and Astrology Book, A Little Bit of Runes Book, Runes for Beginners, Rana George's The Essential Lenormand
Link to Podcast Episode 26 on Anchor click here
Other relevant Podcast Episodes - click titles to listen
Ep. 20 Calculating and Working with Tarot Birth Cards and Life Path Numbers
Ep. 22 Chakra Spreads and Decks To Use With the Chakra System
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