This blog goes with Healing Thru Tarot Podcast Ep. 28 where I discuss stalker cards and vague or confusing messages in readings and how to get clarification on those messages. Once you start pulling cards on a regular basis, you most likely will start to notice a certain card popping up over and over again in your readings. These are what we call stalker cards, and they reappear to alert you to a specific and significant message. It can be difficult at times to work out the message from this stalker card, but once you do and take action on it, you will notice that you don’t see the card pop up as much. It can be a frustrating situation, if the message isn’t apparent to you at first so I will offer a few tips and tricks in this episode to help you work out the meaning of the card when this occurs.
First, I would suggest that you don’t ignore the card when you start to notice it appearing frequently. It’s coming up repetitively for a reason and believe me the card won’t stop appearing by just ignoring it. You are likely to start seeing it more often if you don’t get the hint. There’s a message you need to become aware of, take action on, or address in some way. So, just remember, it is happening for a reason. If you work with guides, this could be a message they have been trying to get your attention on, and it could even be that you think you understood the message but there are times when we don’t fully grasp an entire meaning until we really sit with the card and explore all the options as it pertains to our situation. This is when you need to dig in and explore the issue more fully.
So, that’s the first step I would suggest you take, spend time studying the card that is stalking you. I recommend that you pull out several of your favorite versions of this card in various decks and study the images.
Take out a journal and jot down any images, thoughts, emotions, and memories that come to the surface as you study the card. This process can help unlock information that needs to rise to the surface from your subconscious mind. Notice which messages resonate the most with you in this process as that can offer clues to which message this card has for you at the moment. It usually is obvious when you have a eureka moment. When you land on the right message, you know it. Keep at it until you reach that feeling and listen to your body, especially your gut.
Meditate with the card and see what comes up during one of these meditative sessions. Pathworking is a meditative technique where you stare at the card and then step into the card to explore the image or converse with the figures in the card. This helps to give you a greater perspective on the card’s meaning and can help you work out what the card means for you. When studying the images in the card, ask yourself what the image or figure in the card has to say to you. Give the card a voice and engage in a conversation to help flesh out the meaning.
Questions to ask the figures in card
What can you teach me?
What message do you have for me currently?
What is important for me to know right now?
What advice do you have for me?
Where do I need to put my focus to receive this message that needs to come through?
Journal on the stalker card - Write down your thoughts on the card, write about what you see in the image, the emotions that the card evokes within you, and journal about times in your life that these themes were present or unfolding in your life and what that experience was like for you. There are several books offering journal prompts for tarot cards that you might find helpful. There’s Journaling the Tarot and Tarot for Transformation both by Andy Matzner and there’s even a deck called Best Self Word Smith Deck with cards providing 150 journaling prompts.
I find automatic writing helps me better than journaling because it taps into your subconscious and bypasses the logical mind allowing more information to come forward. Automatic writing occurs when you either write with your non-dominant hand or when you type without consciously processing the information. I close my eyes and turn my logical mind off and just let my fingers glide over the keyboard in a stream of conscious flow. I type until I feel the session is complete. This usually is only a few minutes for me. Then I go back and read what I wrote and see if I can make any sense of the writing. Most of the time it sounds like advice I’m downloading from my guides or higher self/soul. I prefer to do this through typing because I can type a lot faster than I can write but writing with your non-dominant hand really helps. Automatic writing can be considered a form of divination if you are able to channel the information. It depends how much you are able to shut off the logical mind. Try not to lead the exercise. It’s a really cool exercise if you haven’t tried this before. This is a great way to try and work out the meaning of the stalker card that keeps appearing for you.
Also, listen for messages to come through in other ways as well, like in songs, movies, books or even on your social media feeds. I get messages everyday just by scrolling through my feeds. I always know when there is a specific message for me because I stop scrolling immediately and click on the video or image. There is a feeling of being pulled in like someone has a message for me.
Display the stalker card in an area in your environment where you will see it often. This will help to unlock this issue from your subconscious and help to bring it to the surface. This technique may unfold slowly over time. It’s like a computer program running silently in the background crunching numbers and you don’t even notice it until there is a breakthrough.
One of my earliest stalker cards was the Queen of Wands. This card kept jumping out of the deck every time I shuffled and is still almost always the first jumper out of a brand new deck when I just start working with it. It came up so often when I first started to work with the cards that I thought it was my signifier card. Once I studied the cards further, I realized that wasn’t the case because I was very clearly the Queen of Pentacles given my Capricorn sun and stellium, my personality characteristics and of course my job – a psychologist and healer. I was clearly the Queen of Pentacles. Soon I started to question what the Queen of Wands could mean if it wasn’t my signifier.
It probably took a year before one day it dawned on me that the Queen of Wands was the key to breaking out of my comfort zone where I felt safe, and the cards were advising me to embody her energy and lean into her confidence, courage, and networking abilities to get over my fear of using my voice to teach about tarot and healing. She has become the card I work the most with while podcasting and marketing my services due to her strong self-belief, fearlessness, boldness, and assertiveness. Now when she flies out of the deck, I know it is just a reminder to plug into her energy and channel her for some extra courage to break through whatever barrier I’ve bumped up against. It just hit me one day like a flash of lightning that this was the meaning of this card for me.
After you identify a stalker card, read the description for that card in several different guidebooks and on card meaning sites online. See what others say about that card. This kind of investigation can help trigger your mind and pinpoint the meaning this card carries for you. Listen to podcasts or readers talk about how they view that card. There might be a message in there for you. Watch for repeating messages like seeing or hearing other readers pull this same card on your feeds. This happens to me all the time and is further prompting for me to keep digging for the meaning. It is validation that this is an important message and to keep working to unlock its meaning.
Look back at your year ahead spread like the one above to see if this stalker card was present. If it was, look at the cards around it. Notice what time of year the stalker card appeared and look at the oracle card you pulled for that time period. That could be a clue. I usually pull 1 oracle card for each season in addition to 1 tarot card for each month. Analyzing your year ahead spread is a great way to narrow down the meaning if your stalker card is present.
Flip through all of the cards in your deck and see if any images or messages catch your attention during this flip through. I love to do this to spark ideas and sometimes this comes as an instant flash of insight. The cards trigger memories, ideas, and solutions for us. The symbols on the cards are a quick way to unearth information that was previously locked in the subconscious mind. So, the cards move that information into the conscious mind so that you have all the relevant information you would need to make the best decision on your path forward. Remember, the cards are a tool for us to connect with our subconscious minds.
About a year and a half into my tarot journey, the 2 of Swords started to stalk me, and it even showed up in readings others did for me too. That’s when you really know you have a stalker. If others start pulling that card for you too, then listen!
One of my favorite techniques for narrowing down a card's meaning is to charge the stalker card when working with the deck and start shuffling. To do this, let’s say the 2 of Swords is my stalker card, I charge the 2 of Swords as the signifier. This just means I am setting this intention for this card to be the focus on my reading. Then I shuffle the deck thoroughly with the intention that the card before the charged card and the card after it will give me clues to its meaning. For this card, which often means you need to make a decision, I would say as I shuffle “the two cards around the 2 of Swords will show me the 2 choices I need to choose between.”
Then, I shuffle thoroughly until I feel compelled to stop. I then flip the deck over so I can see the card images face up, and I flip through the deck until I find the 2 of Swords (stalker card/signifier) like shown above. Once I find it, I pull out the card that comes before it/lying underneath it (4 of Pentacles above) – and then I pull the card that comes after the signifier card (8 of Cups above).
So I’m pulling those 3 cards out of the deck to lay in front of me (see photo below) so I can examine them and see if it gives me more information on the meaning of this stalker card for me. To the left I have the card that had been before it or below it however you view it. The 2 of Swords is in the middle because that is the card I charged and the card that was sitting on top of it is to the right. So now it looks like a 3 card spread that I can analyze (see below). If you would prefer, you can just pull out the 2 of Swords and place it in front of you and shuffle the cards and then pull 2 cards to place on either side of the 2 of Swords. Either method should work for you.
So in this example, the 4 of Pentacles and the 8 of Cups are surrounding the 2 of Swords. These are the two options I have to decide between. Do I stay put in the status quo in my comfort zone where I know all of the variables and can predict what’s coming next for me with this 4 of Pentacles or do I leave that path behind and go off in pursuit of something more fulfilling which is what the 8 of Cups advises. These clearly lay out the two paths the blindfolded figure in the 2 of Swords card has to choose between. It helps to lay the dilemma out for you in visual terms to help you make a conscious choice. This method can work for any card that is currently stalking you. When you pull two cards for any of those stalker cards you could set an intention to show me clues to the meaning of the card and then pull two cards.
Let’s try another example. Say my stalker card is another card that denotes choice like the Lovers. Then I pull the Devil and Page of Cups for the two surrounding cards. This asks will I choose my critical mind that often deludes me with self-doubts and fears or follow my heart and my creative passion in the Page of Cups by leaning into a more intuitive approach. This is a great technique and a super quick way to dig into the meaning of your stalker card.
Another tip is to pull the card that comes before and after this card linearly in the deck when it is in the order. So, if your stalker card is the 3 of Wands, you would pull the 2 of Wands and 4 of Wands (see below). When studying these 3 cards together, you may be prompted to go back to the drawing board and reassess and re-strategize before launching your project again which the 2 of Wands might suggest. Maybe there was something that you skipped or rushed in the process, and you need to go back to redo an important aspect of the procedure that would make for a smoother roll out next time leading to the celebration in the 4 of Wands card that comes after the 3 of Wands.
Looking at the linear progression through the tarot and seeing the three cards lying next to each other in order can help give you clues on what lessons you may need to work on currently. This is like a brainstorming session. Try this technique for yourself with your current stalker card and see if it offers you any insight into the card’s meaning for you.
When stalker cards show up in spreads, pull clarifying cards to give you more information. For clarifying decks, you can use tarot or other divinatory systems like Lenormand, oracle cards, or even runes. Back when the 3 of Swords stalked me for months, I almost always pulled an oracle card because the 3 of Swords can mean many things such as heartbreak, loss, hurt, grief, delays, or even heart problems. The oracle clarifier card in multiple decks was always a forgiveness card. These forgiveness cards came up so often that I was tempted to remove every card related to forgiveness out of all my decks because I was tired of seeing it come up over and over again. When that happens, you know the message is coming through loud and clear.
Use a pendulum to help with asking questions about stalker cards or vague messages in a reading to help narrow down what the card could mean for you. If you have a hunch, you know what the card represents but you aren’t sure, use the pendulum to determine if your hunch is right or if you are way off.
Examples of Yes/No Questions you could ask your pendulum
Is this a message I have gotten before?
Am I close to discovering the message?
Does this card represent and then fill in the blank with your hunch.
If you are really confused about the meaning, throw a tarot spread on the stalker card. You can throw a quick Celtic cross like below for a quick overview of the meaning or customize a spread to dig in a little more.
These techniques can work for stalker cards or for vague messages in a spread. If I throw a spread and don’t get a clear answer, my first action is to pull clarifier cards either from another tarot deck or an oracle deck. Oracle cards can be very helpful here because many have guidebooks with lengthy descriptions and often I can find a specific sentence in the description that speaks directly to the situation I am in. If I still don’t have a clear answer, I won’t hesitate to throw a completely new spread asking for a more detailed look at the issue – often this gives me what I need.
When you receive vague messages after throwing a spread, look back at your question because it might not have been specific enough. Consider rephrasing your question to look at the issue from a different angle. The phrasing of your question is very important and can influence the messages you will get. I covered how to phrase tarot questions in Episode 4 if you need more information on this very important aspect of reading. If you can’t work it out yourself after these techniques, try asking someone else to read for you. It helps to get a fresh pair of eyes on a situation that you have trouble being objective on.
Pay close attention if the stalker is your tarot birth card, tarot card of the year or the one coming up for next year. This keeps happening to me. I have The Hanged Man this year for my tarot year card for 2021, and I still pull the Death card quite a bit, which will be my card for next year in 2022. This just means that these themes and energies are already at play and it is important for you to be aware that these energies are unfolding. It could be a major push for you to start engaging in the inner work needed for those life lessons to play out. The more you know about the energies at play, the more effort can put in to mastering these life lessons. Living a conscious life is a powerful way to steer your destiny. Co-create with the universe instead of taking a passive approach. If you don’t act and make choices, the universe will choose for you.
If your stalker card is your tarot card of year, look at the spread you threw for that yearly theme for clues. I always throw a spread for my tarot year card to find out what themes will occur throughout the year, what the card has to teach me, and the major lessons I will encounter over that year. Revisit that spread if this is the card you are starting to see over and over.
If the stalker card is a major arcana card, pull out the cards before and after it along with the 4 minors that go with that card’s number. For instance, if it is the Emperor that is stalking you, pull out the 4 of Wands, 4 of Swords, 4 of Cups, and 4 of Pentacles and then pull out the Empress, which comes before the Emperor, and the Hierophant, which comes behind the Emperor in the tarot. See if there are any themes in these cards that are meaningful to you and that spark any messages that are relevant to the life phase you are in or any decisions you are in the process of making. It’s so helpful to work with the cards in this way because they are such a visual tool to work with. In life, we are often moving through life phases linearly so this process helps to see which steps we may have skipped and need to double back to complete.
If your stalker card is a minor arcana card, you can pull out the Ace through 10 in that suit to examine for clues and the major arcana card that is linked to that number for extra help. So, if my stalker card is the 2 of Swords, I could pull out the Ace through 10 of Swords and the High Priestess for the number 2 in the major arcana to see if this sparks any insights. I would probably also pull out the Justice card that is the number 11 card and reduces to a 2. This could be very helpful since both the Justice card and the 2 of Swords have an element of needing to make a decision and weighing all options for that decision. Pull out any cards that have similar themes like that if you feel called. That could be a major clue for cracking the case.
Think about the spreads you have pulled for yourself lately. If you take photos of your spreads or if you journal about them, look back at your records to see in which positions this stalker card was showing up. Was it in the obstacle or advice positions, the root of the problem, the solution, or the outcome position? These could be major clues to point you to the meaning behind this card. This is why logging your card pulls is so important. At the very least take a photo and date it with the question you asked or note the kind of spread used and the questions asked. You may need this information later.
I use blogger.com to document my card pulls for the year. When using blogger, you have the choice whether to make your entries public or private, so I use this system as a free, private tarot photo journal where I can easily find past card pulls for the year. You can even include tags to find entries easily. The reason this is so helpful is because it may take a while before you notice that you have a stalker card. It may not be apparent for a few weeks or months until you notice the pattern, and the ability to go back in time to look for its presence is key. This also allows you to see the cards that were surrounding it in past spreads. This is so helpful in making the connections with the meaning it holds for you.
Log all of the times your stalker card appears. Note if they jumped out of the deck when shuffling. If pulled in a spread, log the position it appeared in and note the cards surrounding it. It is always good practice to tally up the number of times this card appeared each month and do it again at the end of the year. You may be surprised how often the card showed up and how long it has been stalking you. Some cards have stalked me for weeks, months, or years in some cases.
Court card stalker cards could be clues to people that are getting in your way or personality traits you have that are sabotaging you. Or they can represent people you could get help from or the cards energy you need to embody to get out of this situation like my example earlier with the Queen of Wands.
Also, if you read for others, pay attention to universal stalker cards. I often see the same cards coming up for clients in key time periods. During the pandemic, I saw the 6 of Swords in the majority of the readings, and the virus and pandemic always comes up as the 6 of Swords for me to represent this lesson we are collectively learning. You may see the tarot universal card for the year show up often in people’s spreads. I saw the Emperor quite a bit for everyone in 2020 and now the Hierophant is popping up in 2021 because these are universal energies and lessons we are all working through at the same time.
When you pull a spread that has a vague message, either take a photo of it to study later or leave the full spread out on your desk or table to look back over. Taking a few days to sit with a spread gives you time for your mind to process all of the information and try to make sense out of it. Something could pop into your head to help you solve it a few days later. Sometimes you just need to give yourself a little breathing room with a spread before all the insights are revealed.
Stalker Card Spread
I created a 9 card custom stalker card/vague message spread to help you work out the meaning or significance of this message for you. This will help give you clarity on this issue. So, if you have a stalker card currently this is a great spread for you, and I designed this spread to be multifunctional so you can use it whenever you throw a vague spread that you can’t get the message from.
I would love to see the photo of your spreads. Please tag me on Instagram @healingthrutarot and please use the hashtag #healingthrutarotstalkercardspread
Follow me on pinterest and you can pin all my Healing Thru Tarot Custom Spreads https://www.pinterest.com/healingthrutarot
I'm hosting a tarot challenge for October on Instagram. I created 31 prompts related to Halloween and Autumn. You can pull a tarot or oracle card for each prompt. Feel free to tag me on instagram @healingthrutarot if you pull cards. Here are the prompts below. Use #HTTOctoberTarotChallenge2021 to follow the challenge.
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Decks: Best Self WordSmith Deck, The Light Seers Tarot, Sacred Creators Oracle, Wild Unknown Tarot, The Dark Mansion Tarot, Rider Waite Smith Tarot, Everyday Witch Tarot, Chakra Reading Cards, and Oracle of Echoes.
*The Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot and Postcards from the Liminal Space are out of print.
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