Contemporary Spirituality

Tarot for the Times

Several years ago I began working with tarot as a method of contemplating current events. This approach could be said to diverge from my applied tarot philosophy in general: I don’t use tarot predictively, and I also don’t attempt to ask questions about anything that doesn’t directly involve me or without communicated permission for someone else. However, I’ve found that I can work with current events via tarot within the parameters of those guidelines with a clear definition of the purpose of the reading:

  1. To recognize ways in which I may be beginning to internalize local, national, and global events through (removed) emotional response. In other words, am I excessively affected by events that don’t really directly affect me?
  2. To assess how to apply (if productive) or release (if I find I’m just dialing into some sort of frenetic energy and there’s not really anything for me to do with that) those energies.

In other words, the questions are focused on myself and how I can work with the current happenings most effectively without taking on other peoples’ process–or emotional current–in a way that wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest or would just result in an unclear or inaccurate message. I’m not crossing the line to ask about someone else’s process without their permission.

IIIC: A Variation on the 3 Card Reading

The acronym refers to a set of guidelines that I find helpful to keep me focused on the intention of this reading: Information, Inquiry (or Intention), Interpretation, and Contemplation

There is a dominant 3 numerology or numerical theme to this reading–the reference to triangular sacred geometry. From a spiritual and religious point of view, the intention of the 3rd Eye in Eastern spiritual thought appears as a non-physical concept, assisting to reach unification among duality. In Western religious thought, the concept of the Trinity and the Star of David reference a triangular formation.

What is helpful about 3s? 

For this reading, regardless of whether you are spiritually inclined, we can think in terms of a quality of mediation helpful in filtering the energies that we are individually best suited to work with from those that belong elsewhere. Threes can also be thought of as the perspective of a third person, but this needn’t necessarily be a social question (unless you want to ask someone else–a friend, professional tarot reader, or mental health care professional for assistance with your interpretation). 

The purpose of this reading is to assist us to distinguish how to best direct our own attention and when to let others do their work.


Choose a tarot deck and an oracle deck that seems right to you for this reading.

Begin with a journal exercise to determine what Information you will be working with for this reading.

  1. What events or circumstances in your community, country, or the world are currently affecting your awareness the most? Write a paragraph or so.
  2. What is happening in your day-to-day personal life that requires reflection? (i.e. Are you noticing that you are especially agitated, excited, preoccupied, angry, or anxious?)  Write another paragraph or so.

To compose an Inquiry (or Intention) for the cards: can you identify any commonalities in your above two responses? Pose a succinct question of 1 sentence based on your insights (not a yes or no question). 

Now you have a choice of an abbreviated reading or a more complex reading. 

For the abbreviated reading:

Shuffling the tarot deck, ponder your question. After shuffling, select one card (or use the top card) and place it to the right. This card will reflect what you are picking up on in current events affecting your consciousness. 

Place the next card in to the left. This card will reflect the happenings of your day-to-day experiences. 

Now shuffle the oracle deck (I use an oracle deck for the third card because oracle cards often have directed guidance advice). Place the card at the top of the triangle. 


What insights does this card provide for ways you can direct your attention? For example, are you inclined to volunteer at a community center or just unplug from the news for a while? 

If this reading doesn’t seem like sufficient information, try the complex reading using the following prompts:

Left Column (day-to-day experiences):

  1. Body
  2. Thoughts
  3. Emotion

Right Column (what am I picking up on from current events)? Categorize these questions in a way that makes sense based on your consumption of news–for example:

  1. Local
  2. National
  3. Global


  1. Political 
  2. Sports
  3. Entertainment


  1. Environment
  2. Medical 
  3. Economic

Then choose an oracle card as discussed above.

The oracle card consolidates the information from the reading and offers a sense of direction about how to apply or release the energies affecting you. 

Now that you have completed the Information and Inquiry (or Intention) steps, you can now focus on Interpretation and Contemplation.

Write a third journal entry recording your initial reaction to interpreting the message of the cards: what insights have you received about which current events are affecting your consciousness the most–and how might you be unconsciously incorporating frustrations or anxieties or exuberance into your day-to-day experiences, and how might you work with those energies/emotions more effectively? 

Set your cards and journal aside for a while (at least a day, maybe a week or more), then reread your writing. Can you identify any new perspective?

© Melanie S. Demmer,

Author : mdemmer

I'm a freelance writer discussing alternative health, spirituality, animals, and sustainability. I'm also a freelance writer for hire @

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