Have you ever wondered what way to lay down your tarot cards? Should they face up or down? Before you started reading tarot, you had no idea there could be so many questions.
It’s as common for tarot readers to lay down tarot cards facing up as it is facing down. 39% say they place the cards facing up. 38% say they place them face down. It’s a personal preference which way you do it.
When you begin learning tarot, many questions pop up. A common one is what way to lay down the cards. In this article, you learn how to do it like a pro – and what is the most common method of doing things!
WHAT WAY TO LAY DOWN TAROT CARDS
Knowing how to lay down the cards correctly can be complicated. Should the cards be facing up, showing the image, or face down, showing the back? There is no single way to do things.
There is no rule to this; it all comes down to preference. Some like to see the whole spread at once; some prefer to flip one card at a time when reading spreads.
As confusing as it might seem, you have to go with your gut feeling and what makes things work for you. There are different benefits and drawbacks to both methods. When you have this clear in mind, you will have an easier decision of what works best for you.
I recorded myself laying down the cards in two ways below. This might be useful if you are unsure what it all means by cards facing up or down.
I also added pictures with examples to make it easy to follow along.
BENEFITS AND DOWNSIDES: CARDS FACING UPWARDS
The benefit of laying the tarot cards facing upwards from the start is that you get a chance to get an instant overview of the spread. You instantly get the main message and have an easier time connecting the cards and the “story” they tell. Tarot should be read in context, and this promotes this.
The downside with this technique is that you might be overwhelmed and get stuck if you are a beginner. All the images at once might be too much to handle.
Another downside is that it can get confusing for a seeker. If “bad” cards show up in the spread, they might focus on that cards and not take in the overall message of the reading.
Say you choose a three-card spread, and the Devil shows up as the third card. The seeker might solely focus on the Devil and miss all other information. This is something I noticed over and over when reading for others.
Suppose you are reading for a seeker new to tarot and might be frightened or risk losing their focus if a lousy card pops up. Use the technique with the cards facing down, and flip one card at a time. Do the overarching scan at the end of the reading to tie everything together.
My recommendation is to only use the technique with cards facing up when you have the cards’ meanings down and can do quick scans. Skip this technique if you are still learning to connect cards or feel overwhelmed.
- Get an instant overview of the overarching message
- Easier for the intuition to kick in
- Easily get overwhelmed
- It’s easy to focus on single cards in the spread and miss out on the main message
BENEFITS AND DOWNSIDES: CARDS FACING DOWNWARDS
There is a great benefit to placing your tarot cards facing down. You can deeply focus on the question without distractions from surrounding cards.
General tarot readings with fixed card positions, for example, the “Past, Present, Future” tarot spread benefit from this method. As the cards have predetermined meanings you will not get carried away by looking at them all at once.
The downside with this technique is that you lose the overarching message that helps you decode spreads more easily. When you look at cards in their context, it’s easier to decipher the message.
As you notice, it all comes down to preference, style, and what type of reading you are doing.
- Focus on one card at a time
- General readings with fixed card positions
- You easily miss the main message
GUIDELINES ON HOW TO LAY DOWN TAROT CARDS
If you are new to tarot and don’t know where to start, I created some guidelines to get you started. As always, these are only general guidelines.
PLACING CARDS UPWARDS
- When you know the meanings of the cards fluently
- When you don’t get stuck when scanning a tarot spread
- If you create “as you go” spreads with no predetermined card positions
- When you read for yourself
- When you read for an experienced seeker, that will not freak out and focus only on the “bad cards.”
PLACING CARDS DOWNWARDS
- When you do general readings with predetermined positions
- You are easily distracted by many visual stimuli
- When you are not fluent in card meanings (yet!)
- If you are reading cards for others
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
What a three-card spread is.
THE MOST COMMON WAY OF LAYING DOWN TAROT CARDS
While researching the article, I asked a Reddit community their opinion on laying down tarot cards. The result was clear – it was as common to lay them face down as up. It is all up to preference and what you feel comfortable with. There’s no right or wrong way of doing it.
39% say they place tarot cards facing up. 38% answered they put them facing down. 23% said they mixed things up depending on the situation.
I always read tarot with the images facing up. I don’t know why, but I always do. When I do general readings with fixed card positions, I just lay one card at a time. I never lay them facing down. It is all up to you as a reader how you do things.
|It depends | Both||74||23%|
There is no right or wrong way of laying down tarot cards. There was a tie between tarot readers placing the cards facing up and those who placed them facing down. 39% put them facing up, and 38% faced down.
Depending on your reading style and the situation, one technique might fit you better than the other. You can place them facing down if you are easily distracted, likewise if you read for a client or a seeker. It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you are a beginner and see all the cards simultaneously.
If you read the tarot cards facing up, you quickly get the overarching message as you can scan the spread before analyzing the cards one by one.
As you notice, it all comes down to preference and situation. Go with your intuition and what feels right to you.
THE DEFINITIONS IN THIS ARTICLE ARE BASED ON THE RIDER WAITE DECK AND SYSTEM.
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