A good way to discover the relevant meaning behind a card in a particular reading is to pull a second card to “clarify” that card’s meaning, or get more information.
I typically limit this to just one additional card. If you keep pulling cards, you run the risk of “diluting” the message the tarot is trying to tell you. Pick one additional card, and if nothing comes to you immediately, sit with the card for a moment, journal about it, or look up other interpretations of the card online or in a book.
For example, let’s say you pull the Fool card when asking for guidance on whether or not to go to Brazil. Then you pick the Star card as a clarifier. The Star is a card about finding your power through connecting with your intuition. Those two cards combined might be read as an encouragement to go to Brazil (but only if your intuition seems to be nudging you in that direction).
Another way to get more insight on what a card means in the context of a spread is to see if the card came out “reversed” (upside-down) or regular.
There are several interpretations of this, and I invite you to try all of them to see which one gives you the best results. None of these ways are better than the other and you might find yourself using different ways of reading “reversed” cards depending on what else is going on in your tarot spread.
This is a great way for beginners to get familiar with the card meanings, but it’s always an approach many experienced tarot readers use as well. I choose to read my cards in this way. I find I get my clearest and most vivid readings with this method.
Instead of a big, resounding “yes”, a reversed card could be read as a “maybe so” or “probably”. This method is used frequently as well, and you might find it adds more variety to your readings.
This one can get a bit confusing, but it’s definitely worth exploring as you get more and more familiar with your cards. If you choose to go this route, get a book, check out some online tarot sites or talk to a tarot friend (or tarot professional) for guidance as you get comfortable with these additional meanings. Soon, the reversed meanings will become second nature to you.
Yet another thing to pay attention to when doing tarot readings is when you pull a card and multiple cards come out at once.
When this happens, don’t try to stuff one of the cards back in the deck, pretending it didn’t happen—add it to your spread! That’s your tarot deck talking to you!
This can also look like a card falling out when you’re shuffling, noticing a card facing up when all the rest are face-down, or a card sticking to another card.
Get excited when this happens in a reading. It’s not an accident. Experiment with this, and see how it affects your spreads.