The Empress and the Page of Batons

October 20, 2010

I mention The Empress in Podcast 008 and how someone might point to the pillow she’s leaning against and ask how comfort and ease fit into the answer.

That same questioner could have asked about the river in the background, or the trees, or the shield in the foreground. However, in a reading, we don’t, or don’t have to, deal with or explain everything in the picture. In many ways, the details in the illustration don’t matter that much when answering someone’s question.

On the other hand, when there is a definite contrast between two cards, then we can pay attention and see what we make of it.

The Empress is sitting in a cultivated garden; the Page of Batons, by contrast, is in a desert area. We might normally ignore the background with The Empress, but here it can give some information.

The Page of Batons is isolated; The Empress may be on her own, but we can see how there is support or backroom staff that she can depend on. Not so with the Page of Batons.

The Empress knows she has helpers, or staff, or associates who will come forward when needed. The Page of Batons is in a very different situation – there being nobody ‘in the background’ so to speak.

We may not pay much attention to factors like this when viewing a card on its own; but we can see importance when looking at more than one card at a time.

My book on Solving Money Problems Through The Tarot is coming soon.


How to ask a “good” question?

September 11, 2010

I just read yet another post on “How to ask a good question in a Tarot reading”.

Apparently, asking: Will my boyfriend come back? is no good, because it’s a ‘closed’ question – the answer is ‘yes, or ‘no’. The author of the post in question doubts that “you would be very satisfied with either of those!”

What is the matter with this blogger / tarot reader? How about using some imagination?

Can’t she look at the cards that come up and expand on the answer? Yes he will come back because this card means this and this, but this reversed card in the future is telling you not to do this or to expect that such and such is going to happen.

Or, No he’s not coming back because this card indicates this and this and you wouldn’t be happy because of that and that.


Apparently, too, What is the outlook for my boyfriend coming back? is a better question. It certainly lets the reader off the hook as she doesn’t have to give a straight answer.

Rant over.

It’s ok to be wrong.

September 3, 2010

It’s ok to be wrong.

That’s it. Relax.

If you get a reputation for being always right, people will start worshipping you and putting you on a pedestal. While the adulation and praise might be attractive, it will be your downfall.

So the next time someone asks a question that could use a Yes-No answer, why not take the plunge and answer it the best you can there and then? You’ll probably be right, but if you’re not, that’s too bad – but there can be good reasons for this outcome.

Being right all the time is reserved for the Supreme Being, so that should take the pressure off us.

If you’d like to learn the Horoscope Spread

July 12, 2010

If you have an interest in doing Horoscope Spreads, read on.

I recorded a 58-minute audio track describing and explaining how to make sense of a Horoscope Spread. It’s a bonus for those who bought the Tarot Home Study Course. They also get four other audio-visual files – two on the Signs of the zodiac (63 minutes), and two on the Houses of the horoscope (57 minutes).

However, I made an 11-minute excerpt and put it as the first item in the Recent Additions section part-way down the Home page at You are invited to have a listen.

Horoscope Spreads are fantastic, and will give you answers to any question you may care to ask. From: What should I do for a living? (examine the 2nd, 6th and 10th cards), to: Will my third child’s wife have children of her own? (examine the 7th card). It is all explained in the audio.


John Ballantrae

Ask: What sense does it make? instead of: What does it mean?

July 2, 2010

When it comes to a Tarot card, questioners as well as readers generally will want to know: What does it mean?

I’d like to suggest that it isn’t particularly helpful to know what a card “means”. On the other hand, it is very helpful to ask: What sense does the card make for this question?

In the Rider deck Fool card, for instance, we see the white sun in the background. Various commentators will make the point that this is the spiritual Sun, and that it is always at an angle of 45 degrees instead of 90 because otherwise it would be capable of beginning to set, and since it’s the spiritual Sun and always perfect, this decline cannot be possible.

That is part of what the Fool card “means”, but if someone wants to know how to get on better with a child, or if there is promotion in their future, this meaning isn’t that useful.

If, however, we turn a card and ask: What sense does it make?, we can go places.

Consider the Rider deck 10 of Cups. It shows a couple out of doors, acknowledging a rainbow that promises a brighter future, while their children dance happily.

If the question is about a relationship, and we ask what sense the card makes, then we can say that there will be improvement after what may have been a difficult time (rainbows come after the rain, after all); that people will get along with each other; that there will be time for responsibility (the parents) as well as fun (the children); that people will understand how to treat each other correctly; etc.

On the other hand, the question may be about how some private or individual project will develop. There are no other people involved, so what do we make of the scene?

What sense does it make? The card shows relationships between various people – and this can be the sense of it. Things will go well when the different aspects of the project are in their correct or suitable relationship with each other; you have to get the different parts or factors in a proper order so they can function together, without having to give up or compromise their own nature.

When reversed, it may show that what is currently thought to be important or dominant (like the parent) is going to prove to be less so; and the new idea or recent addition (the child) is going to develop greater influence as time goes by. There is thus a change in the relationship of the different factors.

So. What does a card mean? Forget it.

What sense does the card make? Remember that.

Still offering a free reading to those who buy the Tarot Home Study Course.

If you’re interested in this, email me.

June 29, 2010

I’d like to build a reference section featuring actual readings that people have done, but that they found tricky or puzzling in some way.

For those who might be interested in a second opinion, as it were, about one of their readings, I have a proposal.

Email me – – the question, the layout and the cards that came up in the reading. I’d like some input about what you made of the spread, or what sort of interpretation you gave.

Then, via video, audio or text, I’d add some comments or suggest a solution if you were drawing a blank.

I think this would be a useful resource, allowing others to sit in on a reading, so to speak, and follow the logic, without themselves having to contribute on the spot.

Reading The Tarot – Beyond Journalling

June 27, 2010

People usually tell you that a good way to learn to read cards is to pick one a day or one a week, and think about what it means, keeping your ideas in some sort of Journal.

It sounds like a good idea, but I could never make it work. I’d try and try, and feel guilty that I wasn’t doing it right.

However, the exercise discussed here encourages you to think of a question first, and then pick a card – or rather to keep picking cards to answer the same question. It’s a lot easier because you now have a context in which to understand the card.

The audio file is a bit under 30 minutes long.