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When Your Tarot Reader Draws These Cards, They Know It's Bad News

Updated January 10, 2020 5.1k votes 999 voters 59.9k views11 items

List RulesVote up the cards you're most afraid to see in your next spread.

Tarot readers say we choose the cards we are meant to see. This is all well and good when they're positive cards, but what many readers do not tell querents, however, is there are some cards you never want to see in a tarot reading. These dark tarot cards show us something we may already realize is inside us, whether it be an unhealthy dependence, betrayal, or the refusal to face the reality of a situation. While seeing these cards may help us face some aspects of our lives we have long been ignoring, it doesn't make seeing them in a spread any less horrifying.  

Readers of the occult are quick to point out the names of these cards aren't necessarily predicting a querent's fate. For example, pulling the Devil card doesn't mean a demonic presence is going to wreck havoc in your life, and the Death card doesn't mean you are going to dramatically perish in the next 24 hours. The scariest cards to see in a tarot spread are figurative and hold up a mirror to our inner demons, preparing us to make significant chances in our lives.

  • 1

    The 10 Of Swords

    Photo: Pamela Coleman Smith / Wikipedia / PD-US

    This dreary little number features a man face down with 10 swords plunged into his back. He has a red cape pulled back, and the sky above him is often black and foreboding. The 10 of Swords is definitely not a reassuring one to flip over. 

    Traditionally, the card can be interpreted in a few ways, usually spanning somewhere between hitting rock bottom, feeling powerless or victimized, or being betrayed in some way. There is a silver lining to this theme of "bottoming out," or at least that's how some seers believe. There is nowhere to go but up from whatever situation the card is referencing, be it a sudden loss, natural diaster, money woes, or illness. 

    However, the position of this card in your spread changes the interpretation of it. If the 10 of Swords lands in the "future" position of your spread, it's indicating you have yet to reach the worst of something, and you should prepare for potential upheaval or calamity. 

    Would this card shake you?
  • 2

    The Tower

    Photo: Pamela Coleman Smith / Wikipedia / PD-US

    While the name seems innocent enough, the Tower is pretty foreboding. The card features a dark, stormy sky as the backdrop and a burning, lightning-struck tower in the foreground. Two men are falling from the tower. The card indicates a sudden change or release, one that may have left you blindsided. The release can be anything from uncovering a hidden truth to having a life-altering revelation. 

    The Tower card is unique in that its power lies in the present; the position it lands in simply refers to where that lightning bolt of change will come from to jolt you. For example, if it lands in the past position, it means the roots of the upheaval have already occurred, and only now are the repercussions taking a hold in your life. 

    Would this card shake you?
  • 3

    The 3 Of Swords

    Photo: Pamela Coleman Smith / Wikipedia / PD-US

    Three swords through a red heart... this card looks like trouble as soon as you flip it over. If you pull the 3 of Swords, it could mean you have recently experienced (or are in for) some form of heartbreak or pain. 

    Whether you walk in on your lover with someone else or find out a close friend has betrayed you, the 3 of Swords represents heartbreak, loneliness, and betrayal. It can be a valuable warning if drawn in the future position. However, don't forget this card could also mean you have caused somebody else such pain. Beware if you pull this card, and think long and hard about the company you keep. 

    Would this card shake you?
  • 4

    The 9 Of Swords

    Photo: Pamela Coleman Smith / Wikipedia / PD-US

    There are fewer pains more difficult to confront than the ones we create for ourselves. The 9 of Swords represents these sorts of pains we carry with us. The figure on the card is shown hunched over at night, as though worrying, indicative of the common time these fears haunt us and keep us awake.

    Yes, the 9 of Swords is a card of anguish, despair, worry, and guilt. If you pull this card, it might mean you have done something wrong, and you are very aware of it. This is a card that means it's time for some introspection and to address aspects of your life in which you could improve your behavior. Maybe you had an affair, cheated on exam, or lied about something important. The 9 of Swords shows guilt is weighing heavily on you, and it is time to right your wrongs. 

    Would this card shake you?