I have to admit. The symbology involving tarot spreads is one of the hardest night vision images to interpret. If you are in any way familiar with astrology, horoscopes, palm reading, numerology, or even Jungian psychology, you would agree.
Because when you dream tarot spread combinations, you are faced with the challenging task of interpreting the dream and, on top of that, interpreting the tarot imagery.
That is the feature or motif of the dream.
It’s as if you are trying to make sense of one symbol on top of another, and within a larger context, that is fairly hazy and susceptible to context. This is what makes the tarot spread such a formidable dream interpretation subject.
In this post, I’m not going to teach you the basics of tarot card reading, but we will cover basic tarot spreads and their general meaning.
Whatever meaning a specific tarot card within different tarot spreads may have, there are all affected by the overarching dream interpretation that looks at tarot spreads as independent sources of dream meanings on their own.
You should be because trying to interpret a dream accurately when it features tarot symbology and dreams within dreams is quite a tall order indeed. It’s like trying to perform air traffic control for flying UFOs coming at you from counter different angles.
But this post will try anyway.
The General Dream Interpretation of Tarot Spreads
Before we jump in, I just want to make sure that the tarot is the central focus of your dream.
If you see a tarot spread once in your dream and nobody else talks about it or otherwise brings it into the mental image covered by your mind’s eye in your dream, you can safely take that symbol out. Your dream is not about the tarot spread or a specific combination of tarot cards.
On the other hand, if you see one spread after another and different tarot cards and other imagery or even “live-action” versions of tarot symbols littering your dream, then we’re in business. Your subconscious is trying to focus your mind on certain personal issues using tarot symbology.
A Quick Word on Tarot Symbols
To keep this post under 50,000 words, I just need to give you a quick rundown of what the tarot means. A tarot card system really turns on two key principles.
First, There Is No Such Thing as an Accident
When you draw random numbers or when you are born under a certain in a certain place, these happen for a reason and they can be interpreted in such a way as to point to something specific to your existence.
The same applies to the seemingly random tarot that you would draw off a deck. There’s a reason why you drew some tarot images from the deck instead of others.
The Second Principle Is That These Tarot Images Are Not Magical
They summarize human wisdom over thousands of years regarding certain patterns, if you will, that appear again and again in the human experience.
Regardless of what historical epoch we live in and regardless of the specific social, economic, and political issues going on in our times, there are certain things you can take to the bank as far as human nature goes.
We have issues with authority and that’s why The Emperor tarot card will always speak to us. At the most basic, we have issues with the authority of our father.
Similarly, we are all looking for love. We feel that love is what will complete us. In many cases, we’re looking for an emotional and psychological outlet, and this takes the form of a romantic relationship.
And that’s why the classic tarot card of The Lovers continues to speak to us. I can go on down the line.
So, the idea here involves more of hard-coded human psychology that rarely changes from historical era to historical era. I’m talking about Jungian archetypical realities.
So, when you put these two together, the tarot makes sense. But the way it makes sense and speaks to your day-to-day lived reality, of course, depends on how they appear in your dreams and their contexts.
If you’ve been reading any of the dozens upon dozens of posts in this dream interpretation blog, you know that context is everything. So, with this in mind, let’s jump into what a dream tarot spread imagery means.
Your Subconscious Is Trying to Get You to Slow Down
Please understand that one of the most effective ways your subconscious mind can speak to you so it can articulate realities that you may not be all that aware of is through your dreams.
Depending on what happens in your dreams, it can be an attention-grabbing experience indeed. After all, seeing an image of your long-dead mother smiling at you is sure to freeze you in your tracks.
Similarly, trying to save someone from drowning may trigger enough emotional urgency in you to want to wake up in a cold sweat.
Whatever the case may be, our dreams have that ability and it does so for a reason.
Just like the tarot, certain images and symbols don’t appear in your dreams for absolutely no reason. On top of that, you don’t remember them randomly.
There is a logic as to why you choose to remember certain imagery and quickly forget others. This priority or sorting system comes from somewhere.
And when you pay close attention to what these little details are telling you about how you think, what you prioritize, and what is important and unimportant to you, you should walk away with a higher level of self-awareness.
This is the most basic thing that you can learn from a tarot dream. It’s using very strong imagery to tell you about certain deep truths about your life.
The Center of Your Dream Is Your Analytical State
What if I told you that every human being on this planet is their own psychotherapist?
Sure, we didn’t go through years of pre-med and formal psychiatric, but we have lived our lives. We are smart enough to figure out certain signals and symbols and connect the dots.
Of course, most of us aren’t doing expert jobs at it. Otherwise, there would be absolutely no need for professional counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists.
But on a practical day-to-day basis, we are proficient enough in understanding ourselves, connecting the dots, and somehow managing to get to the bottom of how we feel, how we respond, and how we react to the world around us.
This is the part of you that your subconscious is trying to reach when using spreads made up of different tarot cards. Those tarot cards set the tone so pay close attention to which types of cards are appearing again and again.
The Meaning of Cups
If you remember your tarot card dream and are sure that most of them involve cups, this can indicate that your subconscious is telling you certain truths about your emotional state.
Are you an angry person? Do you have a tough time letting go? Do you have a list of people you can’t forgive?
Do you have a list of memories that you can’t let go of because they involve unforgivable actions? Either these were done to you or you did them to others.
Is there a part of you that you can safely say is trapped in a prison of guilt, unresolved anger, or lack of closure?
If this is the case, then the cups that are appearing in the tarot cards of your dream are trying to draw your attention to greater levels of self-awareness. In fact, in many cases, if you see Eight of Cups or anything indicating change or a combination of cards that are indicating change, usually a number 8, this can mean that you’re about to teach a breakthrough.
What is Required of You to Experience Transformation?
Now, this might seem really positive but ask anybody who has gone through real emotional growth. There’s going to be a lot of crying involved. There’s gonna be a lot of strong emotions involved because you have to.
Just like a caterpillar has to turn into a pupa before it becomes a butterfly, you have to go through those changes and it can be very painful.
At the very least, you have to let your ego go. And it hurts because you think that you’ve figured out certain things, and here you are — feeling that you’re an emotional virgin or an emotional child.
These types of dreams can be very jarring, but they are also cathartic and exactly what you need to get on to the next stage of your life.
In fact, it shouldn’t be considered weird to think that there’s some sort of menu of emotional states that you have to go through before you can finally be free of the past. Or at least the negative emotional and self-image consequences of the past.
Pay close attention to the cups in the tarot card images in your dream. These contain very powerful messages involving your emotional state and level of maturity regarding your feelings.
Are There Images of Pentacles?
In the Dark Ages, witches, warlocks, and those who wish to communicate with The Devil or demons often would draw a pentacle, which is a star diagram within a circle, and stand in the middle of it.
The idea is that by being grounded in that area of protection, the powerful, supernatural force that they conjured would not destroy them.
If you see pentacles in the tarot cards of your dream, rest assured that you’re not having a dream about The Devil. You can check out my post on that type of dream. It’s a very interesting one.
But when you see pentacles, it indicates protection, being grounded, and preparing ahead. Not surprisingly, pentacles have always been associated with material well-being. This can lead to wealth, material security, and financial stability.
But depending on how the tarot cards are spread out in your dream and which Major Arcana cards that they are associated with, this can indicate your relationship with money as well as more earthly concerns.
What Are These Earthly Concerns?
These are your career, your standing in society, the respect that you get from other people, the first impression you make, and your overall sense projection of competence and confidence.
A lot of people have an easy relationship with money, and this might be reflected in how the imagery and symbols of the pentacles are shown in your dream.
You might be one of those people that are afraid of money. You might even feel guilty about the amount of cash that you make. Some people are scared, not so much of the cash and the kind of life it can bring, but the responsibility that comes with it.
If you see pentacles images, pay close attention to how you were feeling and where your body was positioned when you saw those images.
If you sense that you were looking forward to certain things or you were planning certain things, this can indicate that you are on the right path. You’re going about it the right way.
On the other hand, if you see yourself scared and because of the association of the pentacles and the Devil or even if there’s The Devil Major Arcana card that shows up in your dream, this can indicate a deep and profound sense of insecurity as to your material state.
Maybe you’re not making as much money as you should be. Maybe you think that your parents are disappointed with you because you took the “wrong career path.”
This can indicate your insecurity regarding your material state and the good news is that it’s not the end.
This is just a wake-up call from your subconscious telling you: “If you’re unhappy with how things have turned out in terms of your finances, there’s something you can do about it. It’s not too late.”
The key is to understand the connection between the decisions and the choices you made in the past and how things turned up in the here and now.
That is a good first step. And then from there, you can make different choices.
Is There Any Spirit Imagery in Your Tarot Dream?
Sometimes, dream images involving physical representations of the supernatural or greater psychological realities like the tarot can be accompanied by truly out-of-this-world images.
For example, did you see spirits, phantasms, or bright lights in your dream? If this is the case, pay close attention to how you were feeling in your dream.
Were you scared? Were you looking forward to the revelation of the meaning of the spread in front of you?
Did you feel a sense of energy as the spirit tries to communicate with you or as the medium or the tarot card reader reads out the meaning or was trying to convey some deep and profound truth?
What kind of music was playing? Was it a dead, calm silence?
Try to remember these details because when your subconscious shows you the image of a spirit, it’s using a very strong symbol.
You have to understand that it doesn’t have to do that. We’re not living in the Middle Ages where people believed in trolls, imps, and dwarves.
There’s a reason why your subconscious is using a spirit image to drive home an important point.
Ultimately, the dreamer in this context is being reminded of their need for spiritual balance and sustenance.
I understand that if you see a spirit image or a phantasm or a ghost in your dream, you’ll freak. And that’s precisely the point!
Your other consciousness, (and I’m talking about the consciousness that you have when you are asleep,) is trying to direct your attention to something that you may be overlooking on a day-to-day basis.
You may be so caught in your duties, responsibilities, obligations, and you may be wearing different masks that you show different members of your family, your job, your co-workers, and your school that you don’t really know what’s what anymore.
You’re confused. You’re living in this fog.
And when people find themselves in that situation, it’s no surprise that their spiritual life starts to suffer.
When you see a tarot card spread in your dream and there is some sort of phantasm or a physical, spiritual manifestation, this can indicate that you need to reconnect and nurture that part of yourself that is curious about the meaning of life, the part of yourself that questions why you believe the things that you believe, and in terms of practical psychology, this is the part of yourself that actively writes out your internal dialogue.
Are the things that you’re saying about yourself and the things that you choose to believe about yourself rooted in the reality of your daily lived experience?
If not, why not?
It’s very jarring just like seeing a ghost. It may turn out that you’re living your life chasing one ghost after another. You think that when you do certain things or get certain things out of life that you will be finally happy.
Why Are You Unhappy?
Let’s say those things do happen You achieve your goals. You get to the outcomes you desire.
And then you’re still not happy.
That’s why you pursue another set of objectives and when you get there, (and it’s all too predictable,) you’re still not happy.
These are the spiritual ramifications and consequences of your choices and the internal dialogue that you choose to play continuously in your mind.
Most people are unaware of this. They’re just waiting for the next dollar. You’re just scrounging around for the next meal.
Unfortunately, living on your spiritual belly to get from day-to-day is not the way to live.
You Were Designed for Something More
The subconscious is consciously and intentionally choosing this strong, spiritual image to reconnect you with your hunger for spiritual truth.
And I’m not necessarily talking about religion or a well-defined spiritual path. But there is a spiritual aspect to you.
Connect with it. It’s not something that you should be afraid of because it inspired great cathedrals, amazing cave paintings, and even dreams of space travel in the past. In other words, it is your connection to the fullest and most perfect version of yourself.
You were not destined to live in a mental prison with the bars of your personal compromises binding you. You were built for something more important.
And most importantly, this type of dream lets you know, in no unclear terms, just how much freedom you have.
Dream Example #1
It was a bright summer day, and I am strolling with my best friend in summer dresses, strolling across cities streets. We were walking around in high heels. My best friend Riya was wearing a long wide hat.
I had never seen her in that hat, and it was not typical of her to wear any hats.
As I touched my hair, I could see the tail of my hair was golden. I might have dyed my hair golden, I thought, but that was strange too.
As we reached downtown, we saw a woman sitting in the open with a table stretched in front of her with crystals and tarot cards laying on the top of it. She offered us to sit on the two chairs opposite to her across the table. My friend wanted to try that and pulled me in towards the woman.
As we reached her, I noticed she looked at me like she could gaze through my skin right to my soul. She had soul-piercing eyes. She also had a headscarf on it, which had Egyptian symbols inscribed on it. The attire looked antic, and not many people in the modern era will wear that type of clothing. Her fingers sparkled off the crystals and gems that were decorated on her rings.
She was wearing rings on each of the fingers and both the thumbs. All the jewelry combined with her clothing made her look peculiar and unusual.
I felt eerie and displaced. Riya asked her to read for her. She smiled, looking at her but did not read for her. She looked at me as I was noticing a strange-looking neckpiece that had the shape of a skull. She asked me to pull a card from the spread as she unfolded the spread facing down.
I did not, and hence she touched my hand and forcefully guided me towards a card while smiling. As she unraveled the card, it read lovers. She smiled and told me I am going to meet a boy soon. She guided my hand again towards another card which said The tower. I looked at her, and she was pale and expressionless. She started to blurt out few spells looking at cards.
She tells me that I will be separated from that boy. I felt a sudden flush of sadness on my cheeks as my smile dropped. She further took my hand and guided m towards another card. The card read the death. She stood up from her seat and told me that I was going to be a widower. Her eyes were wide open like she had seen a ghost. Riya held my hand.
I woke up by the touch. It was my fiance waking me up. I was unconscious and trying to make a grasp what just happened. It was the wee hours of the early morning. I felt my index finger. It had a ring on it. I looked at my fiance. He was smiling at me.
Dream interpretation and symbology have fascinated me ever since I read Freud’s classic, “The Interpretation of Dreams.” Ever since, I have explored Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist as well as Jungian psychological ideas about the meaning of dreams. Thanks for joining me in my exploration of the amazing intersection between our conscious waking world and the rich expanse of our subconscious-the home of our intuition, instincts, and hidden potential.