That’s because people go through highs and lows (sometimes daily), and their state of mind will undoubtedly influence how they interpret the card they get.
According to Chinggay Labrador, tarot reader and author of Practical Magic: A Tarot Newbie’s Guide & Journal, a person's state of mind during a reading can influence how they interpret the card they pull. "How a tarot reading 'lands' is largely dependent on how receptive we are, what we’re experiencing, [and] maybe even what’s in our thoughts at any given time," she says.
“When our biases are put onto the cards, it muddies the interpretation.” —Ryan Trinh, tarot reader at House of Intuition
So, if you, say, woke up on the wrong side of the bed, are having a bad afternoon at work, or feel exhausted on a given evening, you may not get the clearest tarot reading. “If one is not well-rested or [is] stressed, this tends to paint the reading with more cloudiness or confusion,” says Ryan Trinh, tarot reader at Los Angeles-based metaphysical shop House of Intuition. “When our biases are put onto the cards, it muddies the interpretation.” And this can happen for better or worse.
For example, Trinh says, if someone gets a reading after a particularly hard meeting, they might interpret the cards a little more negatively, because they’re projecting the energy of said meeting. That same person might, instead, look at the reading more positively if they’re seeking comfort from the tarot deck, says Trinh. To avoid placing your biases on the deck, then, it makes more sense to do a reading when you're feeling balanced.
Of course, if you're getting your tarot cards read by a professional, there will need to be a set time—which will largely depend on when both parties are available. If, however, you're doing this practice for yourself, you want to look within, and not at a clock, to determine if it’s a good time for you to read tarot cards. "The best time of day to get a tarot reading is when it makes sense to you,” Labrador says. “I don't think anyone needs to be really strict or rudimentary about it."
"The best time of day to get a tarot reading is when it makes sense to you.” —Chinggay Labrador, tarot reader
Trinh adds that it’s also key to ensure you don't feel rushed when you’re reading tarot cards as a means to ensure that you don’t overlook anything: “But if you’re pressed for time and need to do a reading immediately, take some time to meditate before doing a reading to clear your energy.”
And rather than “squeezing in” a tarot reading—thus shifting the practice from an introspective exercise to another task on your to-do list, which is unideal for receiving proper messages from the deck—Trinh encourages people to establish a pre-reading grounding ritual. In addition to meditating before a reading, you might consider taking a bath or lighting incense to fully bring yourself to the present moment.
Even with this in mind, some folks are naturally in a better headspace when some semblance of a plan is in place, and this can extend to a tarot practice. So, if you want to have some coordination surrounding when to read tarot cards, consider whether you’re more of a night owl or a morning bird. From there, try to incorporate a tarot reading at times when you know you feel your best.
Labrador, for one, skews more toward morning readings because they help her “transition from just waking up to being awake and ready to face the day.” However, you might prefer later at night so you don’t have anxiety about juggling your tarot reading with getting your day started, or you might simply enjoy it as a way to close out your day. Either way, the important factors to consider are that you find a time that works for you, and that you’re feeling good in the moment.
“You know how they say that the best workout is one that you actually enjoy and have fun with? The same goes for tarot,” says Labrador. “Whatever time allows you to keep your practice is the best time for you. Life will throw us for a loop a lot of times—let your tarot readings adapt to these changes.”
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