How To Be A Tarot Detective

The title of this short article is the name of my most recent book which is available on

How to Be a Tarot Detective by [Vikki Anderson]

I wrote “How To Be A Tarot Detective,” because the old fashioned ways of reading the tarot were very negative to me.  No one knew where the interpretations of the cards really came from since the small booklet that is enclosed with the Rider-Waite deck is just an outline of the meanings.  Yes, there are over 80% of the books which are written on tarot are of the Rider-Waite deck, so there is a lot of information out there on this particular deck — which is the most spiritual, has the most symbolism and is the easiest to learn.  However

Being a tarot detective means that you look at all of the clues in each card before making an observation or interpretation.  For instance, if you see mountains to the left of the card, no matter in which card it appears, it means the Querent (the person you are reading for) is procrastinating.  Mountains across a whole card mean that there are wonderful opportunities waiting for the Querent, but she has to grab them or they will pass her by. Mountains to the right mean that the goals and objectives, dreams and aspirations will easily come true.  Now when will this happen?  If the card is upright, it will happen in 0-6 months; however, if the card is reversed it means 6-12 months from the date of the reading.  That is just two examples of how I have changed the cards.

Let’s talk color!  There are colors in the sky and in the figures’ is clothes in the cards as well as the ground or greenery.  Everything means something important.  If the sky were yellow, it would mean that the Querent is logical, analytical, methodical, intelligent and uses common sense and reasoning abilities to make decisions and to run her life.  So, you would be explaining the cards to them in a very systematic and logical way so that there is instant acceptance of what you are saying.

If the card had a blue sky, we could tell that the person is too empathetic, sympathetic, compassionate, very emotional and very sensitive.  So you would be very careful telling the Querent about the reading for the upcoming year.

If there is a gray sky, it means there are fears, doubts, worries, anxieties, being overwhelmed, lack of confidence, confused, procrastination and that your life is like a road in the fog.  You know you are going in some direction, but can’t make out the signs to get off the road to your destination!  This person is very confused and probably can’t make another decision, so you may have to help with particular issues.

A black sky indicates serious issues, depression, upset, negativity, weight of the world on your shoulders and a massive amount of negativity.  You would be very careful how you tell this person what is going on since she is already at her wit’s end.  Be compassionate and caring as you tell her what’s in store for her in the next year or in answer to her questions.

There are many new things I had come up with in this revised edition of the original tarot book from 2001.  As the years unfolded, I received more insight into the cards.

If you would like to find a new and easier way of learning the tarot and to be able to read the cards accurately and quickly, you need to add this book to your library.  I’m sure it will help you understand so much more than you already know.  The book is for beginners and professionals alike.

Happy Tarot!

570-215-4223 for tarot consultations




Timing of Events

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There are many different ways to time events.  Play with the few methods below and see which one works accurately for you.  Many people get different information and there is a pull towards one spread over another or one method over another.  Keep a journal to see how accurate you are while you are practicing to learn which formats work best with your energy.

Major Arcana cards usually indicate that the circumstance or event will happen soon.

Aces signify in which season the situation will happen.

Pentacles =  SPRING

Cups =  SUMMER

Wands = AUTUMN

Swords = WINTER



Interpreting the Cards

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One important bit of information for the long-time student of tarot is that with the dawning of the new age, it had been suggested in the 1980’s that reversed cards no longer be viewed as negative. Reversed cards used to be read as the negative meaning of that card.  For instance, if the Two of Pentacles was upright, it might mean that the client would have to balance their money and budget more in the upcoming months.  If it were reversed, it used to suggest that the client would not be able to balance their money and would get into further financial debt. Upright cards’ time frame is now until six months and the reversed cards means that the actual event associated with the card will not happen until six to twelve months from the date of the reading.  It is also used as half of the time frame.  For example, if I were doing a reading for a particular month and I saw reversed cards, it would mean that things would happen in the second half of the time period, in this case, the month.  If it were a day, upright would be from midnight until noon and reversed would be noon until midnight.  Get the picture?

Then to continue with your interpretation, look at the card. Is it a happy or sad card? Blue and yellow backgrounds or skies are usually considered the happier cards, while the gray and black cards are considered the more challenging.

What emotions or feelings do you intuitively get from this card? Is there a focus on a particular part of the card? How would you feel if you pulled this card out of a deck for yourself? What would you tell someone you were reading for when they got this card? There are no wrong answers, only varied interpretations. Go with your intuitive nature and have fun. Spirit will guide you.

Some basic questions may be:

  • What is the main figure doing in the card?
  • Is she/he holding onto a suit?
  • Are they holding onto each other?
  • Are they chained or linked to each other in a negative situation?
  • Is there a balance issue?
  • Is the main figure in between columns, trees, people, houses, castles, or money — meaning something needs to be balanced?
  • What is the balance issue?
  • Is the sky clear?
  • What color is the sky?
  • How much of the card is taken up by the sky?
  • Are clouds brewing behind the figure in the card?
  • Are they puffy or streaking clouds?
  • Are there mountains in the card?
  • Are the mountains in the card?
  • What color are they?
  • Are they to the left, right or across the whole background of the card?
  • Read your colors and memorize them.
  • What colors are the figures wearing?
  • Are other pieces of clothing covering up other colors?
  • Are the figures creating their own problems? (Body parts in water?)
  • Is there a sun/moon combination in the card so that the person does not see things clearly or is being deceived in some way?
  • Is there a great deal of water expressing an emotional time and sensitivity? The more waves or ripples the water body has, the more emotional and sensitive the issue. What effect does the water have in this card?
  • Are animals, birds, trees, ships, or anything else BEHIND the individual — meaning there is something hidden from the person or that secrets going on behind their backs.
  • Is there an animal in front of the figures in the card that they are not paying attention to? This could mean there is something going on in direct view, but they choose not see it at this time.
  • How many figures are in the card?
  • Who are they?
  • What are they doing?
  • What are their relationships to the main figure?
  • Are they celebrating or does the card look depressed and sad?
  • Is there a path leading to new adventures and surprises?
  • What color is the path? Is it straight, winding, or does it just disappear into the past, future, or center (meaning the future is not written yet) of the card?
  • Where does the path go and who or what does it pass along the way?
  • Are there obstacles that must be faced to get to the goal?
  • Is the ground rocky?
  • Or is it smooth, like the cement ground? This is the most secure, balanced, and stable ground one can be on.
  • Is there a combination of many colors?
  • Is the figure in between the suits? When a figure is standing in between swords, cups, pentacles, or wands, they are actually putting themselves in the middle of that particular situation which is represented in the card. Sometimes, they are the one causing the problem in that suit.
  • Is there a house, castle, tower, or town anywhere in the card?
  • Is it in the background or foreground; past, present or future?
  • Is the figure looking at it or concentrating on something else wondering why her home life is not happy?

With the above information, you have a good deal to consider and delineate. Take a few moments to look at your spread and compare the notes above with your cards. What is your reaction to the spread?

Compliments of Vikki Anderson of, (c) 2001.

Shuffling The Cards

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Anyone who has ever taken any of my classes or has been to my lectures knows how important it is to shuffle the cards well. Shuffling helps put the vibrations of the Querent and you into the cards to help give an accurate and objective reading. The person doing the reading relies on the accuracy of the cards, so getting as many energy patterns into the cards as you can is always best.

Shuffling the cards completes the circle of energy.  You are shuffling the cards and your energy goes into the cards while the energy of the cards goes back into you.

The following is the shuffling method I use and suggest. Even though it is a bit longer to do, I truly believe that it gives you a much more precise reading.

1)         Shuffle the whole deck of cards until you feel comfortable that you have shuffled them enough. As you are shuffling, you should either say out loud or in your mind, “I seek insight into (name)’s life for the next year.” Repeat this as many times as you feel you must. You may want to say it out loud the first time someone is coming to you for a reading so that they will understand how to do the shuffling and what to say when it is their turn. Say it with them a few times to be sure they know what is expected of them.

2)         Cut the deck into three piles with your left hand. Vibrations come in the left side of your body and leave the right side, so you want to pull the vibrations of the cards through your body and back out into the deck as you are dealing them. By doing that, your energy vibrations and the cards become one. In essence, you are making a complete circle of an energy patterns.

3)         Shuffle each pile again until you feel comfortable. You do not have to shuffle the cards for a set time period or a number of shuffles, but you will intuitively know when it is time to stop. You should also explain this to your Querent. However, sometimes when there are time constraints such as five-minute readings at a corporate party or holiday event, do not let the client shuffle for three minutes if the total time allotted them is five. Let them shuffle a few times and put your left hand out to receive the cards.

4)         Hand the cards to your Querent and explain the above three steps. Shuffle all the cards, make three piles, shuffle each pile, put them back into one pile in any order she wishes and return them to you with her left hand.

5)      Now you are ready to deal the cards into whichever spread you had determined before dealing them. I use the Year Ahead Spread, the Astrological Spread, or the Modified Celtic Cross (I use twelve cards so that if someone has a question regarding a particular month, I can answer without having to do an extra yes/no spread).

If you do not feel comfortable with my suggested way of shuffling, shuffle your own way. Whichever way you choose is fine just always BE CONSISTENT! Consistency is very important in tarot so that the universe will know how you are dealing and reading the cards to help with the interpretations of the information you require.

Remember that this book is only one source of knowledge. Take whatever you need from this book and get information from other sources as well.  Tarot is an on-going learning experience so learn all you can. If everyone received the same information, then all tarot readers would be identical and thus, not needed.  All readers interpret the cards differently, but it is okay to get a firm foundation of the cards’ meanings and then adding your own style or flavor into your reading.

Be aware that nothing is written in stone. That is why I was compelled to write this book. I felt there was a different way of reading the cards than all the books I had studied. Whatever feels right for you IS right for you. My method of reading the cards is certainly right for me and has helped thousands of students throughout the years learn tarot without being frustrated, overwhelmed, or confused.  It has also helped them read the tarot quickly and easily within twelve hours or so, not the usual years it used to take.

Be truthful, but tactful. Never hide the truth, but ask questions or make suggestions that may help with your Querent’s decisions. Remember, if you see something that looks like a medical problem, ask, “When was the last time you had a physical examination?” and be done with it. You are giving the person a pro-active role in his or her own life.

  • Your ethics should be above reproach. Never tell anyone that a loved one is going to die – that is up to God, not you. And just imagine if you were wrong! The anguish and anxiety that you had caused that person and family would be horrendous. Never take on that responsibility. Never use the cards as a means of spying on people or wanting to know something that is none of your business. You may have the Querent ask about family and close friends out of a sincere love for them, but never about frivolous things.  Tarot is a serious study and should be considered as such. Of course, if you have some time left at the end of a session, your client can certainly ask a few more questions than she originally wanted to ask. You can then do yes/no spreads or get answers from the original twelve cards in the year ahead spread.
  • After doing a spread, look at the cards. Notice if there are more wands, pentacles, swords, or cups. Each pertains to a different area of life, but in a spread it is very common for two suits be dominant. If there are mostly wands, a job or career is the real reason they are seeking insight; Pentacles mean money-related issues, usually worries, concerns and challenges. Swords pertain to conflicts, arguments, or people attacking your integrity or honor. Cups mean love, happiness, joy, and prosperity in all areas of life.
  • How many cards are upright? How many are reversed? Even though we do not use reversed cards as negative going in the new millennium, I still make note of them because they still can be areas of potential trouble if the Querent is not aware of them. The more upright cards, the easier the next year will be. The more reversed, the more challenging the year will be. Word your statements carefully. (For instance, if you have eight reversed cards and four upright, you can always say, “I see you have had many challenges this past year. It does not look as if they are all going to be resolved immediately, but it seems that you will be working on resolving them a little at a time.”  I also like to say, “If you are more pro-active about your choices, you will minimize the time frame before your issues will be resolved.”

It is much better than saying, “This year looks worse than last year.” Be selective in what words you use and give as much hope as possible to your client, friend or family member.

  • Notice how many Major Arcana cards are in the spread.


means that God has decided to let you handle your own responsibilities and issues in the next year. This is the time for you to take charge of your own responsibilities and take control of your life.


usually signify that God, Angels, Spirit, The One, The Source, The All, The Universe, or whomever your client believes in, will be there if they need guidance, but she must ask for that help or pray for assistance. The client may also need to reconnect with their church, temple or mosque.  Be sure to find out if your client believes in God, Angels, Spirit, etc., since there is no faster way of losing a client’s trust and interest than when you start referring to something in which they do not believe. If you are reading for an atheist or a Pagan, try using, “The Universal Energies” as your guiding force.


means that God has decided to guide you in the upcoming year since you may have already gone through too many changes and decisions during the past year; you will be guided on the right path and given the information or intuitive insight you need to succeed and get on with your life in a positive manner. It is your job to let the Querent know what is going on in her life and what help, if any, will be forthcoming in the way of guidance from God.

The more Major Arcana that appear in the spread, just note that this person will have a great next year, (or whatever your time frame was) but it also indicates that their “last year” (yesterday back a year) was very difficult and overwhelming.  These people need to know that their hardships are at an end.

For more information about Vikki Anderson’s tarot readings and information about tarot cards, please visit  2020 Copyright.  570-215-4223

One Card Spread

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This may be the most simple and yet hardest spread of all.  There is one card.  What does it mean to you?  What is the text book meaning?  Is it reversed or upright?  Is it a Major Arcana card meaning this can be a spiritual matter or does it refer to a mundane issue:  love, money, relationships or jobs.  Was this one card spread done for a day, a month, a year?  Was it pulled from a deck on your (or the Querent’s) birthday representing an issue that should or must be dealt with during the coming year.  Make all the notes you can about this card since it is the only indication you are relying on for advice.  Give it your total attention and be a tarot detective.  Notice what the card has to say.  The backgrounds, figures, symbolism and colors are extremely important in this spread.  Use them.


For more information about Vikki Anderson’s tarot readings and information about tarot cards, please visit  2020 Copyright.  570-215-4223

Choosing a Daily Card


Some people pull a card each and everyday to concentrate on the issues on that particular day.  Even though that would be a wonderful mental discipline, it is not necessarily appropriate for “the beginner” since you may not know the exact issue you must handle at this time which is depicted by the card.  You may try pulling one card a week or one a month and work with those energies until you feel more comfortable with the cards and their meanings.

A better idea would be for you to pull a card everyday after the deck has been shuffled properly and ask for guidance to have a good day with positive opportunities for the good of all involved.

Then what you could do is write all of the impressions you have gotten on the card including the feelings, meanings and images you have gotten with the choosing of that card.  Eventually, you will start to know that every time you picked that card, these feelings, etc. would accompany you.  It is also appropriate to read your notes on your cards when you do a reading for someone or are just looking for a little insight for yourself.


Numerology References for Tarot

  1. (Ace)  new beginnings, starting fresh, new life.
  2. Couples year or continuing to make your new beginnings prosperous and abundant.
  3. Year dealings with children, love triangles or three partners.
  4. Year dealings with foundation issues or responsibilities.
  5. Fun and creativity year.
  6. Service to others year.
  7. Faith year.
  8. Money year, good or bad.
  9. Endings, getting rid of the old to make way for the new, very spiritual or metaphysical year.

Court Cards and Timing


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indicates the beginning of whatever suit it is or one quarter of the way through the new experience.


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indicates continuing on with the Page experience or going one half of the way into the experience with the suit it represents.


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indicates a solid foundation in the continuing of the Knight’s experience or going three fourths of the way through the experience with the suit it stands for.


indicates your accomplishment and follow through with that particular suit whether it was in money, love, conflicts or career opportunities or the end  or completion of the circumstance or issue.


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in any suit is a “GIFT FROM GOD” in that suit and are the most lucky and beneficial cards in the deck.

See for more information about the tarot and for tarot readings done by phone.  570-215-4223.




Interpretation of the Suits

Wands – Wands represent one’s career or job/health/schooling.  If you are working too much, when to take a vacation or if you will have more responsibilities with or without being compensated for your efforts.

It also represents hobbies and skills.  If you or the Querent are retired and do not have a “so called” job, then the wands would represent your life as it is now with your volunteering as your job or taking care of the home, grandchildren, interests, etc.


Swords  – Swords are the most unfriendly of all the suits.  They represent conflict, problems, concerns, fears, worries, limitations, responsibilities, the need for patience and tolerance, and basic depression and negativity.  The trick with this suit is that in almost every card, the swords are intertwined. This means that they are interrelated with another.  How do you handle such a myriad of problems?  Easy.  Handle the priority issue first and all the other ones will either fall apart or break down into smaller, more manageable concerns.  There are several cards (for instance the eight of swords) where the figure is in between them dividing the issues.  Then there are two major concerns which must be dealt with and both issues will soon resolve themselves or break down into smaller components which will be easier to handle.


Pentacles – Money or material possessions are shown by the Pentacles in a reading.  It indicates if you are thinking about the past too much and not tending the future regarding your finances.  It indicates if you should take a risk with your meager or excessive fortune.  It also indicates if you are stingy, extravagant or very smart with your money.  It shows the reader if the Querent (or Significator) is going in the proper direction with values, finances and concerns regarding material possessions and cash.


Cups – In my opinion, this is the best suit.  It represents love, happiness, relationships, inner peace, inner joy, a clear mind, emotionally calm, happy, a bright future and favorable outcomes.  Cups in an upright position are filled with love; on the other hand knocked over cups can mean love spilled out, is lost, has gone, or is on its way out the door.

Age Appropriate Readings

by Vikki Anderson

Recently, I was doing a gig in a very upscale store named Nordstroms in Northern NJ where I was giving tarot readings to the clientele of the store as part of a promotion.  On the average, these types of events are fun; I give five minute tarot readings so the client can usually ask three questions or so, get answers and then be on their way.

The event, as was the other ones for that whole week, was quite successful and I had two minutes left before I was to leave, go down to the shore and do another gig, so my timing was critical.  A very rich and snobbish woman comes up to me and throws her seven year old daughter into the chair in front of me and said she could have a tarot reading.  I looked at my watch and explained that I had to leave in a few minutes, but I would be happy to answer a few of her questions.  The young child had no idea what I was talking about, so I asked, “Do you want to know about school?” or “Do you want to know about any of your friendships or boys?” to give her a clue about what to ask.  She had a blank stare on her face (not the brilliant child I was fortunate to have obviously), looked at her mother who said, “Just do it for fun.”  I looked at the mom and said, “Well, do you have any questions that you would like to ask for your daughter?”  She then went in a tirade that her daughter was only seven and what questions could she have?  Duh.  My point exactly.  She pulled her daughter out of the seat and yelled, “You are so rude. This is (famous store) and not K-Mart!”  (It took me awhile to figure out she insulted me because I was wondering what the difference would have been if I were in K-Mart or this store?  I guess I look like a K-Mart type of customer which I don’t consider negative – they have great bargains sometimes!)  Anyway, I was stunned that anyone could be so clueless and not understand that tarot is not for children and it is not for fun.  She stormed off, so I made sure I talked to the manager before leaving to tell her about this unfortunate incident and to my delight, she apologized to me for the customer’s obnoxious behavior.

It actually surprised me that this parent was so totally unaware that tarot is a serious modality that should be used for teenagers and adults but definitely not for small children.  My concern was what happened if the Death card had come out, or 3 of Swords (which has three swords in a heart) or the Ten of Swords (ten swords in a dead man’s back); did she want her child to see that?  How could I satisfactorily explain them away when she could have seen the pictures?

It got me to thinking that maybe, if I am ever in that situation again, I could make a small deck of fake tarot cards that say cute things like FUN, VACATION, FAMILY, BROTHERS, SISTERS, BEST FRIEND, SCHOOL WORK, SPORTS, etc. to give me something to work with.  Another thought would be for me to invent a child’s tarot deck (unless there is one out there that I have not discovered yet – please contact me and let me know if you know of such a deck so I could purchase it).  I know I could use a fairy deck, angel deck, animal deck, etc., but I am truly interested in learning if there are decks specifically created for a young child.

The next day when I did the promotion in a neighboring state at the same store chain, I had placed a tent card saying TAROT READINGS FOR 12 YR. OLD AND UP.  There was no problem and fortunately for me no rude parents and I had an enjoyable time.

You would think that customers of upscale stores would be intelligent enough to understand or acknowledge that the services that are offered by these stores are usually top notch.  I am exceedingly qualified in my field and feel I know what would be best in most situations, especially with this seven year old, to determine which way I should handle a reading.  I am glad I made my decision to ask for the child’s questions and in so doing that, the universe actually kept me from doing a reading for her which I thought was a mistake in the first place.  Always trust the universal energy to help you in any situation, as I did and will continue to do.

See for further information about tarot or tarot readings and many other metaphysical topics.  570-215-4223.  Copyright 2020