This is the moment, if you're reading for someone else, that you contemplate excusing yourself to use the restroom, and then climbing out the window. If you're reading for yourself you may just declare it snack time and conveniently forget about the tarot spread you so carefully laid out until your cat has muddled it hopelessly, and your husband is asking you if the cat is reading tarot by herself, because that would be worth filming for youtube.
Which is what I did today. Which is how you know that, yes, this doesn't just happen to you. This happens to everyone. Even professionals. Even people who have been studying and reading the tarot for more than ten years. So don't you worry, you are in good company.
But, assuming you don't want to climb out a window, or abandon the cards till another day...what do you do?
The first thing you do is remind yourself that every now and then the tarot is just going to turn up gibberish. Maybe you're having a bad day. Maybe the energetic weather is interfering with your flow. Maybe you aren't meant to have the answer to this question at this time. Maybe you're asking the wrong question.
Walking away from your cards for the day, or at least for the moment, is a perfectly legitimate response. So is reshuffling and trying again, whether with the same question, or with a different one, or trying with a different deck. You might take a few moments to meditate, or clarify your question first. It's also perfectly legitimate to stick it out and work with what you've been dealt though, especially if you've got a client in front of you. And trust me: 99% of the time, that gibberish has a lesson for you in it somewhere.
If you're sticking around, you should tune inward, and see if there aren't beliefs you already have about the situation you're asking about. If you were looking for the tarot to confirm something you already suspected, and the tarot isn't doing that, it can look a lot like gibberish. Maybe if you disregard what you had already concluded about a situation, that first card you drew will suddenly seem less contrary. And maybe that's all you need for the rest of the reading to fall together.
Or, maybe not. Maybe it just feels like pulling teeth the whole way through. That's ok. Not every reading is going to resolve into a perfect little pictorial story. Those cards may make a lot more sense after you've mulled over them for a few days, and events have unfolded a bit more. If you're choosing to leave the cards be for a bit, take a picture of your spread, so that if it isn't there when you get back to it, you can always look at it later, and see if aspects of it are making more sense.
You can also start pulling clarifying cards: cards that you add onto the spread to clarify the cards that aren't clear to you. You may be in a situation where you chose a simple spread, and the tarot had a complex answer. A few extra cards could bring things into focus. This can also get out of hand, though. If your tarot spread starts to look like a nearly complete game of dominos, or a some sort of coral reef, you may need to pack it in and consider starting all over.
What do you do when you get a reading you can't figure out? Do you feel better knowing it's at least a normal thing to have happen? Tell me in the comments! That reading at the top is the one that was blowing my mind and inspired this post! Any ideas? I was asking about my aerial style: what it is, how I can further develop it, and what it will look like fully realized...