September 30, 2017

What does it mean when I get all aces in a Tarot reading?

Sometimes, a double rainbow is just a double rainbow.

One of the most commonly asked questions I hear from new Tarot readers is, "What does it mean when...," followed by some variation of:
  • I get all aces?
  • I get all face cards?
  • I get all pips from the same suit?
  • I get all trumps?
Because Tarot reading includes a lot of pattern recognition - a famously human ability - readers will find patterns every time. Including reversals, there are 3,723,720 unique ways to arrange three cards out of a 78-card Tarot deck. Pulling three aces can feel significant, but what about all 2's? All kings? Or what about all hearts? Or all spades? Or what about a run from ace, 2, 3? Or jack, queen, king? Or what about every-other even (2, 4, 6) or every-other odd (1, 3, 5)?

You can shuffle and lay down cards as often as you like and nearly every time you'll find a unique or interesting combination that by virtue of its pattern seems astonishingly important, but the reality with Tarot is that these combinations happen quite a lot.

Statistically speaking, there might be only one instance of getting all three cards as aces in a reading, but so too is there only one instance of getting any other combination from three cards. Therefore, all aces is as equally rare as any other combination among three cards and its meaning is just as significant.

Because Tarot isn't a trick-taking card game (except when it is), it doesn't matter in the slightest whether you find multiples of a kind, a straight flush, a full house, a flush, a straight, pairs, or the high card. When you get an interesting combination of cards on the table, we're not looking for point values but instead for meaning. In a way, it can be disheartening to think that all possible combinations are as equally rare as they are common. All snowflakes are unique but they're also identical in their uniqueness.

But then, it can also be very exciting to know that in a 10-card Celtic cross arrangement in which the reader is using reversals there are 72 to the 21st power possible combinations which is not only far more than the estimated 107 billion people who've ever lived but is also a number larger than the estimated age of the universe.

For these reasons, there's probably not a Tarot reader anywhere who's ever shuffled and laid down the exact same cards for the Celtic Cross in the same sequential order as any other Tarot reader ever, and I think that's exciting.

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