A matter of Timing


I've very new to tarot (less than 6 months). I'm studying with some people I met in a beginner's tarot card class, and we all have the same question . . . How do you read timing in the cards? Is there a good reference for this? I have been told that 2's, 3's, 7's and 9's are timing cards and that in a 10 card spread an ace in positions 5-10 has signifigance. What I don't understand is how to apply it to the spread.

I guess to make it simple is there are good resource I could read to learn this? or does it just take time? (no pun intended :] ).

Lady CJ


Please allow me to get the answers started.
Here is the deal with timing?IMO?
This is for me, but I?ll tell you how to work it for you.
Depending on the spread, near future is four minutes to four days. Distant future is four to five months, with weeks as an intermediate term future.
With me personally, I have discovered that my timings run in units of four.
Here?s the trick. I am willing to bet real cash-a-roonie that every person in your class has a different ?personal? time.
There is only one way to find your ?personal time?.
Any good teacher of Tarot, drilled into your head??Keep a journal?.
So keep a journal. Follow up on EVERY reading. Discover your own timings.
Timings set by cards will always be wishy washy, and over ridden by your personal time.
Have fun?
(BTW: Many more posts will follow, so keep checking in.)


While there are layout spreads for a yearly reading, I too found that usually the 'far future' is only about 6 months, after that your actions change the future too much so it's less solid.

I have the Ancestral Pathway Tarot & it was only when I located the book (not the little booklet it came with) for that deck did I find out that each card in that deck has a specific amount of time associated with it--each card covers from 4 days to a week--and the cards were listed sequentially with the month/days that they corresponded to. I'd never have known that if I hadn't located the book at one of those second hand stores! (For instance, the Ace of Swords iss the Spring Equinox, the Two of Swords is March 22-28, Three of Swords is March 29-April 4, etc.).

While I haven't used the deck for any 'timeline' readings yet, it's a good thing to know that this one was done with cards & timelines in mind, by the author. I don't know if it would translate over into other decks though.


i think umbrae made a great point about journalling and figuring out how things tend to fall for you. tarot journals are -[so]- useful in learning, even if you've been reading for a while.

and the general six month rule has been true for me, also, though i often judge them closer than i ought.

i just wanted to add a couple things... first, try to go with your first gut feeling rather than relying on what the cards might say timing-wise. intuition is a very important tool while reading. second, if you are really stuck on a time limit, pull another card or two (i MUST pull in threes because my deck ALWAYS has subtext, but that's just me, i think). some cards might shout immediacy (the 8 of wands in the gill tarot), while others might tell you there's a bit of a wait (the page of coins in the mythic tarot), while others still might say "who knows!" (the wheel).

much luck with your research and reading :}


So, when you see timing in the cards, it is only because you've put it in a journal and counted the time until it happened? But how do you associate the right card with it? Is it all intuition? I guess I'm still confused. I had a spread that ended with 2 aces.

It was a celtic cross spread, and the ace of swords fell in the 9th position, and the ace of wands fell into the 10th position. Now, according to one teacher I had, if an ace fell into 5-10, you would then look for the first minor card starting with position 10, which would be the ace of wands. I read that to mean that the timing was the first week in June. However, I'm not sure what to attribute this too. Is it what the ace has to say? or an answer to the overall question?

That is my confusion. Sorry I'm so dense, but I really want to understand this before I try to read it for someone.


i really don't think you're dense. you're just looking at it from a much different angle than i ever have. i really don't think i have much more in the way of advice, besides reminding you not to get so down on yourself over something that sounds a bit complex.

again, much luck :}


Please do not misunderstand what I am about to (say) write.
I have never in 30 years of readings, heard of a timeline describes as your teacher has. I am not saying it is wrong. I am saying I am not familiar with it.
You may want to wait and see how many other folks are familiar with it.
I came from the school of thought that cards tend to vary for each person, gray tones instead of black and white. It is why (if you hunt down my posts) you will find that I am not a ?book meaning? person. Meanings tend to shift, as do timings.
It is why we recommend a journal. You use a class or a book as a starting point, as you learn and grow, you will find things tend to shift.
There may also be shifting associated with different decks (I read a tad differently depending on which deck I use?kind of like you speak differently with different friends).
I know this makes little sense now?so cut and paste this missive, print it out, and stick it in the back of your journal. Read it in one year?

And hey!!! Have fun, if there is no fun, there is no reason...


Timing hasn't been a big issue with as of yet. I've worked on it, but it's not anything major for me.

I haven't heard of the method that your teacher has spoken of either, but everyone eventually develops their own system of timing. When I lay out a celtic cross spread, it only seems to span out for the next two or three months. It hasn't gone much further than that into the future. When I'm really upset about a situation and trying to "read" for it, it will only give me a week or so at a time even with the Celtic Cross spread. LOL, and once, it gave me all past information, nothing future. (I didn't even have a card in the "future" position...I have no idea how I could have missed laying one there!) Obviously, it happened for a reason! ;)

The only time it really goes beyond that FOR ME, is when I specifically ask something like "What new doors will open to me in the next six months?" or something like that....when I ask for something within a timeframe.

I have also laid out the Celtic spread and put one card off to the side face down. This is a "timing card". I use the timing interpretations given in "Tarot for Beginner's" by P. Scott Hollander, and found they have worked out pretty well for me.

However, I do need to go back through my journal and review spreads vs. outcome of situation/reality. I would like to get a better timing system down, but it's not a priority for me at the moment. :D


Wow, thanks for that input. I don't feel so bad now. I guess I'm letting it become too important when I'm still just beginning. I'll ease back on that part, and just concentrate on the other things I should be learning.

Thanks guys!



Quote:Originally posted by ladycj
I've very new to tarot (less than 6 months). I'm studying with some people I met in a beginner's tarot card class, and we all have the same question . . . How do you read timing in the cards?
Tough one, I usually don't pay that much attention to timings; I simply focus on the things I see right. Usually I'm covering a maximum timespan of one week in a reading. However; its sort of easy for me since I only do readings for myself.

I'm tempted to say that you should interpret time during such a reading just as you seem fit.