Why are my tarot cards so negative?

why are my tarot cards so negative

You’ve probably experienced it at some point: Negative readings from your regularly cheerful tarot deck. Will I get the job? Nope. Is this relationship going to last? Not a chance. What steps should I take to achieve my goal? No idea.

Whether your cards have always been like this, or they just started being negative recently, there is a pretty simple explanation for why it’s happening:

Your cards are being negative because even if you don’t mean to be, you are being negative too. If you start a tarot reading expecting to pull traditionally negative cards and receive bad news, that’s exactly what you’ll get. As any other part of life, if you’re looking for negativity then that’s what you’ll find.

If your cards keep telling you no, or that bad situations lie ahead of you, it might be time to take a step back and think about why you are interpreting the cards the way that you are.

Perhaps you would benefit from a shift in attitude. Maybe you need to dive a little bit deeper into other possible interpretations of cards you’ve only ever seen as bad news.

No matter what is causing the constant negativity in your cards, it can be remedied. But, before we get into that, let me point you to the Related Articles section at the end of this post.

I’ve listed a couple of articles that I think you would also enjoy, after reading this one!

Table of Contents

You find what you’re looking for

The old saying goes, “if you smell sh*t everywhere you go, check your shoes.” This expression basically means that if everyone you meet in the run of a day is rude and inconsiderate, it may turn out that you are in fact the rude and inconsiderate one.

This applies to reading tarot as well. If your cards keep giving you negative, bad, or otherwise undesirable outcomes it may turn out that you’re the negative one, not your cards.

If you wake up in the morning and immediately expect to have a bad day, you’re setting yourself up for a bad day. People tend to encounter the energy that they expect themselves to find in life, and the energy found in a tarot reading is no exception to this rule.

If you sit down to do a tarot reading and expect an undesirable result, you’ll read your cards in a way that fills your expectations whether you mean to or not.

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“But I’m not looking for negativity, it’s just showing up when I read” you tell yourself. Perhaps that feels true. But is it really? There are multiple factors that might make you expect negativity and you may not be conscious of all of them.

Here’s an article that talks about cleansing your tarot cards between readings. Some of these techniques can help get you into the right state of mind. Read: How do you cleanse tarot cards in between readings

Already knowing the answer deep down

Sometimes we turn to our cards with questions we already know the answer to but aren’t ready to admit yet.

 For example: you know that you are unhappy in your relationship but are not yet ready to end it for various reasons. Hoping this is just a phase and that things will get better; you turn to your cards for insight of the sustainability of this relationship.

When the results of this reading do not show a long and happy future for the two of you, that doesn’t really mean your cards are being negative. It just means that they are confirming what you already know but can’t yet accept.

Check out this summary of the best tarot spreads for relationships.

Mental illness

Sometimes people suffer from mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression without even realizing it. When this happens, our mental states can suffer without us realizing that it is happening.

This will impact many aspects of our lives, and the way we interpret our tarot cards is no exception. This article from the Harvard medical school lays out some of the easily overlooked symptoms of common mental illnesses.

If you find yourself suffering from the symptoms of a mental illness, please know that you are not alone. Please speak to a trusted friend, teacher, doctor or other professional about what you are experiencing. It can and will get better.

Misinterpretation of cards that seem negative

Sometimes, especially when a reader is new to tarot, cards get misinterpreted. Some tarot cards have a reputation as being bad news, even to people who have never touched a deck before.

These cards gain their reputations from people who take them entirely at face value without taking the time to interpret what they could actually mean.

Some tarot cards that are traditionally viewed as negative include The Tower, The Devil, Death, and The Three of Swords. When these cards appear in a reading, it is easy to assume that your deck is telling you something negative.

Of course, these cards can be interpreted in a negative way, but it is not the only option.

Reinterpreting “negative” cards

When you pull a card that seems negative at first glance, you don’t have to stick with that negative interpretation.

There are more positive interpretations to the cards mentioned above that you should consider when you feel like your deck is behaving overly negatively.

The Tower

Of all 78 cards in a tarot deck, it is perhaps The Tower that has the worst reputation. It isn’t hard to see why the card has the reputation that it does.

The art for this card on many decks shows destruction and pain, but the shocking art depicted on this card does not have to mean that bad things lie in store for the reader.

The Tower could appear in a reading to bring news of monumental and sudden change. Of course, not all change is good but that does not mean this card can’t bring good news.

For example, a lottery win is a huge sudden change. Being headhunted by a major company that wants to offer you your dream job is life-changing and sudden as well. Of course, The Tower does sometimes bring bad news, but that doesn’t mean that it is bringing bad news 100% of the time.  

I go into much more details about the Tower card here, Can the Tower Tarot card be positive?

The Devil

Much like The Tower, the art on The Devil card does not immediately give a tarot reader the warm fuzzies.

Of course, this card can indicate negative things such as suffering from addiction or feeling trapped, but it can also (especially when it appears reversed) be the nudge you need to help you realize the scope of the issues you are dealing with and begin to take the steps to correct them and make your life better.

Read this article for much more detail about the Devil card: When the Devil Tarot card is positive, 7 meanings explained.


Death is a card that can cause a lot of fear when taken literally. While it can be interpreted as a sign that literal death is on the horizon, it can also be viewed as a card that indicates transition.

For example: if Death appeared in a reading for a High School Senior, it could easily be indicating the end of the Senior’s life as a high school student and a transition to university or the working world.

Death could also appear to a person in an abusive relationship to indicate that they will soon be able to escape the abuse and transition into a life free from the partner who is harming them.

Death and The Tower are similar cards in that they can indicate change, but Death is often seen as a card that indicates a transition or a change that is more planned out and less abrupt than change that might be indicated by The Tower.

Three of Swords

It is not difficult to assume that heartbreak is on the horizon when the Three of Swords appears in a reading. Commonly depicted with a heart being impaled by three separate blades, it can be difficult to interpret this card as any sort of good news.

While the Three of Swords may not be bringing you good news, it does not have to be interpreted as a fully negative card. Unfortunately, heartbreak is a part of life, but it is also something we can learn and grow from.

Any sort of unhappy event is easier to deal with when you know it is coming, and this card can appear in a reading as a sort of warning of what’s to come. It may not be exactly what we want to hear in a reading, but that doesn’t mean it is a completely negative card to pull out of your deck.

The takeaway?

The takeaway here should be that your deck will only behave negatively if you let it.

If you look for positivity in your readings, take care of your mental health, and consider the different possible interpretations of the cards you pull, you should always be able to overcome the negativity you are getting from your deck.

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