Many enjoy the serendipity and insight that comes with a tarot reading. But if a recent reading of yours has you spooked because you pulled a so-called negative tarot card, it’s important to know that there’s no such thing as bad tarot cards. After all, each card in a tarot deck is there for a reason. Although some readers still believe in positive and negative tarot cards. Suffice it to say that even while a tarot card may look scary, tarot is not dangerous. Tarot cards don’t have bad spirits hiding within.
Many people think of certain cards as negative tarot cards. Because the way tarot readings are portrayed in TV, movies, books, and other stories seem so ominous. For dramatic effect, writers often veer into negative tarot cards and their associated negative outcomes, connecting dots that don’t really exist. And for those that are looking for wisdom, if not a little fortune-telling, in their tarot readings, negative tarot cards can be a cause for concern.
In fact, some more modern tarot decks eschew the negativity for more positive depictions so that readers can draw lessons and insights from those negative tarot cards, though you can certainly do the same with any tarot deck, even ones that play up negativity.
What Are the Bad Tarot Cards?
While there are no bad tarot cards, these are the cards that are most associated with negativity. Many of these cards seem ominous until you understand the greater context of the spread or the deck.
If you were to conduct a poll, the most feared card will likely be The Tower. With a depiction of fire, lightning, and people falling to their death, The Tower often represents a sudden and dramatic failure or something negative on the horizon. However, for a positive spin, The Tower can also mean a rebirth or renewal as the old makes way for the new. It may mean moving away from the old way of doing things and getting out on your own. While things may not be working now, The Tower could represent a shift and better times to come.
Another “negative” tarot card is Death, which often depicts a skeleton and features that scary “DEATH” word at the bottom. However, the Death card doesn’t have to be a negative tarot card — Death can mean transformation, rebirth or starting anew, such as a pending move, a new job, or some kind of opportunity. That said, Death can also mean upcoming change whether you want it or not, so in a sense, it can be more about going with the flow than some kind of harm to life or limb.
Ten of Swords
Like our other negative tarot cards, the Ten of Swords can be cause for concern since it features a depiction of someone with 10 swords in their back. But the Ten of Swords isn’t about death or injury. The ten of swords is about shifting gears after exhausting all other opportunities. It can be a message about the fact that you have tried all other options and they have failed. It is the end of a cycle and time to move on. The Ten of Swords illustrates that it’s time to move on instead of sticking with the same old approach.
This one isn’t just one card, but a whole set of negative tarot cards. Each Five card — including the Five of Coins, Five of Cups, Five of Wands, and Five of Swords — can be alarming when drawn, but they’re all also midpoint cards, which can represent an important junction in life. More of a challenge to yourself than a bonafide negative tarot card, the Five cards may point to an important decision that must be made or that you’re having trouble coming to terms with something. The good thing is that Five cards are a sign that something must be done, which can be an insightful piece of the puzzle
To learn more about positive and negative tarot cards, check out more card meanings from Tarot Guru.