Tarot cards can be interpreted differently from their typical definitions, which may be considered unusual. An alternative approach to reading cards can be seen with the example of the 10 of wands, queen of swords, 6 of wands, 3 of swords, ace of pentacles, knight of pentacles, and 3 of wands.
The traditional way of reading the example of the first card, the 10 of wands, would fall under the realm of “normal” interpretation, such as: the burden of responsibility, suffering at the hand of success, carrying a heavy load, doing it alone, or even exhaustion. Going a step further than the definition of exhaustion, we could say that this person in the card has reached the point of burnout, or has the flu that will take him out for anywhere up to 10 days.
The standard definitions for the Queen of Swords are a divorced or widowed woman. She is intelligent and discriminating, yet distant and stern. She gets this association because of the upright sword she holds in her right hand, willing to take on any challengers. She has the ability to cut someone to shreds with her words if provoked. A creative and unique way to see her would be possibly from the sword in her hand as being an extension of her physical characteristics, such as a woman with unusually long and manicured fingernails. She could also be seated while viewing a television or computer, with her sword being the side angle of a flat screen.
The 6 of swords is typically the “hero” card who has just accomplished success in his endeavors. He has the wreath of victory and he is literally sitting on his high horse above an adoring crowd. Since the horse is a vehicle for movement and travel, you could alternatively look at this card as being an expensive luxury car that has the envy of onlookers.
The next card is probably my least favorite, because it indicates heartache, sadness, and emotional pain so acute that it can physically be felt. Sometimes it can even represent a heart-attack! Whatever form it represents is sure to be a very unpleasant experience. The image of this card shows the heart in the middle with the 3 swords piercing it. It is known that the swords are not only weapons that poke, but they are also the cold, hard facts that can be representative of the mental realm of logic and mental processes. This alignment of swords could alternatively be viewed as melodic musical notes or instrumental trios that are harmonious and touch the heart with its beautiful sound. Sometimes the most emotionally moving music is written by musicians stricken with grief and melancholy. There is a common saying that “beauty is pain”.
The next card being the ace of pentacles tends to represent material items, possessions, money, or tangible people, places or things. Pentacles represent tangible things, and aces represent either newness, or singularity. Therefore, an unusual , (but kind of neat) way of looking at the ace of pentacles could be seen as a one-time purchase! The pentacle in the hand could be money and the ace as a single or one-time event.
It’s common to see the Knight of Wands as this fiery, dynamic, adventuresome character who loves the thrill of the chase and exciting opportunities. He must love outdoors and traveling to new lands far and wide. But what else does he do? The character cards can all be seen by more flattering, positive attributes, or less desirable ones. In some ways, he is optimistic, friendly and confident, which is generally seen as his good qualities. In his less than admirable qualities, he is arrogant, impulsive, impatient, reckless and rude. It is possible to even imagine why he is galloping toward – or away. For example, a creative way of seeing this card could be that he is running away from an establishment where he didn’t pay for the food, such as a “dine and dash.” Tisk tisk.
The character in the 3 of Wands has just accomplished his first vision. He manifested his desires and has profited from his efforts. This card’s basic meaning is success, business ventures, receptivity, action and hopes for long-term plans. An unusual way of seeing this card could be as broken promises or contracts. Since we see only the back of the figure, it’s possible he has literally turned his back on you. Maybe he is looking out for his own self-interest, since he is a solo-figure in this card.
It is important with tarot to learn the basic meaning of the cards first so that you can build upon these definitions to add a little more life and color to them. Imagination really animates the deck and when doing readings, this helps strengthen your intuitive power by allowing yourself to read beyond the colorful splotches of ink to see the characters in action and in a different light. This definitely brings the cards to life. Of course, in order to intuit the cards further than the traditional meanings, you can, and should look to the surrounding cards in a spread to play off of the other meanings, otherwise you just end up making stuff up without any context or influencing energies. It’s good to practice by journeying into a card one at a time and then reading them next to other cards to see how the energies bounce off each other.