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There is an old tearoom card reading formula for timing a reading. It doesn’t work with Tarot, at least not exactly, because Tarot decks have 14 cards per suit. Playing cards, the tools of the mid-century tearoom trade, carnivals and boardwalks, have 13 cards per suit however and 13 works neatly for this particular count. (Though it can be modified for Tarot.)

The formula allows the reader to go as far as one year out and is based on two variables. The first is the suit of the card being drawn. Each suit in playing card divination (and Tarot) corresponds to a specific season. Spades or Swords are winter. Clubs or Wands (or Staves) are spring. Hearts or Cups are summer. And Diamonds or Pentacles are fall. Your suit is then your season but finding a specific month calls for a second variable. 

The second variable is numeric.  The reader assigns a number to the cards which need a number, such as the Ace, and count the rest at face value. These numbers correspond to the months of the year beginning with the first month of the new Gregorian Calendar year. Only the months that fall within the season of the suit are counted  limiting the number of cards which used for the specific purpose of timing to those shown below:

Playing Card: Season
of Year:
Tarot Card:
Ace of Spades Winter January Ace of Swords
Two of Spades Winter February Two of Swords
Three of Clubs Spring March Three of Wands
Four of Clubs Spring April Four of Wands
Five of Clubs Spring May Five of Wands
Six of Hearts Summer June Six of Cups
Seven of Hearts Summer July Seven of Cups
Eight of Hearts Summer August Eight of Cups
Nine of Diamonds Autumn September Nine of Pentacles
Ten of Diamonds Autumn October Ten of Pentacles
Jack of Diamonds Autumn November Page of Pentacles
Queen of Spades Winter December Queen of Pentacles*

Sample Reading:

It is November of 2010 and a businessman consults a card reader regarding his new business.  He asks for an auspicious date for the grand opening of a small New Age shop.  He has a few loose ends to attend to but is ready to open his doors over the next several weeks.

In this example, three cards are drawn: the Four of Diamonds (Pentacles), the Ace of Spades (Swords) and the Ace of Clubs (Wands). The reader suggests that a good target date for an opening is January of 2011. This is taken from the Ace of Spades/Swords which relates to winter. The Ace is One = the first month of the year = January. The Ace of Clubs/Wands is not used for establishing a time frame because the suit indicates Spring and the first calendar month (Ace = One) doesn’t fall in Spring. 

Other cards from the above example are not discarded. They do not establish timing but they do give valuable information. The Ace of Clubs (Wands) indicates a fantastic start for the client's new business with plenty of energy, enthusiasm, creative thinking and general good luck. There is a caution, with all the Aces but most particularly with the fiery suit of Clubs / Wands to not get carried away, over-extend or burn out. This warning is echoed by the 4 of Diamonds / Pentacles which advices the client to be very careful with both cash and inventory.

While a pair of Aces are quite favorable, the reader cautions about operating costs and advises the client to put everything back into the business in the form of cash capitol or inventory. This shows how a time frame reading is performed.  My personal advice is that all timing methods be used only to establish optimal or auspicious time for possible action and that info about timing should be consistent with both the client's situation and the reader's own intuition.

In the sample reading given above the 10 of Diamonds, for example, in place of the Ace of Spades would not be consistent and it would be detrimental to advise the client to postpone his affairs for almost a year.  A possible interpretation of that particular draw would be that, while things are going forward as expected, increased profit or expansion are mostly likely to occur in or around October of 2011.

Chart and much of the specifics on timing taken from It's in the Cards by  Leo Louis Martello.

*When using Tarot the Queen of Swords will not be the 12th winter card due to the presence of the Page though you may chose to read her as such. 

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