Fool’s Journey: Get to Know Your New Tarot Deck with the Interview Spread

Header by Rory Midhani

Header by Rory Midhani

What’s the first thing you do when you get a new tarot deck? Tear off the packaging, shuffle and leap straight into a reading? Gingerly leaf through every card one by one taking in the feel of the whole deck? Seek out cards you like and simply sit with them? Or maybe you have a special ritual that you carry out, like cleansing or ‘charging’ your deck with crystals?

I like to take my time with a new tarot deck, working through the full 78 cards one by one several times before I’m ready to shuffle. I like to notice what jumps out at me, any symbols which feel especially relevant to me in the moment, or characters who seem to be speaking to me. This process can take anything from 20 minutes to several days.

When I am ready to shuffle, however, I normally turn to one particular tarot spread to get to know my new cards: the ‘tarot deck interview spread’. I don’t know where I found it. I’m not the creator (though lots of bloggers have attributed it to me!) but I do use it frequently. Here are a few tarot deck interviews I’ve shared on my blog over the years.

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The interview spread is a really neat way to introduce yourself to a new tarot deck and allow it to introduce itself to you. Essentially, it’s a conversation about your potential working relationship, where you can discuss the deck’s strengths and limits and discover the best way to approach and use these cards. Many people find that certain tarot decks work best for love readings, others are more suited to questions about work or practical matters, and others are the kind for ‘going deep’. This interview spread is a helpful way to explore those ideas in more detail.

So, if you’ve recently got a new deck and you’re keen to begin working with it, clear yourself some space, light a candle if you like, and try out this little spread. (This would also be a nice way to reconnect with an old deck you’ve been neglecting, or one you’ve never really bonded with!)


The tarot deck interview spread

Here are the spread positions:

  1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?
  2. What are your strengths as a deck?
  3. What are your limits as a deck?
  4. What are you here to teach me?
  5. How can I best learn and collaborate with you?
  6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

You can lay the cards out however you wish. I usually place them in one long line, but you could also try two rows of three, or perhaps a circle. You do you! Go with what feels good for your deck. And you can go as deep or as simple as you like with your interpretations of each card. Sometimes I write an essay for each one, sometimes it’s just a short, snappy line or two. It’s totally up to you, though with this spread I’d suggest you try to let the deck guide you.

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I’m gonna try this out with a deck I bought a while back, but have never taken the time to interview — the Tarot of the Cat People by Karen Kuykendall, and I’m gonna go with a circle layout for this one.

1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?

The Magician

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The Tarot of the Cat People is a strong-willed, resourceful deck that will get the job done. As Magician, it brings together the power of all of my own resources, then bridges the gap between me — the reader — and the Universe. I feel like the deck is telling me: I am magic. Be careful what you wish for.

2. What are your strengths as a deck?

The Tower

Whoa. This deck wants to take me there. Right out of my comfort zone, beyond what I’m willing to hear, beyond what is cozy and expected. This isn’t the deck for confirming what I want to hear, but for pushing me, shocking me, busting apart illusions and outdated beliefs.

3. What are your limits?

Page of Pentacles

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This deck isn’t interested in the small stuff, the mundane detail (as the Magician and the Tower have already shown.) It’s not for exploration, for learning, for gently experimenting. Where the Page of Pentacles approaches, curious, wide-eyed and eager to learn, the Tarot of the Cat People stalks away, seeking something bigger. There’s a haughtiness here, much like a cat — a disinterest in the details I may care about.

4. What are you here to teach me?

The Star

Where this deck wants to push me beyond my comfort zone, it’s aim in doing so is to clear space. This is a deck for the revolutions, the total upheavals, and the hope that lies beyond. If I’m willing to accept the Magician and face the Tower, the rewards are great. This is a deck for transformative readings and rediscovering myself over and over, through a process of breaking everything down.

5. How can I best learn and collaborate with you?

Six of Pentacles

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I must approach the Tarot of the Cat People as an equal. Not as a reader, controlling cards, not as a passive recipient, at the mercy of their message. No — these cards want me to enter into an equal, balanced relationship with them, appreciating their wisdom and power as they will do mine. I am asked to pay attention to power dynamics when using these cards — the dynamics between the cards and I, and between me and any querent I may be working with.

6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

Three of Cups

A lasting, trusting, supportive friendship. Aw.

This feels a lot like entering a relationship with a cat! These cards are full of that aloof superiority a cat has no qualms about demonstrating, but show me that it’s worth persevering. The road won’t always be calm — on the contrary, I can expect to feel totally disorientated and pushed to my limits when reading with these cards — but here this is shown almost as an initiation process. If I’m strong enough to bring my whole self and be honest about what I want, what I will, the Tarot of the Cat people will be an honest and supportive companion.

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How about you guys? Got any new decks lately? Try out the spread and let us know what the cards say!


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Beth Maiden is a tarot reader and writer based in Machynlleth, mid-Wales. She has two cats, a hot builder girlfriend, far too many tarot decks and not enough coffee cups. She's really into bread, the colour red, camping and brand new notebooks. She'd love to cut your hair, read your cards or hang out with you on her blog, Little Red Tarot!

Beth has written 111 articles for us.

14 Comments

  1. I really loved this idea! I’ve only recently gotten into tarot as a way to order my thoughts/meditate on difficult decisions. I’ve been interested in tarot for as long as I can remember, but was tentative about exploring it due to growing up very conservatively. A couple months ago I got the Deviant Moon Tarot deck, which I’ve been drawn to for years. I love it. But after doing the interview, I wonder if the deck is kind of telling me we won’t work well together? I’d love your insight.

    (Please note: if this is something you usually charge for or something, please don’t feel like responding! I don’t mean to take up your time. Just don’t have anyone in my life to ask about these kinds of things 🙂 )

    Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?:

    The Nine of Pentacles, which is actually one of my favorite cards and a lot sweeter than I expected from this deck.

    What are your strengths as a deck?

    The Moon. Hmm. Does this mean the deck is going to lie to me? LOL.

    What are your limits as a deck?

    Ace of Wands. I don’t quite know what to make of this, since the booklet that came with the deck makes this card out to be really wonderful and hopeful. As a weakness, does this mean the deck isn’t interested in being sweet?

    What are you here to teach me?

    Eight of Cups.

    How can I best learn and collaborate with you?

    Four of Swords.

    What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

    Nine of Wands.

    The last few, combined with the Moon, almost feels like the deck saying it doesn’t want to work with me/is all about chilling and taking time off? I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure out how to read the cards since many sources interpret them differently.

    If you have any insights, I’d really appreciate it! If not, please know I loved this article and it really made me think!

    • Hey @launa! My interpretation would be…this is a deck that wants to be treated gently, and to treat you gently, a deck for serious work. The Four of Swords encourages you to approach it in a meditative, calm state, to make space for it, ready to think and feel. The Moon says you’re gonna be doing some deep work with the deck, and the Ace of Wands as a limitation suggests that this is really not a deck for wham-bam exciting readings, ego trips, big bursts of excitement. The Nine of Wands as outcome feels like it’s there to give you sage, genuinely helpful advice when you’re tired, when the going is tough. Does this make any sense to you? The fact that you love the Nine of Pentacles so much is a lovely sign, too. Calm, strong, resourceful, unafraid of the work 🙂

      • Thank you so much for the response! I really appreciate it.

        And yes. That actually makes a lot of sense. I got the deck to help sort out feelings of burn out/creative blocks after a decade as a working author/artist. And the cards I got in the interview are cards that turn up consistently in my readings about my work. Sounds like the deck may be just what I need. Glad it isn’t trying to break up with me! 🙂

    • Oooh you know what, I just thought, you could dig out all of your decks and do it like a big deck interview orgy, pulling a card from each deck for each question. And maybe the decks would end up talking to each other…!

  2. Your post has such perfect timing, Beth, because I just received a new deck last week! My brother gifted me with the Wild Unknown Tarot deck as an early birthday gift, and I was so excited because it’s visually stunning. I tried to keep my descriptions and interpretations here short, I’ve always been the reason that professors give upper page limits. If you wouldn’t mind throwing a couple of your thoughts in, too, I would appreciate it! As far as results go…

    Tell me about yourself, what’s your most important characteristic? Ace of Pentacles – This tells me that the deck is here to help me learn and grow. I’m working my way into a new part of my life, so it’s here to help me grow well and stay grounded.

    What are your strengths? Son of Swords – This deck is very to-the-point, and wants itself to be the hero.

    What are your limits? 10 of Cups – I think this is the deck telling me that it’s focused more on the long term than the short term, on the happiness that I could reach than on where I’m at right now. I’m open to other interpretations, this was the card I was struggling to understand how it fits. (Although the strengths card comes as a close second, because I’ve always thought of the Son/Knight of swords as being generally pretentious.)

    What are you here to teach me? Mother of Wands – This deck is here to help me put things into perspective, with the ultimate goal of overcoming toward a larger goal.

    How can I best learn and collaborate with you? Father of Wands – This deck wants to be my rock, wants to offer assistance in times of conflict. My understanding is that the Father (King) of Wands is also thought to be the least judgmental, so the deck may either be asking not to be judged, or saying that it’s not here to judge me (or both!)

    What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? Daughter of Cups – The descriptions that I’ve read and heard of the Daughter/Page of Cups have all been genuinely good. This leads me to think that all around good things might come from the relationship, which makes me really happy to be moving forward with this deck.

    (Have I mentioned how stunning this deck is? Because wow.)

  3. This is a great idea, and I think has helped ground me in understanding what my deck is prepared to do, and what it’s not. Ive had this Morgan-Greer deck since high school (so like, 12 years) but haven’t really used it since a rough breakup in college, and I’ve been wanting to reconnect with it (but not my ex, okay? Okay?!)

    What is your most important characteristic?
    VII of Cups – this deck is a little bit of everything. It shows a snippet or a snapshot of many different aspects of a question, but not necessarily a comprehensive one. I feel like this has a pleasant vibe to it though, a sort of jolly dumping-you-bag-out-on-the-table and exclaiming “what have we got here?!”

    What are your strengths as a deck?
    II of Swords – Preparing for an immediate reaction to something. This deck is good at looking at the short-term and giving instructions for responding to a situation.

    What are your limits as a deck?
    The Emperor – Firstly, I would say that this reflects the deck’s very masculine energy, which is something I was already feeling. Good to know we’re on the same page there. Otherwise, this desk can run the risk of being somewhat rote, especially if taken at face value. It will take work to see the subtleties that this deck has to offer.

    What are you here to teach me?
    The Chariot – How to look at myself for answers, and how to be in touch with the truths I already know about myself without losing control.

    How can I best learn and collaborate with you?
    Judgement – Look inward, and recognize that truths exist within, and that physical totems and markers are merely symbols. Come to the deck with my real raw self, let pretentions go.

    What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
    III of Rods – We’ll be able to see what’s coming, prepare for it, and handle it like a boss.

    I love this deck and it’s lush 70s aesthetic and I very much appreciate the acknowledgement of its kinda masculine leanings. I’d say this fits in perfectly with what I already feel about the deck, and clarifies some things that were muddy. Thoughts?

  4. I just purchased the Linestrider Tarot and I was eager to try out this spread, see if I can get a good handle on these enchanting cards–however the results of the reading left me a little… out of sorts?

    To be fair though, I had reversals in my deck, and a good few reversed cards showed up in the interview. I noticed you don’t have any reversals in your interview spreads… do you believe I would obtain a clearer interview if I worked with all upright cards?

    Results if you’re curious:

    “What is your most important characteristic?”

    Four of Cups (reversed)

    “What are your strengths as a deck?”

    Three of Cups (reversed)

    “What are your limits?”

    Page of Pentacles (upright).

    “What are you here to teach me?”

    Queen of Cups (reversed)

    “How can I best learn to collaborate with you?”

    Ten of Pentacles (upright)

    “What is the pontential outcome of our working relationship?”

    Eight of Wands (reversed)

    You don’t need to interpret the spread if that’s not something you’ll do, just figured it’d make more sense to show how this selection’s got me a little confused lol

    • Hi Dandelion, I have also just received my copy of the Linestrider. It’s my first tarot deck, and I went through so many different choices before settling on this one (like seriously, it was an entire journey just settling on the deck right off the bat). And I think maybe one way that could help you with reading it is understanding where the artist Siolo Thompson was coming from with the creation of the deck. This is a quiet and thoughtful deck that doesn’t shout out at you, but instead draws you in. It is the epitome of balancing the logical and the esoteric, perfect for me as I decided to get into tarot because I needed something to assist me with meditating and self reflection to try and work out what being artistic means to me, and I’ve always been fascinated by Jungian archetypes and the collective unconscious – but never really been drawn to fortune telling. So I’m going to got through my deck interview and maybe working together we can learn to better understand what the Linestrider is trying to say to us personally, because I too was a little thrown by my initial spread.

      1. What is your most important characteristic? Queen of Swords
      Right off the bat I got something that was unexpected on first glance, but after contemplating on it it made absolute sense. The Linestrider is reliable, intelligent and independent. It doesn’t care about pandering to my feelings or telling me what I want to hear. It doesn’t shy away from the brutal honest truth.

      2. What is your strengths as a deck? Ace of Cups
      I was really excited when I drew this, because I knew from reading her book that Siolo had a special connection to the cup cards so this deck most likely has some of that in it too. The Linestrider exceeds at awakening the spiritual energy in those that are willing to listen, it helps them to start new spiritual journeys with its wisdom and guidance (this is I think, most essential to me because I am already a very logical and intellect reliant person, so I need to start connecting with my more spiritual and emotional side). It can be a mentor, and possibly even a soul mate (just my personal feelings, because when I was originally searching for “my” deck, every time I saw pictures of the cards from the Linestrider, I felt myself fall in love just a little bit more)

      3. What are your limits? Two of Wands
      So this pull really confused me, as it seemed in direct contradiction to the last one, but then it clicked; The Linestrider isn’t interested in solving my problems for me, nor should it. I am the only one responsible for my long term happiness and making the choices in the present that will lead me there. Only I have that power. The Linestrider is merely a guiding mentor.

      4. What are you here to teach me? Ten of Pentacles
      This fit perfectly with what I’ve drawn so far. The Linestrider is here to teach me how to begin my journey towards newfound wisdom, prosperity, security, learning to love better and overall happiness in my being; but only if I am willing to learn and do the work; and it is only doing this through guidance and mentorship – but it will NOT baby me through this process. To me the Linestrider is like a wise master swordswoman, one who has gone through adversary and countless challenges and has always had to prove herself and her worth without handouts; and she expects the same rigidness from her pupils. Essentially, she is showing me how I can begin walking (striding) the path to maturity, but ultimately I am responsible for staying on that path.

      5. How can I best learn to collaborate with you? Six of Cups
      This one was really interesting, and I began smiling like an idiot the moment I drew it. This is telling me that I need realise and understand that I am as innocent and naive as a child; and like a child I need to approach my work with the Linestrider with wide eyed wonder in order to be open to the teachings that the Queen of Swords can give me. What is surprising is that this does reveal that the Linestrider does care about my well being and the journey I am striding, but this does not make her no less strict or rigid in her teachings.

      6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? Five of Swords.
      Well f*ck… It was all making sense until I drew this guy. I really didn’t know what the Linestrider was trying to tell me with this. not only does this card already have so many negative meanings associated with it, in the Linestrider it is practically amplified a hundred fold. It is the only card in the deck that Siolo didn’t use colour with – and colour plays a huge role in this deck! Is it saying that at the end of this journey it will all be hollow and meaningless? Should I give up now and save me the time and energy I was planning to put into this endeavour? This is the card that brought me to the comment section of this page. I had originally stumbled upon the idea of deck interviews through pinterest and tumblr while searching for my deck and that brought me to this page, and when I drew this card I had to have an answer. But as I’ve been typing this excessively long reply out its meaning has suddenly dawned on me, and it’s really freaking amazing. It is exactly what I initially thought, that there is no grand meaning in the outcome of this journey, because all the meaning lies in the journey and is only provided by myself. It’s actually incredibly close to the current intellectual philosophy I’ve been engaged with; that of Nihilism as expressed by Nietsche. This realisation is incredibly cathartic and tells me that I am exactly on the right path that I need to be on, and that the Linestrider is the perfect match for me. It is truly walking the thin line that separates the esoteric and the logical, drawing energy from both and one informing the other.

      In regards to your reading and journey with the Linestrider, I would revisit the cards you drew, taking inspiration from my experience and the experience of others on this comment section, and look at the full meanings of the cards you drew, reversed and upright. And think upon what they mean to you. If your still uncertain respond to this comment and I’ll let you know how I interpret the cards you drew, but I think ultimately the Linestrader is a very personal and intimate tarot deck and you are going to have to listen to your inner voice and soft spoken voice of the Linestrider to figure out what it’s trying to tell you. But rest assured in this, it definitely wants to be heard, it just needs the listener to really be listening closely.

      – Hitch

  5. I tried this on my new Silver Witchcraft Tarot. Interesting results!

    What are you here to teach me?
    Tower
    How can I best collaborate with you?
    3 of Pentacles
    What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
    Devil

    This deck I think is here to push my limits, and as long as I work in conjunction, will see the truth – warts and all.

  6. HI! I just found this article as I pulled out my favorite Tarot deck. I only just started using her again last year. Really for just personal questions. I am not very versed in the meanings yet.
    I did this reading and here are my results.

    Can I ask if you’ll give some insight to her meaning? I feel she loves me and is nurturing and patient. Not sure about a lot of her communication but I want to learn.

    What do you think she is saying and is she a good fit for me?

    What is your most important characteristic?-10 Of DISKS
    What are your strengths as a deck?-STRENGTH
    What are your limits as a deck? 6 OF WANDS
    What are you here to teach me? KNIGHT OF CUPS
    How can I best learn and collaborate with you? THE HIEROPHANT
    What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? QUEEN OF PENTACLES

    Thank you so much! I am excited to hear what you think she is saying! Are we a good fit?

    • Hey Shelley, I’d say you’re spot on with your interpretation.

      To me, the Ten of Disks suggests helping you to build really strong, solid foundations, like these cards are especially good at groundwork. Perhaps the less glamourous, but vitally important stuff, helping you work with boundaries, your environment, self-care, work – the basics that ‘frame’ your life.

      Strength really supports this, it feels like this deck will want to bring you back to what’s really important each time you use it, even when you’re all up in your feelings, there’s a lot here about patience – again in the Knight of Cups, Queen of Pentacles/Disks, Hierophant.

      It’s like this card is saying ‘take deep breaths and prepare for hard foundational work and some deep digging (perhaps into your past and ancestry) – a slow but steady movement towards that feeling of abundance and genuine satisfaction in your life. Don’t expect flashy moments of victory (Six of Wands) – this is about committing to a long journey.

      Hope this helps! xx

      • Thank you so much for replying! This does help so much and resonates with me.

        The cards have been calling me more and more they feel like a family member.

        Thank you!
        Shelley

  7. I did this with my deck and it worked out great! I purchased “The Raven” deck at Barnes & Noble and it doesn’t seem to be one of the more popular decks, but we really seem to click.
    Tell me about yourself: The King of Coins.
    What are your strengths: Queen of Coins.
    What are your limits: Eight of Coins.
    What are you here to teach me: Page of Wands.
    How can I best learn and collaborate: Six of Cups.
    What is the potential outcome of our relationship: King of Wands.
    I see it as telling me that it will nurture and help me, under the circumstances that I thoroughly listen to what it’s trying to tell me. I must work for the things I ask for/want, it won’t just give them to me. But, it will teach me to be the best version of myself and bring out my inner passions. Sounds fair to me!

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