Tarot Word Math: Simplified + Powerful Two Card Reading

Hey mystical, intuitive, magical you! Today I want to share a quick post about the ease and simplicity of working with two card tarot readings. Don’t let the minimal amount of cards fool you! Two card readings can are great for quick and powerful readings.

Less is often more when it comes to reading the cards, especially when you let your intuition guide your readings.

I love two card readings. Whenever I do free readings either for friends or on social media my go-to is the two card spread. When you use just two cards you can get a quick message but then you can spend time unpacking the individual cards and then looking at how they connect to one another.

Back in the day before I really learned how to trust my intuition I would always ask, “Does this make sense? Does this resonate for you or do you need another card?”

Some people will always want another card. And another. And another. Most people think that the more cards in a reading, the more information and guidance they’ll get. Unfortunately that isn’t how the cards work. In fact, sometimes the more cards we pull the more confusing the message becomes.

Too many hands in the pot, as it were.

Knowing how to pull two cards together and get a solid message is a great way to do quick readings for yourself or someone else. I personally don’t engage in what I call “test the psychic,” which is when someone wants a reading but they want to “make sure I can connect with them” first by giving them a free reading now and then they’ll come back for a paid one later.


Just no. But it’s great for when you’re feeling generous or you feel like entertaining friends at a party.


Treat the two card reading like a math problem with words.

Determine before pulling the cards what each card will represent in your reading. For instance:

🔮 If you do this {Card 1} then you can expect this {Card 2} result.
🔮 If you let go of this {Card 1} then you can make room to manifest this {Card 2}.
🔮 By embracing this {Card 1} you’ll see an increase in {Card 2} in your life.

When you pull the cards limit yourself to just using a keyword or two for each card. This should be like a drive-by reading at first where you can dig in more later.

So what does that look like when you’re pulling tarot cards?

Here’s an example with two cards from the Radiant Waite deck:



The first thing to do is give a quick assessment of the cards based on how you feel when you pull them. Do they feel expansive or constrictive? Does this feel like a positive or negative pair of cards for you? Do you feel flow or blocks with these cards?

Next give the each card a few keywords or trigger words. They can be traditional ones for tarot or ones you ascribe to the cards when you work with them.

Now use them in your chosen sentence.

For me I’m using the keywords authority and intellectual preciseness for the King. For the Two of Pentacles I’m using balance and dancing with the flow.


Using our examples:

🔮 If you approach this situation with more authority then you can expect more balance and a better sense of freedom and flow.
🔮 If you let go of your need to be perfect, on point, and in control of everything then you can make room to manifest more joy, balance and flow.
🔮 By embracing your ability to cut through bullshit and get clear on what you want you’ll see an increase in your ability to dance through chaos in your life.


This is also a great way to work with the cards as you’re learning them because or even to start getting familiar with a new deck. It gives you an idea of how cards can work in relationship with each other and how a new deck reads and feels.

And yes, this works great with oracle cards too!


Now that you have this to get you started, come hang out with me for my only live online course this year, Intuitive Badass, a six week course on developing your intuition and reading tarot. Click on the image below and find out more. Enrollment ends June 17th! 

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  • Megan Marie (@Siren458)
    July 8, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Super informative and helpful! Gives me a little more courage to explore tarot more! Thanks Jess! ❤️

  • Linda Ursin
    July 8, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Less is often more. You’re right about that. I rarely use more than 3 cards

  • Courtney
    July 8, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Thanks, Jess for your awesome advice! As a new-ish tarot reader, I often find myself itching to pull “just one more card.” Actually making myself stop at 2 or 3 cards and focusing on them I find is much less confusing, and actually, I get a lot more from the reading that way. You’re right – less is more!