• Kallistos

Should You Add a Blank "Dummy Card" to the Tarot Deck?

I was once asked by a fellow Tarot reader, who was learning the Tarot with his very first deck, this question.

He told that he had found a blank card (a "dummy card") in his Tarot deck---quite by accident, too, as he pulled the card when he was doing a one-card reading for himself.

Rather than ignoring that card, setting it aside, and drawing a more meaningful card, he did something quite different.

He kept the blank card in the deck, and decided that its "meaning" was something along the lines of "You are doing it wrong."

("It", I found out upon asking him, was in reference to "whatever the reading was about".)

He then asked for my opinion on whether using such a "dummy card" in the deck, especially for a one-card draw, would be a good idea.

Although this idea is amusing, my answer to him was in the negative, because the traditional 78-card Tarot deck already covers all major aspects of human life and existence. It is difficult, if not outright impossible, to come up with something that is not already covered by an existing Tarot card.

Furthermore, there is little value in a Tarot card that simply informs you "You're doing it wrong", without any real context or reason beyond that.

Such a statement lacks depth. As such, it is completely unhelpful, particularly if you are practicing meditation and self-empowerment (the main point of traditional Tarot, to begin with).

Instead, traditionally, each Tarot card signifies an aspect of reality which the reader and client should consider. If a card is blank or otherwise lacking an aspect of the universal condition, then we should certainly question what value, if any, it has in a reading.

Let me give you an example.

One-card draws are primarily useful for simple questions, such as:

"What should I be mindful of today?"

or "What aspect of my life should I improve today?"

If you were to pull a blank Tarot card that you have decided means, "You're doing it wrong", then you might as well have not even bothered in this exercise.

This is because:

1. You do not have any way of knowing what "it" is referring to. Did you handle a relationship poorly? Did you make an unwise career choice? Did you under-cook that egg for breakfast? Did you brush your teeth properly this morning? Who knows!

2. Simply being told you are "wrong" does not in any help you, because in order to be helped, you must know how to improve yourself and better your actions---to "do it right".

How much more wisdom, and more much more sincere and meaningful the message, is there if we use the Tarot deck in the traditional manner?

Let us suppose that, for the same daily reading, instead of a blank card, you drew the IX of Swords.

The IX of Swords symbolizes anxiety, despair, loss, and related concerns.

If your question for your one-card draw had been, "What should I be mindful of today?" then the IX of Swords indicates that you should be mindful of anxiety, despair, or even simple nervousness, and you should consider taking steps to alleviate these feelings and thoughts which come from within.

That is much more useful and infinitely more practical than receiving "advice" which consists of nothing more than the empty and imprecise criticism of "You're doing it wrong".

In summary: if you were to use a blank card, or add or take away anything from the traditional Tarot deck, then your additions or subtractions must have some value and reason behind them.

If the value is minimal and the meaning is lacking---or, as in this case, nonexistent---then as a wise individual, you should reconsider tinkering with the traditional Tarot deck.

The traditional deck works, and works for a reason. It is complete. It is coherent.

Adding a blank card with the meaning of "You're doing it wrong" or an equally empty meaning is at best unhelpful, and at worst detrimental, to a reading and your understanding of Tarot. Do not try to fix what is not broken!

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