I often hear from clients who use angel cards how disappointing it is to have thought the angels were telling them something was going to happen, but it never did. For example, you might be surprised how often people will assume drawing the “Abundance” card means that they will win the lottery or get an inheritance to help them through a rough time. But that is not the only way to interpret the card.
What needs to be understood is that using angel cards can actually make it trickier to get a balanced overview of a situation. Unlike tarot cards, angel cards are usually hopeful, comforting, reassuring, and tend to be used in their upright position rather than offering reversed definitions. As a result, it can be very confusing for someone who wants to take each card literally, or to even go only by the write-up in the accompanying guidebook. All of this said, following some of the below points can help to get the most accuracy out of your angel cards while avoiding common pitfalls many novices face.
1. When you pull a card, don’t always read it as something “coming” or as the answer to a yes/no question
It is very common for inexperienced angel card readers to pull an angel card and view it as an outcome card alone. However, this may not apply to every situation. Some cards may arise in a spread for other reasons, such as to point to an area of a person’s life that needs to be given more attention. For example;
a. A man draws an angel card for the day and the message reads “Abundance.” This card comes as a relief because he’s been worried about money and has accumulated some debt. He reads the card definition and it states to put all money concerns away or to have faith. In reality, in a deck without reversed cards, the angels might have been trying to communicate something about his financial situation that can’t be interpreted through reading the guidebook alone. And if so, the “Abundance” card could indicate all sorts of things, such as issues with money, his attitude towards it, or even that some action is needed. I’ve seen this misunderstanding lead people to react by not taking action (assuming the situation will resolve itself), overspending (thinking more is coming), or feeling disillusioned when they find their money issues compounded.
Another mistake is to ask a “yes” or “no” question and assume that if the card is positive it indicates “yes,” and if it is negative it means “no.” See the example below;
b. A woman asks a “yes” or “no” question about whether a married man who came on fast and disappeared cares about her. She then draws the “Twin Flame” card and it leaves her feeling, “Wow! That is not only a yes, but he is the most important relationship I will ever have!” Then she never hears from him again and she wonders, “What happened?” It might simply be that the “Twin Flame” card had a bigger message for her. In such a situation, the “Twin Flame” card could have been less offering a “yes” response to her question so much as:
- asking her to look at patterns in a lover that mirror her own
- telling her that she is getting quickly swept up in intense feelings without really knowing someone
- letting her know that she is idealizing her lover or placing him on a pedestal
- asking her to change her values regarding sex and relationships so that she can focus on the highest good of everyone involved, including herself and her love interests current partner
So, to read angel cards more accurately, you will have to get out of certain predictable patterns of interpretation and open yourself up to receive true intuitive guidance (surrendering the ego). You can also see point 3 below for how to look at surrounding cards to gain a deeper understanding of the message being communicated.
2. Be careful not to succumb to black and white thinking
Even as a reader, I’ve had the odd person come back to me after a reading to tell me that I told them something I never said. Sometimes it will even happen during a reading that a person will state, “So you’re telling me he …” and I have to scratch my head because I just finished saying something very different. The biggest cause of this is black-and-white or all-or-nothing thinking.
As an example, a situation where someone might just need some space to figure things out becomes, “He hates me,” or a situation where a person might get a phone call from someone from the past becomes, “He wants me back.” It is natural for the ego to want an easy to interpret “yes” or “no” answer to be able to determine, “He either loves me and I can wait, or he doesn’t and I need to move on.” Unfortunately, the majority of situations aren’t always that cut and dried, including situations involving finances, health, and other things.
When it comes to using angel cards, what can happen is that a key word on the card or the card’s message in the guidebook is interpreted in a black-and-white way. So, when using angel cards, before giving yourself a reading, affirm to be open to the whole picture and to see the truth and the gray areas in between the black and white shades.
3. Look to surrounding cards
Looking to surrounding cards (or pulling additional cards), can help you get a clearer picture of a particular card drawn or the situation.
For example, depending upon the question or issue you have stated, drawing the “Abundance” card with the “Leap of Faith” card can mean to trust that you are okay when it comes to your situation (or that you don’t have to stress so much over it). Drawing the “Abundance” card with a “Letting go” card could mean you have to give something up to attract the happiness and good fortune that you desire. It could also be suggesting you might benefit from buying less in order to save more, to release a partnership that is not working to attract a better one, or to release an addiction or pattern that is blocking you.
Whatever card you pull for a situation, try pulling other cards to see if they tell a story. Then, use your intuition to figure out what that story may be and how to apply it to your situation.
4. Get the ego out of the way and let go of trying too hard
The ego likes to get its own way. It has an agenda and can react in fear if that agenda isn’t met. You will know when ego is involved in a reading because a fear of not receiving the cards or outcome you want will be present. Part of what makes angel cards so appealing to the ego (I realize some decks are more grounded than others) is that they are so positive, reassuring, and protective. This isn’t always helpful when a person needs to let of something that the ego is resisting giving up. So, if you read angel cards, it is very important not to use them to protect your ego.
Your ego will also be in the way if you are trying too hard. Usually this comes from a fear of misreading a situation or of making a mistake.
To make sure that your ego isn’t going to affect reading, if you should feel fear before doing a reading for yourself, put your cards away until you can release the outcome enough to read the situation clearly. Also, don’t hinge everything on the outcome or try to use divination to make an important decision. Sometimes, an important decision can be better addressed by a logical or grounded approach. Ask the cards for guidance about what to release to be able to make the decision, but don’t give all your power and decision-making ability away to the cards (or any answers you think they are giving you). Relax a little and take some of the pressure off.
As an example of how the ego can interfere, I had a friend who got involved with a Dinar Dollar scheme (which promises if you buy Iraqi dollars, the market is going to shift and your investment will pay off). He spent a lot of money on it and had recommended a lot of friends get involved as well. While part of him was anxious it was a scam, his fear and ego made him resistant to considering that this could be a possibility. When he showed me a photograph of his card spread, I saw he had drawn an “Abundance” card with a card of letting go and a card of transition. His interpretation was that he was going to have to let go of a poverty consciousness to be ready for abundance because a huge, positive, change in his financial situation was coming. Because he could not see that his angels may have been encouraging him to let go of the Dinar Dollar opportunity, he kept investing his money. The overall effect of this was that he would experience a loss of wealth rather than an increase. He probably would have read the situation more accurately if he had been able to release his ego’s need for this opportunity to succeed.
5. Don’t allow the cards to feed your ego
This is a slightly different phenomenon than the one above, but important to mention as I have seen it happen a lot. Another way the ego can get triggered is after rather than before a reading. For example, while it is important to view that we are loved, gifted, and special, I’ve seen people use angel cards in a way where they feed the desire to feel “better than” (with respect to others or within themselves). Labels tend to do this too. Some of these labels include, “Indigo,” “Earth Angel,” “Star Child,” “Blue Ray,” “Twin Flame,” and others. They tend to feed into the wounded part of us that doesn’t feel good enough. And if the ego steps in and starts to need this type of validation, it can become unhealthy and codependent.
So, be careful not to allow the use of divination to cause an unhealthy distortion in your sense of personal identity, especially if you notice that you start to feel moody and tend to swing back and forth between extremes of high versus low self-esteem, idealism versus disappointment, or feelings of not knowing if you can tell the difference between what is fantasy and what is real. Work to build your self-worth without needing to be validated through the cards that you are special (to yourself or others), and let go of needing signifiers or labels to define who you are. Try not to become too reliant on using angel cards to consistently provide this type of validation for yourself.
5. Choose the right deck and don’t always go by the guidebook
While some angel decks are beautiful, they might not have images that speak to you. For example, I was using the “Angels, Gods, and Goddesses” deck by Tony Salerno and because the images didn’t speak to me (though beautiful), I would look up the card meanings in the guidebook. This didn’t help much, as I found the deck and its card definitions too ungrounded for me to connect with. This said, I loved his Magdalene Oracle and can connect with it quite easily without needing the guidebook. Like clothes, you have to make sure a deck is the right fit for you if you want to be able to give a more accurate reading.
When it comes to using the accompanying guidebook for a chosen angel deck, I find that people who rely too heavily on this often fear trusting their intuition. But, what if the guidebook doesn’t have a write up for what your angels are trying to communicate? In these cases, your only resource (if you want a more accurate reading on a situation) is to rely on the keywords and images on the cards to trigger deeper intuitive insight. If you can’t allow yourself to feel comfortable with this, or you are using a deck that you cannot connect with in this way, you could receive mixed results.
6. Mix up your deck to include reversed cards and don’t be afraid of the negative
Mixing up your deck to include reversed cards will help you to be able to get a more balanced overview of your situation. Often, novice readers don’t want to include reversed cards because they won’t have a guidebook to rely on for what it means. There may simultaneously be a fear of seeing something “negative” that they won’t know how to interpret other than to feel afraid. Usually a tendency towards black-and-white thinking is responsible for this. The mind projects that a reversed card has an “all bad” interpretation that contradicts an angel card’s upright (and “all-good”) message. This goes back to point 1 which states not to view cards as a projected outcome. Reversed cards could merely be telling you how to get an energy unstuck so that you can begin to express the card’s upright energy.
Instead of feeling afraid of reversed cards, try seeing them instead as loving advice from the angels on areas of your life where you can ask for their support, guidance, or healing… or where a little elbow grease or action might be needed. There is a lot of fear of the negative in the new age and an attitude that makes fear wrong and to be avoided because it is “lower vibrational.” Both high and low vibrations have good and bad points the same as yin (feminine, receptive, flowing) and yang (masculine, active, aggressive). Think in terms of harmonious vibration versus discordant vibration. Harmony is about the merging and harmonizing of opposite polarities rather than the shunning of them.
Lastly, be willing to see that facing a fear is a strength and not a weakness. It is how we deal with our fear that matters. If we reject it too much seeing it as “negative” we can end up living in denial (a different kind of fear). Seeing warning signs that something is out of balance is something positive. Feeling defeated that nothing can be done about it is a negative. Feeling that you can empower yourself to face and handle the situation or learn a lesson is a gift. So, don’t be afraid to see the truth of a situation. Embrace it as a gift!
7. Don’t always trust your “intuition” and don’t be afraid to trust your logic
What? I’m telling you not to trust your intuition? How can that be? Well, I don’t really mean intuition but ego misconstrued as intuition. But, sometimes it might be hard to differentiate what is ego and what is real intuition, and in such situations it is best to trust a little logic.
While some decks don’t even have a card to signify when it is safe to trust your logic (prizing intuition over logic), to not trust logic at least some of the time will cause less accuracy when reading with angel cards (or could throw you out of balance). For example, if a guy hasn’t called you in many months, has a new girlfriend, and every time you reach out to him he doesn’t respond, then if your “intuition” is telling you (through the cards and how you interpret them) that he still wants a relationship, you might want to step back from the situation to see if your ego has clouded your vision. You may also want to consider that if you’ve been waiting and keep getting rejected, your angels might prefer to encourage you to let go of your focus on a past lover in order for you to focus more on loving and nurturing yourself in the present. This brings us to the last point:
8. Keep your intentions pure and motivated by the highest good of all
Having a pure intention is important with an angel card reading because it sets the tone regarding the energies you will be working with. Sometimes, in desperation, our egos will focus our attention on only what the ego wants (in a “me, my, mine,” type of way). When in such a state, there can sometimes be a subtle or unconscious intention not to work with angels because our desperation causes us to want what we want at any cost. If you are at this point, make sure to turn this attitude around and begin to think more about the higher lessons involved.
Be willing to ask yourself what your angels would really, if they have your best intentions at heart, want you to know about your situation or what they would offer on how to grow and become the highest and best expression of yourself. Your requests for answers should not arise out of a desire to deceive another (or to take part in a deception), to manipulate another, to control, to further an addiction or obsession, or to block yourself from letting go of something or someone that isn’t meant for you in the moment. If your intention is any of these things, you could be setting yourself up to use your angel cards inaccurately before you even begin.
Remember that any practice, including reading angel cards, that starts to make you feel addicted and obsessed might be tapping into energies that feed off your feelings of addiction and obsession. This is a form of abuse of the occult. Such energies can be deceptive, or it could be that your ego is simply the “energy” that is deceiving you. Always focus on purity with a reading and the highest and best good of all involved. Never think in terms of force. If you start feeling addicted to outcomes and desiring to force what you desire to come about, then back away from reading a situation for a bit so you can bring yourself out of fear and back into balance.
How to set up a reading so you take into account all of the above points
I recommend using a prayer to set the energy of your reading. Sometimes speaking certain words or making an affirmation to yourself (using a prayer asking for the help of your guides and angels as well) can help you get into the proper mindset. You can use a prayer such as:
“Thank you angels for helping me to get my ego and any fear I have of seeing the truth out of the way so I can receive clear insight. Thank you for helping me to see things in terms of grays rather than black and white thinking. Thank you, for helping me to read more deeply into the cards and surrounding cards so I can receive the full message of what you are trying to relay. Lastly, thank you, for helping me to let go of force in order for me to hear you properly. I affirm that I wish to receive a balanced overview of my situation and grounded advice about what course of action would be in my highest good to take.”
Then, as you pull an angel card, relax your mind and open up to receiving clear insight. Feel for if there is a story the cards want to tell you about your situation. Go with what the heart feels instead of just the mind for what this story might be. Also, let go of fearing making a mistake. As long as you aren’t giving too much power away to your angel cards or readings, you should still be able to make grounded decisions in your life based on combining both logic and your intuition, if you fear your ego might be interfering with your intuition and leading you astray.