Telling Time with Tarot

Written by Jacob. Published on July 19th, 2017 at 10:33.

78 Nights of Tarot Time Telling with Tarot

There may be instances where a Tarot reader wishes to get a definite time of when events will transpire. There are a few ways time can be communicated through the cards: relative pace, periodic intervals, or by the calendar-year.

Our life paths can be seen in a series of events chained together by cause and effect. Once a decision is made, all events transpire according to that action. It is a chain that is constantly broken and re-assembled as the chaos of life is unfolding itself and expanding. Often, our souls carry developing and fixed traits that react to our world almost chemically. As we work our way through the chain of time we make decisions that could manifest various ways. It’s important to remember this when predicting specific time-frames as events in life could change when, how, or why things occur.

Cards which are associated with time are limited to the minor arcana. Pace is determined by minor arcana suits, while intervals and dates are determined by specific pip cards (excluding court cards and aces).

Relative Pace of The Four Suits

The relative pace at which something will happen is determined by minor arcana suit. The following are how each of the four suits might correspond to pace when compared to one another.

Swords are the fastest cards.

Associated with the mind—thoughts and words can manifest instantly. The mind can process information almost as quickly as it occurs. Associated with air, wind can travel a high speeds, much like hawks or jets in flight. These cards are a flash in the pan, and are virtually instantaneous. These cards appear for things that tend to pass by at high-speed, are intangible, or are easy to overlook because of these traits.

Wands are faster cards.

Associated with the will—actions occur at the speed they are executed. While thoughts occur instantly, it may take up effort and time to put thoughts into spoken words or physical movement into action, for example. Associated with fire it only takes one spark to devour an entire forest within hours. With this metaphor, strong winds will only increase the speed at which things burn. Fire also acts as a primary fuel source—the more intense the flames or temperature, the faster the mechanism operates. These cards will appear for when things are short-lived, or occur at what one may consider the “normal” or “humanly” rate of time.

Cups are the slowest cards.

Associated with intuition—psychic connection requires a certain “wavelength” to operate on. This requires proper calibration and connection between the practitioner and their skill. Associated with water, this element is highly versatile. Waves can build up kinetic energy over time and come crashing down. Lakes can be calm and stagnant. Water can even freeze-over, becoming motionless altogether. These cards indicate enough time for things to develop and even change course entirely.

Pentacles are the slowest cards.

Associated with earth—this element is both peacefully at rest and most stubborn. They crawl along, often they appear to not be moving at all! Much like mountains that have stood their ground for eons, they too can be changed, through slow processes of erosion and geologic activity. Some plants can grow by the inch in a day, yet if we sit and watch we would not be able to see them budge. These cards indicate longer periods of time which seem far away but are inevitable.

Periodic Intervals for Pip Cards

Each suit can be attributed to a particular interval of time. Below are the correlations which I use in my own practice:

Swords: By the hour.
Wands: By the day.
Cups: By the month.
Pentacles: By the year.

You can use the suit alone to determine the intervals (“it will happen in a few days, a few months, or a few years”). But, you could also just use the number of the pip card to determine the quantity of that interval. In this circumstance, Aces would equate to a value of 1 while all other numbers would be assigned their correlating value. For example:

3 of Swords: Within 3 hours time.
10 of Pentacles: Within a decade.
6 of Cups: Within half a year.

Dates on the Calendar Year

By associating each Tarot card with a section of the Zodiac, there is a Tarot card associated with every 30 days throughout the calendar year. Aces would represent each season as a whole (Ace of Wands for Summer, Ace of Cups for Autumn, Ace of Swords for Spring, and Ace of Pentacles for Winter) so the practitioner would need to remove them before drawing cards if they want to narrow the message received.


2 of Wands: Mar 21 – Mar 31
3 of Wands: April 1 – Apr 10
4 of Wands: Apr 11 – Apr 19


5 of Wands: Jul 23 – Aug 1
6 of Wands: Aug 2 – Aug 12
7 of Wands: Aug 13 – Aug 22


8 of Wands: Nov 22 – Dec 1
9 of Wands: Dec 2 – Dec 11
10 of Wands: Dec 12 – Dec 21


2 of Cups: Jun 21 – Jun 30
3 of Cups: Jul 1 – Jul 11
4 of Cups: Jul 12 – Jul 22


5 of Cups: Oct 23 – Nov 1
6 of Cups: Nov 2 – Nov 11
7 of Cups: Nov 12 – Nov 21


8 of Cups: Feb 19 – Feb 29
9 of Cups: Mar 1 – Mar 10
10 of Cups: Mar 11 – Mar 20


2 of Swords: Sep 23 – Oct 2
3 of Swords: Oct 3 – Oct 13
4 of Swords: Oct 14 – Oct 22


5 of Swords: Jan 20 – Jan 29
6 of Swords: Jan 30 – Feb 8
7 of Swords: Feb 9 – Feb 18


8 of Swords: May 21 – May 31
9 of Swords: Jun 1 – Jun 10
10 of Swords: Jun 11 – Jun 20


2 of Pent.: Dec 22 – Dec 31
3 of Pent.: Jan 1 – Jan 10
4 of Pent.: Jan 11 – Jan 19


5 of Pent.: Apr 20 – Apr 30
6 of Pent.: May 1 – May 10
7 of Pent.: May 11 – May 20


8 of Pent.: Aug 23 – Sep 1
9 of Pent.: Sep 2 – Sep 12
10 of Pent.: Sep 13 – Sep 22

Time is Not Fixed

There are a few pitfalls and drawbacks to using this technique. What it really comes down to is that time is fluid and in a constant state of change. Once cards are pulled and spread out, the reader is taking a picture of conditions in a vacuum. Looking at this image of how things were, the awareness of it changes what they will become. As an oracle is used to gain insight—the universe shifts according to the expanded awareness. This could mean the individual is in a continuous paradox should the diviner obsessively explore all avenues of potentiality. With the right amount of restraint and a lateral approach to forecasting, I believe this paradox can be reduced to a minor annoyance.

Keeping a Tarot journal to reflect on the trends of how telling time with Tarot works will strengthen the reader’s technique over time.