The Deck of Shadows | The Listening Card

Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering. – Winne the Pooh (A.A. Milne)

There have been quite a few questions, recently, about my one card reading techniques. The Listening Card is something so simple that I hadn’t spent much time expanding on it. But, some of you have asked about it, lately, so let’s spend a little time learning this commanding method. You will find this so effortless, and something that truly lets you create as much wonder for you as for the person being read! This system is so uncomplicated, in fact, that you might be tempted to dismiss it as insignificant. I assure you that, if you put this procedure through its paces, you will be rewarded with a new reading tool, and a way to create deep connections and rapport with others.

Naturally, you can use this technique with The Deck of Shadows, your favorite Tarot cards, or any divination tool that can be held in the hand. While it is also something that can be done in your head – a kind of guided imagery tool – the placement of the oracle in a person’s hand permits you to add a deep-rooted, deep-speaking, and natural element to the reading.


1.  Take the deck and shuffle the cards until you feel the mixing is complete.

2.  Have the person being read close their eyes and focus on an important question or situation. There are no questions asked out loud nor are they to tell you what they are thinking about. Do not rush this! In fact, the longer you take in moving to the next step, the better. Just wait . . . wait for the person being read to open their eyes or to give some other physical indication that they are finished with their thoughts. You might restless. You might feel eager to move on to the reading. Resist these impulses. The appreciable tension in waiting adds to the extraordinary thrust of what is about to happen.

3.  At the appropriate time (just wait for it – you will know when that happens), have the person being read select one card from the mixed cards. The selected card is placed face-down in their left hand (if they are right-handed) or in their right hand (if they are left-handed). Using a person’s non-dominant hand usually leads to invoking their receptive and intuitive self. Remember the title for this spread – this is all about listening.

4.  Now reach out for the one face-down card and touch it. DO NOT TURN IT OVER. The moment you come into contact with the card (and it appears to the person being read that you are about to reveal what is on the face of the card) . . . pause . . . and look into the eyes of the person being read. Then, very simply, ask . . .

When I turn this card over, what do you want it to say to you?

5.  Now LISTEN to what is said. Let the person being read share with you their cherished hopes, their deepest desires, their special needs, and their treasured imaginings. This is what they are running towards. Also, pay attention to what is not being said in the context of what you are being told – these omissions will reflect their worries, their fears, and the things they are ignoring. This is what they are running away from.

6.  Give a reading based solely on what you have been listening to.

7. Only after you are done with the initial reading, then you can choose to turn over the card and give a further reading based on incorporating the revealed card with what you have previously said. Many times, I don’t turn over the card, at all; choosing, instead, to take the face-down card and place it back in with its companion cards.


Waiting for Them to Focus on Their Question or Situation

This can be the most challenging part of the entire reading. There will be times when someone just quickly responds that they’ve thought of something – giving their question or situation little regard or dismissing it as fast as their mind can go. Make certain that you encourage the person being read to think of something significant and weighty. A superficial and literally thoughtless focus is going to yield equivalent results.

Let’s face it – waiting is not something most people do elegantly and indulgently. Remind yourself that you want the person being read to go deeply into their own subconscious and feel their desires. This particular reading is less about divining a future than it is more about giving expression to their aspirations. From there, you proceed to give your reading about the path they are on.

Asking Them What They Want on Their Card

Periodically, you will hear someone respond, I don’t know, or some variation of that turndown. Sometimes, people will say that they don’t know what the cards are supposed to have on them and, thus, they have no idea what the cards should or could say. To this you can easily respond, For a moment, just pretend you know what’s on the other side. If you did know what’s there, what would it be?

Encourage people to give you as much detail as possible about what they imagine on the other side of the card. This includes colors, feelings, sensations of energy, adjectives, etc. How do they experience the card? What do they believe the card makes possible for them?

Essentially, the words and descriptions you are provided with become a living oracle from which to read. Only after you are provided with the initial explanation from the person being read, you can begin to ask questions that will broaden your living card and provide you with the details from which your reading will evolve.

Turning the Card Over

If you choose to turn the face-down card face-up, at least allow enough time for the person being read to digest what is now released on the palm of their hand. Give them the respect to make connections on their own between the card they see and the message they have previously revealed.

If you are using totems, fetishes, gems, bones, or other type of oracular device (something other than a two-sided card), you can have the person being read close their eyes and select the object. The object is then kept in their closed hand, or behind their back, or under a table; to be revealed at the end.

In some of my radio appearances, questions have been asked about combining The Vitruvian Square with a one-card reading. At the beginning of the book, I give some examples of how I use The Vitruvian Square matrix with card designs, themselves. Also, listen to my recent appearance at:

Beyond Worlds

and you can gain some additional insight into this added technique.

Just some thoughts. If you enjoyed this, please click below to share this with others.

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© 2011 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.

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