Sometimes a certain card just does NOT want to leave you alone. If you’ve been practicing tarot for a while you’ve probably had this experience of seeing the same card come up again. And again. And again! A lot of tarot readers refer to these as ‘stalker’ cards, and today we’re going to talk about how you might effectively work with them.
When you notice you have a stalker card, the first thing I advise doing is checking in with your gut reaction. I’ve noticed when people talk about their stalker cards, they often have some dismay (“oh no, not the Emperor AGAIN!”). This dismay is an indicator that you have resistance to the message of the card. And as long as you’re in resistance to the message, it won’t be able to sink in, and the card will keep showing up. If your gut reaction to the card is to immediately groan, that is an invitation to look deeper.
I am of the belief that the only useful messages from the cards are the messages that are in alignment with my highest good, and the highest good of the universe. I affirm this belief often to myself, and it has fully infused itself into my tarot practice. If this resonates with you, it might be helpful to remind yourself of this belief any time you experience resistance to a card.
Stalker cards are never there to taunt you, to bring you down, to cause you harm. They are there because they want to offer you an important message, a message that is in alignment with your highest good. When you consider your stalker card, try looking at it through this framework. Approach the card with openness and curiosity. Set aside any notions that the card is telling you something ‘bad.’ Working with the assumption that the message will be supportive puts you in the right headspace to connect with that supportive message.
From here, I’ve found that journaling is one of the most effective things you can do to delve further into why a card keeps showing up. Here are a few prompts to get you started:
What is my initial reaction to seeing this card repeatedly?
What don’t I want to acknowledge about this card?
What am I afraid this card is telling me?
How can I reframe this so that the card’s message is empowering and useful?
Occasionally I will draw one clarifying card to give me some further clues as to what my “stalker” card is trying to convey. If you choose to draw a clarifying card, I do suggest keeping it to ONE card… otherwise you can end up pulling card after card, and only getting the message more and more obscured!
When you’ve gone as far as you can relying on your own intuition, there is never anything wrong with using references. Check in with trusted books or blogs and see if they have any musings on the card that might spark something for you. I suggest limiting yourself to using maybe 2-3 resources – this is so you don’t get information overload and end up even less certain than you started out. Remember that the resources are there to offer fresh insights and draw out your own inner knowing, NOT to give a cookie-cutter answer.
There is another caveat here too: one of the worst ways you can react to a stalker card is by getting too hung up on figuring out what it means. Sure, it can be useful to read about the card on various books and websites. Sometimes doing some research and getting other people’s perspectives is EXACTLY what you need to figure out what your stalker card is telling you.
But it’s certainly possible to go too far with this urge to solve the puzzle! I suggest affirming to yourself that on a gut level, you already know what this card is telling you. Tarot works primarily by connecting with your unconscious mind. Sometimes you’ll see a card and on an unconscious “gut” level, it connects right away… but it takes a while for your conscious mind to catch on.
If you find yourself feeling frustrated or brain-foggy when you think about your stalker card, it’s a good indication that you need to give it a rest with the FORCING. Sleep on it. Meditate on it. Go for a walk. Maybe even set aside the cards for a few days to give yourself a chance to process. You want to get out of the “OMG WHAT DOES THIS MEAN I HAVE TO FIGURE IT OUT” frantic energy and into an energy of openness. Create spaciousness so that the messages of your stalker card have room to come forward.
A lot of what I’ve been talking about so far is applicable when you’re really not sure quite what your stalker card is trying to tell you. But it’s worth mentioning that sometimes a card keeps showing up even when you’re pretty sure you know what the message is. In this case, there are two possibilities. The first, and most common, is that even though you know what the card is telling you, you aren’t implementing it. In these circumstances, the stalker card is coming back as a reminder that understanding what it represents isn’t enough: you need to actually IMPLEMENT that understanding!
The second possibility is that even though you got the message, you now need to get a slightly different angle of that message. As an example, my latest stalker card is the Emperor. The first time the card showed up for me, I immediately knew what it was trying to tell me. I wasn’t in resistance, and I WAS trying to implement the message. When I drew the same card only a couple of days later, it was clear that this time the card had a slightly different message than the first time.
I hope this post helps! As often happens, there’s a lot more to say but we’ll leave it here for now. In conclusion, when you see a card over and over again, pay attention. Be receptive. Move out of resistance. It isn’t a coincidence that you keep seeing the same tarot card – that card has something to teach you, and with some patience and self-compassion, the message will open doors within you.