Phew! The reading turned out positive, with the querant relieved to know that she and her sister will eventually reconcile. Next, she asks the question that many tarot readers dread; “When?”

Many readers not only cringe at the question, but altogether avoid answering it. The general script among such readers reads similar to this, “Well, the tarot can only tell you what is likely to happen, however the future is not set in stone and we all have the ability to change our destiny, so we cannot truly say when something will happen or that it will happen for certain, only that it is very likely to happen based on the energies currently involved.”

While this view of destiny is common, and one that I myself subscribe to, in regards to divining time it is a classic cop out. For readings that reveal a negative outcome one wishes to let the querant know that a change in behavior may positively change the outcome. Unless the querant is on a quest for disappointment there would be little reason to consult the cards were there no hope of making things better. Still, having a certain time frame is helpful. While a reading may show that the outcome of a court case may be unfavorable should the querant not let go of the greed seen in the four of pentacles, they may still need to know how long the case is likely to drag on. It may be that seeing how long it will take encourages them to settle, which may ultimately be an improvement.

For readings favoring a positive future outcome, you do not wish to erase their enthusiasm by proclaiming that the future is fickle and may not be as positive as the cards just suggested. While you do not want to make false promises, a positive reading should not be followed by a disillusioning statement about how good things may not happen after all. This is why it is important to give them something to look forward to, and to develop your own way of determining dates through tarot.

Of course you needn’t stick with tarot to determine dates. Other modes of divination may work better for you, such as scrying or using a pendulum, however if you wish to stick with the cards then there are many ways of determining time with them. Some readers associate the various suits with seasons. Some similarly link a particular suit with days, weeks, months or years. Having worked with a variety of modalities I wish to share the one that works the best for me… counting cards until I come to an upright Ace.

It’s rather simple… Following the initial reading gather up all the cards and reshuffle them. If you do not generally read reversals and like your deck to remain oriented in a single direction then you may wish to have a deck dedicated to this task of determining time. If you choose to have a dedicated deck you could paint the edges of the card with colored nail polish so that you do not accidentally pass them by and swiftly lay them down. I always flip the deck so that all cards are facing up, then lay them down on the table. If you count through the entire deck with all the aces reversed be sure to reshuffle before going through them again. Whereas the reader I initially learned this technique from would count until reaching the first ace, I count until reaching the first upright ace, which allows the cards to count indefinitely.

The main drawback to this method is that it can be time consuming if you don’t have adroit fingers for laying down cards. If I have not found an ace after going through the deck five times then I stop, letting them know that it is unlikely to happen this year, at least not as things are currently stand. When this is the case I usually lay out a few more cards to inquire if magical work might expedite the outcome.

Let’s say, however, that an upright ace did come up. The number of cards you counted to get to it are the number of days until the stage is set for them to receive the desired outcome. As I discussed earlier, when it comes to tarot absolutes are few. The date revealed tells us the most likely, opportune time for something to happen, the time when the energy surrounding the querant is best to bring about the desired outcome. Returning to the example given at the beginning of this, it could be that on this day the querant’s sister is likely to be in a particularly good mood, perhaps missing sister. She may even be contemplating making the phone call that will reconcile them. It never hurts to give a little push. That is when we examine our ace.

This is the aspect of this tarot style where conjure comes into play. The ace that indicates the date also indicates the energy that will help to bring things to fruition. To help with this I suggest that the querant light a candle on that morning to focus on what they hope will come to pass. The color of the candle is determined by the ace.

Ace of Pentacles = Green or Brown
Ace of Cups = Blue
Ace of Wands = Red or Orange
Ace of Swords = Yellow

Additionally, these suits may give you clues concerning issues that may help you…

Ace of Pentac
les: Perhaps the querant’s sister is calling not for the purpose of reconciliation, but to discuss splitting the bill for Mom’s care.

Ace of Cups: There may be a lot of emotional issues that will need to be sorted out.

Ace of Wands: There may be some heated issues to discuss, the querant may need to be aware of her anger and need to express it without letting the anger overwhelm her.

Ace of Swords: She may need to give a lot of consideration to the situation before she is ready to make things better, best to have a plan, moreover a plan B.

In summary, this method works well to determine a specific date for when an event predicted by a tarot reading will happen, plus it offers suggestions regarding what issues will come into play at that time and prescribes a magical solution in form of lighting a colored candle.