death card

Negative Tarot Cards - The "Worst" Cards to Pull

Last Updated: July 26, 2022

As with all things in life, there are two sides to every story – and that includes tarot cards. Some of these cards can appear in a reading to indicate that something is wrong or that the querent should be cautious. While some people may be scared of these negative cards, they can be a powerful tool for understanding and working through difficult situations. As always, the card’s message should be interpreted in the context of the reading as a whole. The most important thing to remember is that the goal is for you to come out of the reading empowered, no matter what the cards may say. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more negative tarot cards.

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upright tower tarot card

Negative Major Arcana Cards

The Fool

The Fool is an annoying card to pull, in my opinion, as it shows that the reader is naive with their questions and doesn’t know where to begin. It also feels a bit patronising from the deck if this shows up in relation to their query regarding business or career, but let’s remind ourselves that this card ultimately wants us to embrace a leap of faith that can be the start of a wonderful journey.

Learn the meanings of the Fool as well as the various advice it can offer you.

The Hermit

This card has themes of isolation, withdrawal and introspection into a shadow work process. This card shows us that we need some time alone to work within our mental capacity, but if it does become an overloading process for you then please seek expert professional help. Your mental wellbeing is of the utmost importance, and this card wants you to be able to listen to your inner guidance and inner compass; to do that occasionally we need some alone time.


Not as negative as you might originally imagine, but the Death card signifies change and that isn’t always what people want. Some people find comfort in security, stability and reliability, and when that can be taken away this can be disheartening. What we need to remember with the Death card is that when one door closes, another one opens, and it’s usually for our greater good. We need to trust the process that this is a better option for us, and that the transformation is worth it.

Learn the meanings of the Death card as well as the various advice it can offer you.

The Devil

This card has major themes of entrapment, of addiction, of self-harm in it’s own process. You may be feeling trapped, helpless or powerless in a scenario and this is why this card has cropped up for you. The Devil wants you to set yourself a new boundary of protection and, ironically, to set yourself free from your own personal hell. Some things are beyond repair, and sometimes it’s braver to walk away and unbound yourself.

Learn the meanings of the Devil as well as the various advice it can offer you.

The Tower

A card of fear, destruction, endings and big changes – The Tower didn’t come to play. What we need to remember when this visceral card comes up in a reading is that this scenario is unavoidable, the foundation you had wasn’t steady and now moving forward you have the opportunity to build something stronger from the ashes. Fate dictates that you will arise from these difficulties wiser, stronger and happier if you just align with the rebuilding that is meant to happen for you.

Learn the meanings of the Tower as well as the various advice it can offer you.

The Moon

This card has themes of depression, sadness, hidden truths and self-defeat. Sometimes in life things are just not what they seem, and this card shows up to highlight these when it comes to certain scenarios. It’s disappointing, it can be hurtful and it can bring up long-buried emotions such as childhood insecurities or trauma. Take time for yourself, nurture yourself in the night, and know that dark feelings are temporary – this too shall pass.

Learn the meanings of the Moon as well as the various advice it can offer you.


This card has themes of betrayal, of negative faces from the past returning, of guilt and of insecurity. Judgement wants you to take a minute and gather your thoughts, tune in on your intuition and see if you are really to blame for the mistakes you’ve been thinking about. Look back before looking forward so that errors in behaviour aren’t repeated; if you need to hold yourself accountable, apologise to make peace if you have to, ensure that this is done. Learn to forgive yourself, and step forward with a renewal mindset that leaves certain ships sailed and certain books closed.

Negative Minor Arcana Cards

5 of Cups

The 5 of cups is a deeply sad card. One of loss, grief, depression and finding yourself struggling. I find it comes up for those who have endured hard breakups, menopause and business losses. I have something to share with you; this is a normal, healthy, human process. You might not be able to rebuild what is gone, what is lost, who has left. What you can actually do is really take a moment to feel this feeling, see where it is really coming from, and really feel it – cry, scream, shout, rage… Whatever you need. Once this process has been felt, we can move forward. Another thing to note with this card? In the original artwork, one of the cups spilt over has poison in it – sometimes things fall away for us to leave us falling towards better things in the future.

5 of Wands

Whilst the 5 of wands can initially seem related to jealousy, aggression, fighting and rivalry I want you to see it from this perspective; enjoy a little healthy competition, but stand your ground and don’t get involved in other people’s drama/business. You deserve to move forwards with confidence, accomplishment and empowerment so how you chose to get there will be based on your actions now.

7 of Wands

The 7 of Wands is the “us against the world” card in the deck. It’s a card with themes of opposition, with drama, with a lack of calmness and of trouble. Overall what this card wants you to do is to leave the drama with karma, to take on board other opinions calmly and to think and process before you act. Not everyone is wanting the worst for you, so give others the benefit of the doubt.

5 of Pentacles

The 5 of Pentacles is a card of the emotional trauma that comes with financial loss, with a run of bad luck and unexpected financial setbacks. An example of this is the stress of when a boiler breaks unexpectedly in winter; you absolutely have to get it fixed for your household or the situation will escalate significantly, but the cost of getting it resolved can involve just as much stress as having your hours cut at work. Don’t give in to any fears or worries that come along with this, lean on your friends/family/community for support, and know that this is a temporary stress that may be necessary to happen.

3 of Swords

The 3 of Swords is a hard to see card, as it can depict lying, cheating, heartbreak and deep sadness. What this card wants for you is to know that this is a temporary, albeit difficult, period for you and that as you move on the load will feel lighter. Don’t let other people’s actions affect how you trust yourself, your values or allow your inner strength to be tested. You will get through this.

5 of Swords

The 5 of Swords is a worried, anxiety riddled battle with either yourself or your close loved ones. You may find a lot of opposition, conflict and defeat but those who care about you will stand by you, and will want to find a peaceful resolution. Anyone who shows their true colours you can thank them for their honesty, and walk away – you don’t need this negativity in your life and you deserve the respite from underhanded behaviour.

7 of Swords

The 7 of Swords has keywords of lying, thievery, betrayal and broken trust. If this card comes up for you in a Career or Business reading, it may be that someone is stealing your ideas and taking credit for them. It could be that you don’t trust one of your companions’ motives and that your instincts flare up that something isn’t right. This card wants you to trust what you feel here, and follow the logic with a clear head. Keep a distance from those who wish you harm.

9 of Swords

The 9 of Swords is a mental health public announcement sort of card; anxiety, worry, depression, negative tendencies that are not beneficial for you. It’s likely that you feel you are your own worst enemy and that you may be struggling with it. If the crosses you are bearing are too much to carry (personally or professionally) then now is the time to seek help and support from a medical or professional individual so that you are not taking on the burden alone. You deserve to be free to live your life from worry and harm, and not only does the deck want this for you, but I do too. 

10 of Swords

The 10 of Swords‘ visceral meanings include backstabbing, trauma, heartbreak and depression. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back, and there won’t be time for doubts or wishful thinking – the situations unfold strongly, forcibly. I’m personally really sorry for any massive changes or trauma that happen to you that unfold, and I want to share with you that it won’t always be this way. Be clear in what you DO want for your future, and walk towards it without looking back. What is done, and left, and burning behind you deserves to be ashes and gone. Take some time to nurture yourself, your goals and your dreams, and find yourself in places that bring joy, happiness, and respect the real you within.


I have been reading Tarot for more than 15 years. I have always enjoyed using my intuition to provide clarity and insights to others. Tarot is one of my favorite forms of divination, and I love sharing that passion with like-minded folks.

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