You’ve heard the saying ‘ask a silly question, you’ll get a silly answer’? So it is with tarot.
Asking the right question, or rather, working out how to ask your question can really make the difference when it comes to the quality of your reading, especially if you’re ordering from a professional tarotist. Here are a few things to bear in mind when you’re asking something of the cards.
1. You don’t actually have to have a question at all!
I’d guess that around half of the readings I do for querents fall into the ‘WTF?!?’ or ‘I’d just like a general reading please’ categories. The former being ‘I have no idea what’s going on and I wonder if the cards can give me some clues’ and the second being ‘tell me more about the energy surrounding me at this time’. So both are questions really, you just don’t have to worry about putting it into words.
2. Tarot doesn’t do yes or no
Well, it can and it does. But it’s not a lot of fun. And personally, I don’t think this is an effective way to use your cards. When I’ve asked yes/no questions I’ve ended up with confusing, convoluted answers which at first seem to be ‘yes’, then on reflection perhaps a ‘no’, then a ‘maybe if xyz…’ …which ain’t all that helpful. I wind up having to explore the issues surrounding the question anyway.
Example: Instead of ‘Should I go on this trip?’ try asking ‘What would be the benefits of going on this trip?’
3. Tarot is all about you
If you want to ask a question about someone else’s feelings, go ahead and ask them, but keep it away from my cards. As far as I’m concerned, that ain’t what tarot is for*. And readers who answer the ‘does she love me?’ types of questions are, in my opinion, reading unethically. Tarot is a tool for self empowerment, not for noseying into other people’s hearts and minds.
Example: Instead of asking ‘Does she love me?’ try asking ‘What can I do to improve this relationship?’
An exception is when a couple/pair/group get a joint reading. In this situation, everyone there is consenting to the reading and bringing their question to the table.
4. Ask something positive
By this I mean the ‘What can I do…’ type of question. Take responsibility for yourself! Make it clear that you intend to do something with the information you get from the cards, not expect other people or things to change without you. If you’re serious about finding real answers, you’ll get a much better response from the cards – you’re putting a ‘can do’ kinda energy into your reading and telling the cards and the reader that you’re up it.
Example: ‘How can do to move [XYZ situation] forwards?’ or ‘What are my possible options right now?’
5. Don’t dumb your question down
Or rather, don’t cover up what you really want to ask with what you think you should ask, or what is ‘safe’ to ask. Tarot is about confronting stuff – and sometimes this is uncomfortable or difficult. If you want to know how to deal with your drinking problem for example, say so, don’t make it wishy-washy and dance around the issue.
Example: Instead of ‘Umm…someone said I drink too much but I don’t think I do do you think they’re right?’ ask ‘What do I need to know about my drinking?’
6. Less is more
Be concise. You can provide as much or as little background info as you like, but sum it up succinctly with one simple question.
Example: You’ve talked all around your break-up, given the reader lots of details about who said what and how it’s hurting you. Sum up by asking ‘What can I do to move on?’ or ‘What do I need to know right now?’
I’m a 30-something writer, artist, tarot reader, and perpetual explorer of the space between thought, feeling, and action.
I believe that spirituality and ritual are for everybody. I’m about the journey, in all of its messy, non-linear, chaotic iterations. I am excited by anticapitalist business and living with my whole entire self present. I use tarot cards to bring forth hidden truth, and ritual to affirm my commitment, over and over, to my ever-shifting path.