The question is 90% of a Tarot reading and perhaps 99.9% when you read via email. It is the key to providing a service that is truly helpful. The question needs to be empowering, proactive, open-ended and centred on the client rather than a third-party… and the truth is that most prospective clients have no idea how to ask in a way that empowers them. This is why you shouldn’t be afraid to put in quite a bit of work with helping your client getting the question right.
I can already hear the objections… “But, Lisa, how do you do this when most Tarot clients come expecting you to be more or less able to read their minds and some even say things like ‘I don’t want to give too much away because I want an objective reading’?”
There are three main steps you need to take to deftly navigate this and any other possible issues or objections:
*** Educate. As a Tarot reader, and representative for a rare and often misunderstood trade, you are also an educator. It can’t be denied that the majority of people still have the wrong idea about what the Tarot is and what it can do. This idea has been handed down to them through a long chain of mis-information, with multiple roots in religion and media.
The best way around this for email readings is to have a snippet prepared about what the Tarot actually is and what it can do to copy and paste into your first reply when someone approaches you for a reading.
You can use something similar to this (your own wording works best as it is the same voice you use in the reading):
Thanks for getting in touch about a Tarot reading via email. Before we book you in, I’d like to tell you about my own understanding of the Tarot and what it can do for you…
The Tarot is a deck of 78 cards, related to your standard playing cards deck, and with origins as far back as at least the middle ages. It can provide meaningful messages through the interpretation of symbols and archetypes found in a seemingly random draw. The randomness becomes meaningful (or synchronistic) when the Tarot reader interprets these symbols and archetypes in the context of the client’s issues and circumstances. Synchronicity is a term that was coined by C.G. Jung which basically means that events can be linked through meaning rather than causality, a notion that is making more and more sense, the further modern scientists delve into the science of quantum mechanics which observes and analyses acausally linked events.
Being a Tarot reader does not mean that you can read another’s mind. You do not necessarily need to consider yourself more ‘psychic’ than your average person in order to learn to correctly interpret the Tarot card messages of the cards in meaningful ways. However, learning to read signs, archetypes and symbols does tend to make you more intuitive in general. Rather than a tool for fortune-telling, I choose to view the Tarot as a tool for personal transformation and spiritual pathworking. The best way to approach a Tarot reading is with an open mind, as well as to focus quite a bit of energy on creating the best possible questions, which means a question that is open-ended (not yes/no but beginning with words like ‘How…’ or ‘Why…’ or ‘What…’), proactive (empowers you to be responsible for the co-creating of your destiny) and centred on you rather than a third-party. Because the truth of the matter is that the only person you can change is… well, you… and the magick of tools like the Tarot which serve to create new perspectives and change from within, is that these changes will soon be mirrored back at you in the world around you.
*** Tweak the question (if necessary, which I find it is in over half the readings I do). Help your client create the most empowering type of question by giving them examples of questions that work really well and perhaps a few examples of questions that don’t:
This works for a holistic Tarot reading: How can I manifest a job that feels truly meaningful?
This does not work: Will I get my dream job?
This works for a holistic Tarot reading: What do I need to know about improving the dynamic of my current relationship?
This does not work: How does he feel about me and is he cheating on me?
This works for a holistic Tarot reading: What do I need to about manifesting abundance?
This does not work: Will I get rich or are there more troubles ahead?
This works for a holistic Tarot reading: Why can’t I seem to stop (insert name of destructive habit or relationship pattern)?
This does not work: When will I be free of (destructive habit)?
You get the idea, right? Feel free to ask in the comments below if you have a question that you would like some help with in order to make it more proactive.
*** Ask for any relevant back story. Once you have taken the first two steps to ensure that your reading is heading in a holistic direction rather than fortune-telling, it becomes easier to just ask for any relevant information that would help provide clarity when you interpret the cards. If your client is still reluctant to give out information there are either trust issues (even though you let them know that the reading is private and confidential) or they simply want fortune-telling by a psychic/mind reader and not a holistic Tarot reading. Either way, you two are not a match.
Don’t forget too that it is your professional prerogative to decline to read for someone if you sense that your wires are getting crossed. These are not always easy professional waters to navigate but I have learned to more and more trust my gut feeling because every time I didn’t, I have had really odd things happen, such as the client coming back to me to tell me that they lied about their circumstances to test me. These are NOT the kind of clients you want to waste your precious time and energy on, so simply learn to bow out gracefully with something like, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t feel I’m the right Tarot reader for you.’ No further justification is needed.
I hope you find this helpful whether you read professionally, as a hobby or are thinking about taking your Tarot readings to the next level and going pro.