The best thing about tarot is that honestly, you can ask those cards A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. There’s no question too out-there for the tarot—and better yet, there’s no judgment. There’s literally no limit to the issues tarot can help you resolve and understand. As a tarot reader, personally, I avoid questions about health (I believe those are better answered by a medical professional) but embrace every other topic. The answers are all already out there and waiting—you just have to access them. If you’re using tarot to make major moves in your life—or just help you figure out what TV series to binge-watch next—here’s what to do.
But first, should you read your own tarot cards or see a professional reader?
Initially, when you’re learning the cards’ meanings and practicing creating spreads, it’s a good idea to get a professional reading. A professional tarot reader offers you an outside perspective—plus, you can watch how it’s done and maybe pick up some tips.
The hardest part about reading tarot is learning how to craft a full, rounded interpretation out of a scattering of individual cards. The cards are more than the sum of their parts, and learning to interpret them takes time and practice. It’s also unique magic that YOU bring to the process because no one’s interpretation will be the same as another’s. You can sit and stare at the cards as long as you want, make notes, and look them up—but at some point, you’ve got to combine their meanings into a coherent answer or story for your questioner. This is why tarot reading takes so much practice and persistence.
Questions to ask a tarot reader
A lot of people go to tarot readers and simply say NOTHING, as though they’re testing the tarot reader’s skill to see if they can guess the question you want to know the answer to. But would you go to a doctor, or any other professional, and pay them money to try to guess your problem without giving them any information about your symptoms or concerns? It’s a waste of time, and it’s possible you’ll totally miss out on what it is you want to find out. Not all tarot readers (like me) are psychic or clairvoyant, so they can’t read you ~cold~. Give your reader a brief summary of where you’re at and what you want to know so they can design a reading tailored to you. Treat your tarot reader like any professional—tell them what you need and what your expectations are. That way, you’ll get a more specific answer—and your money’s worth!
How to frame questions for the tarot cards
Whether you’re seeing a professional or reading your own cards, take a few minutes to think about what, exactly, it is you want to know. Then follow these steps:
Break your question into smaller chunks
Generally, an in-depth tarot reading will include at least three cards. If you’re reading your own cards, break your main question down into three or more smaller parts that, put together, will lead to a well-rounded answer. Lay out your spread in chronological or logical order. This way, the cards will form a path that you can “walk.” If you’re seeing a tarot reader, this thought process can also help you get specific about what it is you want to know.
Think about the past and the future
A common tarot spread is the past/present/future spread, in which three cards are drawn to represent, well, the past, present, and future. Many other spreads are variations on this basic format, with additional cards shedding further light on your situation. For spreads like this, consider what actions got you where you are now, what in your past might be the root cause that’s fueling your situation now, and what steps you’ll need to take next. Finally, consider what follow-ups or further thoughts you might have once you know the answer to your main question.
Make your questions specific
The tighter your individual questions, the easier it will be to answer them—whether you’re reading your own cards or seeing a professional reader. Tarot cards often have multiple, sometimes abstract meanings, which makes it hard enough to tie them back to your question. If your question is already multilayered, it just adds another layer of confusion. For example, don’t ask, “What are their true feelings, and will that make them get back in touch with me?” Instead, split that into two separate questions and draw a card for each: “What are their true feelings for me?” and then “Will they get back in touch with me?”
You can ask when things will happen
Don’t be afraid of “when” questions! The cards all link to time periods or limits, so it’s okay to ask questions like, “When will they get back in touch with me?” Your tarot reader or tarot booklet will have more details, but roughly, each of the four suits is tied to a time period. Wands indicate spring or days, Swords indicate weeks or autumn; Cups indicate months or summer, and Pentacles indicate years or winter.
It's okay not to ask questions, too
If there’s something specific you want to know, please ask! But sometimes, you don’t know what it is you’re looking for and you just want to see what the cards will reveal. If this is the case, tell your reader a little bit about your own background (like your relationship status, job, home, and any burning issues going on) and say you’d like to be inspired or informed about your life right now.
Questions for your tarot spread
After a breakup
If you’ve recently split from someone and want to learn more about why—or find out if you’ll get back together—draw one card for each of these questions:
- What is the relationship’s current energy?
- What’s the root cause of the split?
- What are their true feelings for me right now?
- What are their intentions to me now?
- What is the future nature of this relationship?
- What’s the best step for me to take now?
When job searching
If you’re feeling unsure about your career path or considering a new job, you can lay out this spread and see what kind of career counseling the tarot can provide. Again, draw one card per question.
- What’s my current career energy?
- What obstacle do I need to overcome?
- What’s my career calling?
- How do I move closer to this calling?
- Who can help me?
- What’s the best step for me to take in the month ahead?
When deciding between two options
If you’re using the tarot to choose between two options (two job offers, two apartments, maybe a love triangle???), this spread can reveal the pros and cons of each choice and help you make the right one. You get the deal: Ask one question per card.
- What’s the underlying root cause of this crossroads?
- What outcome is most likely with option A?
- What outcome is most likely with option B?
- What else should I consider that’s been missed?
- What’s my next best step today?
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.
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