Tarot is attractive for trying to get more information beyond what we can see, especially when we’re facing the unknown. Tarot cards are a tool; a 78-page unbound book of symbols which allows shuffling and random access to any page for some timeless insight. Seeking information in this way, we bypass the left analytic brain and receive new perspectives on our questions.
Not everyone is ready to use the Tarot as a spiritual tool; for those who aren’t, the Tarot can become simply a means to communicate with our subconscious. Alternately, mediums may use Tarot cards as a channel to deliberately connect with subtle energies, beings, spirit guides, and archetypes.
Tarot can appear to be divinatory, but I don’t personally think this is magic as much as how the present always offers clues to the future; even more so if you’re open to the theory of nonlinear time. (That’s right, babes; Janet was and continues to be a physics and astrophysics nerd. I am large, I contain Walt Whitman quotes.)
What Tarot offers is a different perspective. The querent (the person seeking answers) brings the question and hopefully leaves with material for reflection, understanding, and action. This requires a conversation.
Common Tarot Questions*
- Should I take this job offer?
- Should I leave my current job?
- Should I move?
- Will this person I’ve been dating work out long term?
- Should I leave this relationship?
* Most readers, myself included, will not answer health or healthcare questions, especially in the area of diagnosis.
These common questions are not wrong to ask. But in my readings, I’ve always spent time on helping the querent reframe questions that ask “Should I?”
This is because “Should I?” questions can reveal a querent’s avoidance of making a choice themselves, and it’s not a responsibility for the cards or card reader to shoulder. (I cover the Tarot and the Spiritual Laws separately.)
Instead of asking “Should I?”
Ask: What information do I need to consider in regards to this relationship/person/job offer/opportunity?
Yes/No questions can be answered by the cards. But on a practical level, the cards (or the reader) can be wrong. Or a reader can give answers that please the querent but may not actually be helpful. Stories are a dime a dozen online about psychic readers who give out barmy predictions (“brunette husband, three kids and a dog”) or give advice based on their own projection. I myself have been on the receiving end of readings where the reader’s advice differed from what the cards actually showed!
Remember: For an empowering reading, querent is best served with material for reflection, understanding, and action. Tarot cards dish up that material with the language of symbols, archetypes and dynamics. When multiple cards are opened for a question, and the cards “interact” and offer even more insight and elements for consideration.
At the end of the day, “Should I?” questions should be avoided because they close down conversation and questioning. “Should I?” does not open the querent’s perspective in any way nor give them the power to make their own choice.
Example reframe for a relationship reading: “Let’s look at the dynamics of your relationship and you can decide from there what you can do next.”
Instead of asking “What’s going to happen?”
Ask: What are the possible outcomes if I take [this action]? What are the outcomes if I don’t?
Empower querents by reminding them they are not passive objects to which life or fate happens. They are active players with choices available to them. Tarot cards lend themselves to exploring possibilities, so I genuinely enjoy opening cards for “multiple possible timelines”.
I’ve also been gratified when querents come back to tell me what they learned both on the path they took and what they learned in hindsight about the paths not taken. Maybe Tarot is magic because the reading would still hold up!
Instead of asking “What do I do?”
Ask: What strengths or resources can I work with or tap upon? Are there more options to consider?
Tarot readings can be a vulnerable place for people. I believe there is a special place in hell for card readers who deliberately fearmonger and then exploit the same fears to sell extra products and services. Even in situations I’ve been able to tell a querent needs extra help, I’m more inclined to direct them to another helper, or a book, than to offer an “extra powerful” prayer or spell for an additional charge. My priority remains for me to provide useful information and a safe place. I have no desire to claim special healing or magic(k) powers.
Always Empower the Querent
It’s not often said, but there is a always power dynamic between reader and querent, helper and helpee, teacher and seeker that the person in the more experienced position should not exploit.
In empowering readings, I want the querent to leave with hope, understanding, and options, besides providing the material for reflection, understanding and action. Querents can seek Tarot readings for a variety of reasons, not least assurance, confirmation, and validation.
It’s less important for me to have been “right” in the reading than to have provided a time and space in which to unpack the querent’s question and explore the all relevant information–questions, relational dynamics, possibilities, personal resources, perspectives and options–that the Tarot symbols offer.
The accuracy (usually only in hindsight) is just icing on the cake.
Notes: This post was originally “Tarot for Empowerment” first written May 2018. It has been updated for focus and simplicity. The Spiritual Laws have been transferred Tarot & The Spiritual Laws.
Cover photo: https://pixabay.com/users/anemone123-2637160/