While a good Tarot reader can give you some incredible insight into your life, one of the most important things about a reading is your approach. When you're looking for some guidance, remember that few things matter as much as the question you ask.

When my clients sit with me, they're often a bit confused about what would be the best subject for a reading. I've been given several different options and told to pick, or given no options and told to simply explain what I see in the cards. Some clients even give a list of everything on their minds, even when those subjects aren't closely related.  

I totally understand the confusion. There are all kinds of readers, and a bunch of different approaches. I've had readers that used an all-purpose spread to cover every possible subject in twenty minutes. I've had one who immediately began talking to her spirit guides, and only drew a single card in the last few minutes. (I confess I felt a little cheated by that one - I had paid for a Tarot reading, not a channeling!) It's easy to assume that because a lot of Tarot readers work with psychic abilities, or simply with their intuitive response to the cards, that they can pick out what you need to know just by glancing at you.

But in my experience, the best readings come from having the best questions: questions that are clear, focused, and open to a lot of different information. So here are five basic tips for asking the best question for your reading, and receiving the best results!

1) Make your question clear and specific.
If you ask me about money, there's a lot of things that could come up: your position at work, your spending habits, the results of any financial windfalls. If you ask me about the results of your business in the next six months, I'll be able to focus my reading and give you a lot of specific, useful advice via the cards.

2) Don't be afraid of not covering everything.
Most Tarot readers will read for as a little as fifteen minutes to as long as an hour. Not only is that usually time for more than one spread, and a detailed heart-to-heart about what your reading shows, but the issues in your life can be intertwined. Talking about your relationships will lead to a look at boosting your communication, or raising your self-esteem. The cards have a real knack for revealing what's hidden and bringing it into the light, so if you need to see what the real issue is, don't worry. It'll be there.

3) Don't ask about other people.
If you're asking about your relationship with another person, that's fine. But if you just want to know how they're feeling, or what's going on in their personal lives, that's not so easy. For one thing, some readers believe it's a breach of ethics to read for anyone other than the clients who've consented to it - that includes celebrities! And more importantly, there's no guarantee you'll get the answers you want. Any reading about another person will still be through your eyes, with your perspective. It might miss important details, or be clouded by your energy and bias. Try asking about your relationship with the person, or what you need to know about the situation.

4) Don't limit your possible answers.
One of the biggest things I see newbies to Tarot do is limit the scope of their answers. They'll ask a yes-or-no question, or they'll be looking for a specific result: "Will I get a boyfriend?" But part of the beauty of Tarot is how many levels and shades of meaning you can find in a reading. Depending on the spread and what cards you draw, the cards can reveal what's hidden, show different options, or tell you when you're headed for an unpleasant result so you can change your tune. The 'how' and 'why' are so much more important than the 'what' in a good reading. One of my favorite templates for this kind of question is "What do I need to know about...?" That way you can stay as broad or specific as you like, while leaving your reading open to all the detail that's possible for you.

5) Timing isn't always important.
There are definitely Tarot spreads for what will come in a specific amount of time, and how specific it can get depends on the reader. But personally, I like to keep questions of timing in a reading open-ended. The future can always be changed by our actions, so the longer you project into the future with a reading, the less accurate it has the chance to be. Tarot should be an active experience, where the path you take towards your goals is informed and enhanced by the reading. Rather than asking when something will happen, I like to ask what I can do to help bring it about, and then trust that the universe will send it to me in its own time.

Be open to all the possibilities, and your reading will surprise you by the depth of the information it will give - and all the new insight it'll open up!

9/23/2012 10:32:24 pm

Interesting. I've never had a tarot reading but this makes me almost think that I might have a go when there is next an opportunity!

9/27/2012 06:22:11 pm

It can give some amazing insight, Harriet! If you're interested, I give readings of all kinds, and can combine them with coaching exercises for a really long-lasting experience.

9/24/2012 02:56:52 am

Great points, Kim. I used to have a "How to Ask a Great Question" page on my site, but I'm redoing it as a freebie, I think. I get bombarded with questions that I would never touch from time to time, like, "How many children will I have in the future and when will I get married?"

Please, call a 900 number if you want to waste money on that. I could rip you off and tell you anything I wanted, and it wouldn't matter. But a better question would be, "What do I need to do to attract the right partner for me?" or "How can I improve myself or my life?"

I also don't do timing readings as I feel that they cheat people out of personal responsibility and opportunities. "My perfect partner will come along in 9 months? Fabulous, I'll sit here on my butt and wait." I don't think so - because that will make that person NOT show up! :-)

Obviously, I am passionate about how questions are phrased, but you are right - what is most important will show up, no matter what question you actually give the cards. Sometimes, no question is needed at all.

Learn to read Tarot in less than 15 minutes and get your free Beginner's Guide to Reading the Cards at:

9/27/2012 06:24:07 pm

Exactly, Amethyst! There are definitely some people who want an "entertainment" experience, and that's fine - but it's definitely not all the Tarot is meant for. And it definitely keeps a client from making the real, powerful changes they can make themselves!

9/24/2012 07:25:56 am

Thanks for such an interesting post. I never felt connected to my Tarot cards and so put them away for almost a decade. Lately they have been calling me home and so I dug them out and have discovered a new connection. Still learning...as ever.
thanks again

9/27/2012 06:25:09 pm

Good luck and happy learning in reconnecting with your cards! Working with them is a beautiful experience. I've just put up a new freebie, a book of journal prompts to help connect with the Major Arcana, if you're interested.

9/24/2012 01:25:53 pm

Kim, this is so helpful. I understand next to nothing about Tarot so the couple of readings I've had, I've asked those limiting yes/no questions you mentioned. I'll be much better equipped next time, thank you for this outline!

9/27/2012 06:27:00 pm

I'm so glad it helps, Leanne! It's possible to do yes/no readings, depending on your reader and their style, but a more open-ended response is so much richer in my opinion. I hope your next reading offers plenty of wonderful insights!

10/6/2012 04:22:23 am

this is really useful, that has really put into perspective what we're looking for as clients in a reading...and that best readings I've ever had are when I wasn't being time specific and I was focused. I will bookmark this to check before I next have a reading. Thank you! x


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