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!