What questions do some Tarot Readers fear when looking into themselves and their tarot practice?
James Bulls, from Left Hand Tarot, shared a pretty amazing post with us the other day on the Tarotholics Group on Facebook. I asked if I could share his fabulous wisdom, as it totally encouraged me to take a look at who I am as a reader. Others might not want to be so honest with themselves… 😉
So, without further adieu… some questions for all the Tarot Readers out there to ponder… if they dare! In the words of James…
I’m not an ancient Greek, but I happen to think that there’s a lot of value in the Delphic maxim, “Know thyself.” The ways and reasons you can approach this maxim are countless, but since I’m a Tarot reader talking about Tarot, I’m going to talk about how important it is for you as a Tarot reader to know and understand your reading style, and how important it is for you as a client to know and understand your Tarot reader. Knowing yourself as a Tarot reader is important because it will show you what you really want to be doing and where you strengths lay, but being a client who knows your Tarot reader is also important because it’s going to save you a lot of frustration and even more money spent on readings you didn’t really enjoy.
So with that in mind, I propose a list of 10 questions which I believe every Tarot reader should answer for him or herself, or which every client is welcome to ask their Tarot readers. These questions are designed to threaten shallow egos and to reveal things about either yourself or your reader that are poorly understood. If, in the process of asking these questions to yourself, you find yourself feeling anxious and uncertain, then congratulations! You just found a blind spot you didn’t know existed. Or, if you’re asking your reader these questions and he or she either refuses to answer, or the answers offered don’t inspire confidence, then you should carefully reconsider your reasons for working with this reader. All of which is to say, the length of the answer isn’t what’s important here, only that the person answering the questions can do so clearly and confidently. Are you ready to begin? Let’s get started.
#1) How did you become a Tarot reader? Did you have a teacher, or did you teach yourself?
This is a harmless enough question to get us started. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a teacher who initiated you into Tarot, and, of course, there’s nothing wrong with being your own teacher. I mean, ultimately, all learning is self-guided so I think it’s fair to say that all Tarot readers are self-taught, but that’s sort of an argument for another day. The point is, some people care deeply about their Tarot lineage, and others don’t. For the people who do, their egos are often wrapped tightly into the identity and prestige of their teacher, and while there’s nothing wrong with being proud of one’s accomplishments, the way a reader talks about his or her initiation into Tarot can reveal a lot about his or her personality, but more importantly will reveal the reader’s level of confidence in his or her overall abilities and whether he or she is comfortable owning his or her Tarot lineage – no matter where it came from.
#2) Do you really have psychic abilities?
This question is something of an ego trap! Does your Tarot reader claim to have inborn or developed paranormal abilities? And if so, how big a deal does your reader make out of those abilities? If your Tarot reader doesn’t have psychic abilities, does he or she feel the need to apologize? This question isn’t intended to be a criticism of people who claim these abilities, nor is it intended to be a criticism of those who don’t. The point is, can your Tarot reader express confidence in him or herself as a reader without feeling the need to exaggerate or apologize? The answer itself isn’t strictly important – instead, look to see if the reader can answer the question confidently and securely.
#3) Do you get the answer from your cards or from your head?
As an extension of the previous question, Where does the message come from? Is your Tarot reader getting the message entirely from the cards with a non-intuitive reading style which uses complex occult interpretations of the symbols on the cards? Or is the reader an intuitive who uses the cards as inspiration or a tool to direct their third eye? As with all these questions, the answer itself isn’t really important and this because there are lots of readers who fall everywhere on the spectrum of this answer and still do a great job. The answer itself is less important than whether the respondent can provide an answer confidently and without feeling the need to apologize or brag. If your reader feels the need to diminish others in order to promote him or herself, or can’t answer without feeling the need to apologize, then you should reconsider hiring this reader. If you’re the reader answering this question and you’re stumbling, then this is an area for self-improvement.
#4) Are your predictions 100% accurate?
Here’s a dirty question: does the Tarot reader say that his or her readings are 100% accurate? Ask this question and watch the respondent squirm! This is a great question for revealing the quality of the respondent’s character, but is also a great question for eliciting answers to the implied bigger question: “How does it all work?” Believe it or not, but some Tarot readers haven’t really thought about this. The point of this question isn’t really to measure the reader’s claimed accuracy, but to see how he or she responds. Is the reader defensive? Angry? Apologetic? Bashful? Anxious? Uncertain? If your reader’s response makes you feel uncomfortable, chances are good that he or she is either hiding something or has honestly never considered the question.
#5) Is there anything you won’t predict?
For professional readers who maintain clear business policies, this question may already be answered, but this is a very serious question that readers should ask themselves and clients should ask their readers if only because it’s going to save a lot of headache and frustration later. Is there anything your reader won’t predict? If you want to know about your physical or mental health, an investment, a legal decision, or some dark venture better left unspoken, then you’d better be sure your reader is game before your put your money on the table because in most jurisdictions around the world it’s absolutely illegal for a Tarot reader to give advice best handled by physicians, bankers, and attorneys. And of course, it’s always illegal for a Tarot reader to advise you how to commit a crime or to harm yourself or somebody else. This is an example of the most overt reasons why a reader wouldn’t answer some questions, but there are other kinds of questions such as past or future lives, karmic debt, psychic surveillance of another person, how to break up a relationship, etc. that some readers won’t answer. Get the answer to this question before you ask for answers to other questions. And if you’re a reader, this is a really important question to answer because it will help you define who you are as a professional and what kind of clients you’re willing to accept.
#6) Is there anything you can’t predict?
Following on the previous question: is there anything your reader is unable to predict? I don’t mean is there anything your reader won’t predict because he or she has specified that the subject is off-limits, I mean is there anything that your reader is unable to predict because the desired answers aren’t possible with his or her method of divination? This question is intended to elicit “deep thinks” that he or she honestly may never have thought to ask before. As with the previous question on this list, the answer itself is less important than how the reader offers the answer. Watch or listen closely and other telling answers will reveal themselves.
#7) Are you a Tarot specialist, or do you use other tools?
This isn’t a trick question or even a dirty question, it’s just a good general-purpose question to ask anybody whom you’re going to trust to divine your future if only because it’s going to help you understand how the reader arrived at the answer you requested. It doesn’t matter if your reader uses only Tarot, or if your reader also uses bones, mediumship, tea leaves, oracle cards, angel communication, astrology, or numerology. None of that is important. What is important is that your reader can say how he or she is providing the message you paid to hear and can do so without apologizing for the way that he or she gets it. In this answer, an excess of confidence isn’t as concerning as a lack of confidence; after all, bad artists blame their tools – good artists blame themselves. Is this true for your Tarot reader?
#8) Are you a priest or a fortune-teller?
For some readers, a Tarot deck is just colored paper. And for some readers, their Tarot deck is akin to a Holy Bible. I don’t mean that they’re picky about who touches their deck – and that’s an entirely different discussion! – I mean the degree of religious fervor invested in their Tarot practice. For some people, Tarot is tightly wrapped up in their spiritual or religious beliefs, and they might even call themselves priests or priestesses or play the role of sacred confessor. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but if your religious or spiritual beliefs (or lack of the same) conflict with a reader’s tightly held religious or spiritual beliefs, then you’re going to have a clash of personalities and chances are excellent that the reader isn’t going to be able to find what you’re looking for. For example, a highly religious Tarot reader would probably offended by an uninspired question, just as a irreligious reader would be confused why you asked for a past-life reading to investigate karmic debt and how this impacts your cycle of reincarnation. So, save yourself and the reader a lot of trouble and find out if you’re talking to a priest or a fortune-teller.
#9) Am I on my own, or do you give advice?
This question is largely a matter of personal preference and how much you want your reader to be involved in the reason you requested his or her services. Some readers are lookers – they’ll lay down cards and show you what they say, and then leave it entirely in your hands what to do about it. And then, some readers like to give advice and explain how they believe you can change your fate. There’s nothing wrong with either position, but if you’ve got a complex question and are expecting some help with your problem-solving, then it’s helpful to know in advance if your reader is willing to do that for you.
#10) Do you read for free, or for a fee?
There’s nothing wrong with charging a fee for your services, and there’s nothing wrong with working for free. Each reader decides for him or herself what his or her time is worth and how much work (if any) he or she will do pro bono; however, the reasons that people do or don’t charge for their services can be very revealing. A pretentious, overly confident reader is something to take note of, but a reader who feels guilty about asking to be paid for the work he or she does is even more concerning because this means they lack confidence in their trade, and a lack of confidence is often synonymous with a lack of skill.
If you’ve reached the end of this list, maybe I’ve offended you? And then, maybe I’ve taught you something, too. Whether this is a matter of “know thyself” or “known thy Tarot reader,” follow the answers wherever they may take you because this knowledge about yourself or your reader will open doors you didn’t even know existed.
What do you think? Did this list force you to explore your views about how your read, or to think about a reading you’ve had before? Feel free to discuss your position in the comments below.
Blessings to you,
If you’d like, you can read my responses here: 10 Questions Every Tarot Reader Except Me Fears