- 1. Every reader is different. Find one you vibe with.
Not every tarot reader is going to practice in the exact same way. Some might ask you to shuffle the cards, some might prefer a conversation before your reading, some might ask you to just sit in silence — and that’s OK.
“There’s no one way to read tarot,” says Ashley Collom, 27, a tarot card reader in Austin, Texas. “Be willing to take someone’s lead. The reader has a strategy.”
But since tarot is about establishing trust between yourself and your reader, the key is finding somebody with similar energy and purpose.
“With any type of divination, it’s really important to vibe with or to like or to find similarities with this person,” says Marguerite Gioia Insolia, 35, a Los Angeles-based reader. “It’s about that person’s intention and your intention in your reading. It can really change the information you get. It’s not that the cards themselves are going to say something different, it’s about the translation.”
*Note/Amythyst... This also applies to clients, every client is different. Not every reader can read for every client, and it's okay to be honest and upfront about that. There have been a handful of times when I realized that this just wasn't going to work with this individual, whether it was just a conflict with personalities, or energy, or just a bad vibe "spirit says leave this one alone" kind of thing. It's okay for a reader to say, "I'm sorry, I just can't read for you, I think it would be in your best interest to find another reader", and this is the ethical thing to do.
- 2. Show up with an open-ended question.
A yes-no question can often “stump the reading,” according to Collom. She instead recommends coming with a question that's less restrictive. That way, you’re opening yourself up to a conversation with your reader that’s more rich and nuanced.
“Usually this means your question starts with a ‘what’ or ‘how,’” she says. “For example, if someone wants to know, ‘Am I going to get married to so-and-so?’ The way to make that open-ended is, ‘What do I need to know to enter a happy marriage with so-and-so?’ It creates a more rounded-out conversation.”
However, if you really are dying to know something specific, just know that type of question might not lead to a simple answer.
“Because tarot is so detailed and the deck (has) all facets of life within it, you can really ask any question,” says Insolia. Your answer just might not boil down to something as straightforward as “choose that.”
*Note/Amythyst... 1) You can do yes/no questions, designating specific cards for 'yes' and specific cards for 'no', such as even numbered cards for yes and odd numbered cards for no, but you know what, a pendulum works just as well for this and is actually the more in-tune divination tool for yes/no questions. 2) Sometimes no question is needed, and I've done incredible readings with the opening line to spirit: "Show me what this person needs to know". 3) Be prepared for a client to not be happy with the answer they get for very specific questions. Sometimes a client is not looking for an answer to a question; they're looking for validation to the answer they want.
- 3. Don't like what you hear? You have the power to change it.
Do not feel crippled with fear if your reading didn’t contain good news. As Insolia says, “Tarot doesn’t have any power over you.”
“The reading is a timestamp of what’s going on energetically around you, your circumstances and what you’re asking about,” she adds. “People might walk out thinking they have no power or agency over these events in my life, but that’s never true. You always have the ability to change how things are going to happen.”
*Note/Amythyst... This is absolutely true. The future is not set in stone, it's fluid, always fluctuating and changing with the help of our free will. This is a disclosure that I've decided to include with every reading from now on:
"Our future is not set in stone, it's fluid, and it keeps evolving according to choices that we make and directions that we take. Always remember this, that whatever answer you are given with any form of divination, there is always the probability that people's decisions and deliberate changes that they make in their lives, or ideas, or plans can alter the future. So often people seem to resign themselves to a divination outcome as being the last and final word on what's going to happen in their life. It is not. It only shows you a picture of how things are NOW, at this moment."
Also, just to add, a tarot reading is timeless. It can sit at a blog post for five years and suddenly one day an individual will stumble upon it, know that this is the moment in life that you need to hear this message, and it will be relevant for you.
- 4. Time-related questions are tricky to answer.
While many of us want to know if something will happen in the future, sometimes the more urgent question is when. But tarot readers might not have those answers.
“Time is tricky because time is a social construct,” Collom says. “There are ways to tell or give people hints about time, (and) there are certain suits that correlate to certain times, but I’m always hesitant to give people time frames just because it is such an ephemeral thing.”
“Also, very rarely (does) giving someone a time frame makes them feel empowered,” she adds. “It makes them feel stressed out or claustrophobic about an impending time frame.”
*Note/Amythyst... I do agree, time is a tricky thing to predict, because as we've already established, the future is fluid and there are so many things that can change the outcome before a predicted date. I do have to say, that on those rare occasions that timing makes itself known to me, it always comes as seasons, nature's time clock.
- 5. Be forthcoming.
Maybe you’re holding back a little as you establish trust with your reader. (Understandable.) Or maybe you think you need to be secretive so your reader can “prove themselves.” (Don’t be that person.) Just know that the more you share with your reader, the more your reader will share with you.
“You don’t have to be cut off from giving detail,” Insolia says. “So if you ask, ‘What’s going on in my relationship right now?’ I can say, ‘It started off good, but now there’s a lot of confusion going on. These are the possibilities for the future.’ But if you say, ‘Well, he had an affair,’ I can look more deeply into what happened there.”
Collom agrees: “There’s an element of people feeling like they need to be mystic or esoteric about the process, and if we could just get into the nitty-gritty faster — ‘This is what I want to know, this is why I want to know it and this is what I’m feeling’ — we can dig into it much faster. It’s much more effective to have and communicate clear takeaways you want out of the reading.”
*Note/Amythyst... I have to disagree with this one. Knowing exact details makes me feel boxed in as a reader, it's somehow restrictive for me. I get the best readings when I know *Nothing*. "Let the cards tell the story," I always say, instead of having the story fed to the cards. As an example, if there is problems in your relationship and the cause is an affair -- the cards will tell you this. Oh, ya, in no uncertain terms and very early into the reading.
- 6. The death and devil cards are not (usually) omens.
So your reader pulled some cards that look scary. Don’t freak out. They aren’t what you think they are.
“The death card can be about physical death, sure, but that’s so, so, so rare,” Insolia says. “It’s really about transformation. Let’s say you’re asking about your relationship and the death card comes up. It doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship is over. It’s that there’s a transformation happening and there’s going to be renewal on the other side.”
And the devil card?
“That’s about temptations — any place in your life where you know you need to break that pattern and you’re not,” she explains. “It’s more of a reminder of you being more authentic and true to yourself.”
*Note/Amythyst... I have to say that this is spot on, I agree completely. I also have to add that the story these two dramatic cards have to tell will be expanded upon with the cards surrounding them. And as an intuitive reader, someone who doesn't believe in just a set meaning for the cards, but the cards as a trigger for my own clairvoyance, I have seen unusual things through the face of these cards. As an example, the major arcana card Death has actually given me physical goosebumps as I realized that this card was representing a third party voyeur to someone's life, a third party that didn't have their best interest at heart. Everything comes, after all, not from the paper cards laying on the table, but from the mind and intuition of the reader.
- 7. Tarot often helps confirm what you already know.
Sometimes people seek guidance from others to validate what their gut is already telling them. Tarot readings can help with that, too, Insolia says.
“For a lot of us, we already know the answers to a lot of our questions. But what tarot can do is give you this beautiful affirmation to build confidence in yourself, to build intuition, to start trusting yourself. And sometimes that’s all we need.”
*Note/Amythyst... I totally agree. I've read for several people who were looking for validation, and if this is helpful to them, then I consider the reading a good one. And this is an excellent way to end this blog post.
author: Bryanno Cappadona