Two Types of Tarot Readings

When you’re starting out doing tarot readings, it’s important to remember that there are two basic types of readings, and that these readings are very different.

  • The Question

Many Tarot readings center around a question that the querent has asked. Your entire reading will focus on this question and how each card and each location deals with that issue.

  • The General Reading

Sometimes the querent just wants a general reading. “Do a tarot reading for me.” In this case you should gear the reading more towards things that have affected or are still affecting the querent, and how they can best respond to the situation.

The similarities:

Whenever doing a tarot reading, I like to focus on a few things:

  • Querent participation

    • Have the querent think of their question (if they have one) and shuffle the cards
    • If the querent has a question and is comfortable, ask them to say the question out loud.
    • As you progress through each card, confirm with the querent on the meaning. This will alow you to tweak not only the meaning for that card, but will give you insights to use with each following card.
  • Your role as the reader

    • Do not try to ‘predict the future’ or seem ‘mystical’. The best tarot readings are those which focus on how the querent can best react to the issues in his or her life.
    • Remember that you are neither omnipotent nor omniscient. Acting like you have some mystical key to the power of the universe because you spent $19.95 at Barnes and Nobles and checked out a book from the library DOES NOT add to your credibility as a reader.
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The Differences:

  • What Spreads you can use

    • General readings

      • For a general reading with somebody new, I always use the Celtic Cross spread. I’m not saying that this is the best spread, or even my favorite, but it lends itself very well to a general reading, and it gives you many opportunities for feedback along the way, and I always find that I can pull things together into a reading that they will be happy with by the end.
    • Question Readings

      • When somebody has a specific question, I tend to use fewer cards – especially if they’re willing to state the question and I have some idea where the question is going. I find that a five card spread is usually the best for one question, and I do multiple 3 card spreads if they have many.
  • Your goals

    • General reading

      • Your main goal in the beginning of a general reading should be on reading the current situation, including the past. Deal with the forces that are at work in the querent’s life, and what attitudes or actions will best help them in dealing with these forces. This is, by nature, very general, and does not have to be given in the form of advice.
    • Question

      • Your goal in a question reading should be to answer the querent’s question without telling them what to do. Many querents will ask you some pretty direct questions, and they will want specific answers (I once had a querent tell me that she was going to have her boyfriend over for pizza and a movie, and wanted me to help her choose the pizza size and toppings, and pick the movie for them to watch). Remember that the Tarot is a guide and not a manual. Your job as a reader is to give guidance to the querent, and NOT to tell them what to do. I’m going to repeat this because it is important: DO NOT SPECIFICALLY TELL YOUR CLIENT WHAT TO DO.
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by Charles Howell