How much advice should a tarot reader give to their querents?

What do you when you’re reading tarot for someone, and they want you to just tell them what to do?

This can be a challenging situation for a tarot reader to be put in.

You might feel put on the spot, or pressured to provide an answer that’s not actually in the cards.

It can also be that your style of tarot reading does not fit such a prescriptive approach.

Many tarot readers aim to empower through tarot by encouraging querents to make their own decisions and take control over their lives – which is the opposite of telling them what they should or shouldn’t do.

Reading styles aside, there are fine lines to walk as a tarot reader when it comes to supporting your querents. Tarot readings don’t replace a querent’s personal responsibility over their own lives.

But if you’re perceived as someone who has all the answers, it’s easy for some querents to try to put that onus on you.

I’ve had tarot clients flat out admit that they want me to tell them to quit their jobs. Or to break up with their partners. Or to pack up and move to another country on impulse.

You never know how life-altering a decision might be for someone – for better or for worse.

But I always remind my clients, "You know your life better than I do, and you know what you need better than I can tell you. What do you believe is best for you, given the circumstances?"

Sometimes we need to remind querents that we’re not all-seeing because they might genuinely assume we are. I once had a young woman ask me if I could see whether she would decide break up with her boyfriend in a few months’ time. I asked her why she wanted to know, and she shared that she thought I’d be able to read her thoughts.

Just as I can’t read someone’s thoughts, I also can’t peek into their bank accounts, credit scores, or personal lives. I don’t know if they’re financially secure enough to leave a job without another lined up.

I don’t know if they are walking away from partners whose lives will be upended by a sudden split.

I don’t know if one day someone will look back on a tarot reading and feel I misled them with very, very bad advice: "The tarot reader told me to quit my job and my life has been downhill ever since."

That might sound a bit dramatic, I know. But thinking of worst-case scenarios helps us to stay in our lane as practitioners.

Which is why it helps to remind querents not only that we, as tarot readers, don’t necessarily know what’s best for our querents, we also can’t make a decision on their behalf.

That’s their work to do, and that’s actually what tarot can work best for you: Showing you where the work of your life is when it comes to learning where you need to take responsibility, and embracing the crossroads you’re coming up to.

When you feel pressured by a querent to give a prescriptive answer, it’s okay to remind them that their decisions are not yours to make. And that the paths they might choose are not necessarily written into the future.

(This latter point is especially crucial if you are working with you and your querent share differing views about fate and free will. It’s not uncommon for tarot clients to assume we all believe the future is set in stone.)

From there, offer to look at the possibilities each path can offer: Compare and contrast the different choices. What happens if you choose Option A versus Option B?

What are the pros and cons? Or the risks and rewards?

You might also want to bring the reading back to the present, by exploring what it is your querent needs at this time: Why is this decision coming up? Exploring the root of unease or unhappiness through tarot can be a powerful way to bring a querent back to themselves and the choices they face.

Sometimes, the options look very clear in the cards. Whenever I can, I’ll take the opportunity to show my querents what I’m seeing if the images in our reading allow them to see open roads for themselves: Where is there ease, and where there is tension?

But other times, the answers might not be as obvious. Sometimes, I’ve seen readings where the choices either way aren’t ideal. The reality of life is that we all encounter times when we’re between a rock and a hard place.

It’s not always easy to navigate readings like this. Some querents get frustrated when they don’t get a quick, easy answer.

As tarot readers, we have to step back and see the bigger picture of our work in times like these: Reading tarot isn’t always about giving a pat answer and moving on to the next question.

It’s also about helping people to see that sometimes decisions feel murky, messy, or delayed because that’s how life is.

And those are the readings when we can help our querents understand there may be other answers they need to consider instead of the ones they expected to hear. Or, that they may need to ask different questions than the ones they thought they were facing.

We all go through times when we just wish someone would tell us what to do.

When we hit those tough crossroads, it can because there are parts of ourselves we’re still developing or growing into. And these are the qualities that tarot readers sometimes need to help our querents navigate. It’s not always easy, but it’s human.

Often, the work of our lives exists in intention, action, and personal responsibility.

Growth happens when we, as individuals, accept that we have to make our own choices at the end of the day.

Until next time,

Liz xo

p.s. If you’re ready to start working professionally this year, or you already have a tarot business that’s ready to grow, my Tarot Business Bootcamp program will show you how.

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