“Asking the right question can change your life.”
- Wald Amberstone
Think about that quote from Wald Amberstone for a second. We’ll come back to it.
When people first come to me for a reading, I always ask them if they have a question, or a topic they’d like to focus on.
“Should I tell you what it is?” People often ask.
“Of course!” I say. Being clear about what someone wants to know helps me to deliver a clear, relevant reading. It also helps me to ensure you get the most out of the experience.
But this is also where communication can become a challenge for tarot readers, astrologers, and other folks who are doing this kind of work.
Not everyone is willing to put a question on the table – even if they have one. I think part of this comes from still viewing tarot as a parlor trick. People want to test the reader to see how good they are, which can turn the reading into a guessing game.
But why waste your time and money trying to get a reader to figure out what you want to ask when you already know your question?
What you need is an answer, right? So find a reader you trust, and let them take it from here.
“Do I have to have a question?” Some people want to know.
Yes and no. Some readers will not read for you without one. I cut my teeth on open readings – readings with no question or clear goal in mind – so I will, because I’m totally comfortable in that zone.
But if you do have a question, then I always recommend starting with that. Because if you’re waiting to see if it might come up on its own, and it doesn’t, well, then you’re still hanging out with whatever confusion or ambiguity you’re experiencing at the time.
Why does a question matter so much? Because it determines the focus and context of the reading.
And the way the question is phrased – the words, the language, the clarity – matters, too, because I need to understand what you’re looking to find out.
For people who are expecting psychic readings, it may seem like I’m fishing for information when I ask follow-up questions. For example, if you say, “I really want to know about my love life this year. What do you see?” I might ask:
Are you single?
And…what are hoping to get out of your love life?
Love means a lot of different things. It is a fluid concept, based on what you want or need at the time. Some people want a long-term relationship. Some want to date as much as possible. Some want to know if their loveless relationship will finally end this year.
All of these are questions in themselves, better served not by asking, “What’s coming up for my love life this year?” but instead getting more specific.
I don’t need to know your whole life story to read for you, but I do need to know what I’m looking for in the cards, or in your astrology if we’re looking at your chart. The question will influence the interpretation – the reading – I’m able to give you.
Otherwise, we just have three random cards on the table that could mean pretty much anything.
So let’s say we are looking at love, and the Death card appears.
Now, if leave this question as-is and decide to just look at your love life for the year-ahead, well, the Death card doesn’t really bode well. I would say not much is happening at all.
But if instead I dig a little deeper and we get really specific on your question, and it turns out that what you really want to know is whether this is the right year to divorce your spouse, well, now the Death card takes on a whole new meaning.
Which is why there is a huge difference between asking, “What’s in store for my love life this year?” versus, “I want a divorce. Is it the time? What do I need to know?”
You would be surprised how many times things get lost in translation when readers don’t insist on direct communication. This was a lesson I learned early on in my tarot days, but one that continues to resurface.
A woman had asked about whether a family conflict would be resolved. I didn’t press for further details, just flipped the cards. Right away, the energy shifted – I had said something that didn’t resonate.
“I’m getting a divorce,” she said.
Ah, well, that’s much more specific than a family conflict, isn’t it? And the resolution she was seeking wasn’t for anyone to kiss and make up, but about custody of her children.
I realized I’d made a mistake in not specifying what resolution meant for her, and what the nature of the conflict was.
The same happens in astrology. People want to know whether they have favourable alignments in the future for career transitions, business launches, travel, writing projects, wedding plans – you name it.
And again, I need to look for supportive, or challenging, astrological energies that will either support or hinder someone’s plans – so I need to know what their goals are.
Call your plans what they are.
Don’t say you’re planning a project when you’re really planning a launch party for your new business.
Don’t say you’re making a change in your relationship when you’re really getting married.
Don’t say you’re making a career transition when you’re really taking a year off to meditate on a beach in Australia.
Be clear. Be direct. Avoid vague, generic language. It helps me get to the heart of what you want to know.
Without that clarity, you could end up with a reading that doesn’t feel very helpful. Start with a vague intention, leave with a vague answer.
Remember that as a reader, I have no idea what is motivating you to ask your question. I have no idea what the background story is, or what you’re up against, or how much a situation may or may not be in your control.
And think back to Wald Amberstone’s quote from earlier: Asking the right question can change your life.
I don’t say that to put pressure on perfecting the perfect statement. It’s not about phrasing something perfectly, but about you and your tarot reader, astrologer, or whoever else both being clear on what it is you want to accomplish by the end of your reading.
Because imagine what would happen if you had the answer you needed. Imagine the shift in energy you would experience if you could lift the veil on any confusion, any lack of clarity you were experiencing. Imagine the plans you could start making if you knew what was possible.
The right question helps things move ahead. Confusion only keeps you stuck.
Until next time,
p.s. Are you an aspiring tarot reader who needs help getting clear and comfortable with your tarot cards? You might be interested in my free masterclass ...