How to Ask the Best Tarot Questions
To get accurate, specific, relevant, and transformative messages through Tarot or Oracle cards, we have to ask the right questions. Whether you’re a Tarot newbie or you’re trying to think of a question to ask during a Tarot reading, my list below will give you some inspiration.
Here’s the criteria I use when I formulate a question for a client (or when I help a client rephrase a question). I also use these guidelines when I’m reading the cards for myself.
- Use the most specific language you can manage. Narrow things down.
Don’t ask: “Which career path is right for me?”
Do ask: “Is career X the right option for my highest good and healing?”
- Keep your questions self-focused. Asking about others is a form of prying. Sometimes we try to ask questions about others as a way, consciously or unconsciously, of manipulating or controlling them. Don’t do this! It’s super unethical. Instead, concentrate on yourself.
Don’t ask: “Is my ex dating someone else?” or “Is my partner cheating on me?”
Do ask: “Is it in my best interest to get back together with my ex?” or “Is my current relationship based on honesty and transparency?”
- Remember to ask time-specific questions. Instead of dwelling on past events or asking if something in the past could’ve been different, focus on the present and/or your journey into the future.
Don’t ask: “When I said/did X in the past, was that the right thing?” or “How could so-and-so betray me ten years ago?”
Do ask: “What would be helpful for me to know about myself right now?” or “What do I need to learn about where I’m placing my trust?”
- Take responsibility for yourself. Don’t blame or project onto others. Ask questions that will help you in your personal journey of evolution and self-growth.
Don’t ask: “Why did so-and-so steal that promotion from me?” or “Why does my friend X have more money than me?”
Do ask: “What can I do to contribute positively to my job and become an irreplaceable employee?” or “I need guidance about the state of my finances and how I can open up to receive more abundance from the universe.”
*Oh, and remember that Tarot cards like to give us complex, multilayered answers. They like to engage in rich conversation. Don’t ask yes/no questions! Reserve those for another divination tool that works well with yes/no queries, like a pendulum.
The 20 Questions
Now that you know how to phrase your own useful, precise, incisive questions — go read for yourself! It also helps to ground yourself, meditate, and breathe for a short while before asking any question. If you do this, your own spirit guides will help you in phrasing the right question for any particular moment.
While you practice coming up with your own questions, here’s my list of 20:
- What do I most need to know about myself [or situation X] right now?
- What do I need to do to move beyond [situation X or Y]?
- What’s my biggest obstacle right now? (And how can I solve it or move past it?)
- Why am I feeling stuck in my [career, relationship, friendship, income, etc]?
- What’s the lesson for me in this situation/event/relationship?
- Is this person [my partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/lover] fully aligned with my energy, desires, and dreams for the future?
- Is my current relationship based on trust, mutual respect, honesty, and full disclosure?
- Am I seeing my partner fully, as he or she really is?
- Is it in my highest good to walk away from this relationship right now?
- Is it in my highest good to work through this relationship issue (by seeking external help, therapy, counseling, etc)?
- Is career or job X suitable for me right now?
- How can I advance in my career and have a positive impact on my field/discipline/industry?
- How can I communicate clearly with my boss/colleague/investor/business partner?
- Is now the right time to make a career change?
- How can I better align my career/job with my soul purpose?
- How can I open myself up to receive more abundance from the universe?
- What’s my biggest financial obstacle or challenge right now?
- What kind of financial mindset and attitude have I inherited from my family? If it isn’t particularly helpful, how can I let go of it?
- Why do I believe I’m not worthy of material success?
- What is my current debt/scarcity trying to teach me?
You Got a Negative Card – Now What?
Cards like The Devil, Death, and the Hanged Man get a bad rap. They’re often perceived as negative, depressing, ominous, or threatening cards. But, they’re not! Every single card in the Tarot deck has powerful lessons to teach us, and every card has an important and empowering message to deliver.
So, if you asked “Is my current relationship aligned with who I really am?” (or some other fantastic question) and you pulled The Devil… DO NOT FRET! And don’t panic. You can try one of these three things to figure out what this card is trying to tell you.
- Use your senses and sensations to understand the card.
Let’s use the above example. You asked about your relationship and got The Devil. Does this mean your partner is the devil? No. Does this mean you have to pack your bags and leave today? No. However, such a potent card definitely brings with it an important message for you. If your rational mind is freaking out, thinking there’s no way this card could be good in any way, slow down a little bit. Sidestep your analytical mind and use your senses to explore the card’s meaning.
For instance, when you gaze deeply into the card, what stands out to you? Is it the central figure, The Devil? Or one of the human figures? Or a detail in the background? Once you’ve identified this, you can ask: how does this figure or image on the card make me feel? When/where have I felt this feeling before in my life? Is it possible that this card — and therefore my current relationship — is reminding me of another time in my life?
You can go directly into your gut to feel what the card has to say. Do you feel a sense of fear or dread in your gut? Or excitement? Or numbness? Just identify your sensations and feelings, without judging them. If you feel fear or any other negative emotion, you can ask: where and when in my relationship do I feel this emotion? What can I do or change to release this emotion and improve my relationship?
- Remember the card is ultimately about YOU — not about anyone or anything else.
If you’ve pulled The Devil for a relationship question, you might be tempted to judge your partner: “of course it’s him/her! I knew it!” But… slow your horses! This card actually has something to say about you, because you’re the one who pulled it.
Is the card saying YOU are The Devil? No. But the card is asking you to consider where and how you’ve given up your power in this relationship. Are you holding yourself back due to fear? Do you live in constant worry that your partner will leave or stop loving you? If so, why? How can you work on your sense of confidence, self-worth, and empowerment to release these fears and have a more joyful relationship?
- Find the silver lining.
Every Tarot card has a positive message. Every Tarot card invites us, in some specific way, to become happier, freer, healthier, and more aligned with who we really are. This is true of The Devil as well, who invites us to cultivate more playfulness in our lives. See, that’s not scary at all! Perhaps you pulled The Devil because your relationship just needs a bit of excitement or a renewed sense of playfulness.
Always look for the positive elements and qualities of a specific card — they are always there, even if the card looks “scary” or intimidating on the surface.
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