If popular culture witches were to be believed, the only thing tarot is good for is telling you that a tall, dark, and handsome stranger is going to sweep you off your feet (yay!), or that a terrible, unavoidable demise awaits (boo!). Tarot has a reputation for being all about fate, and that fate usually feels pretty set in stone.
I love pop culture witches as much as the next person (The Craft, anyone?), but this limited, simplistic understanding of tarot is really not my jam!
Tarot is, in fact, an incredibly flexible tool, one that can be used not simply to predict a future that’s fixed and unchanging, but to give you insight and strategies so that you can mould that future into the shape you want.
I’m talking about using tarot readings for major personal empowerment. Isn’t that way more exciting?
Whether you’re the reader, the client, or both (reading for yourself is great!), I believe you get the most value and use out of your reading when you approach it with a desire for greater personal empowerment and agency.
And where does that start? Why, with an empowering question, of course!
This is a question that puts you in the driver’s seat, a question that focuses on what information you need and what action you can take, rather than on just predicting what’s going to happen, regardless of what you do.
So, how can you ask an empowering question? Here are my tips.
1. Avoid the yes/no trap
In my time as a reader, I have often been asked, “Will I get that job?”, “Will my ex come back?”, “Will I have another child?”. It’s human nature to want to mitigate uncertainty, to crave predictability and to reduce risk and doubt.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know for sure what was coming down the pipe? Then, we could sit back, relax, and wait for the promised outcome to fall in our laps!
Sadly, reality doesn’t really work that way. Sometimes things follow a predictable course, and sometimes they don’t. I don’t set a lot of store by making hard and fast predictions with the cards, simply because the future is so fluid.
Also, we can’t lose sight of the fact that the future is fluid because we have a role to play in it. Sure, our world and our lives are comprised of many, many factors that are outside of our influence, but I personally believe the future is a product of our agency. It’s a story we haven’t written yet, not just a book we’re just passively reading.
So, your tarot reading is a chance to get the tools and information you need to write your story. Don’t worry so much about asking will it/won’t it, yes or no, and start thinking about yourself as the author of this story! What do you need to know and do in order to guide your narrative in the direction you want it to go?
2. Take a pro-active approach
Ok, so there is one addendum to this fabulous you-as-author metaphor, and that’s the fact that when it comes to our lives, there are a lot of factors that are out of our control.
Writing your life is not so much like holing up in an isolated cabin with a pen and a blank notebook as it is like having a multi-layered conversation across a loud dinner table in a restaurant that serves food which occasionally takes you by surprise – sometimes your palate is dancing, and other times, you get a fly in your soup.
When it comes to our lives and the subject of our tarot readings, randomness and luck and the influence of powerful external forces do have a bit of a role to play. But that doesn’t mean we have to just sit back and let them walk all over us!
In order to make your tarot question empowering, it’s time to hone in on the places where you do have agency. What can you control? You guessed it! Yourself. Your mindset, your attitude, your preparedness, your decisions.
Think about it this way: we can use a tarot reading to guess at whether you’ll get that job, but if you don’t actually submit an application, your chances aren’t good. You might have a new love in your future, but if you aren’t prepared to say yes to a single date, how can it begin to blossom?
This is your moment to think about what information you need, and how you might take action and put that to good use.
If you’re searching for that new job, think about asking your tarot reader, “How can I put my best foot forward in my job search?” Or, you could ask, “What aspects of my professional self should I most emphasise to my prospective employer?” Or, “What mindset should I cultivate going into this job search?”
If you’re focused on romance, you could ask, “What action can I take to reconnect with my old lover?” or perhaps, “How can I begin to heal my broken heart?”I love it when my clients ask me, “What steps can I take to make room for new love in my life?” instead of asking me to predict when a lover will show up while they sit passively by.
All of these questions invite a response that is action-focused and practical. We’ve already acknowledged the fact that you can’t control every aspect of your future, but you can take charge of your own attitudes and behaviours. With the right attitude and course of action, you increase your chances of creating the future you really want. And what is tarot for, after all?
3. Decide how specific you want to be
Ok, so this one’s a little flexible. When it comes to deciding how much information to give to your reader or put into your question, I tend to think you get out what you put in. A general question gives a general answer.
Sometimes a general answer is what you want, but sometimes, what you’re really looking for is detailed, specific information about how to approach your situation. If that’s the case, you want to make your question detailed and specific, too.
For example, a question like, “What should I do next?” will naturally lend itself to a pretty vague answer!
On the other hand, asking “What do I do next in order to end this difficult business partnership?” or, “What do I do next in order to get that promotion I want?” will mean the advice that comes back to you will be specifically tailored for the situation you have described.
You don’t need to give your tarot reader an essay, but a little detail goes a long way to making sure your reading is specific, personal, and empowering for your situation. The more detail you put in, the more juice your reader’s intuition has to work with, and the more rich and personal your reading will be!
Whether you’re booking a reading with a tarot pro you trust, or getting ready to throw some cards for yourself, a client, or a friend, I hope these tips help you to make your reading as empowering as it can be!