What NOT to Ask a Tarot Reader


Picture it – you’ve just been called back for your tarot reading. Madame Calpurnia (or whoever) appears draped in vivid colors that reflect in her enormous crystal ball. Wild eyes and wilder jewelry draw you deeper into her mystical atmosphere. The scent of incense wafts through the air as Tibetan singing bowls hum quietly in the background.

This is it. The reading you’ve been waiting for. The moment you come face to face…with destiny.

Your heart beats like a machine gun against your rib cage as Madame Calpurnia shuffles her deck of tattered cards then traps you in her steely gaze.

“What is it that you ask of the cards,” she asks in her heavily accented voice.

And you answer….


It’s All About the Question

We’ve all had those moments when our brains froze at a crucial moment, and all of our carefully-planned thoughts abandoned us when we needed them most. It’s very common when getting a tarot reading–especially if you’re paying for it–do simply forget all the questions you meant to ask.

Writing down your questions before-hand can help if you’ve scheduled your reading in advance, but what about when you get a reading on a whim? What should you ask?

We are going to dig deeper into what kind of questions to ask your profession reader in a future article. Today, however, I’d like to address the kind of questions you really shouldn’t bring to a tarot reader. The cards are a wonderful source of insight, and can provide a great amount of information in a very limited time frame. But the cards have their limitations, and knowing these limitations will prevent you from running down the clock with questions no ethical reader would dare to answer using tarot or oracle cards.

Bad Question/Better Question

The Yes/No Question: I like to call this one “the reading killer.” A question like “will my boyfriend propose” might seem like a good question on the surface, but the realistic answer most decks is going to give is “maybe.” Predicting the future, as I have discussed before, is tricky business even for the most experienced readers. Once you consider free will and the multitude of factors that could come into play, predicting the future is like trying to calculate where a single leaf is going to land after a hurricane. A better question would be “what actions can I take to create the best outcome (up to and including marriage) with my current boyfriend?” Or maybe, “what are the positives and negatives of pursuing a long-term relationship with my current boyfriend?”

The “You’re Cheaper than a Doctor (or Lawyer or Accountant)” Question: I equate asking your tarot reason specific health questions to asking your plumber to do a colonoscopy. Obviously, you should not ask your tarot reader for specific medical, legal, or other specialty advice they are not qualified to give. Questions like “should I sue?” or “is it benign?” are not going to get a serious response from any ethical reader. All they can give you is their personal opinion, informed by the cards. And this is never ever ever going to be an adequate substitute for professional legal, medical, or financial guidance.

The Undercover Spy Question: Often, a client’s questions will have nothing whatsoever to do with themselves. Instead, questions like “is my kid using again?” or “why can’t my spouse make more money?” pop up. These questions, while they may affect the client’s life, are not specifically about the client and require the reader to discuss matters about another person without their consent. This is an ethical problem for the reader and can create an awkward dilemma for the reader and the cards. If you as a client are concerned about someone close to you, a better option would be to either bring the person along so they can give consent to the reader, or reframe the questions so that they are about you and your part in the situation. For example, “what can I do to help my kid maintain their sobriety?” or “if my spouse’s income does not increase, what are my best options?”

The Dreaded Soulmate Question: As a reader, I have to confess that I hate the Soulmate question. I cringe when I hear it, because I know the questioner is often going to ask more and more follow-ups trying to narrow down specifics. For instance, “when am I going to find my soulmate?” is often followed up with “is it in the next six months?” and then “do I already know him/her?” Honestly, I keep expecting someone to ask me for a photo and email address! Personally, I don’t like the concept of soulmates in general; it’s too limiting and oppressive. I prefer “soul-pals” — people who your soul knows are going to be great to spend time with. There are many soul-pals hanging around, ready to click with you at the right time and the right place. Spending your life obsessing on a SoulMate ™ just leads to drama and unrealistic expectations. A better alternative will be “what do I need to do to bring love and companionship into my life?” (And you may want to be specific about human companionship, because pets make awesome soul-pals–and they are much less work than their human counterparts!)

The Give Me Permission (Even Though I Know I Shouldn’t Do It) Question: Sometimes, a client will come into the reading already knowing the answer to the question they want to ask. And since the answer their heart, mind, and soul are giving them is an answer they don’t like, they decide (either consciously or unconsciously) to ask for a second opinion. First of all, the response of a tarot or oracle reading is never going to supercede the wisdom of your own heart, mind, and soul. You came into these life with certain internal tools to guide you; ignoring their wisdom because you don’t like what it has to say is, well, kinda bratty. The cards are not your indulgent uncle who sneaks you candy before dinner when your parents are not looking and they are not a reprieve from personal responsibility. “The cards told me I could” is not going to fly in the Karmic Court of Appeals. A better use of your time (and the cards’ wisdom) would be to ask either why this is the best route or how you can come to peace with an answer you don’t like.

The King/Queen of Persistance Question: This is the bastard step-child of the Give Me Permission question. If the Give Me Permission goes to the indulgent uncle for permission, the King/Queen of Persistance is gonna ask everybody until somebody gives them an answer they like. Back when I before I started reading in earnest, I used to get regular readings from my friend Miss Dawn. I was the Bratty Princess of Persistant Questioning back in those days, and eventually Dawn (and her cards) just shut me down and refused to answer my (repeated) questions. In truth, I was the emotional equivalent of a six year old asking “can I have a pony?” every three minutes. It’s annoying, it’s pointless, and if you’re paying for readings, it’s downright expensive and wasteful. As my dear friend Chris always said, “If three people tell you you’re dead, you might want to sit down.” A better option to asking the same question over and over to get a different response? If the cards tell you three times that you’re dead, sit down please.

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Peace and Love,


Image by Gift Habeshaw at Unsplash.com.

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