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Empower Your Readings! How to frame questions for the tarot (with example questions you can take with you to your next appointment!)

“Asking the proper question is the central action of transformation—in fairy tales, in analysis, and in individuation. The key question causes germination of consciousness. The properly shaped question always emanates from an essential curiosity about what stands behind. Questions are the keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to swing open.”—Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D., Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

One of the number ONE questions/problems I face as a reader: being confronted with a client that says, “I’m not quite sure how to phrase my question… can you help?” or “I’m not sure if I CAN ask this…” or “How do I ask this?”

Trust me, I’d rather people ask me about phrasing their questions: it shows that they know the power of a question, rather than just answers. Because if you ask the right questions of the tarot, miraculous things can happen, and your experience with the tarot will be that much more richer and deeper.

There’s a quote that says (roughly paraphrased), “It’s not the answers, but you asking the right questions.” because really, how can you get the best answers if you’re not asking the right questions? You can’t.

So here’s some ways that you can phrase questions for the tarot that will make for an enhanced and empowered tarot experience.

Less “will/if/yes/no” questions, more “what/how/why/[timing inclusive]” questions. What do I mean by this? Tarot is just simply not a great divination tool for yes or no questions (though, yes, there is TECHNICALLY a way to ask and/or specific spreads you can use to accommodate yes or no questions… I just tend to shy away from them.) Using tarot to answer a yes/no question to me is like using a screwdriver when you really need an electric drill: yeah, it will get the job done, but it probably will be a sloppy or messier result, because you didn’t use the right tool for the job.

Tarot tends to be very focused on motivation: why people do what they do, when they do it. And if you don’t have a question of the tarot (unlikely, since most people have lots of questions if they are seeking a reading!), good general questions are “What can tarot tell me about _____?” or “What do I need to know right now?”

If you have a time-sensitive question, bake it into the phrasing of the question: “What can I do to get X job in X months?” instead of “Will I get the job? When?”

Don’t know what to ask of the cards? Bring the following questions to your next tarot appointment… they can be modified to suit your needs, and feel free to ask for help from your tarot reader to rephrase/reframe to your liking for best results!

What questions

  • What is this person’s behavior of [insert irritant here] trying to teach me?
  • What is it about ____ that caused me to ____?
  • What do I need to know about _____?
  • What is my best course of action right now?
  • What are some potential pitfalls of [name of situation]?

Why questions

  • Why didn’t I get hired for that job?
  • Why is [name of situation/person] upsetting me? Why are they upsetting me REALLY?
  • Why am I feeling stuck? (suggested follow up: How do I get unstuck?)

Who questions

  • Who can help me with _______?

How questions

  • How can I better relate to my partner?
  • How is [name of person] my light mirror or dark mirror? Do I practice or am I capable of their behavior in a similar or different situation? [modified from Are You a Spiritual Mean Girl?]
  • I’m looking for a new relationship. How will I know when I find the right person?


When you know you need a tarot reading, but are unsure of what to ask….

  • What do I need to know right now?
  • What situation needs the most of my attention?

I hope this list of sample questions helps serve you. Remember, the hallmark of a good tarot reading is you leaving empowered and in control of your destiny: because let’s face it, you’re the only one who really is!


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©2016 Hilary Haggerty | Tarot by Hilary

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