Recently, I have been reflecting on the various types of questions that I can ask during a tarot reading, and how the difference in phrasing can affect the answers you receive. I think this is because the kind of answers you receive depends on the attitude you position yourself in as you go into a reading. Your mental orientation, emotional state, and certain expectations will inevitably affect the outcome of a reading. That is why I think asking the right kind of questions is important…so I decided to come up with a list of questions in order to examine each type and their various implications.
- “What do I need to know about…?” This is a great question for general readings or to begin a series of readings that you do for yourself or for others. For example: “What do I need to know about this particular career decision?” or “What do I need to know about the upcoming move?” The nature of this question is informative, and you are trusting the tarot cards to encapsulate your present reality in order to provide you with a general picture of what you are asking, along with certain details that you are not currently aware of. Once you have gained more information, you can start another reading asking for advice, or for more clarification.
- “Why?” Starting your question with “Why?” is a great way to be self-reflective. For example, “Why am I angry when so-and-so did this to me?” or “Why am I always so nervous in front of a crowd?” The question “Why” allows you get to the bottom of things. However, I do feel that the focus should always be on the self instead of others, because the moment you start to question the actions of others, you are entering a mode of passivity that is not really helpful because ultimately, you want to be able to move forward from a negative experience. You are limiting yourself to be the “receiver” of the actions of others, and the mentality implicated by this question is that you lack control of your own life. I think it’s crucial for us to understand that… “I” am the only one “I” can control, and everything beyond “I” is beyond our control. To recognize that, I feel, is the first step towards empowerment, self-knowledge and healing.
- “How?” The nature of this question is explorative and constructive. For example, “How should I deal with the stress I am experiencing?” or “How can I achieve a better relationship standing with so-and-so?” I love the “How?” questions because it allows the cards to offer you insights and practical steps towards improvement and empowerment. Asking “how” also conveys an attitude of determined and a desire for results. It is more action-oriented and it is more about the attempt to navigate through your current situation in a constructive, positive way. It also allows you to explore your own skill set and capabilities and reveals to you what you are able to do–that you may not have known before you started the reading! More often than not, we are not as powerless as we think we are.
- “Should I…?” The nature of this question pertains to decision making. It speaks to a current hesitation or dilemma that must be resolved. For example: “Should I accept this job offer?” or “Should I tell my partner about my past?” etc. I do have my doubts about this question, though, because the process attached to this question seems to lack an explorative and reflective component. It is essentially a yes-or-no question, and I tend to shy away from questions of that nature because I believe a definite “yes” or a definite “no” cannot be communicated through the tarot cards, and that, instead, a confidant yes or a confidant no has to come from within. It has to emerge internally and consciously and from a place of understanding as well as self-knowing. Tarot can show you the pros and cons of your options, help you reflect logically and intuitively on the decisions you have to make, and offer you different perspectives. The one thing I feel you cannot expect tarot to do is to make your decision for you.
- “Will…?” Even though the nature of this question is predictive, I don’t use tarot cards to predict the future in any way, because I believe in the power of the Now. Like the “Should?” questions, “Will?” questions have the risk of becoming a yes/no question. There is nothing wrong with wanting a definite answer, but it can become limiting because, more often than not, a yes/no question fails to challenge one’s perspective and offer more insight. That is why when I ask this question, it involves logical and intuitive speculation of the future “direction” based on the Now. It involves a person-centred approach in which, once again, we focus on the “self” instead of factors we cannot control. For example, I will ask “Will this job bring me more opportunities to improve my interpersonal skills?” instead of “Will my coworkers be nice to me in this new job?” While I do not believe in predicting the future, I think it is good to be prepared and be aware of the road ahead, as well as the possible outcomes of your plans and actions.
Lacking a well-rounded, conclusive ending. But given that this is a list, I think I can get away with it…haha.