What is the question?
The most important part of any Tarot reading (in my opinion) is the question.
What is it you that you, or your client want to know?
I read for a young client the other day who had a list of questions about job, boyfriend. Clear questions that would help her shape the next year of her life. She had recently been to a different Tarot reader who had focused on her life in the future, marriage and middle age. Whilst much of what this tarot reader said may well have been astute and inspired- it didn't actually help, or answer my clients questions.
Sometimes it is the client that causes the problem. "When will Simon fall in love with me?" Is a closed frame question I have to unpick before I can read because an hour can not be be filled by saying "He won't".
So lets focus on getting the question right, whether for yourself or a client.
My first point of consideration is am I prepared to read for the general question? Everyone's ethics will be slightly different. I am sharing my current ethics for interest, not to suggest they suit everyone.
Third party questions (questions about some one other than the client) I am happy to read for these as long as they are focused on my clients relationship with the other person. After all, any Tarot reading is likely to be about relationships (love, family, friends, work) some where along the line.
Health. I always stipulate that anyone worried about health should see their health care practitioner. I will read for how to best improve/support health, but only from a holistic point of view. Never to predict, diagnose, or interfere with the current health care.
The impact of hearing the answer. I always consider whether the answer could cause harm to a client. Someone in a vulnerable state could ask me a question about health, money, or loved ones & if the answer is very negative my reading could cause them harm. I have no "rules" for this, just an awareness that I believe I am responsible for how my reading affects my client. I know not all readers work this way, some believing the tarot gives the right message no matter how traumatic. This is my choice, and it works for me.
Phrasing the question
Once I have decided I will read for a question I then believe it is my job to phrase that question for two purposes;
One that the tarot can easily answer.
One that will provide my client with the guidance they are requesting.
"Will I ever get a good job?"
Can be re-written as
"What job would give me the best prospects?"
"Will Mark come back to me?"
Can be used as part of a bigger, multi layered reading;
"Could mark come back to me?
What can I best do to make that happen?
Is it in my best interests to have a relationship with Mark?"
"Is my partner having an affair?"
A simple question, the answer of which may be very defeating, so perhaps;
"Is my husband having an affair, and why is my husband having an affair?"
I have read for this question many (and many!) times, and the why part of the reading is the one that helps the partner get some perspective on the situation, find some help to guide her.
We will all have our own idea of difficult questions.
Knowing what you find hard and planning for how you will deal with it is the only way forward.
I am quite happy with the "I don't have a question, just tell me what's going on" types, and also those that see me with a clear list of questions. If one of these causes problems for you make sure you have decided in advance which spreads you could use.
Personally I struggle with questions that reflect my own life, where I want the cards to offer a clear and helpful "good ending". I work hard to switch off any personal feelings and connect only with the cards.
Once the reading is over, and the cards put away, I may then offer some personal connection with the client if the reading has been emotionally difficult. But I have a rule to never do this when the cards are out, when the cards are out I am only reading cards, not offering personal reflection.
As always with my blogs I share this not to suggest my way is right, but to share what works for me and invite you to share what works for you in the comments. That way we can all learn from each other.