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How to Phrase Effective Tarot Card Questions and Get the Most From Your Tarot Reading

By Tina Gong


If it’s your first time getting a tarot reading (or doing one for yourself) one of the most influential aspects of a tarot reading happens before the reading even starts. Asking the right kind of questions can make your tarot readings productive, illuminating and insightful - and can help steer you or your client towards their dreams and goals. When we start with a badly phrased question, chances are, we’re going to get answers that are either confusing, or even depressing.

We’re going to go through some rules to abide by when asking tarot card questions for a reading. You can even use this article as the basis for constructing your own tarot spreads in the future! The same rules generally apply towards creating positions for your tarot card spreads. Finally, we’ll also give you a list of questions by topic that we find helpful for initiating readings.

So let’s get started!

Tips for phrasing great tarot card questions

If you find your clients asking a lot of questions that fall into the “don’t” category, don’t feel stressed! Oftentimes these are newbies when it comes to getting readings, who may have very different expectations of what a tarot reading means based on what we see in movies or television. It is often enough to try and rephrase their question - use your intuition and your compassion to try and grasp at what the heart of the question really is about. Many of the questions in the don’t category tend to only scratch the surface of what it is they’re truly searching for. You’ll see this theme as we go through a few of our tips here below.

Ask questions that are open-ended

While it is often possible to ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no during a tarot reading, the tarot oftentimes gives us rather complex answers. Getting a clear yes or no - often involves delving deep into the cards symbolism to understand the reasoning behind that yes or no. The cards are rather wordy conversationalists that love to explain and ponder possibilities.

  • Don’t: “Will I get the job?”
  • Do: “How can I advance in my career?”

Ask open ended questions - Tip 1 - How to Phrase Effective Tarot Card Questions and Get the Most From Your Tarot Reading

Keep your questions focused on yourself

Other people are probably the biggest unknown we can have - and naturally, we may find ourselves tempted to ask questions about them in our tarot readings. But these questions can be both unethical as well as unproductive. Asking a tarot card question about somebody else can be an attempt to control what is uncontrollable; we don’t want to promote unhealthy ways of dealing with anxiety.

  • Don’t: “Does my crush have feelings for someone else?”
  • Do: “How can I strengthen the bond between me and my crush?”

Keep tarot card questions focused on yourself - Tip 2 - How to Phrase Effective Tarot Card Questions and Get the Most From Your Tarot Reading

Take ownership of the situation

Sometimes as humans, we are tempted to place responsibility elsewhere when things don’t go as planned - making ourselves a victim of our circumstances or other people’s actions. There are times when this is true - sometimes there are very little things that we can do to change our situation. What is also true most of the time, is that we can change the way that we react and respond to those situations. As tarot readers, we have the responsibility of steering our clients (and ourselves) towards ways of thinking that empower them, not take away their sense of agency. The way we phrase our tarot card questions can make the difference between getting a reading that helps us on our journey towards self improvement and evolution, or getting one that hinders us.

  • Don’t: “Will I win the lottery?”
  • Do: “What can I do to better my financial situation? What blocks me from financial success and how can I overcome it?”

Take ownership of the situation - Tip 3 - How to Phrase Effective Tarot Card Questions and Get the Most From Your Tarot Reading

Keep your questions focused on the present

Despite tarot’s reputation for fortune telling, a tarot reading is actually most beneficial when it is used to focus on the present moment, and one’s journey into the future - not what the future looks like. When we think about what the future holds, we need to also remember that what we do today shapes that future. A tarot reading helps clarify our choices, and gives us the understanding we need in order to make the best ones for us. Similarly, don’t use tarot readings to ask about how things in the past, or how life could have been if only we made that other choice. Those are things that we can no longer change.

  • Don’t: “Did I do the right thing?”
  • Do: “What do I need to do right now to make the most of this situation?”

Keep your questions focused on the present - Tip 4 -How to Phrase Effective Tarot Card Questions and Get the Most From Your Tarot Reading

Sample Tarot Card Questions for Every Topic

In case you need some more inspiration to get your creativity flowing, here is a list of questions that we think make for some great tarot readings. 

General Tarot Card Questions

  • What do I need to know/change right now about myself or this situation?
  • What is the biggest obstacle that stands in my way right now?
  • What lesson do I need to learn to overcome my challenges?
  • What is the biggest influence on my life right now?
  • What are my greatest strengths or weaknesses?
  • What should I be focusing on right now?

Love Tarot Card Questions

  • How can I attract a partner that will align with my highest self?
  • What stands in the way of me finding love?
  • How can I strengthen the relationship between me and my partner?
  • How can I best overcome this issue in my relationship?
  • What connects us in this relationship?

Work / Career Tarot Card Questions

  • What career or line of work can I go that will be the most fulfilling?
  • What blocks me from achieving my full potential?
  • When is the right time to make a career change?
  • What actions can I take right now that will help me further my career?
  • How can I better communicate with my current employer?

Finances Tarot Card Questions

  • What is my biggest financial obstacle right now?
  • What is my attitude towards finances? Where does that come from?
  • How can I find material success?

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How to Phrase Effective Tarot Card Questions: Infographic

How to Phrase Effective Tarot Card Questions and Get the Most From Your Tarot Reading - Infographic

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  • Ebony
    Hi I want to get a live tarot reading but I am unsure how to phrase my question/s correctly and was wondering if I was to give you an idea of what I want to know if you might be able to help me with asking the best ways to ask so I’m able to get the best possible reading I can? I hope that I’m not being to much trouble by asking, I guess I figured the only way to find out was to ask! Thank you, ebony
  • Jim
    Perfect – thank you! I had a feeling I was sometimes asking impossible questions, too complex, etc. I’m amazed at the cars I pulled with simple questions, but other times something seemed off. I thought I needed to ask correctly and now I have a good idea of how to do it.
  • Tina
    @Krystal, I would personally do something like “What did I need to learn from seeing my ex again?” I think your “Why now?” is actually a pretty good question anyway, it’s about the present, it’s open-ended – the only teeny improvement is to really include a bit more of your own agency. Great job! I hope you get the answers you need.
  • Krystal
    Hi, I am event take place in my life that has me wondering, “Why now?” To summarize, my ex and I live in the same small town. We broke up almost four years ago to the day. I have never once ran into to him anywhere since then, and today I pulled up to a convenience store in town and he was checking out. I could see him through the windows. I felt nothing, which kind or surprised me. As I was getting out of my car, he was walking out of the store. I know he saw me, but he wouldn’t make eye contact or anything. I laughed a little inside, but that’s besides the point. Lol I’m basically wondering, is there a right way to ask the cards, “Why now?”, was it a sign that I’m finally free of him emotionally, that I’m healed from the damage the relationship brought upon me or was it just a “by chance” matter. I’d like to word it right to get the most clear answer. I immediately felt like there was something behind this passing, so I figured I could ask my cards. Please help! Lol
  • Tina
    @V – I think each card will indicate probably some characteristic of work that you may find helpful. The 3 of pentacles for example could indicate a career where there is a lot of teamwork. The hierophant card could indicate something where there is a lot of structure and tradition. Even something like the 4 of cups can indicate that you may choose to be in a career where you can have some emotional distance from the work and not be too defined or consumed by it. I can’t really tell you without knowing the cards, and that’s largely also the magic of learning to interpret the reading and letting the cards speak to you.

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