Q&A with Joy: The Questionless Querent

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

fortune-telling-machineA colleague of mine who is a tarot reader emailed me with a couple questions recently.

“What do you do about a client who just asks a general ‘what do I need to know?'”

“What about someone you read for but they ask every day for a new reading on the same question?”

This person’s questions had some additional tweaks that were unique to the situation, but generally I thought a lot of readers have to eventually figure out answers for these common occurrences.

All I can do is share the solutions I’ve come up with.


Here are my answers:

No Question

If someone doesn’t have a question, I do the first operation of the Opening of the Key (I teach this spread in my esoteric tarot class). It is general enough to give an overview and get them talking about whatever it is they want to know, and then has a few steps that lets it get more detailed as we go.

But before I started using this spread with clients, or if I’m in an environment (like a party) where the readings have to be short and quick, I simply refuse to do readings without questions.

I say, “A question helps to focus the reading and keep it on track. Is there anything you want advice about, need insight into, or do you have a project or event that you want to know how it’s going to work out?” That usually gets people focusing in, and even if they just answer, “my career,” then I say, “so what’s going on with your career?” Or not–I have found over the years that usually just the category is enough to keep the reading focused.

Alternately, sometimes I might say, “In tarot we need a question,” or, “Tarot readers are trained to develop helpful questions” and then work with the client to develop a useful question.

Note that readers who are psychic, psychic mediums, channels or similar do not use a question to start a reading. I don’t use any of those modalities, so I rely on a question to give context and structure to the reading. I find the use of a question to be empowering to the querent, so that they are not just putting themselves at the mercy of the reader (most readers being trustworthy, but it is another way to prevent a bad reader from completely manipulating the situation).

Also, there is sometimes the fear on the part of the querent that the Universe has some special message for them and they will miss out on it if they ask a question. I just let them know that if anything important needs to come through, it will. And I have plenty of examples to demonstrate that this happens regularly!

New Day Same Question

I think it’s totally fine to tell someone that you will only read on a question once unless there are new developments. Developments can happen pretty frequently, so when the broken record starts repeating, reply by asking what’s new. Remember that small questions with a small time frame will produce different types of answers than a more general question on the same topic.

There’s a fine balance trying to find the best way to help someone. Sometimes people just need someone to listen or to encourage them. You can do this if you’d like to take a more counseling style or a more friend-like style. But also be aware of whether this is the right style for your work–if not, fire the client and get back on track with clients who are better suited to the work you do.

Also, you can often help them by assisting them in formulating a more beneficial question, such as “what do I need to focus on right now to get the result I want.”

But my favorite trick is to work with time frames—ask when they will get whatever it is they want and then whatever the cards say, don’t read on it again until after that time frame.

I hope this helps!


If you want to ask a question about any tarot or Reiki technique or metaphysical philosophy, please feel free to ask it in the comments! You just might see an answer from me in the very near future!


Joy Vernon has been studying and teaching energetic and esoteric modalities for more than twenty years. She is the organizer of the Denver Tarot Geeks, Denver Tarot Meetup and Denver Traditional Reiki Meetup, and she served on the faculty of Avalon Center for Druidic Studies. She is one of the psychics at Isis Books and is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and a member of the American Tarot Association and Tarosophy Tarot Association. Joy also teaches Traditional Japanese Reiki. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit JoyVernon.com.

© 2015 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.

Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.

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