Ten Steps that Will Guarantee a Great Tarot Reading, Part 2

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

Joy-NYE20106. Be open and curious. Don’t close yourself down energetically or physically.

Turning away from your reader, crossing your arms and legs, or looking down or away are all common ways people close themselves off from their reader using their physical body. Coming in for a reading on alcohol or drugs or in a highly emotional state is an example of energetically pulling down the blinds. And some people try to make themselves as blank as possible—I think this last category consists of people who are actually trying to make it easier for the reader by not putting their expectations on the reading, but honestly this closes down the process just as much.

Getting a reading is a two-way street. That’s just the nature of the beast. A connection needs to be made and communication needs to be open, whether verbal, psychic, energetic, or just through body language. Find a reader who you feel relaxed with and who you can open up to. Be open to possibility.

Different readers deal with these situations differently. I have had a reading done for me when the reader told me to uncross my arms because she couldn’t read me! I always sit with my arms crossed, but of course I complied with her request. One time back when I worked at a busy restaurant where alcohol was served, I had a man sit down, put his drink on the table, cross his arms and legs, turn away from me, and, once the question was established, not say another word the whole time. Thank goodness I don’t do cold readings or intuitive readings. I just laid out the cards and read them. Afterwards he thanked me and said I was spot on. Who knew.

But just because I got that gentleman right doesn’t mean I can always read my clients. If your reader is off, consider if you’ve closed yourself down in any way, and if so, open yourself as best you can. Also, feel free to gently let your reader know if they’re off track and work together to get back on track.

7. Give your reader enough space to do their work. Don’t talk nonstop during your reading

The opposite of the silent treatment is the querent who talks too much. There’s a perfect balance where the two-way street is open and information is flowing. But a querent who talks too much (or god forbid starts doing their own interpretation of the cards from standard book meanings) can often block the intuition of the reader or the flow of the reading.

When I lay down a spread, I often see the whole thing all at once, and since I can’t psychically send it to you all at once (wouldn’t that be sweet!) I have to talk it through step by step. Once the cards are laid out, I probably know everything I’m going to say for the next good chunk of time. If you keep interrupting, it can break my concentration and very possibly interfere with the overall quality of your reading. However, quick questions for clarification or short responses to keep me on track are rarely a problem.

That said, I try to be as accommodating as possible to what my querent needs. One time at a psychic fair I laid down the cards for a woman and she just started interpreting them herself—she talked non-stop for several minutes. Then she said, “Wow, I never would have been able to do that with my deck at home. Thank you so much! How much do I owe you?” I looked at the clock and told her $10 and she laid down a bill and said, “That was the best ten dollars I ever spent.” She left with a great big smile on her face. Great reading!

Having an open flow of communication is critical to getting a good reading. You’ll probably get the best reading if you let your reader guide the process. If they hand you the reins—great! But don’t be a backseat reader.

8. Give your reader appropriate feedback or guidance if they get off track. Don’t just assume they are a bad reader.

“Go placidly in the midst of praise or blame” is the motto of Komyo Reiki Kai. This applies equally to my work as a reader. It’s my job to read your cards and not be swayed by either undue criticism or raving adulation. In fact, one of the most important lessons for a new reader is to let go of the need to please their querents and learn to just do the reading. The querent will accept it or they won’t, and there’s nothing more we can do. Certainly there is a stage in our development as readers when we must carefully consider constructive feedback and need confirmation of our accuracy to improve our service, but after we reach a certain level it is equally necessary to let all that go.

That said, the right amount of feedback can be very helpful. During the reading, if things are off track, please speak up. Together we will figure out where we de-railed and get things moving in the right direction again. And at the end of a reading, a modest comment such as, “That was helpful” or “You hit some important things,” while not necessary, is nice to hear.

9. If you hop from reader to reader, understand why and do it with intention. Don’t just search for the answer you want to hear.

This one is a little touchy in that some readers are bothered by this phenomenon and some aren’t, but either way readers will usually have strong opinions about it. One psychic told me the other day that before she started learning the cards she was someone who would go to the big psychic fairs and sit down with as many readers as possible, asking each one the same question. She described to me how afterwards she would allow all the different angles and viewpoints to settle and synthesize in her mind until she had found her own answer to her question. This made perfect sense to me and I can really appreciate that process.

On the other hand, I and many readers were taught not to ask the same question more than once. The Chinese oracle the I Ching has a hexagram called Youthful Folly that says, “The young fool seeks me. At the first oracle I inform him. If he asks two or three times, it is importunity. If he importunes, I give him no information” (Wilhelm/Baynes translation). “Importune” means to beg or plead. I think this is the problem. If you are receiving many readings with an open spirit and a true desire for knowledge and insight, like my friend I mentioned above, then you will receive your answer. But if you are pleading with the oracle to do your work for you, then you will receive no information.

There is one other level to this phenomenon that is guaranteed to give you a bad reading. Those who ask the same question over and over trying to get the answer they want. They are not open to receiving, they don’t trust their reader and they are closed down psychically. If you want a particular answer, by all means perform a magic spell, work with affirmation setting or create a vision board. Many readers are trained in such skills and can guide you in doing this kind of work. (But it’s generally considered bad form for someone to do spellwork for you. If you hire someone for this, they should be tutoring you in how to do your own spell, not doing the magical working themselves. Then again, there are some traditions in which this is the norm. Always research and ask questions.)

Likewise, don’t go back to the same psychic at a later date and ask the same question unless you or the situation has changed. And be honest with yourself about whether anything is different. Sometimes we really aren’t ready for the info the first time around and need a second chance to hear it; sometimes it’s just wishful thinking.

10. Set aside enough time for your reading. Don’t ask for a five minute reading to sort out the chaos of your entire life.

Readings can be any length and be effective. A single card draw can change your life. I sometimes work big events where I do five-minute readings one after the other for hours–with consistent positive feedback that the reading was helpful (one person at a big corporate event said, you should do this for a living! Which of course I do.). But five minutes can only give the most basic of info, the broad strokes of the situation. If you need to narrow down several competing options, or if you have several questions, or if you’re going through a lot of change, chances are you will benefit from a longer reading.
It’s frustrating when I’m working at a psychic fair and someone sits down and pours out their life story and says they can only do a five or ten minute reading. I can pull a couple cards, or if I go fast I can do a six or seven card spread in that time which can give a reasonably balanced answer. And even if we just looked at two or three cards, we can certainly get some general advice. But the problem is that it’s not taking full advantage of what the tarot can offer. I can also take that same seven card spread and, by addressing all the relevant card combinations, I can take it pretty deep, if I have the time.

Your reader can help you figure out what question is the right size for the reading you want. If someone is going through a career change, we can pull a few quick cards asking how the interview on Wednesday is going to go. But if you also want to know about other interviews, whether you’ll have to move out of state, or if a totally different option like going back to school would be a better choice, we’ll need more time.


Earlier this month I shared “Ten Steps that Will Guarantee a Great Tarot Reading, Part 1.”


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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