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How to Read Tarot for Others, Part 2: Managing Expectations

September 4, 2019

Hello! 💖 Welcome to the 2nd part of this week-long series on how to read tarot for others. Here’s the schedule:

  1. Mindset (here)
  2. Preparation and managing expectations (you are here)
  3. Best rituals to start with (see here)
  4. How to keep your personal energy out of the reading (see here)
  5. What makes a good reading (coming soon)
  6. Reading the cards—cheat sheets! (coming soon)
  7. Figuring out your personal style (coming soon)

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If you’re like me, reading your own cards gets easier with time—so easy, you only have to feel what the cards are saying to get the message. You can see The Hanged Man and just nod knowingly. When reading for others, however, you’re called upon to turn those feelings into real words, clumsy and incomplete as they can be.

Luckily there are a few things you can do to give yourself a foundation for a great reading. Here we’ll talk about preparing before a reading as well as how to set expectations for your querent.

Preparation

Preparation helps you create space between your personal energy and your querent’s. Do as much of the below as you can. It may not all be possible, especially if the person wants a reading that moment. (Though it’s your right to schedule a reading in the future if you prefer!) If you have a day or so to prepare beforehand, all the better.

Choose a good deck

First, choose a deck that both you and the other person would connect to for this particular topic. For example, if they are a Scorpio type or have an inquiry related to grief, consider a deck with deep colors. For romance, perhaps a lighter, more airy deck would work best. Most importantly though, work with the deck that feels right. If that means picking your most familiar buddy regardless of the question, that’s fine!

Clean the deck

This is important because the cards should be fresh and free of any accumulated energy of yours—positive or negative. You can do this by passing a smudge stick with smoke over the deck. If you don’t have that, you can leave the deck overnight with a quartz crystal or wrapped in plastic in a container full of salt. If that’s not possible, direct moonlight or sunlight also clean cards (full moon works best and be aware that sunlight can possibly wear out the colors of your cards). If that’s not an option, shuffling a few times with the intention of cleaning the cards should be enough.

Meditate on the cards

Hold them and breathe deep 4 times. 4 seconds to inhale and 7 seconds to exhale. When you exhale, make a shhh noise by blowing air past your teeth. Ask them to help you and the other person. Basically: tune into your cards and client. Set an intention.

Visualize yourself giving a reading or practice

This can help get rid of any jitters. Speak out loud if you’re practicing on yourself to get used to the need for words. Try to describe each card’s meaning for a full minute. Say one sentence, then expand upon the meaning of the ideas you expressed in that one sentence. Keep going until the meaning is completely clear.

Pick a reference

You may get stuck or confused during the reading. That’s ok! Have a reference, whether an app or book, near you to pick up and consult. Don’t worry, this won’t make it look like you’re inexperienced. Tarot is complicated, and they’ll appreciate your effort to give them the full meaning of the cards. You can even keep a notebook near you to keep notes. It may help you connect dots that would have otherwise gotten lost.

Setting expectations

You and your querent both have expectations of each other—it’s best to communicate these upfront so neither of you leave the reading in a murky mood.

A good way to do this is by asking them questions:

  1. Have they gotten a tarot reading before?
  2. If so, how was their experience?
  3. (After they ask their question) Why is this important to them?
  4. Do they expect advice, information, or simply options?

Also communicate what you need out of the reading. If you prefer to read tarot with transformation in mind but the querent wants to know what their ex is up to, it may be a mismatch. Let your querent know how you usually approach readings.

Two common points you may want to relay to them:

  • You will be asking them questions so that they know they have the answers, an untapped source of wisdom, inside of themselves.
  • They can take what resonates and leave the rest.
  • The clarity of their answers will depend on the open-endedness of their question. Yes or No questions usually give an incomplete story. (Imagine you asked if you should take a job or not—while the actual answer could “Yes, but just as a stepping stone,” you’d only get a Yes, leading to potential future disappointment.)


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