Amongst tarotists of every level of experience, from beginner to pro, is an ongoing discussion about the questions we pose of tarot.
There are workshops, blogposts and memes designed to help us understand how to phrase a helpful question, and, in some cases to didactically tell us what tarot can and cannot do, or what we should or should not ask tarot.
I rail against the can’ts and shouldn’ts. My philosophy is this. If you want to ask a question, ask it. If the cards respond in a way that makes sense, great. If they don’t, then it is time to rephrase your question and dig deeper into your divination process.
Here’s a sort of question that could be quintessentially problematic to answer, but also could be a goldmine for profound divination if dug into properly.
Will I ever find my true career path?
If asked such a question, there would be nothing wrong with pulling a card or two to see what comes up. However, in the eight small words that comprise that question there are many significant questions that could lead to a life-changing reading rather than a simple career prediction.
Let’s break it down.
The first point I will make is the most obvious. Most readers will tell you that the better question would be "What must I do in order to find my true career path?"
Rather than asking simply for assurances for the future, this question asks for ways to be proactive toward reaching one’s goal.
The second problem with this question is an over-arching spiritual belief/assumption that there is indeed a "true career path" for the questioner.
Whenever a divinatory question isn’t about something specifically spiritual but relies on a specific spiritual belief, I prefer to rephrase the question. In this case the question I would start with would be:
"Is there a spiritually pre-ordained career path for this individual?"
If the reading proved positive, I might then ask questions like "What is it?" or "How can she find it"?
If the reading suggests that this person doesn’t have a pre-ordained career path, the way is clear to do some great career vision work with tarot. By looking at the querent’s skills, desires, likes, dislikes, drive and opportunities you should be able to come up with an action plan for developing a fulfilling career.
In this were the case, the belief that the Universe had some sort of special career plan for the querent may have kept her from seeking her path herself.
I think we need to be super careful about questions that hold within them inherent assumptions. The assumption in this example was spiritual. There can be mundane assumptions as well. Imagine the question, "Why doesn’t my boss like me?" It would be wise to first ask the cards how the boss feels. Clearly, a reading based on a false assumption can’t be of much value.
Something a question like "Will I ever find my true career path?" screams without saying a word is frustration. The difference between asking "Will I?" and "Will I ever?" is energetically enormous. When frustration is so clearly evidenced, it makes sense to ask about what has created this frustration.
This question offers an opportunity to pull cards about the current career, the career history, and what has caused the frustration. This can give advice for healing from past career trauma, handling a currently difficult job and finding a career change that feels like a calling.
Of course, these sorts of questions aren’t always about career. We voice our frustrations with our families (Will my mother ever listen to me?) about love (Will I ever meet a nice man?) and about ourselves (Will I ever get control of my weight?). Voiced frustrations unintentionally offer a wonderful opportunity for healing through divination.
Whether we are reading for ourselves, our friends or our clients, the questions we ask, and the questions we are asked, can offer a much deeper reading than expected. We need to be willing to be proactive rather than passive by asking "how" rather than "will". We need to question every assumption. We need to hear the frustration in our own questions, and in the questions of others, and form more questions that offer healing, strategy and understanding in the face of those frustrations.