The Question Reading

In this lesson, you will learn how to do a full tarot reading for yourself. Having a procedure to follow is important in tarot work. Doing a reading with loving concentration will make your tarot practice very powerful.

Here is the procedure for a Question Tarot Reading.

Setting the Mood

Your first step is to create a conducive mood. Focus on what will make you feel comfortable and secure.

When you are ready, sit down on the floor or at a table leaving some empty space in front of you. You should have your tarot cards and your question written on a piece of paper. At first, a full reading will probably take at least thirty to forty minutes. Try to arrange your affairs so you won't be interrupted.

Begin to relax and still your mind. Put aside your worries and concerns for now. Take a few deep breaths, relax all your muscles and feel the quiet as you turn away from the outside world. Take as much time as you need for this calming process.

Asking Your Question

When you feel centered, take your cards out of their container. Hold them cupped in one hand while you place the other hand on top. Close your eyes and bring the cards into the circle of your energy.

Now, make an opening statement, if you wish. Some possibilities are:

  • a prayer
  • an affirmation
  • a description of how you are feeling
  • a simple hello to your Inner Guide

You can write a phrase to say every time, or you can speak. It is more important to speak from your heart than to mouth an empty formula.

Be sure to say your question exactly as you wrote it. One of the mysteries of the unconscious is that it is very literal; the cards you choose will often reflect the precise wording of your question.

Shuffling the Cards

Open your eyes and begin shuffling. It is important to shuffle the cards.

There are a number of ways to shuffle the cards. Each method has its pros and cons. Choose one that is most comfortable for you.

Concentrate on your question while you shuffle.

Cutting the Cards

When you feel you have shuffled long enough, stop and place the cards face down in front of you with the short edge closest to you. Cut the deck as follows:

  1. Grab some number of cards from the pile.
  2. Drop this smaller pile to the left.
  3. Grab some part of this second pile and drop it further to the left.
  4. Regroup the cards into one pile in any fashion.

It's best to regroup the cards in one quick motion. Don't try to figure out which pile should go where. Just let your hand move where it will. The cut is an important finishing step that marks the end of the card-arranging stage. Once you have regrouped the cards, the pattern of the reading is fixed, and all that remains is to lay out the cards and see what they reveal.

Laying Out the Cards

Follow the steps for the spread you have chosen. If this is your first reading, use the Celtic Cross.

  1. Pick up the deck and hold it in one hand with the short edge closest to you.
  2. With your other hand, turn over the first card as you would the page of a book.
  3. Place this card in Position 1. (The position number corresponds to the placement order.)
  4. Turn over the second card, and place it in Position 2.
  5. Continue in this way until you have placed all the cards.
  6. Turn any reversed cards around if you are not using them.

Responding to the Cards

Pay attention to your reactions to each card as you lay it out. At first, you will not know or remember the usual meaning of a card. As you practice, your reactions will become more informed, but also more predictable. Try to keep some of your original openness as much as possible.

When all the cards are laid out, take a moment to respond to them as a whole. Do you get an overall impression? Do you have any new reactions? Just as with dreams, you will recall the most important. Try not to get too involved in your notes as that can break the flow of the reading. You simply want to capture a few ideas quickly.

Analyzing the Cards

When you've considered each card, look for relationships between them. Apply the principles of interpretation.

You could ponder a reading for hours without running out of insights, but, of course, this isn't practical or desirable.

Creating the Story

At some point, you need to pull everything together. I call this creating the story. Your story will help you understand your situation and give you guidance for the future

I recommend that you create your story spontaneously. Once you have finished your card review, let that analytical approach go. It's no longer appropriate. Your story will be more authentic if it arises freely from within. When you feel ready, simply begin speaking your story, saying whatever comes to mind.

I encourage you to tell your story out loud. Writing is too slow, and just thinking your ideas is too vague.

Writing the Summary Statement

Your story is done when your words slow down and stop naturally.

What you are doing is forming the answer to your question. Before the reading, you posed a question that had meaning for you. Your Inner Guide has responded, and now you want to capture that wisdom in a form you can remember.

Finishing Up

The main event is over, but, as with any ceremony, there are a few final steps to take to end your reading and leave your cards ready for next time.

If you have not already done so, write down the cards you selected and their positions. It is easy to forget them. Then, clear the deck to remove all traces of the energy patterns of this reading. Make sure the cards are face down or turned away from you. Stop when you feel you've shuffled long enough, and gather the cards together. Your deck is now ready for your next reading.

Before putting the cards away, hold them again for just a moment. Place your deck in one hand with the other hand on top, and close your eyes.

When you began, you initiated a cycle. You created meaning in the form of a reading.

Using What You Have Learned

Using what you have learned in a reading is probably the most important step - and the most difficult. It involves moving beyond playing with the cards.



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