Donnaleigh's Lessons



5 Tips for Crafting Clear Questions

Posted by Donnaleigh on October 13, 2012 at 8:05 AM


“If you don't ask the right question,

every answer seems wrong.”

― Ani DiFranco

Note: This blog post is to help with tarot questions.

If you are looking for similar advice on the Lenormand Oracle, CLICK HERE.

Setting Up A Reading....

No  matter what your oracle of choice, asking questions with precision is a skill that will give your readings better clarity.

Every week or two I'll get an email or message from someone learning tarot.  Our conversation typically goes something like this:

"Hi DL! I just drew these three cards. What do you think they mean? Tower, Lover, Death. Thanks!"

"Hi Ellie! What was your question?"

"Question? Oh. I was just thinking, 'What do I need to know?' "

"Great! What topic do you want to know about? Work? Love? Family?"

"Um....I don't know."  (Reason #1 for confusion).  "How about my boss?"

"Okay, great!  What does each card position mean for the three cards?"

"Card position?  Oh. I thought I'd just put three cards down and see what they said." (Reason #2  for confusion).

"Okay...let's set one up for practice. Do you want the 3 cards to represent Past/Present/Future, or Situation/Problem/Advice," or something else? What do you want each card represent as a topic for that card's context?

"Gee, I don't know. I guess, let's do Situation/Problem/Advice..."

"Okay. Now do you want the cards to represent how *you* perceive the situation with your boss? Or do you want to understand what you boss perceives about you?"

"Ummm...."   (Reason #3 for confusion).

Particularly with new readers, setting up a clear question can make or break a reading. But honing this skill persists even with seasoned readers. There have been times when I read for myself and thought, "Gee, the cards didn't say it would turn out this way...."

But then when I went back and looked at my journal entry with the question, I realize, "Wow....the cards described EXACTLY the answer to my question. I didn't realize I was so sloppy wording my question!"


"A question asked in the right way

often points to its own answer.

Asking questions is the A-B-C of diagnosis."  

~Edward Hodnett

 If you do not ask the right questions, you will not get the right answers.You'll get an answer to what you asked, but it may not be the question you intended.

Setting up a clear and precise context for your small readings will give you much crisper understanding of what each card is trying to tell you. Here are 5 tips:

1) Define a very clear topic about what your whole reading will describe.

2) Define each card position with its own clear context. Know ahead the meaning of each card position. 

3)  Clarify timing parameters.  If you are not looking into the past or present, define timing before you start the reading. Are you looking ahead a month? Six months? A year?

4)  Avoid yes/no questions. Instead, use questions that begin with words like "what" or "how."

5) From whose perspective will the cards see? Know ahead who the question is about or from whose perspective you want the cards to see/feel/experience.

3 Action Tips to Amp Up Your Skills:

Now let's kick it up a notch. Here is some homework you can try to take your readings to the next level:

1) Also see the cards as a unit. Even though each card is a separate entity, don't forget to see them as a whole. Here are some things you can look for:

  • Are the characters facing each other or facing away from each other? What does this position stance mean?
  • What does their body posture say about their comfort level?
  • Are they actively moving? Passively sitting? What does this mean related to your question?
  • Are the numbers on the cards increasing or decreasing as the cards move from left to right? 
  • Is there a prevailing color or theme?What does this color mean to you?
  • Do you see any repeating symbol in the cards? What does the symbol mean? What is happening to the symbol with each card's character?
  • Can you identify a season?
  • Which characters do you identify with? What does this mean for you?

2) Journal about your reading. Put your reading in writing. Be sure to write which deck and which cards arose (include an image of them if you can), and date your entry. Later, go back and review what you saw after more unfolded regarding your situation.

  • Do you see additional things in the cards that you may have missed the first time around?
  • In hindsight, would you change anything in the question that would make it even more precise?
  • Was there anything literal in the card that you missed? A building, an animal, physical appearance of someone or something?

3)  Forget canned meanings and just sink into the image. What is happening if you forget the traditional meanings of the card and just see a story in the image?

“Quality questions create a quality life.

Successful people ask better questions,

and as a result, they get better answers.” 

~ Anthony Robbins



Learn more about the secrets of reading tarot at our award-winning educational tarot podcast.

See a listing of all show topics HERE.








Categories: Tutorials