Using the Tarot to find clarity and seek guidance allows you to walk a path steeped in rich symbolism, profound messages and pragmatic advice. Not every reading will reveal what you want it to reveal and some advice will be difficult to put into practice or will arrive at a time when you don't feel you have the energy to respond to it. You and your reader have entered into a bond of sorts. A contract has been made to ensure that you engage with one another and try to make the reading enjoyable and useful to both parties, so it's important to know a little about what it takes to be a good querent and to use the lessons Tarot offers in the most positive way possible. Here are five important tips for being a good querent.
1. Open yourself up to ALL of the advice.
Try to approach each reading with a totally open mind and don't make any assumptions about what might be addressed. The cards may bring up issues you'd not considered dealing with yet or ask you to think seriously about your response to the issue you're facing and how you can improve rather than how others are failing you. A good reader will attempt to help you focus on things you can do to feel better and more fulfilled, so don't reject that advice because you feel it's a criticism of your personality. Not all of the advice offered to you during the course of a reading will be immediately relevant or important overall. But it's useful to be open to all of it at first, assess it and try to find a place for it before rejecting it out of hand. Also, remember, some of what seems unlikely or insignificant may be useful later on. Life is a journey and the Tarot reflects that journey in subtle ways as well as obvious ones.
2. Give your reader key focus areas or questions.
Occasionally I've done general readings and then been told afterwards that the querent was rather hoping the subject X,Y or Z would come up.. I could have geared the reading towards that subject if I'd have known it was a concern and would always like the opportunity to address what's important to the querent. In order to get the most out of a Tarot reading it's best to work with a strong intention. Think about what you really want from the process. Think about how best to address your question or concern to the cards and what kind of advice you're looking for. You can shape a reading so that it works for you. The less information you give about your intention, the more diluted your reading will be. If you decide that you're really not sure what you wish to focus on, a general reading will be helpful by all means. But if there are specifics, don't be afraid to voice them in order to get the most 'meat off the bone'.
3. Use Tarot as a positive tool.
Using Tarot for every little issue in life is likely to shrink its usefulness over time. So will using the cards frequently without much intention. Knowing your own mind before consulting the cards is a good technique for finding what's truly magical about them. They are there to help you to live your life successfully - they are not there to live your life for you. If you feel that you might be fixating on the card messages or requesting too many readings, you might find my article on recognising divination addiction interesting.
4. Use the lessons to improve your life.
Be an active part of the process. Take what's been offered and utilise it to improve negative or problem areas of your life. Don't put your readings in a little box and fail to relate them to the choices you have to make and the paths you choose to walk. Tarot enhances the business of life and it's definitely a mistake to feel that the reading itself is the event and that there's nothing more to be gleaned from it. The event is the moment when the lessons you've learned and the life you're living become tangled for the better and you've finally learned how to use a good reading to make you feel empowered and capable.
5. Give feedback and communicate honestly.
Don't be afraid to speak openly to your reader about the direction the reading is taking, the meanings of certain cards and how the lessons being offered relate to your life. Being an active querent means you'll get the most out of a reading. If you receive a free reading or pay for an online reading, offer feedback afterwards. This will enable the reader to get a better sense of who you are and ensure that the readings become more useful and more familiar over time. Remember, if you receive a free reading it's better to take it with good grace than to retort with questions. If you require a more in-depth reading, part with a little cash for a better response. Offering readings for free, although valuable and enjoyable for a reader, is also time-consuming and generous, so too many follow up questions simply creates more work. Other than that, I think it's always important to have an idea in mind of what you expect from a reading you've purchased and don't be afraid to give feedback that's not 100% positive - just be honest and fair.
My belief in the positive use of Tarot as a holistic therapy is growing stronger all the time. I sincerely hope that one day all Tarot querents will be able to get as much out of it as many do when they enter into a more regular therapeutic session.