Vol. 7 #10 / November 1, 2015
In this Issue:
- Tarot Tip: Reading for First Time Querents
- Tarot School Aphorism
- What's Gnu?
- PsychWise: How To Turn a Relationship Reading into a Tarot Counseling Session
- Best Practices: 5 Signs You Are Ready to Read Professionally
- Upcoming Events
Welcome to a new issue of Tarot Tips!
And a special welcome to our new subscribers.
We do our best to live with gratitude
consciousness all year long, but if
there's such a thing as an "official"
time to express that gratitude publicly,
it's November (at least here in the
U.S.). Although we're not big
"jump-on-the-bandwagon" folks, there's
never a bad time for gratitude so we'd
like to take this opportunity to let you
know that we truly appreciate your
presence in our lives and support of
Knowing that we can make a positive difference in people's lives,
no matter how small, is the big WHY behind everything we do.
So thank you for welcoming us into your inbox, and perhaps even
into your heart!
That said, here's a bit about this issue…
Do you remember the first time you had a tarot reading? What
was it like for you? As the interest and popularity of tarot
increases, more and more people are curious about readings,
which is good news for practitioners! This issue discusses
recommendations on dealing with first time querents.
Dr. G's column enlightens us on the differences between a
conventional reading and a tarot counseling session, and the
Best Practices Column looks at signs that you are ready to
And one more thing...
We had a great turnout for our Advanced Elemental Array
Intensive, which is being held over the phone and online!
Although 3 of the 8 classes have already been held, we're
recording everything. Listening to the mp3s is a popular
way to get the material on your own time table -- so you
can still register if you'd like to find out why we think this
is some of our very best work!
Yours truly on the tarot journey,
Ruth Ann, Wald, Gina & Elinor
Tarot Tips is here to help you with the practical side
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READING FOR FIRST TIME QUERENTS
At some point in time everyone is new to something.
First-timer expectations for tarot readings are often
typical if not stereotypical, making it challenging to
figure out how to direct a reading for new querents.
New querents come to us in a variety of ways, from
hearing about a reading from an acquaintance to
searching for a good reader online. There is a lot of
information available on how to do readings, but we will
focus on “care” in starting and ending a tarot reading
session for those who have never had one before.
Here are some suggestions for a seamless and positive
experience for a “virgin” querent.
1) Explain your reading style.
2) Give a brief background of your area of expertise.
3) Ask what they know or have heard about tarot
4) Prepare a sheet with spread options for their
5) Allow them to explain in their own words what they
would like the session to accomplish.
6) Assist with formulating a proper question.
7) Address any anxiety through breathing exercises or a
small ritual such as prayer or appealing to whatever makes
them at ease spiritually.
8) Invite them to actively participate by shuffling the
deck or reviewing the cards visually and choosing a card
that appeals to them at the time.
9) Offer paper for note taking or a recording of the
session for later review.
10) Ask for instant feedback to ensure the concerns at hand
have been addressed.
Many of the items above can be taken care of prior to the
session time. It may also be useful to arrange a follow-up
appointment or other way of staying in touch. Remember you
have a chance with every new reading for a positive
interaction that sets the querent's expectation for other
readers in the future. Make it your business to create a
good impression -- the next reader will thank you for it!
Tarot School Aphorism
ONLINE ACCESS TO CLASSES AND CALLS!
Phone calls are becoming a thing of the past.
While we still enjoy talking to folks on the
phone, it's no longer the best way to hold our
We've tried the online interface with our current
Advanced Elemental Array Intensive and it's working great!
So now it's time to try it with our monthly free Readers Studio
Teleconferences, too. The next one will be on November 22nd,
and you'll get the access instructions when you sign up at:
Of course, you can still call in on your phone. You'll get
the dial-in number for that as well!
PsychWise – Tarot & Psychology Q & A
with Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR
HOW TO TURN A RELATIONSHIP READING
INTO A TAROT COUNSELING SESSION
I am an experienced Tarot reader and have heard
that you do “Tarot Counseling,” but I am not sure
how it differs from regular Tarot reading. Could
you give me some tips and a concrete example?
One of the major differences between a conventional Tarot reading
Dr. Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR
and a Tarot Counseling session is that in Tarot Counseling (as I do it)
a good deal of time is spent getting to know the querent before the
spread is chosen and the reading is done. In the following sections
I give some examples of questions that I might ask before doing a
relationship reading in a Tarot Counseling session.
I. GATHER INFORMATION
Get pertinent background information
In order to put the querent’s question in context, it is
important to get some basic background information about the
querent and their situation. For example, when someone comes
to me for a reading about a relationship problem, I have
found it useful to ask some questions about the relationship
before beginning to lay out the spread. If a querent is
reluctant to answer personal questions, it will be difficult
to do a truly informed Tarot Counseling reading. If that
were the case, I would then stick to my regular style of
reading and simply add whatever elements of Tarot Counseling
seem to fit the particular situation and were acceptable to
Some useful relationship questions:
1. How long have you been married or in this relationship?
2. How old are you and how old is your mate?
3. Do you have any children?
4. How old are they?
5. Do they live with you?
6. Does anyone else live with you?
7. Were you or your mate ever married or in a long-term
live-in relationship before?
8. How has your relationship changed over the time you
have been together?
Ask questions that shed light on the relationship issue
Therapists know that asking the right questions can help
clients think more clearly about their issues. It will also
help you choose the correct spread for your querent’s
concerns and better understand how to interpret the cards
that appear. Below are some questions that I have found
useful for relationship readings. Of course, you can make
up others that are more pertinent to your querent’s
issues, if these don’t fit the situation. There is no "one
size fits all" way to do this. The best rule is to be
guided by what your client finds acceptable and useful.
1. What is going on in your relationship that concerns you?
2. Why did you choose to have a reading about it now?
3. Have you spoken to your mate about your feelings?
4. Has your mate brought up this issue with you?
5. How have you tried to resolve it?
6. Have you ever had this issue with anyone else in the past?
Often people will live with a problem for a long time before
coming for a reading. Question 2,“Why now?” encourages
the querent to think about what, if anything, has changed
recently for the worse. Questions 3 and 4 help me assess the
couple’s level of communication. Question 5 gives me an
idea of how resourceful the person has been and what has not
worked. Question 6 is aimed at putting the issue in a
larger context than the present relationship. If the querent has
had this issue before, it is likely to have less to do with the
querent’s mate and more to do with the querent’s approach
II. IDENTIFY THE UNDERLYING EMOTIONAL ISSUES
Every serious question relates to emotional issues as well
as practical ones. As you ask the above questions, pay
particular attention to whatever your querent seems to feel
most strongly about. People tend to signal when something is
of emotional concern by looking and sounding anxious, angry
or sad. Ideally you want to know what they are feeling about
their situation that led them to ask their question. This will
help you identify and understand the deeper emotional
issues from which their question springs. You can use this
information to make sure that your guidance from the reading
specifically relates to the issues that are emotionally
meaningful to your querent. Tarot Counseling works best
when the reader is creative and avoids using generic spread
positions and interpretations that might fit anyone.
III. HELP QUERENTS REPHRASE THEIR QUESTION
One of my Tarot Counseling Mottos is: A good question helps
you shape your future. It does not abandon you to your fate.
What I mean by this is that the Tarot Counselor needs to
help the querent change their question when necessary so
that it focuses on what the querent needs to learn from the
situation and not solely on what will or will not happen.
Avoid all questions that can be answered by “yes” or ‘no.”
An Example: Ms. A
Imagine that Ms. A comes for a reading. She is forty-two
years old, she and her husband have been married for five
years, and they have no children. She says that nothing is
seriously wrong with her marriage, but that as time goes on
she and her husband seem to have less and less to say to one
another. They don’t fight, but they don’t have sex very
often either. Ms. A wants to know: “Did I make a mistake
I suggest that there are other more helpful questions that
she could ask, such as: “What do I need to learn right now
to energize my marriage?” or “What do I need to learn
now to make my relationship with my husband more exciting
for both of us?” Ms. A decided on the first one.
When I asked Ms. A if she had talked about her concerns with
her husband, it soon became apparent that both she and her
husband avoided talking about anything that could give rise
to negative feelings. Ms. A appeared somewhat emotionally
detached as she spoke to me. This tendency to try and avoid
directly expressing negative emotions was also confirmed by
the fact that Ms. A preferred to come to a Tarot reader with
her marital problems than to speak to her husband directly.
In my opinion the underlying issues here are (1) fear of
experiencing and expressing negative emotions, (2)
difficulties with confrontation, and (3) communication
problems. I knew from this that I needed to build into Ms.
A’s spread some positions that dealt with these issues.
IV. DESIGN AN APPROPRIATE SPREAD
In Tarot Counseling the spread is designed or modified to
meet querents’ specific needs. I like to build three levels
of guidance into each spread.
Level 1: The first level addresses what the querent needs
to learn in order to improve the specific situation he or she
came for a reading about.
Level 2: The second level relates to what the querent needs
to learn more generally about that life issue; including,
perhaps, what the querent needs to learn from the past.
Level 3: The third level relates to how this issue can be
used to help the querent evolve, either psychologically or
spiritually. In addition, I like to add card positions that
specifically suggest positive changes that the querent can
make in his or her attitude or behavior.
Ms. A’s Spread:
I asked Ms. A to repeat her question “What do I need to
learn right now to energize my marriage?” to herself as
she shuffled the cards.
I used a 6-card spread for Ms. A. I had her cut the deck
into three parts, put it back together, and draw five cards.
I laid out Card 1 in the center with Card 2 crossing it
horizontally (like the center of a Celtic Cross). I placed
Card 3 above the first two cards. Then I placed Card 4
to their right and Card 5 to their left. Cards 1,2, and 3
represent the three levels and Cards 4 and 5 the helpful
changes that Ms. A needs to make.
After the first 5 cards were read, I turned over the deck
and placed the bottom card (Card 6) underneath the crossed
cards. It represents the foundation of the issue.
5 1 and 2 4
Ms. A’s cards and the meaning that I assigned to the
various spread positions based on what I learned about
her from my questions:
Card 1: What do I need to learn about energizing my marriage
right now? = Ace of Cups
Card 2: What is the larger issue that this is a part of? =
Key 16 The Tower
Card 3: What is the spiritual or psychological issue I need
to learn about in order to evolve? = Knight of Swords
Card 4: What can I learn right now that can help me
communicate negative feelings to my husband in a way that is
helpful to my marriage? = Key 14 Temperance
Card 5: What can I learn about confrontations right now that
would be useful for energizing my marriage in a helpful way?
= Key 7 The Chariot reversed
Card 6: What is underneath these issues? = 9 of Cups
I interpreted this as follows:
Ace of Cups: Ms. A needs to learn to actively offer love to
her husband right now. This will immediately energize her
relationship with her husband (Card 1).
Key 16 The Tower: The larger issue is the need to totally
shake up their relationship (Card 2). They have become too
complacent; the old structure is too confining, and this is
why they have become bored.
Knight of Swords: The spiritual and psychological issue
related to Ms. A’s evolution has to do with being willing
to take action and fight for causes she believes in (Card
3). Ms. A tends to see herself as the damsel in distress
who needs rescuing and not as the knight who charges in and
makes important things happen. Her answers to my previous
questions about her past relationships confirmed this. Ms.
A, had been married twice previously and each time when
important issues arose, she left the marriages instead of
fighting to change them.
Key 14 Temperance: The Temperance card suggests that in
order to communicate negative feelings in a way that is
useful to her marriage (Card 4), Ms. A needs to balance
anything negative that she says by being sure to say many
positive things as well. Psychological studies have found
that it takes five positive statements to balance one
criticism! It is also important for her to understand that
she can communicate something negative without going to
extremes. This is particularly important for Ms. A to know
because she said that as a child she had witnessed ugly
fights between her parents in which each said nasty things
to the other in order to hurt the other person as much as
possible. Ms. A had vowed to herself that she would never
do that when she was married. This led Ms. A to be reluctant
to experience and express any negative emotions.
Key 7 The Chariot reversed: The Chariot reversed in the
confrontation position (Card 5) suggests that Ms. A needs to
learn that just because she and her husband have a
confrontation, it doesn’t mean that anyone has to leave.
Ms. A said that she found this information particularly
useful because she realized that she had always assumed
confrontations led to divorce. After her parents divorced
when she was twelve, she had unconsciously associated all
confrontations with their divorce and tried to avoid them
whenever possible. This was ironic because in Ms. A’s
case, not confronting appropriately had led to her divorces.
9 of Cups: Underneath all of these issues (Card 6) are the
facts that Ms. A is very emotionally comfortable in this
relationship and has most of the things in life that she
wants. She and her husband basically get along really well.
As a result, she has been reluctant to jeopardize this by
speaking up about the things she would like to change.
V. ASK THE QUERENT FOR FEEDBACK
It is important to check with the querent that your spread
positions and your interpretations address the querent’s
concerns. As you read the cards, stop and ask for feedback
about what you are saying: “Does this fit your understanding?”
“Is this helpful?” “What does this card suggest to you?”
Give the querent time to think about and respond to what you
are saying. The reading has more impact when the person is
encouraged to participate and shape what goes on. The basic
idea is to start a process of thought going that can lead to
an increase in the querent’s level of awareness about
Look at the querent
Instead of mostly concentrating on the cards in front of
you, look at the querent occasionally and make eye contact,
just as you would during a conversation. Notice how the
querent reacts to what you are saying. This may seem
obvious, but I have seen many readers focus on the cards in
front of them and all but ignore the querent during the
reading. The basic idea here is to stay connected to the
querent and to be aware of what his or her nonverbal
behavior is communicating. Is the querent leaning forward
and following what you are saying with interest or is he or
she sitting there looking bored, doubtful or angry?
I think of this as the 50-50 rule: give at least as much
attention to the querent as you give to the cards.
VI. ASSIGN HOMEWORK
At the end of each session, I have the querent choose the
card from the reading that most embodies what the querent
needs to focus on in the week to come. I keep an extra pack
of cards around so that I can actually give the card to the
querent. Then I give the querent an exercise to do with the
card that is designed to bring the energy of the card into
the querent’s life.
Ms. A chose two cards from her reading, the Ace of Cups
and the Knight of Swords. She said that the two together
would remind her to “lovingly communicate.”
VII. TAKE YOUR TIME AND SCHEDULE
I believe that most Tarot Counseling sessions need to be
longer than many traditional tarot readings (at least thirty
minutes to an hour). The extra time is necessary in order
to take a history, understand the issues behind the
querent’s question, and to allow the querent enough time
to be an active participant in the reading.
I am also proposing a multi-session model for Tarot
Counseling that is similar to the one used in Brief
Psychotherapy. Although a single session can be helpful,
most serious issues are rarely resolved so quickly.
Additional sessions reinforce and expand what was learned
in the first. New aspects of the issue often arise after the
initial ones are dealt with. The basic idea is to allow for
future sessions to be thematically related to previous ones,
instead of having a series of unconnected readings.
VIII. KEEP RECORDS
If you switch from doing brief single session readings to
the longer multi-session Tarot Counseling model, you will
find it helpful to have records of each counseling session.
I suggest that you make a file for each client which you
update each session. It should include the following:
1. The date
2. The querent’s name and contact information
(address, phone, e-mail)
3. The background information on the querent
4. The background information on the problem area
behind the question
5. Emotional reactions by the querent
6. Any additional issues discussed by the two of you
7. The original question asked
8. The final form of the question
9. The spread used and the cards that came up
10. Your interpretation
11. The querent’s response to your interpretation
11. Homework given
This way, if you see the querent again, you can read over
his or her past sessions to remind yourself of important
data and will not have to ask the same questions twice. You
can also check on whether the querent did the homework and
whether the Tarot Counseling session helped.
IX. GET ADDITIONAL TRAINING IN AREAS
RELEVANT TO YOUR READINGS
If you are planning to shift from being a Tarot reader to
becoming a Tarot Counselor, you will be more useful to your
querents if you take the time and effort to learn more about
the areas that you tend to get asked about. If you do a lot
of business readings, take a course in finance. If love
readings are your specialty, consider studying the
psychology of attraction. Like everything else in life, if
you put in the extra effort to become more informed, your
readings will reflect it by becoming richer and more useful
to your querents. An added bonus is that as you elevate your
knowledge, you are likely to be taken more seriously as well.
is an internationally renowned Gestalt therapy
trainer who specializes in teaching the diagnosis
and treatment of Borderline, Narcissistic, and
Schizoid adaptations. She has been studying
tarot since 1995 and is psychology consultant to
The Tarot School, where she earned a Third Degree
in Tarot. She is a member of B.O.T.A. (Builders
of the Adytum) and has been certified as a professional
tarot reader by the American Tarot Association.
Best Practices for Professional Readers
5 SIGNS THAT YOU'RE READY TO READ PROFESSIONALLY
By Gina Thies
An interest in the art of divination is often what draws us
to tarot and other oracular tools. Many of us have similar
stories of how we came to be professional readers. It often
starts as an active hobby, and professional reading is a
natural next step. Sometimes it may seem to just fall in
Even when you don't have a full-time tarot business, it is
nice to be compensated for whatever change and help you
bring to the lives of others. If you think you want to read
professionally, but are not certain that you are ready, here
are some signs that it may be time for you to venture out as
a profession and start charging for your readings:
1. You have mastered the basics of tarot, no longer
relying on book meanings, and understand of how to turn card
interpretations into relevant information for a querent.
2. You have a unique reading style. More and more,
divination is becoming an art form as well as a gift. If you
have a unique, effect way to empower and inspire through
your readings, this may prove valuable to others.
3. You have entrepreneurial instincts. Are you naturally
a salesperson? Do you have a knack for doing business? This
may make it easy and natural for you to combine your talent
for business with your talent as a reader.
4. You are comfortable in the public eye and talking
about what you do as a tarot reader. One of the big
struggles for many readers is feeling free to openly reveal
who they are and what they do. If you have no hesitation
about being known as a reader, you are certainly ready to
5. You already charge for readings and are making as much
money or more for readings than at your full-time job. This
is a no-brainer. However, do consider all of your financial
obligations and needs before quitting your day job to become
a full-time professional reader.
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