The Tarot Questions that Lead to Bad Readings (and What to Ask Instead)

March 4, 2021

5 Tarot Questions that Lead to Bad Readings (and what to ask instead!) | Happy As Annie

Is there such thing as a stupid tarot question?

If your tarot readings seem to be falling flat or aren’t very good or interesting, the cards you’re pulling or your interpretations may not be to blame. The truth is our tarot readings can only be as good as the tarot questions we are asking.

In this post, I list five ineffective or uninspired questions that make tarot readings fall flat and feel uninteresting or unhelpful. Plus, I’ll tell you what tarot questions to ask instead to make your reading more insightful, productive, and empowering!

Enjoy the video or keep reading below.

Bad Question #1: What’s going to happen today?

Let’s start with a very common tarot practice: a daily reading, or a daily draw.

Many people, myself included, start the day by drawing a tarot card to see what’s in store for them. Many people ask something like, “What’s going to happen to me today?” That’s a big no for me for a couple reasons.

First, tarot is not about fortune telling, at least for me. I don’t pull a card simply because I want to know what will happen next.

Second, even if tarot were about simply predicting the future, what would that really tell you? I ask the cards, “What will happen to me today?” The cards say, “Someone’s going to piss you off today.” Cool! Thanks! Now what? Or “You will receive some unexpected news today.” Also cool! What do I do with this information? Asking what will happen today doesn’t really help me.  It resembles a fun horoscope or fortune cookie-type situation, but that’s about it.

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Replace with: How can I show up as my best self today?

Instead, I suggest asking something more reflective and empowering. My personal favorite for a daily draw is to ask, “How can I show up as my best self today?”

That question will get you actual guidance – potentially actionable advice – that will help you set an intention for the day that you can focus on throughout the day to be your best self.

Also, by the nature of the question, any card you pull can be interpreted with a positive spin. And that’s really important to me for a daily draw.

Even when you pull a “bad” or difficult card, if the question asks how you can show up as your best self, the message can still be constructive and helpful. So if you pull something like the 5 of Wands, the answer might be something like, “You may encounter conflict or pushback at work today. Just remember not to automatically take it personally. Everyone is trying to contribute and get their ideas heard, just like you are, and nobody is any better or worse than you are. Don’t be afraid to speak up, but also keep an open-mind and approach discussions with an air of collaboration rather than competition.”

Now that’s something I can work with, and the way I asked the question helped me get there.

Grayscale photo of woman's hands together on wooden table, nail polish and ring

Bad Question #2: How does he feel about me?

Other variations of this question include, “Does he love me?” or “What does he think of me?” or “Is he into me?”  What they all have in common is that you are asking the tarot about what the other person in your relationship thinks or feels about you.

What’s wrong with that? You’re obviously not a mind reader and you want some insight into the relationship (or potential for a relationship) so you can act accordingly, right? But the problem I see with this question is that it places the focus on the other person rather than yourself, which is a shame because tarot is such a valuable tool for self-discovery and self-empowerment.

I also think that it’s particularly easy for someone in a relationship, especially if they feel neglected or are suffering from low self-esteem at the time, to place way too much stock in what the other person thinks and feels at any given moment. And this leads to a self-negation in relationships that I personally have experienced, and it’s not cute. For that reason, I urge you to focus on yourself and your feelings about a relationship and act according to what you believe is best for you and what you desire.

Don’t use tarot as a way to keep up with someone else’s moods and feelings.

Replace with: How do I feel in this relationship?

If you find yourself turning to tarot to ask about how someone is feeling about you, chances are you are asking because you feel a certain way about the relationship at that given moment. Perhaps you feel unappreciated or suspicious or jealous or overwhelmed. Perhaps your own affection is waning or you are really falling head over heels and a little terrified about it!

I am way more interested in how you are feeling in your relationship than how your partner might be feeling. Tarot is best suited for diving into our own psyches and emotions and sorting our own feelings out.

The best way to find out how your partner is feeling is to ask them.

Woman wearing sunglasses blowing on dandelion

Bad Question #3: Will I get the job? (or any yes/no question)

Now, I am all about asking the tarot for career and business advice! So what’s wrong with this question?

The reason this question is not very effective is because it’s a yes/no question. So it actually has nothing to do with the content of the question – it’s the form of the question that’s the problem. And yes/no questions don’t make for the best tarot readings for a few reasons.

First, yes/no tarot questions are simply uninteresting. You ask, “Should I accept this job offer?” And I tell you, “Nope.” The end. That’s not very revealing and informative.

Second, the way some people go about answering yes/no questions really bothers me. For instance, some tarot readers say Wands are a yes and Swords are a no, and these Major Arcana cards are a yes, and these two paired together are a no, and so on.  But these trite systems don’t really make sense.

Take the “Wands are a yes” theory for example. If you ask a question and draw the 6 of Wands, for instance, that could certainly be a green light. That card is about victory and appreciation – coming home a hero. However, what if you draw the 10 of Wands? That card is all about a heavy burden, overwhelm, and drudgery. That doesn’t scream “yes” to me.

It almost becomes a game or superstition at that point, where you’re not actually interpreting the cards and reflecting on anything. And that’s not how tarot works.

Replace with: How does this job align with my highest good? (an open-ended question)

Instead, my advice is to turn any yes/no question into an open-ended question. And to do this, you usually start the question with a word like how, what, or why.

An open-ended question cannot be answered by a simple yes or no and invites more reflection, analysis, and explanation. And that is precisely what tarot is for! Asking the tarot how a job aligns with your highest good (rather than just if you should take the job or not) allows you to tap into your intuition and evaluate the question from a place of authenticity rather than ego. Then, with this newfound information and connection to how you feel about the situation you’re asking about, you are equipped to make a wiser, more aligned decision!

If you ask a yes/no question, you’re relinquishing your decision-making power, and that’s kind of a copout to me. Tarot should not be used as a replacement for exercising our own judgment and making our own decisions. And asking yes/no questions often tend to lead us in that direction, which is not very empowering.

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Bad Question #4: Am I pregnant? What’s the sex of the baby?

These are really popular questions. And, to be fair, I can see why they’re fun to ask. It becomes a fun game to see if your tarot cards get the sex of the baby right, in the same way that people place bets on when the mother will go into labor and that sort of thing.

So if you’re looking for a fun tarot activity to do, by all means, have at this.

But if you’re actually wondering if you’re pregnant, take a pregnancy test! You want to know the sex of your baby? Ask your doctor! If you can find the answer to a question in a super easy and logical way, don’t ask the tarot.

Another reason why this question rubs me the wrong way is that it assumes tarot is for fortune telling, which I don’t believe. It also has the air of “testing” whether a tarot reader is the real deal, as if I’m being challenged to predict the sex of the baby correctly to prove that I have “abilities.” That, again, is not how tarot works.

And also, ew. Rude.

Replace with: A doctor’s appointment

And that’s that!

Girl in red dress holding hand of man with engagement ring on her finger, hand to head shocked

Bad Question #5: Why aren’t so-and-so getting married (or breaking up)?

There are a couple different ways to explain why this is an ineffective tarot question.

For me, it’s as simple as you should mind your own business. In other words, this question doesn’t mention you and has nothing to do with you. It’s about two other people and a relationship you are not a part of. It is out of your sphere of influence so what is the point of asking?

Really what you’re doing with a question like this is gossiping with our tarot deck! And don’t get me wrong, I can see the pleasure in this. And if you’re in a playful, game-playing mood and just killing some time with your tarot deck, I can see why you might find it fun to just get gossip and gab with your tarot cards. But when it comes to using tarot effectively for guidance and self-discovery, this is just not a very useful question to ask.

A slightly different way to explain why it’s a bad idea to ask your tarot cards about other people is that you actually can’t ethically read tarot for someone who hasn’t given you consent. This is a slightly more “woo-woo” reason for why this question isn’t great because it assumes the way tarot works is that you we are literally tapping into or channeling other people’s energies, almost like telepathy or clairvoyance. Now, I don’t happen to believe that’s how tarot works – I certainly don’t think that’s what I’m doing when I read tarot – but the ultimate idea of not reading for people who are not there and have not asked you for a reading sounds like a reasonable rule of thumb.

So whichever of those two ways you want to look at it, asking the tarot about people and situations with which you are not involved probably aren’t the best use of your time and energy.

Replace with: Minding your own business

Let me know which types of tarot questions give you the most trouble or what your favorite tarot questions are in the comments below!

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  • Reply Future March 4, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    This is all new to me and an interesting post!

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie March 16, 2021 at 3:27 pm

      Awesome, thanks for reading! 🙂

  • Reply Katie Love March 4, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    I agree with almost all of these – except for “how does he feel about me?”

    I think it’s a valid point that asking how you feel in the relationship is a more prudent question, but often, asking about someone else’s feelings can help us really understand our own. Is there a reason why we’re confused about his feelings, for example? Is he doing something that’s causing us to feel unsure, or is it our own insecurity issues coming to the surface?

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie March 16, 2021 at 3:27 pm

      Ooh, I can see that for sure. We might be projecting our own stuff onto them or have a gut feeling that perhaps they’re not being straightforward even if we were to confront them. Yes…love it. Thanks for your insight, Katie!

  • Reply Nadya March 7, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    This was so interesting – thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie March 16, 2021 at 3:25 pm

      You’re welcome, Nadya!

  • Reply Titra March 7, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    These are some great tips! I especially love the last one.

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie March 16, 2021 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks for reading, Titra!

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  • Reply Ana June 30, 2022 at 2:19 am

    “Replace with: Minding your own business” :)) very that!

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie June 30, 2022 at 2:19 pm

      Haha right!?

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