So you want a reading?

Let’s say you want a reading. Be it tarot, divination, oracle or whatever and you’ve even found a diviner you want to use. But what do listing you choose? What’s the best choice for you? How do you word your questions? What can you expect?

Let’s first talk about what divination can do for you. Divination can do a lot of things but mainly it falls into two camps: telling the future and introspection. These two purposes often coincide (for example, you might get a reading about your career but also glean some advice on what to work on so you can be the best for said career). Some readers specialize in just telling the future and others will only use it for introspection and will go so far as to say telling the future is impossible. I’m of a mind that both are good and can be useful depending on the kind of question you have. My own readings tend to be a mix of both future insights and suggestions, advice, or warnings on what you can change to help yourself or change a future foretold that you didn’t like.

I know what you’re thinking. “Wait? Change a future?” Yup. I believe and operate that for the most part you have the power and ability to change your future. Channel your inner Merida and change what you don’t like. That being said, I also believe that some things are bound to happen give circumstances so unless you wildly deviate from course they’ll happen. xxxHOLIC and CLAMP fans might recognize a term called hitsuzen which is similar. The end result is the same: by and large, you can take advice given to you by the cards and use it to help alter things to your liking. The future is not set in stone.

I’ve already written on what to expect once you purchase a reading insofar as my specific process but you can help your chosen diviner by ensuring and understanding the following things:

  1. Be ready to hear what’s being said. The answer might not be good or what you’re hoping for so you have to be ready for that too. Listen to what the reader says. If you’re asking for a reading, there’s an expectation that you want to be told what’s being read. If you’re closed to the idea that nothing can change or be helped then the reading is probably going to be useless for you. Going to several readers isn’t going to change what’s been read unless you change it yourself. If you’re not ready to hear what has to be said, then don’t ask.
  2. Readings are usually only good for six months and specific dates are hard to pinpoint. While some readers can divine far into the future and narrow down futures to the an exacted time and date for something to happen, many readers prefer not to go that route so you won’t be disappointed when something doesn’t happen. Many readers will only read six months out at most and many times only a few weeks in advance. I tend to use three to six months as an average time frame and give suggestions of a couple of months when dating things.
  3. Accept that the reader may get things wrong. Most of the time the diviner doesn’t know the details of your life so they speak in non-specifics or try to get as specific as possible without knowing those details first hand. Many readers can get some amazing details but there’s going to be times where they’re just off. It happens.
  4. We are interpreters of the cards not advice givers. While many of us can and do serve in a mentor position and some readers are even counselors, we are by and large not advice givers. While some readers will make suggestions or give advice, many readers do not. We just read the cards. That’s what you’re paying us for.
  5. We are worth our rate. It’s just rude and insulting to try and bargain with us. Don’t do it. We work hard to learn the cards and spend many hours crafting spreads and learning how to read for others. Many of us study for years to be able to read professionally.
  6. Every reader is different. Some readers will focus on the metaphysical or pretty imagery. Others will work on empowering you towards your goal. More still want to help you help yourself. There’s lot of different reasons to read and divine and every single reader uses their own experiences, personal symbolism, and knowledge to read the cards or divination tool different. No two readers will read exactly the same way. It may take some time to find a reader that matches up with your style.
  7. Know your questions. Sometimes you don’t know what you want. That’s OK but having specific questions to be answered can help cut down wasted time for both you and the reader. You might even want to write the questions down in advance. Check with the reader to see if they’ll even read for those specific questions. Some readers won’t read for health related issues or for a third party.
  8. Ask questions. If you don’t understand what the reader is saying or what a card means, ask questions! Ask them to clarify what’s going on so you really understand.

Playing with the cartomancy spread from the Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls by Matthew Lowes and Josephe Vandel.

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OK. Now you know what to look forward to, now to pick a divination style. There are hundreds of thousands of ways to tell the future. I’m not kidding there. I personally use a couple of dozen and have actively tried at least fifty or more. There’s so many different and awesome choices out there to pick from! Cards are a classic so when in doubt, it’s probably your best choice. Tarot is the best known system but oracle and lenormand cards can work just as well. Pendulum readings are excellent for yes or no questions. Scrying techniques, like crystal ball reading, water gazing, and so on give the diviner mental and/or psychic images and information. This can be very informative or very vague, depending on the reader and the question. If you’re a book lover and want some general fun advice, a stitchomancy/bibliomancy reading using a favorite book might be a good way to go. Lots are divination systems where the diviner tossings or randomly selects from a collection of objects and uses the correlations, associations, locations to one another and possibly even a metaphysical map layout to divine the future. These are usually highly individualized but that can lead to some pretty amazing results. (And yup, I do all of the above and more).

Now to determine how long or how many cards are needed. Traditionally, a reader has a timer set and you pay for their time (often by every fifteen minutes or an hour). There’s another method out there that I actually prefer: card number. You pay for the amount of cards drawn. I generally recommend selecting between five to seven cards for a reading. If a particularly complicated question, go up to ten. For me, a five to seven card reading is equivalent to fifteen or twenty minutes. Ten for me is about half an hour (therefore 20 cards is around a hour’s time). Too few cards and you don’t get enough information to do anything with and too many cards can become overwhelming or begin to repeat the information already said. It’s a careful balance and sometimes it’s better just to ask.

Some readers even let you pick out what deck of cards or divination tool to use. They might let you shuffle or touch the cards and others won’t. It depends on the reader or the sometimes even the tool itself. Ask first before touching. When picking a deck or tool to use the best advice is to pick the one you’re drawn to the most. Maybe the deck has some specific energy or the art style really appeals to you. Maybe you like dragons or the color purple. Whatever you decide know that while the tool chosen might have some influence on how the information is relayed (a gentler voice versus a brash voice with cards, for example), it’s probably not going to change what information is given.

Testing a new spread with the Magical Menagerie oracle.

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So now you’ve set up a time or purchased a reading and now it comes to the part where you ask your questions. As mentioned above, be sure to check with the reader to see if there’s any questions they won’t answer. (I’m liberal when it comes to the questions asked of me whereas some others aren’t). The best way to word a question is to be clear and concise but to focus on what you can do. Here’s some examples:

“Am I going to die?” Well, yeah. We all do. This is a pretty rough question for a diviner to get and many won’t even attempt to answer it. A better way to word it is “I’m seriously worried about my health. What can I do to reduce my chances of serious illness or death?”

“Is Avery going to ask me to prom?” Yes/no questions can be difficult to divine. It may depend on the tool chosen or the reader themselves. A better way to ask this question is “What can I do to encourage or raise my chances of Avery asking me to prom?” This gives you information that you can do something with.

“I hate my co-worker. Will they get fired soon?” While worded appropriately, a better question would be “What can I do to get along better with my co-workers?” Again, this put you in a position to change things rather than just information that might not help in the long run.

“[Insert paragraphs of life story here] So what can I do?” Cut down on the background information. Often times having some information is useful so the reader can get specifics but many times too much information is just confusing and you may not get the question answers at all. I tend to reword long stories like that into useable questions for the reading.

Tarot spinner ring. Spin the bands to get a reading.

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Now that you’ve done all of that you just have to sit back and wait for the reading. As mentioned above, I’ve already described in an earlier post what my reading process is like. If in person, give the reader a second to really look at the cards and understand what’s going on. Ask questions but let them speak too. You might want to bring a notepad and pen or break out a note-taking app on your phone to jot down some information as it’s relayed to you. Online reading are by far easier for you. Simply wait until the reader sends the reading your way. Often times it’s sent through email with photos attached or in an assembled .PDF file. If you have questions, email the reader but be sure to check their policies. They may only allow a certain number of questions or clarification cards drawn before a new reading is required.

And that’s it! That’s how you prepare for a reading! Not too hard is it? So go out there and learn your future!

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