What Happens During a Tarot Reading?

from Chrysalis Tarot

When we meet, we usually begin with light conversation that helps us settle into the feel of the moment before we dive into heavier territory.

I am not a licensed counselor or therapist (always check with your healthcare provider if you have a serious physical or mental health concern), but a lot of our rhythms of talk will fall into similar patterns.

You will bring a question (or a basket of wordless feelings that we will form into a question or direction of inquiry together), and I will listen for the elements that will indicate the best spread(s) to address the current need.

A spread is the layout of cards that determines which card represents which part of an answer.

For example, a three-card spread may nameSituation – Decision – Task

Or: Awareness – Resistance – Integration

from Sun and Moon Tarot

If you’re interested in this sort of thing, we can discuss what will align best with your purposes, or you can leave it to me and my experience to choose. (If you shared your question in the intake form at scheduling, I’ll will have a plan already prepared.)

In the questionnaire you are offered when you book your reading, you will be offered a choice between decks, or can leave the selection to me.

When we are settled, the first question clarified, I shuffle the deck. Then I lay down the cards in the chosen pattern.

At this point I describe the symbolism represented in cards, and we relate it to the card’s position in the spread and to the question we’re exploring. Often there is a confluence of cards, where they naturally work together to add depth to the meaning or interpretation. The whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.

You are welcome to ask clarifying questions at any time, or make your own observations.

You are a participant in the reading: this is your time, and your questions and purposes that we are exploring. As the reader I am here to help with this, a guide as you consider the results.


Many spreads include a “what’s next” or “to do” item to help the querent (that’s you, the person asking the question) to move from the arena of thought or theory and into action.

from Vivid Journey Tarot

When we finish going through a spread, or your time is up, I often suggest you take a picture of the cards if you want, or offer to send you one from my phone.

And that’s it.

We share a friendly good-bye (return our dishes if we met in a coffee shop or café), and maybe talk about when or whether you want to continue the work. Sometimes we schedule another session in two weeks or a month or three months.

Then you walk away with a lot to think about.

People get the most benefit out of each session if they journal about it soon after (or take notes during the reading). Recording the session is another useful option, giving you something to return to later with a fresh mind.

If you have questions that arise upon further reflection, that too is often part of the process.

Write those questions down, and, if you haven’t already, make another appointment to investigate what grew out of your earlier reading.