How to Answer a Specific Question with a Tarot Card

Picture this: the candles are lit, Nag Champa incense is wafting about the room, a cozy fire is crackling in the background (or if your like me, your “fireplace” dvd is crackling in the background), and your hunkered down at your dining room table, giving your best friend a Tarot reading…

Your friend asks something typical like “Is Gary my soulmate?”

You roll your eyes, draw a card and…WTF?! It’s The Heirophant.

“F*ck!” you think. “What on Earth does that mean?!”

the hierophant tarot card meaning

Card image is from The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck published by U.S.Games Systems, Inc.

Of course, you know exactly what The Hierophant means all on its own, but you have no idea what it means in relation to the question being asked.

Reading Tarot can sometimes feels like deciphering hieroglyphics. All you want is a clear answer and instead you end up feeling more and more confused!

This actually used to happen to me ALL THE TIME. And if I am being 100% honest with you, it still happens every now and then 😉 But luckily I have gotten my shit together and come up with some handy dandy ways to get around this annoying issue.


Tip #1: Put on Your Glasses

Have you ever heard that expression “looking at the world through rose-tinted lenses”? You want to look at the confusing Tarot card through situation-tinted lenses. Let me explain…

When you get a Tarot card that just doesn’t make sense, picture yourself calmly sliding on a pair of glasses, like Corey Hart in his Sunglasses at Night video…

Now imagine that these are magic glasses that will help you see the Tarot card in light of the particular issue.

So for the reading I mentioned earlier, you would put on your “soulmate searching” glasses and ask “in regards to finding one’s soulmate, what message does this card have for my friend?”


Look at the Tarot card:

Let go of the traditional card meaning for a sec and just see what pops into your head. Notice what symbol your attention is drawn to. Doing this gives your intuition a chance to come out and play.

Example: When I do this for The Hierophant (above), I suddenly notice that there are two identical pillars, two identical monks side by side and two keys crossed. This makes me think aha! soulmates! but then there’s that pesky Hierophant coming between them. So I might say that there is soulmate possibility, but there is a powerful force keeping them apart right now.

But what if The Hierophant had come up in a reading about career/life purpose?

As I slide on my magic glasses, I notice that this card really exudes authority and tradition. This could suggest your life purpose is to be an authority figure of some type, but it may require years of formal study. Or it could mean your life purpose will be intimately intertwined with spirituality.


Look at the “traditional meaning”:

Now that you’ve unleashed your intuition, it’s time to indulge your intellect! Take a look at the traditional card meaning through your magic glasses and see how it relates to your question.

According to the little white book that came with my Universal Waite Tarot deck, The Hierophant means “marriage alliance, captivity, servitude, mercy and goodness, inspiration, the man to whom the querent has recourse.”

So how could I bend this definition to shed light on the question “Is Gary my soulmate?”

Well, well, well! I might say that marriage to Gary would make sense in a socially acceptable, conform to society kind of way. Perhaps she really wants Gary to be her soul mate because marriage to him may solve many of her problems. But ultimately, this will make her feel trapped. This doesn’t really answer the question, but it does suggest that rushing into marriage isn’t necessary.


Here’s my demonstration of how to read a Tarot card in many different contexts:


Tip #2: Practice Looking at Each Tarot Card in Many Different Ways

Let’s take The Chariot. What might it mean if it came up in a reading about career? About love? About health?

Typically The Chariot is all about moving forward, success, etc, but what if it appears in the “things that are blocking me” position in a reading?

Doing this will require you to really ponder each card, its symbols and even look up the meanings in your book. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Consider both the negative and positive aspects of the card.


Card image is from The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck published by U.S.Games Systems, Inc.

The Chariot:
Career – advancing quickly
Love – triumph, success in romance
Health – health is improving, but keep things balanced
Block – too driven, need to slow down and relax
Negatives – too focused on “success” and getting to the destination, parts of the self being in disagreement (especially if the horses are going in different directions)


Tarot is meant to be flexible. When you first learn Tarot, its all about memorizing the specific card meanings, and this can put you in a rigid frame of mind. But as you develop your reading skills, the challenge is in using the context to bend and grow the card meanings.

This exercise helps your mind get used to looking at a Tarot card from all angles and contexts.


Tip #3: Don’t always expect your Tarot cards to give you a clear answer!

Sometimes a Tarot card will be the doorway to discovering your own solutions and answers, but it will not be the answer itself.

The images on a Tarot card may lead you on a trip down memory lane, steer you into a particular train of thought or an idea may be sparked. So don’t go chucking out your cards if they don’t make sense right away! Be willing to explore 🙂

FYI: If you give yourself a reading, use these techniques and still feel totally confused about what your cards mean, I now offer Tarot Interpretations.


Let me know what you think!

What happened when you tried out this technique?

Do you have a favorite trick for reading a Tarot card in a specific context?

Tell me in the comments below!

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This entry was posted in March 2014, Tarot Tips and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to How to Answer a Specific Question with a Tarot Card

  1. Brian says:

    Hi Kate,
    Thank you so much for sending me such useful and easy to understand info. Your style of teaching is so straight forward and clear and I look forward to future posts.
    Regards, Brian

  2. Kay says:

    Hi Kate,
    I love your weekly Tarot readings- they seem to be right on. And the way you interpret the cards is very helpful and encouraging to me, as a wannabe reader.
    I signed up for your site but have never received any emails or posts, I tried to sign up again but it wouldn’t let me saying I was already signed up. Do you send out newsletters?
    I will keep going to your site as I love what you do it’s very informative- any new info would be appreciated.
    All my best, Kay

    • Kate says:

      Hi Kay,
      Yes! I do send out newsletters – I send one per month. You should get one this Tuesday. Check your spam/junk folder, as they often end up in there. If you would like to be notified each time I post something new, you can subscribe to my blog right here:
      I see you are signed up for newsletters, but not blog posts, so that could be why you haven’t received anything yet.
      Thanks for coming by my site and I am so happy that your finding it helpful and encouraging 🙂

  3. Chani says:

    Thanks for the lovely read! I really appreciated the example you did with the Moon in the tutorial vid. I never really thought about that card in the context of career. 🙂

    One thing I like to do in readings is sometimes pull a clarifier or two for a particular card. If I’m not sure on a card in the context, or if I feel it is leaning a particular way, I’ll see if the additional cards confirm what I’m thinking, or echo a similar theme.

    Another thing I like to do is have a “conversation” with my deck, especially if I’m working without a particular spread. So what I do is ask my initial question, and either pull a card or two, or do a spread. If that “answers” my question, I stop there. Other times though I may see the message the cards are telling me, but I might know how that applies to a particular aspect of the situation or don’t know how to put that message into context, so I ask a related question, and pull another card, or do another spread for that, and read that in conjunction with the first. Other times, the first spread or card brings up a new question, so the next card or cards is a “new” reading and an “answer” for that. (My decks will also throw the cards out for me, lol.) I know there is a danger in pulling extra cards, but when doing this I usually start small, and always listen for my intuition’s cue to stop. So basically I’m building the spread or reading as I go along. I’ll admit it- I’m a card-puller. n_n Can’t wait to see what other tips you have in store!

    • Kate says:

      Love this idea of having a conversation with your cards as your pulling them! Thanks for sharing it, Chani 🙂 And I really like the idea of gradually building on a reading as opposed to doing a “spread” where there are a set number of cards – because sometimes only one card answers your question, and other times you need more.

  4. Wow that was a very informative lesson! I am always pulling random cards for the question being asked and getting stuck in how to interpret the card, mainly because I always refer back to traditional card meanings. It’s great to have a different way of going about things when the traditional meanings don’t apply. Thank you!

  5. Denise Young says:

    Hi Kate,Just loved the video on how to read a card in different contexts.Found this very helpful.But on saying that I enjoy all that you write about Tarot.So little to offer here in New Zealand.Tarot readers are out there but never seem to get together to work together!Went to a fair last weekend and there just happened to be a Tarot reader there.So of course of I went for a reading as I am always interested in seeing what cards they use and how they do their reading.Really found that so helpful.
    All the Best,Denise.

    • Kate says:

      I’m so glad you found this helpful, Denise 🙂 That’s frustrating that its hard for you to meet other readers – maybe you should start your own group or something? There aren’t tons of people into Tarot where I live either, but I know lots of online communities, so I don’t really feel isolated in my Tarot hobby.

  6. Ellen says:

    Great exercise Kate I’ve tried it with some spread positions I often encounter: What is blocking me. What does environment think, what are my goals, what give me strength etc.

  7. Sarah says:

    This post is really useful Kate, thanks. I’ve definitely experienced getting stuck on a card like that before. I actually posted an exercise on my blog not too long ago about using the same card to answer many types of questions so folks can get used to seeing the card through the lens of the question just like you recommended.

  8. Kalpana Madhani says:

    Great lesson!! Liked the way ,you have interpreted the same card in many different situations.Thanks Kate!

  9. Jamie Morris says:

    Great lesson! I really like how you blended the intuitive with the traditional.

    Thanks, Kate!

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