Previously I looked at a list of ten common “commandments” concerning formation of a proper question for card divination. This is advice commonly given to readers of tarot, Lenormand, playing cards and most other oracles. I don’t necessarily believe all these things are required, at least not as commonly advised. You may or may not believe in following these yourself. This series is my exploration of these common guidelines about forming a question which I called the Ten Commandments of Cartomancy Questions.

This post is a continuation and the previous entries are linked below for your convenience. Again, these are points often made to students of cartomancy, and this series is taking a look at whether I find them relevant for my own practice.

Part 1
Part 2

Let’s look at the next three “commandments” with some examples. Shall we?

3. Thou shalt not ask the same question more than once.

On the surface, yes, I agree with this. I think the point is not to have a person read for himself or others repeatedly on the same question, until the cards present an answer that the client wants to hear. I think that is perfectly reasonable.

Digging deeper, I think the same question can be asked again — at a later time. After all, circumstances change. Mary could ask whether this is a good time to sidle up to Xander, and the cards could indicate no, because she’s going to get hit with a heavy workload and he has some emotional issues to deal with. A month later, Mary could have started a new job while Xander stopped dating someone who was unfaithful. Things are quite different and Mary may want to ask again, if she’s not given up on her crush.

Had the cards originally said no but Mary wanted to ask again right away, in hopes of hearing “yes” — then I think that’s inappropriate. That is what this guideline is trying to avoid.

What about asking a slightly different question? Maybe Joe hates his job and asks if this is a good time to quit, but the cards tell him no. He was hoping for an affirmative answer; so Joe follows up by asking whether this is a good time to look for a new job. Would you answer this question? I don’t see any reason not to. Looking for a new job doesn’t mean he needs to quit his current one; plenty of people use one career as home base while looking for another. This is also a chance for Joe to empower himself, and who knows, maybe looking for a new job could put his current one into perspective where he realizes it’s not so bad. So taking Joe’s second question offers possible benefits from a reading.

4. Thou shalt only ask An Important Question.

I admit that when I see questions like, “How will my hair turn out if/when I color it?” on internet forums, I probably roll my eyes and move right past the post. Even if people are just looking for something, anything, to practice reading about, that kind of question seems amazingly trite. Yet thinking about it, what constitutes an important question? And who am I to judge what is important to someone else?

I credit my thoughts about this one to John Frawley, who made a good case for what is trivial to one person could be quite important and relevant to another. He used the example question of “When will the repairman arrive?” as a perfectly valid question (for a horary chart). And I think it’s true. While the question about bleached hair may seem silly to me, it’s quite possible that someone’s self-esteem is going to be related to whether or not her hair looks fried. Or maybe she’s auditioning for a role in a school play where the success will assist her chances of a scholarship. Or maybe she just wants to look nice but is hesitant to take a risk. Who am I to say?

I admit it’s hard to get past the judging, but I also admit that this seems like something I should work on.

5.Thou shall not ask questions on thy own behalf.

Basically, this admonishment is to avoid reading for oneself. I have done more readings for myself than for others, simply because I’m the most readily available subject when I need to practice, or want to try some new idea or reading technique.

I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with reading for oneself. There are plenty of people who do think it’s a bad idea. The main risk, to me, is in being objective: it’s hard to be objective if reading about something the reader is intimately involved with, especially if it’s important or an emotional trigger topic. A loss of objectivity means a loss of accuracy, and the reader could be giving himself bad advice, or making the cards say what she wants to hear.

The secondary risk is that the reader will become addicted, because he can so easily read for himself, about any little thing that comes up.

This is definitely a rule that I believe people should test for themselves and see whether they feel they can read their own cards successfully,  maintaining objectivity and avoiding divination addiction.