by Bonnie Cehovet
Relationship issues of all types are right at the top of the list for requests for Tarot readings. Whether the relationship in question is a family relationship, a friendship, a work/business related relationship, or a romantic relationship, there are always deep emotions involved, issues of ego and self esteem, and expectations on everyone's part. Where on earth is the best place to begin to make sense of this?
The best place to begin is for both the Seeker and the reader to recognize that our primary relationship is a dual relationship - with Spirit, and with ourselves. Everything else comes from this. The focus of the reading needs to be on the Seeker, on how the Seeker sees themselves in relation to the issue(s), and on what actions they can take to bring about resolution for themselves. At the end of a reading, we want the Seeker to be at peace with themselves, to feel empowered, to feel that they have options, and to feel that they have a sense of control over their life.
In their book Tarot D'Amour (Weiser Books, 2003), Kooch N. Daniels and Victor Daniels outline what they term ten themes of transformation that can be recognized and dealt with through the Tarot. Although their book is based on romantic relationship, many of the themes below can be found in a wide range of relationships.
1. Finding your own way. This has to do with accepting people as they are, and not trying to change each other based on our own preconceptions.
2. Living your life as if its an intriguing adventure. This addresses giving ourselves permission to focus on our strengths, on what we can contribute in a positive manner to our current well being, rather than giving in to our fears.
3. Freeing others from blame for your problems. Accept responsibility for your part in any relationship.
4. Learning to express both your love and your power. Mutual admiration and caring will take a relationship farther than one-sided power.
5. Taking charge of your own attitudes and feelings. We can create our own suffering through negative thinking. Through positive thinking, we can learn to create joy, happiness and pleasure. The Daniel's refer to this as "positive reframing" - learning to reinterpret situations or events that we initially see in a negative manner.
6. Learning to form various kinds of relationships. Learning to develop relationships that fit your needs - be they short term, long term, or permanent, and allowing them to evolve.
7. Drawing nourishment from both your senses and your depths. Living a full life includes drawing on your sensory contact with the world - the sights, smells, the movements around us, all of these are part of our world. Dreams and daydreams come in here too!
8. Encouraging intimacy and satisfying lovemaking through good communications. This has to do with seeing, hearing, an intuiting what is going on with others, and with ourselves.
9. Bringing closure to old, unfinished conflicts or complexes. This deals with living fully in the present, and leaving baggage from previous relationships behind.
10. Invoking the magic of love through mutual respect Very basic: honor the other person's uniqueness, fears and inhibitions.
Another important contribution to relationship readings that this book makes is the table that lists the Major Arcana and the archetypes associated with them. Recognizing the archetypes in a reading, if and when they appear, will present major clues as to what the foundation of the reading is, and how to bring about resolution for the Seeker.
0 The Fool - Child
I The Magician - Trickster
II The High Priestess - Divine Maiden
III The Empress - Mother
IV The Emperor - Father
V The Hierophant - Teacher
VI The Lovers - Marriage
VII The Chariot - Journey
VIII Strength - Hero/Heroine
IX the Hermit - Wise Person
X Wheel of Fortune - Destiny
XI Justice - Judge
XII The Hanged Man - Sacrifice
XIII Death - Rebirth
XIV Temperance - Virtue
XV The Devil - Evil
XVI The Tower - Passage
XVII The Star - Guide
XVIII The Moon - Intuitive
XIX The Sun - Source
XX Judgment - Transition
XXI The World - Home
One way to begin a productive relationship reading is to break it down into a series of separate readings, building on themselves. The primary reading looks at the Seeker, at how they see themselves, and at their strengths and weaknesses. The reader can use an existing spread (Astrological or Elemental spreads work well here), or they can create one based on each individual clients needs. Good focus questions might include:
1. How does the Seeker see themselves?
2. How does the Seeker feel about themselves?
3. What are their strengths?
4. What are their weaknesses?
5. Where are they in their physical/mental/emotional/spiritual lives?
6. What lessons/issues carried over from the past into the present?
7. What does the Seeker need to know about these lessons/issues?
8. How can the Seeker resolve these lessons/issues?
9. How does the Seeker feel about relationship?
10. What is the Seeker looking for in relationship?
11. What does the Seeker bring to relationship?
12. What actions does the Seeker need to take in order to heal themselves?
13. What is the Seeker's communication style?
14. What does the Seeker need to know about themselves?
This is where many of our shadow issues have their foundation. It is within the context of family that we first begin to define ourselves, and it is often family expectations that we feel we need to live up to. Resolution and healing brought to issues within family relationships help us to develop a strong ego and sense of self-esteem, which in turn helps us deal with our other relationships in a better manner. Some of the questions that might be asked in a family oriented relationship reading might include:
1. How does the Seeker see their place within their family?
2. How does the Seeker feel about their family in general?
3. Does the Seeker feel supported by their family?
4. How well does the Seeker communicate with their family?
5. How does the Seeker feel about the family member(s) that they are having an issue with?
6. How does the Seeker see the issue?
7. How do the other family members see the issue?
8. What outside factors color this issue?
9. What does the Seeker need to know about the issue?
10. From what different perspective would it help the Seeker to view this issue?
11. What are the Seeker's options regarding this issue?
12. What actions can the Seeker take to resolve the issue in a win/win fashion?
13. What does the Seeker bring to family relationship?
14. What does the Seeker need from family relationship?
Our friendships provide personal support - a place to turn when things go wrong. Friendships need the same give and take as other relationships - if the balance of power is one-sided, the friendship is not healthy, and more than likely will not last. In a friendship reading, the following questions might be appropriate to ask.
1. How does the Seeker see this friendship?
2. How does the other person see the friendship?
3. How does the Seeker view their friend?
4. How does the friend view the Seeker?
5. Does the Seeker feel supported by their friend?
6. Is the Seeker supportive of their friend?
7. What bring the Seeker joy in this friendship?
8. What brings the Seeker pain in this friendship?
9. How does the Seeker see themselves in this friendship?
7. What strengths does the Seeker bring to this friendship?
8. What strengths does the Seeker's friend bring to the friendship?
9. What needs does the Seeker bring to the friendship?
10. What needs does the Seeker's friend bring to the friendship?
11. What does the Seeker need to know about this friendship?
12. How well does the Seeker communicate within this friendship?
13. How well does the Seeker's friend communicate within this friendship?
14. Where does the Seeker want this friendship to go?
15. Where does the Seeker's friend want this friendship to go?
16. How can the Seeker get a better perspective on this friendship?
17. What actions can the Seeker take to bring resolution to this friendship?
These are tricky relationships. The agendas may not be clear, but believe that they are there! Ego's are involved, as well as money and position. Then there is the ability to get the job done, which goes directly to the type of relationship that has been established with co-workers and managers/supervisors. The following questions may find their place in a business relationship reading.
1. How does the Seeker feel about their work environment?
2. Does the Seeker feel respected/supported in their work environment?
3. How does the Seeker feel about their co-workers?
4. How does the Seeker feel about their supervisors/managers?
5. What are the communications at work like?
6. How does the Seeker feel about communications at their workplace?
7. How can the Seeker make their work communications better?
8. How can the Seeker get people to listen to them?
9. What part has the Seeker played in the problem/issue?
10. What part have co-workers, supervisors or managers played in the problem/issue?
11. How can the Seeker view the problem/issue from a different perspective?
12. What are the Seeker's options?
13. What does the Seeker need to know about his/her work relationships?
14. What skills does the Seeker bring to work relationships?
15. What does the Seeker need to receive from work relationships?
1. What does the Seeker bring to romantic relationship?
2. What does the other person bring to romantic relationship?
3. What does the Seeker need from romantic relationship?
4. What does the other person need from romantic relationship?
5. What are the Seeker's goals for romantic relationship?
6. What are the other person's goals for romantic relationship?
7. How does the Seeker see the other person?
8. How does the other person see the Seeker?
9. How does the Seeker feel about the other person?
10. How does the other person feel about the Seeker?
11. Does the Seeker feel supported in this relationship?
12. Does the other person feel supported in this relationship?
13. How does the Seeker view communications with their partner?
14. How does their partner view communications with the Seeker?
15. What does the Seeker need to have happen to make them feel secure in this relationship?
16. What does the other person need to have happen to feel secure in this relationship?
17. What does the Seeker need to know about this relationship?
18. What actions can the Seeker take to make this a better relationship?
There are many different types of relationship, but there are common denominators: ego's tend to be involved; communications, or communication styles, may be an issue; each party will have their own agenda; each person needs to develop a way of seeing the problem/issue from the other person's perspective.
Through the use of the Tarot, the reader and the Seeker can tap into universal, archetypal energies, that can help provide insight into issues, and show where the opportunity for healing lies. Using the themes of transformation that I referred to above, and keeping in mind exactly what the archetypal energies of each of the Major Arcana cards are, a reader can help the Seeker to focus within themselves for their answers.
The questions that I proposed above are meant to act as a starting point - each reading needs to be geared to the individual Seeker. Helping your client format their questions will go a long way towards transforming a "Tell me what is going to happen." type of reading into a "Help me see how I can live my life better." reading. The focus is on the Seeker, and not on the other people in their lives. They have control over their actions, not over the actions of others.
Remember that as a reader you have control of the reading. If you have a basic idea of how you want to handle the different types of relationship readings, you will find them a pleasure to do, rather than a curse placed upon you.
© Bonnie Cehovet
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.