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Tarot Reflections

November 2005

Down the Tarot Rabbit Hole
Tracy Hite, ATA Treasurer, Networks Manager

Tracy began her own Tarot journey while recovering from her first son's birth on New Year's Eve, 1996. She tried to study on her own for nearly a year, picking up what she could from books and websites, but she had a lot of trouble piecing everything together. Through membership in  the American Tarot Association, she met the contacts and gained the expertise needed to gain her certification as a Certified Tarot Master.

Tracy is honored to serve as Manager for both the Free Reading Network and the Free Tarot Network. She also volunteers as Treasurer and Co-Editor for the ATA and webmaster of the Comparative Tarot site.


Are you “curiouser and curiouser” about tarot? Then follow me down the Tarot rabbit hole each month in my new series. Whether you’re a long-time reader or you’ve never even seen a deck, I’m happy to share my tarot knowledge with you. I may not always be able to answer your questions, and ask you not to substitute my opinions for your own, but I’ll do my best to help. Let’s explore together, shall we?

What is meant by “third party” readings?

A reading normally involves two people, the reader and the person getting the reading, sometimes called the querent or the client. (If reading for yourself, you are both parties.) When the querent wants to know about the motives, actions or desires of some other person not directly involved in the reading, they are asking about a third party.

Third party questions most often involve the reader’s relationships with other people. Here are some examples:

  • Does he love me?
  • Is she cheating on me?
  • Will he get a job soon?
  • Will she pass her test?

In each case the querent is asking about someone else, not about himself.

Why are third party readings wrong?

When developing a personal code of ethics, each reader must decide for herself whether she will or will not do third party readings, and under what circumstances. Some readers consider third party readings to be an invasion of privacy. The third person is not directly involved in the reading, so the reader does not have explicit permission to read for them. Other readers feel they share a common energy bond with their clients during readings. Outside parties are not part of this bond, so the reader would not be able to access information about them through the cards.

What should I do when a querent asks a third party question?

I suggest explaining to the querent why you cannot read for the question as asked, and either ask them to rephrase it or offer some alternatives that redirect the question back to them. If they insist on asking about others (and it is against your ethics to do so) you can simply refuse to read for them.

Here are some suggestions for rephrasing these questions:

  • What can I do to strengthen my relationship?
  • How can I approach him about our relationship?
  • What can I do to support his job search?
  • How can I help her prepare for her test?

What if cards come up for that other person during the reading?

Try to keep your card interpretations focused on your client and their own motives, desires, etc. It may reveal your client’s reactions to the other person, or you may be projecting the client’s thoughts or feelings onto the other person.

Please see this article for more ideas on interpreting court cards, and this one for other creative ideas.

Please send your questions to


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Tarot Reflections is a publication of the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2005
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