Conducting a Tarot Reading for Someone Who Isn’t Present

Conducting a Tarot Reading for Someone Who Isn't Present

Giving distance tarot readings is an awesome way to get more clients and share your tarot skills with people. If you’re new to tarot reading or haven’t done distance readings, there are a few things that you need to know about the process.

 To do a tarot reading for someone who isn’t present, you need to have a clear conversation with the querent and determine what their intention is, what kind of spread they want, and make sure you take pictures of the card if they’re not joining you via video call.

Reading tarot can be exceptionally insightful, even from far away. For more information about giving distance readings, keep scrolling, and check out these easy-to-follow tips.

Have a Clear Conversation With the Querent

Before you offer a distance reading to someone, you first need to have a very clear conversation with them. A conversation is one of the most important parts of reading tarot for someone. Though it is preferable to have a querent in person while you perform the reading so you can get a sense of their intentions and energy, there is also an advantage to being able to read for people who are not local.

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There are multiple ways that people can reach out to you for tarot readings. If you are someone who’s only just begun reading the cards, then you’re likely just going to be performing distance readings for your friends who aren’t present. However, if you are a professional reader and have a client looking to reach you by email or phone, you will have a different perspective on distance readings.

How Did They Reach You?

Before you figure out your distance reading format, you first need to identify how the client reached you. If you’re working with someone that you know personally and casually, it will be easy to communicate via text message or other messengers. You might have been talking with them in person about it, which makes communication lines easy and smooth.

However, if you are working as a professional reader, you have many different avenues through which people can reach you. If you work at parties or other events, clients may have found you in person and connected there.

If you have social media or a website, they also may have located you there. There is a more professional relationship with clients, so text or messengers may not be the best way to go.

If on Phone/Video Call

If you’re reading for someone with whom you have connected with over the phone or through a video call, you’re going to have an easier time determining someone’s needs for their reading than you would through text messages or messenger or email. This is because, through voice calls, you can read someone’s tone and inflection, while on video, you can also see their facial expressions.

If you’re reading for someone over the phone, the first thing you have to do is ask them about their intentions for the reading. Determine what spurred them to reach out to a tarot reader.

What kind of reading do they want—something for love, career, spirituality, or something else completely? And, if your client does not know you personally, how did they hear about you?

It’s important to get the answers to all these questions before you begin your reading. While it is totally possible to do a reading without knowing the person and what they’re about, it’s much easier to make links between the person and their cards if you understand some of what’s happening in their head and their heart.

If via Email/Text Message

If you’re communicating via email or text message, you have to work through the difficulty of not being able to see someone’s face or hear their tone of voice, but it’s also easier to say what you mean over email or text because you can pick and choose your words slowly.

If you’re a professional reader who is choosing to only communicate with your client over email, then make sure to have a set of questions ready to send to your potential querent. You might like to refer back to the questions mentioned in the previous paragraph and keep them on hand for email-based readings.

Choosing the right avenue of communication for your reading is important. Be clear with your clients about which formats you like to read with. It’s okay if you don’t like talking on the phone, or if you only want to do text-based readings for people.

It’s your business, and you can run it however you’d like. There are options!

How to do a distance tarot reading

Choose an Intention

The next step in the process of reading for someone distantly is to pick an intention. The intention is the most important part of your tarot reading because it’s what helps propel the result. The intention for your tarot reading is the question or request that you read around, and it’s crucial to pick the right words.

It’s important not to be too vague; for example, don’t just ask what’s going to happen in the future. Instead, you should choose a more reasonable amount of time for your reading or pick an area of your life that you want to hone in on.

At the same time, you also don’t want to be too specific in your readings, either. It won’t be beneficial if you ask the cards a question that requires a specific date, time, or location. Questions like “where will my child be born?” or “what time should I plan our wedding for?” won’t be effective. Remember—the cards can only tell you and your querent so much.

When you’re approached for a distance tarot reading, don’t just use the first question that your client poses. That question is likely to be a little bit rough—they’re probably emotional about the question and might want to slant it in a way that gives them the result they want. Your responsibility as a tarot reader is to try to get them the most accurate result possible, and not just to make them happy.

Work with your client to get the best middle-ground question possible. You’re likely going to have to help them, so don’t be afraid to make suggestions. It’s important to get this part of the reading right because you won’t have the person there with you physically to help you focus on the intention—it’s just going to be you and the cards.

Choose a Spread

Once you’ve determined what the best intention is to use for your client and their specific distance reading, you should determine what style of spread they want. This will depend greatly on their needs. This also depends on how much you charge for readings and/or time you have on your hands.

If your querent is looking for just a little bit of information, you won’t need too many cards. However, if they’re looking for information about a big life change, then you’re better off going with a more intricate spread. The fact that the reading is given at a distance, the amount of cards doesn’t matter. You can choose whatever you feel works the best for the client.


Even though they might seem small, three-card readings hold a lot of power. Within the three-card dynamic, you can pick from several different “themes.” You might like to choose a past, present, and future spread or a mind, body, and soul spread. Another way to read with three cards is to see them as a sort of complete image. Once you have drawn and flipped the three cards, you’ll understand.

If you feel that whatever three cards you pull aren’t quite enough to get the complete answer for your querent, then you have the option of adding on cards. Sometimes it’s helpful in a three-card spread to pull a “do” card, a “don’t” card, and a “hidden knowledge” card.

If you’re pulling a “do” card, use it to represent something that the querent should do in this circumstance. If you’re pulling a “don’t” card, let that be the representation of some sort of behavior or action to avoid. The “hidden knowledge” card should be drawn from the bottom of the deck and is a great way to give the querent a deeper understanding of the hidden forces at work in their situation.


If your querent has a simple question but wants to dive deep into the issue, you should opt for a five-card spread. Much like the three-card spread, it offers a moderately simple answer to a question. However, with the addition of two extra cards, you have the opportunity to expand more on the information that the cards want to give you and your querent.

There are several options for readings that involve five cards. The first option that is helpful for your clients when they have a question of moderate importance is to spread the five cards out in a single line. You might think of this spread as a way to see the past, present, future, internal, and external factors at play, or you can use this as a way to get a five-part image of an answer or result.

If your querent is inquiring about a relationship with someone else, then your best bet as a reader would be to offer them a five-card spread in the fashion of Kim Krans’ relationship spread as outlined in her Wild Unknown Tarot Guidebook.

Kim Krans suggests using a spread of five cards as follows:

  • One card to represent yourself.
  • Another to represent the other person.
  • A third to represent your own issue or baggage.
  • A fourth to represent the other person’s baggage.
  • A fifth card is placed over the four others to represent the uniting force between you and the other person.

As Krans outlines in her handbook, this spread is great for unraveling romantic relationships issues, but can also be easily used for work relationships, friendships, and family relationships. Using five cards gives you a helpful look at what’s happening deeper under the surface of what you feel is causing a certain issue.

Celtic Cross

If your client is looking for a deep, immensely meaningful reading that covers all the details of a certain issue or even just a turning point in their life, then you should give them a tarot reading with the Celtic Cross spread. The Celtic Cross is an old-school tarot spread that’s been used for decades to examine the most intricate details of issues. Using this spread is a great way to cover all your bases and dive deep.

The Celtic Cross, as mentioned on the Biddy Tarot website, is an in-depth reading with ten cards that all represent different facets of a point in time or a certain circumstance. The first card represents the present moment and what’s happening currently, while the second card (that crosses over the first) is a representation of something that’s challenging the querent.

The third and fourth cards (to the left and right of the first card) represent the past and the future, much like a three-card spread would. The fifth and sixth cards represent the “crown” and the “ground” of an issue, meaning that they are the qualities that uplift the querent as well as the qualities that can either root them or drag them down.

According to Biddy Tarot, the seventh card represents a piece of advice that the tarot wants to offer your querent, with the eighth card being the external factors that are at play in the circumstance or point in time that you’re reading for. The ninth card represents hopes and fears that play into the intention, while the tenth card is the situation’s outcome.

Shuffle and Pick the Cards, or Have the Querent Select Them

Once you have determined what kind of spread you are going to use for your client, then it’s time to shuffle the cards. It doesn’t matter what shuffling style you use—it just matters that the cards get rearranged at random. You can dramatically shuffle them if you’re giving the person a reading via video, but if you’re not good with shuffling, you can just mix them up however you like.

When you’re doing the shuffling, it’s important to keep the intention in mind. This is why tarot readers are so specific about the intention that you pick—it has to be something that you can keep your focus on when you’re reading for someone. It’s the point of reference for your reading, and by shuffling the cards while focusing intensely, you can be sure that the cards will give you a clear answer.

Depending on how you’re communicating with your querent, you have a couple of different options for letting them pick the cards. If you’re communicating with your client over the phone or via text or email, then there’s really no way you can have them pick the cards out themselves.

In this case, you should just pick them yourself. You have a couple of different options. The first option is to cut the deck and spread them out in a few fan shapes and choose using your intuition. You can also just pick cards from the top of the deck.

If your client is on a video call with you and they can see you clearly, they can pick the cards from a fan shape if it’s wide enough, but this is very difficult, so it’s best that you just pick them yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the tarot’s complications, so adding another difficulty to the process won’t help at all.

Take Clear Photos if the Querent Is Not on a Video

If you’re communicating with your querent over a video call, then they have the opportunity to see the cards for themselves. This is helpful, especially if your client has never seen a tarot deck before or if you’re using a deck that has particular imagery that you want to show off. If you’re on a video call, make sure to aim your camera at your deck so they can get a good look at it.

If you’re working with a client who is either over the phone or is only communicating with you via text or email, then you should take a high-quality picture of the cards. If you’re working with a three or five-card spread, then you can get away with just taking one photo, but if you’re working with the Celtic Cross, take a few different photos. Use a nice camera if you can—otherwise, just use your phone.

Final Thoughts

If you’re giving someone a distance tarot reading, it’s important that you communicate clearly with your querent. You have to be on the same page about the intention of your reading and determine clearly what their question is. Then, you have to choose the style of spread. Finally, make sure that you can show them the cards after you’ve given them your reading.