Tarot and Non-Attachment to Outcomes


Have you ever heard that saying about finding love, that it happens when you aren’t looking? Most people, if not all people, that I’ve casually talked to about this theory, have confirmed for me that it’s proven to be true in their own experience. Why is this?

Theories abound as to why this might be so. “When you’re looking, you’re desperate, and people can sense that desperate energy and they shy away from it.” Ok, possibly. But that doesn’t explain why when we’re actively looking, we often do find people with whom to get involved in romantic encounters.

I think the core issue here is the quality of the result or outcome. People here are intending that you don’t find the so-called one when you’re looking. Putting aside for a moment our ideas about “the one,” which could open an entirely different post, let’s examine the idea that what we want comes to us when we aren’t attached to having it. When we aren’t “looking” to have something specific in life, our focus changes, and we tend to accept things as they come, living experiences moment to moment for what they are, without a particular investment in the outcome or specific expectations about what we’ll “get” from the experiences.

Tarot Questions and Attachment to the “Answer”

In my experience, people are deeply emotionally invested in the questions that they pose to the tarot. Emotionally, and/or physically, financially, logisically, and probably any number of other “ally”s. A querent is involved in an affair with someone with whom they want a relationship, but they’re married and can’t leave the stability of that situation. Desire (I want this new relationship) versus logistical investment (can’t leave stable situation). Life is full of these choices, dilemmas, challenges — this is the stuff of life itself and what makes life both exciting, and at times truly excruciating.

It goes without saying that people come to the tarot looking for answers.

But how many people come to the tarot without a pre-conceived investment in the answer? How many people approach a tarot reading consciously prepared to accept whatever the cards highlight to them? I’d venture to guess not a large majority. And this can present difficulties in the process, at least in the way I approach it, which I’ve talked about in co-creating your reality.


When the Client Isn’t Ready to Accept the “Answer”

I put “answer” in quotes because it’s a fundamental point in this discussion. If a client approaches the tarot looking for a passive answer to their issue, they won’t get much out of it. My style of reading puts responsibility on the client for accepting the constructive ideas presented in the tarot and then integrating them into their life (or not!) in whatever way they see fit.

However, not everyone wants to do this. Sometimes there’s such an emotional investment in what the querent wants to have as an answer, that they aren’t psychologically or emotionally willing to see or hear what the cards offer them. That’s ok. But it’s one reason why it’s always a very good idea for a querent to go into a reading with as open a mind as possible. If they are so attached to a particular outcome that they will outright dismiss or even become defensive or hostile to anything in the cards that goes against that, it can become a very negative experience overall and even contribute energy to the own client’s block, even though on the outside it would appear that they’re ready to confront it (by the simple act of posing the question).

Important point to remember is that everyone is at a different point in their journey and every experience is in service to that journey. At the same time, we can often times accelerate our learning with a simple shift in perspective.


Avoiding Yes/No Questions as a Method to Reduce Attachment to Outcomes

I won’t answer yes/no questions straight out. I simply don’t know how to go through a deck of 78 cards (156 if you include reversals) and put green light/red light over every single one. How limiting and generic is that?

Instead, I personally prefer to rephrase yes/no questions into open-ended questions (more information in this post about forming questions). “Will we get back together?” is limiting, and the underlying hope and assumption is most likely that the querent wants to get back together, otherwise they likely wouldn’t bother asking! So, as I’ve said before, anyone with or without tarot has a 50% chance of being accurate on the answer.

Rephrasing to an open-ended question reveals insight that can help shift the querent’s attention from their desired outcome to how they can actively take responsibility for the situation in their life, and what they might do to manifest the outcome they desire, or accept the reality that a desired outcome might be unlikely to happen for various reasons.

Transpersonal Will

I mentioned above that when we aren’t attached absolutely to having what we want, it can often open up energies that sometimes paradoxically bring exactly what we want to us. But there’s one more point I’d like to make here, and that has to do with the “inner art” of manifestation, following the practices and ideas brilliantly laid out in David Spangler’s book Everyday Miracles. Manifestation is a powerful practice that works from the principle of focusing and cultivating an image of what we desire, but it goes deeper than simply “thinking positive” or wishing to have what it is that we want. In fact the process is so profound that it truly does require an entire book to explain the intricacies involved. That’s why it’s easier to simply talk about “non-attachment” to outcomes rather than how to manifest a desired outcome.

In any case, one idea I think is useful to briefly touch on here. The idea of transpersonal will is an idea that I was introduced to in Spangler’s book. As opposed to what we typically think of as will power, which requires force and resistance, transpersonal will is what comes into play when we almost subconsciously will something to happen with ease and grace, allowing the desired outcome to find its way to us out of a sense of joy rather than a sense of need, or lack. It’s the feeling we get when we’re doing something that causes us to lose track of time, when we proceed without fighting but rather in a cooperative spirit of non-resistance towards a goal.

In order for transpersonal will to enact these “everyday miracles” however, we have to be able to let go of our attachment to getting what we (think) we want. We have to realize that we do have free will, but that there are also forces that work in and around us which interact with our ability or not to have a desired outcome.

The point is, we can’t always have what we want just because we want it! And if our approach to tarot is one in which we simply want the cards to tell us “Yes, don’t worry, she’ll come back,” or “Yes, within the next two weeks you’ll have the job,” then we might be just as well going to a toy store, buying a Magic 8 ball, and being done with it! At least there we can shake it until we get the answer we’re looking for. Or at least until so many bubbles form on the surface that we can’t read anything anymore!

Life is a co-creative process. If we want to live consciously, creating rich lives for ourselves full of joy, passion, and LIFE itself, along with the tools to deal with fear, challenges, and doubt, then we must be active co-creators. In so doing, we must accept the responsibility that our thoughts and actions are intrinsically intertwined with our external and internal realities.

Tarot is a way to tap into these invisible energies and work constructively with them, allowing us to bravely let go of attachments to specific outcomes and rather to open ourselves to the divine possibilities of a larger plan for our lives that is continually unfolding around us and within us.



  1. As a yogi, I work hard to practice aparigraha in not just my readings but my life. Attachment leads to all kinds of inner misery – the art of letting go ALLOWS so much more.

    Your post is important because too many of us come to a tarot reading with a desired outcome and we can be so invested that we only hear what we want to hear – or get angry and go from reading to reading to reading until someone tells us what we want to hear.

    I’ve also seen people who are so impatient and attached to a particular outcome that when the cards do show that they may get what they want, they go in gung ho, wreck everything through their aggressive actions and then assume the cards were “wrong”.

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