The last subject to be discussed is the Contract between Reader and Querent. Contracts are agreements between consenting and willing individuals whereby party A agrees to provide goods or a service to B in consideration of a return based on goods or services. Both parties promise something, and both have to be satisfied before the contract is completed. Contracts can be written or spoken - complicated, written, signed and sealed documents, as well as unspoken, everyday arrangements.
For instance, there is no written arrangement that after I have eaten a meal at a friend's house I will help with the washing up; if I don't nobody will say anything, but eventually, if I continue to eat my fill while watching other people do the work, our friendship will suffer, and be wound up. Yet we have never discussed the matter, whilst the idea of a written agreement seems ludicrous.
At the other end, when I wear my hat labelled 'architect' I have to administer very complicated contracts. Sometimes these contracts are worth millions of pounds; they run for pages and pages, and refer to drawings, and schedules and specifications. Shortly after I left my architectural school, I worked for an architect who expected all builders to be 'thieves, rogues and vagebonds'. I worked there for about a year, and during that period I had to deal with several firms of builders who used to make a lot of trouble. One of them used to write a letter each and every day claiming that a certain item was not in the contract, and that therefore it would have to be an extra. To prove that it was in the contract might take several hours of laborious research, for which there was no extra payment. Obviously, if the builder hired an extra man at, say £3,000 a year to find loop-holes, then by working at nothing else, he would easily earn his pay several times over.
I tell this story to show that there is no contract that is completely water-tight. AH contracts demand good will on both sides. My boss had a bad attitude to builders, and he certainly received confirmation of his suspicions. I personally have had very little trouble with builders, but then perhaps I like working with my hands, and I like and respect other people who do.
The previous chapter was about what contribution the Querent must make; obviously he is making a contribution in the expectation that he will gain something in return. This forms the basis of the Contract between Querent and Reader.
The Contract is not written, not spoken, not even alluded to. The Querent will even, usually, be unable to think about it; but there will be a vague hope for decent treatment. It is therefore necessary for the Reader to imagine, control and enforce this mystical Contract. The best analogy I can think of is the situation when the nearest member of the family has to arrange the funeral of the dear departed. Very few of us know anything very much about what we should do in such a situation, or how we should behave; the undertaker is there not only to arrange practical matters, but also to subtly guide you through all the proper expressions of grief. Do not, obviously, see a reading as a funeral, but just try to guide the Querent through the actions which will produce the best results. We have already seen some of this guidance when I was discussing 'presentation' and 'payment'.
One of the most important guidelines in the Contract is that the Reader be honest. I can almost feel your instant reaction to this requirement; of course you are honest, nobody doubted you for one minute. But there is a special way of being honest. In reading spreads, you will start droning out your feelings, and gradually you stray away from talking about the cards and their meanings, and into an area where you may feel you are just spouting forth opinions prejudices and stray thoughts. The temptation here is to either withhold these unlikely ideas, or to dress them up in somewhat more logical terms. Don't. Be honest, and just talk the words as the cards fall. These ideas are precisely the ones which can be generated only by the Tarot or similar 'psychic mirrors'; they are the most valuable thoughts.
Often people will object to total honesty on the grounds that it surely can't be right to talk about someone's death or other unpleasant things they can foresee, nor would they like to tell the Querent unpleasant things about their character. The counterargument is that in the first place the Tarot not only allows you to see things that otherwise would be hidden, it will also show you the best way to inform the Querent so as to communicate this information. The Tarot is a selective mirror which does not show you all the things going on in your subconscious; it only illuminates the answer to the question.
Also remember that people only hear and notice things that they want to know. The information they want to know is already in their subconscious; when you read the Tarot, you are merely transferring information from the Querent's subconscious to his conscious. If they still don't want to know, their subconscious will again suppress it. Often, when the family doctor has to break the news to a patient that he is doomed to die within six months, the patient will tell the doctor he has known for the last year, and has made all his arrangements on the assumption. Then again, other patients will not hear or believe such a prediction; however often you tell them, they do not notice it. The dangers of car-driving or cigarette-smoking are very well-known, yet people, including myself, indulge in such dangerous activities. How can you tell somebody something if they don't want to know? For this reason, you can be as honest as you like, without ever worrying about the consequences.
Lastly, the Reader's duty in fulfilling the Contract is to try to re-educate the Querent. As I have said, the Querent's subconscious already knew the answer. The inability to transfer such knowledge from subconscious to conscious in the mind of the Querent is caused by various fears (angst in the psychology/psychotherapy language); we can lessen this fear by discussion after the reading, and during the reading we can talk about some of the deeper symbolism of the cards in the Tarot; as I have said each reading can be a miniature lecture on some of the aspects of the study of the Tarot.
Here I will leave you in your study of the Tarot. Your study has begun; mine has been helped a little on the way by the need to order my thoughts. Beyond a certain stage there seems to be no real teacher; the teacher is taught how and what to teach by teaching the student. Somewhere a synergetic principle is involved, which includes the teacher, the student, the world and the subject being discussed.