I have been seeing a lot conversations around how tarot readings work and how to best learn to read the cards lately. Often these conversations come with strong feelings on some peoples part that their way is the best way. Reading the cards for me encompasses many tools, techniques, skills, and abilities. I want to share this series as a non-dogmatic exploration of all the answers to the question “Where do great tarot readings come from?” All the posts in the series can be found here.
Character counts a lot in a tarot reader!
It may be a bit old fashioned, but I think character is crucial to being a great tarot reader. When people come in for readings they can be at their most vulnerable, superstitious, or just plain lost. Taking it seriously is very important. I still get people telling me something I told them years ago like it is gospel. It goes a lot further though than just trying to do a good job.
Being a great reader has to do with being an honest person and acting with integrity. In running a store, classes, and offering coaching I am often at the intersection of peoples needs and my work as a sales person. I am not doing this work to scam folks out of their money, but sometimes people need coaxing to do what is good for them. I work to always be clear about what I am getting out of the deal. If I put an Amazon affiliate link in an email I let people know that, on top of recommending the book, I also will get a small percentage of the sale.
To me working as a reader is about working with the people who come in around what their real issues are. Integrity and honesty also apply to what is said in the reading. Recently I had some very hard conversations with someone about the mental health of their child. They were very sure it was all magic or drugs causing the problem. In talking to them I was overly clear that I could not help them magically. I also took a lot of time to express ways in which they might talk to their child and advocate for them if they could get them to get help. Integrity is not always comfortable.
The reading process grants me an uneven share of the power. If you are reading for people this is also probably true for you too. It is a reader’s job to say no to the client at times. Some questions are not helpful and the person is not in a position to see that. “Will he come back?” Can be a line of thought that keeps people really stuck. Tarot readers are not beyond making mistakes. If you see someone is just looking for you to tell them it is all going to be alright when asking something like “Should I invest my life’s savings in this swampland in Florida?” it might be more responsible to look for questions that may be more useful. Or just say “Asking me to tell you it is going to all be okay isn’t very helpful.” At the end of the day you cannot take responsibility for the client’s decisions, but you probably want to take responsibility for yours. With all this ability to control how the reading goes, or even to just stop it, being respectful of the power you wield and using it for the good of the client is important.
Character also incorporates a variety of other traits for me:
Professionalism – be where you are supposed to when you are supposed to be there. Be ready to do your job. Keep your personal problems out of your work life. Have change. Wear a clean shirt. It all counts.
Say “I don’t know” – you can’t do everything or know everything.
Respect their choices even if you don’t agree. If you are uncomfortable with their style, emotionality, or manners – politely suggest another reader.
Date elsewhere – seriously. I know some folks who are bad at this and then wonder why their career fell apart.
In the end I plan on being around, in my neighbourhood in Toronto, doing readings for the next few decades. How I treat people and the reputation I build is everything. If it is not built on authenticity, honesty, and integrity – my career won’t last the test of time.
How else do you think character comes into play in tarot reading.
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If you would like to get some personal attention from Andrew you can book a reading in person in Toronto, or from anywhere by phone or Skype. Just contact me to set up an appointment.
“Jesus” image by Waiting For The Word used under Creative Commons License.