How To Select The Tarot Reader That's Right For You
I've been thinking a lot about tarot. The place tarot has served on my spiritual journey, their history, and how they can manifest in our daily lives. Tarot has become a life partner and not just cards themselves, but their history and iconography to the art and science of interpretation. The practice of turning cards has been my compass for clarity since I was 14 years old, and it's been a profession that has put food in my stomach when there has been no other work.
Being a professional tarot reader isn't easy, in part because few people value your work- as if reading tarot is a hobby. It's not. But it's hard to be taken seriously sometimes when it's easy for anyone to pick up a tarot deck, call themselves psychic and talk to dead people. More on that later. Tarot as a profession takes work. Vast amounts of energy are elicited to hold space for the vulnerabilities of complete strangers. Tarot readers become the reflection of their client's deep need- no one is going to a tarot reader without seeking inquiry often about something hidden behind a surface question like 'love' or 'career'. The genuinely adept reader, the one that you leave thinking "whoa what just happened?" isn't reading because they want to read, they read tarot because they can't not read tarot. And sometimes we like to be read for.
Not long ago I saw a marquee for readings at a local shop, and when I inquired the shop owners spoke effusively about how gifted the reader was. They were charging 'on the high side' for half hour readings- but I figured, why not? My intuition knew better. Here's an inside tip- Every community has a price range for off the street readings, if "Tara Tarot" is charging outside those pricing parameters it's a red flag. The reader talked a lot while leading me through a breathing exercise as I shuffled the cards, helping me to formulate an intention. She then drew three cards. Just three. She told me where I had been, what was in front of my path, and things to come. And then suggested some yoga nidra, and saged my entire aura. I paid the vendor and tipped the reader (because I've been hungry, living on card readings), but I was livid, first at her- then at myself. I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't that.
So how do you be a professional consumer of tarot? Getting professional tarot readings is a very personal, and it's paramount the person doing the reading sees you, relates and resonates with you and you with them. Not all readers are for all people. Some people want an experience that feels magical, like the beautiful girl in the shop window with the feathers and sage with a simple reading. It's less about the reading and more about the experience. Others want to be seen and validated and want more coaching through the cards. Sometimes it's the hard truth, no chaser reading (that's me). Regardless of desired reading, there are some common sense tips.
Tips on Choosing a Good Tarot Card Reader:
Word of mouth is perhaps the best way to choose a reader. If someone else has had a good experience, then it might be worth following their recommendation. After word of mouth, the next best way for you to assess a reader is by their presence on the internet or in publications? Most readers have websites. Mine, for instance, explains who I am as a person, my writings, my practices and the types of readings I offer as well as my rates. When exploring reader sites ask yourself if the services provided resonate with you.
Subscribe to their blog or newsletter from their website. Get to know the person behind the cards by reading some of the posts.
Read their testimonials and reviews carefully. What are they saying? Do they sound sincere? Have others asked similar questions to the ones you wish to ask? Are the claims of accuracy exaggerated? No tarot reading is 100% accurate, but when getting a professional reading, you should be able to expect about 75% accuracy. Do note that each reader has their area of expertise. Be clear about what you are seeking.
Do not ask for a free reading or mini reading. Would you ask a massage therapist to rub your shoulders before paying for the rest of the service? If a person is offering free services, by all means, take them up- but remember people who are reading cards are paying bills too. Reading for a hobby is best done with friends.
During Your Reading
The tarot responds well to specific questions. Opened ended questions such as ‘will I ever get married’ are too vague because that situation may need to come about by a myriad of events, many of which are up to you. Marriage may be far off in the future.
What about life now? What do you need to do now to get there? A question such as ‘will I ever marry?’ also carries the underlying feeling that you somehow have no control over your life, That isn’t the case. You are an active player. Tarot teaches you responsibility. I also personally find yes or no questions don’t work very well with tarot cards. Perhaps things are rarely so black and white.
I often like to ask a question like: Where is the energy moving in the next 'period' of months. Is there economic prosperity and where is it happening. What are signs I can look for to guide me in romance in the period of 'x' months.
Always remember you've paid for a service. You're visiting a card reader, not the Delphic Oracle in the temple of Apolo. You should feel empowered to stop your reader at any time and ask questions and for clarification. Don't assume your reader will pick up your nonverbal communications. Contrary to popular opinion, few card readers are actually psychic. Advocate for your own best reading.
Take notes. Tarot is ultimately a reflection of yourself. If you consistently are returning to the tarot, you may see patterns in cards that keep appearing. Notes will help you navigate the messages delivered.
After Your Reading
Did your reading help with clarity on your question? Did your reading shed light? I caution anyone who says you should leave your reading 'happy' or 'uplifted.' Sometimes you might leave with more information than you anticipated, and that's ok. You should always leave with clarity and with a good reading, tools, and direction.
If your reading left you feeling let down or disappointed, you might consider selecting another reader the next time you have a reading. However, you may consider if your expectations were set too high? Some readers are more equipped than others to navigate the cards, but tarot has limits.
In my experience, sometimes it takes a few days for the full extent of a tarot reading to resonate with clarity.
It's All A Journey
Ultimately the tarot is here to empower you with deeper wisdom. The question remains are you ready to hear it?
Intrinsically there was nothing wrong with the three card reading with sage smudging I received in the shop that day. While her interpretations of the cards weren't as nuanced as my ears would have liked to hear, they weren't wrong. What it was, however, was a clear reflection of what I didn't want in a professional reading- a three card reading and filler. It was wisdom- and a message that it was time for me to act. So I set about creating training for professional tarot card reading and mentoring new readers. Tarot is an art.
As you embark on your journey with the tarot, you will have to decide what you are seeking. From the reader to the type of reading. The ultimate outcome is in your power as is how you want to manifest the wisdom of the tarot. The truest victory of the tarot is that the journey is just that a journey, nothing sealed by fate and everything possible for reworking, navigating and expanding. As the Charge of the Goddess reminds us, what you seek lies within you, and to seek outside the self only furthers you from the truth. Tarot is a beautiful way to connect back to self. To the subconscious, to the numinous mysteries and mythic states of your innate self where true auspicious wisdom resides.