I decided to shake things up a bit for this week’s forecast video – I did a livestream on Youtube! The first 10 min is the weekly forecast, followed by lots of one and two card readings for people. Thanks to everyone who showed up live and let me read for them – you guys are so much fun 🙂 And don’t worry, I’ll be back to my regular style reading videos next week!
The deck I’m using in this video is the Everyday Witch Tarot…
My 4-week Tarot course Reading Tarot for Others is still open for registration! (I will close the doors late Monday night/early Tues morning). If you’re interested, check it out! I’d love to have you in my class 🙂
As I gear up to teach my 4-week Tarot course Reading Tarot for Others (classes start May 1st & registration will be closing soon!) I’ve been thinking about what makes a really good Tarot reading. And of course that lead me to reminisce about what makes a bad Tarot reading!
I’ve had lots of readings over the years – Tarot, tea leaf, palm, astrology, mediumship, etc – but only ONE reading stands out as being the absolute worst reading I’ve ever had.
So pull up a chair, grab a drinkie-poo and let me tell you all about it…
I was at my high school’s graduation celebration and I was 17 years old. This event took place at the local rec center and there were all kinds of activities going on in various rooms – a Tarot reader was set up in a little private room upstairs and you had to put your name on a board if you wanted a reading.
When it was my turn, I walked into the room and it was like walking into a mystical and magical cave! This Tarot lady went all out on decorations – she’d hung beautiful scarves from the ceiling and had lanterns and string lights glowing, so her reading space looked like an Arabian tent!
The Tarot reader appeared to be in her mid 20’s and was all decked out in goth garb. So it was obvious this chick had a flair for the dramatic.
I had just started dating a new guy and I was all excited about where things were headed. Plus, I was starting college in just a few months.
So the Tarot reader lady shuffles the deck, lays the cards out and then gasps in shock and horror as she turns each card over.
Ten of Swords…..GASP!
King of Cups….tsk, tsk!
She acted like she’d never seen these cards come up in a reading before. It was ridiculous.
She then proceeded to tell me that basically, my life was a total disaster and it was only going to get worse.
“All I’m seeing is alcoholism – on both sides of your family. Alcoholism, alcoholism, alcoholism!” she said as she made karate chop motions with her hands over the cards.
This wasn’t actually true, although I’m sure there’s at least one or two alcoholics in my lineage.
Then she said “stay away from alcohol!!! It will ruin your life!” which I guess isn’t bad advice, but it seemed a bit over the top.
When I asked about my new boyfriend she shook her head and let out a big sigh. “He’s going to be abusive, violent, controlling and psycho. Get out now while you still can!”
While I was totally disappointed by this answer, it actually turned out to be somewhat true. He turned out to be jealous and insecure and began phoning me 50 times a day and making a big deal if I didn’t answer it right away. But none of these behaviors were present when I got the reading, so the reading just felt “off” at the time.
She then said a bunch of other stuff – none of it good. I don’t even remember what it was, just that it was all warnings of impending doom.
I left the reading feeling crestfallen and shook up. I didn’t really believe everything she’d said but I felt overshadowed by this feeling that my life was just going to be a series of disasters and disappointments. Thankfully, I was able to shake that feeling after a few days. But still, it was a shitty experience.
Let’s analyze this Tarot reading!
What mistakes did she make? What did she do right? And how can you (and I) avoid giving crappy readings like this one?
What she did right:
1) She created a mystical atmosphere – I loved the vibe she created with her decorations and private space. Even the goth costume was an interesting bit. However, none of this really matters if the reading itself is terrible. But it was a nice touch, nonetheless!
2) She was technically pretty accurate – most of the info she got from the cards was bang on (except the part about my entire family being raging alcoholics). However, it was how she delivered that info that made the reading a disaster.
3) She didn’t shy away from giving important information in an upfront style. You can’t accuse this lady of sugar coating things! If a strong message is coming through the cards, by all means it should be shared with the client.
What she did wrong:
1) She was overly dramatic and acted all horrified by the cards that showed up. This made me feel like my reading was unusually negative and that there was something wrong with me.
Professional Tarot readers should have a certain level of calmness and unflappability during readings. It’s okay to act intrigued or even surprised by some cards, but don’t act appalled.
2) She was overly pessimistic and seemed to only focus on the bad news. Whenever a reading has “bad news” it’s important to follow it up with something positive or empowering, even if that means drawing the final card from a warm fuzzy oracle deck. The reading should never end on a sour note.
3) She gave no guidance as to how I could improve things. It’s fine to “tell it like it is” and all that, but don’t just tell someone their life is shit and then send them on their way. What will be helpful? What should be focused on? How can things be changed for the better? These are the questions to focus on after any difficult information has been revealed.
4) She focused entirely on my future and not what I could do NOW. The whole reading seemed to revolve around things that would happen later on down the road, without touching on the present moment and what I could do NOW that would best help me (well, apart from the avoiding alcohol bit).
How could it have been better?
If I were doing this reading, here’s what I would have done differently…
Delivering Difficult Info 101
Whenever you say something that you know your client probably doesn’t want to hear, follow it up with something constructive or positive.
This isn’t about throwing in a bunch of uplifting mumbo jumbo, it’s about making the reading a worthwhile experience. You’ve delivered the difficult info, but now what? What’s next?
For example, when she said “your relationship is doomed, get out now!”, she could have followed it up with instead of focusing on this relationship, focus on this… or here’s how to attract a good relationship…
Avoid Being All Judgy
As a Tarot reader, it helps to have a heard-it-all/seen-it-all kind of air to you. Don’t clutch your pearls when your client tells you they’ve been cheating on their husband for the past 20 years. Act like nothing shocks you. Not only does this put your clients at ease but helps you stay open minded to different ways of seeing the cards.
When this Tarot reader told me I descended from a family of hardcore drunks, she could have done so without the wide-eyed gasps and flailing hands.
Focus on at least ONE positive thing
This is especially important when a reading is heavy or intense. In my reading, the reader didn’t say one good thing, she was all doom and gloom! This left me feeling totally crummy afterwards.
But what if you can’t find anything good to say? Sometimes this happens. In this case, you have a couple options.
Option #1: Ask the cards what can my client do to best take care of themselves? No matter what card comes up, you’ll be able to put a positive spin on it.
Option #2: Draw a card from an uplifting oracle deck like Animal Allies Oracle Cards by Jessica Swift or Self Care Cards by Cheryl Richardson.
Over to you! Have you ever had a bad Tarot reading? Tell me all in the comments below…
Pssst! My 4-week Tarot course Reading Tarot for Others starts on May 1st…if you want to get crazy good at giving Tarot readings, this class will get you there!
I’m often asked “how did you get into Tarot?” Well, here’s the story…
I first discovered Tarot back in 2008, during a tumultuous and exciting time in my life. I had just up and quit my boring 9-5 office job and had no real plan. I was trying to find my own path and figure shit out.
Immediately after quitting my job I became powerfully drawn to all things metaphysical – filling my apartment with crystals, angel decks and singing bowls. I’ve since seen this happen to recently divorced women in their 40’s and 50’s but for me it happened in my 20’s after I’d divorced my job.
A friend of mine was learning Tarot and that got me thinking can just anyone learn to read Tarot?
I’d always thought Tarot readers were just born knowing how to read – like it was something that ran in their family. I didn’t realize that any basic Joe Blow could figure it out.
That’s when it suddenly dawned on me: Holy shit, I could learn Tarot!!!
I fantasized about busting out my Tarot deck at parties and impressing everyone with my mysterious skills and exotic flair. I would be so much more interesting, I thought.
My Tarot Journey…
I always love learning and I love a challenge, especially one that doesn’t challenge me too much. So I went lurking on Amazon and ended up buying three decks:
The Secret Tarot (an interesting, yet weird deck that was terrible to learn on) and mini versions of the Rider Waite and Thoth decks, along with a couple of Tarot books.
Being unemployed, free time was copious and I spent most of it diving into the endlessly complex and confusing world of Tarot. I gave myself hundreds of readings. I gave my friends and family readings – mostly pathetic, unimpressive ones, but still.
But what I really yearned to do wasread Tarot for strangers! This was the epitome of Tarot achievement in my opinion. The idea filled me with both anticipation and slight terror.
What drew me to read Tarot for others…
Sad confession: most interactions I have with people are pretty shallow. I make safe small talk with grocery store cashiers and neighbors and when I get together with friends we usually chat about TV shows and other people’s sex lives. Fun stuff but not exactly deep! So the mere thought of sitting down with a complete stranger to hear their deepest concerns and big life questions filled me with longing. I wanted to have those kinds of interactions with people!
My first reading-for-strangers gig happened after I’d been studying the Tarot for about two years. A friend of a friend was having a party and thought it would be fun to have me do readings in her basement. I wasn’t yet a “professional” reader so I did it for free, hoping this would keep people’s expectations low. It’ didn’t. But the night was an overall success, save for one woman getting all snippy with me because all the cards in her reading were positive and her life was so miserable (!)
A few months later, I lost my job (I’d since gotten a part-time job after leaving my old 9-5) and I was in need of cash. At that time I was doing several different things – teaching yoga, personal training, reiki and bellydancing and I boldly decided to add Tarot reading to the list.
At this point my husband joked that the people at Vistaprint were probably rolling around laughing every time I sent in a new order for business cards.
I told him to shut the f*ck up 🙂
Why I went Pro…
The main reasons I decided to learn Tarot was because it intrigued me and I saw it as a potential way to help and connect with people. But the reason I decided to go pro and start charging for readings was simple – I needed some extra cash!
While reading Tarot is the crappiest way to get rich, it’s a pretty decent way to earn some money on the side.
I was struck by how rewarding giving readings was, but also how frustrating it could be. The weird questions I’d get asked and the ridiculously high expectations some people had would sometimes make professional Tarot reading an exhausting endeavor.
But most of my clients over the years have been wonderful and there’s something so special about being able to submerse yourself in someone else’s story for 30 minutes.
It continually amazes me how the cards reveal just what that person needs to hear in this moment and over the years I’ve grown to trust what the cards have to say.
*I’ll be sharing everything I know about reading Tarot for others in my upcoming 4-week course (classes start May 1st!)
Here’s another true confession. I’ve done this twice now and I’m not proud of it, but I think you’ll find it interesting…
I was doing a reading for someone (online, via email) and after I laid the cards out and flipped them over I thought this can’t be right! These cards are so off! So I scrapped the reading, saged my reading space and started over. I shuffled again and laid the cards out and guess what? The second reading was basically the same as the first.
This kind of thing happens all the time when I’m reading for myself – I don’t like the cards I get so I re-do the reading (I know, I know, you’re not supposed to do that!). But the second reading almost always says the same thing as the first one. So I now trust the cards that show up. Unless I really don’t like them 😉
So now I want to know…
How did YOU get into Tarot? What drew you in? Tell me in the comments below!
My cats were seriously naughty when I was trying to film this reading! So much so that I scrapped my first video and re-filmed this one. There are no cats in this one, unfortunately, but there’s also a lack of persistent meowing!