professional tarot reading

Interview with Jenna Matlin

I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking Tarot with Jenna Matlin! Jenna has been reading Tarot since the 90’s and has written three Tarot books – Have Tarot, Will Party, Have Tarot, Will Travel and her newest book Will You Give Me A Reading? which comes out this November.

Join us as we chat about doing professional readings, handling tricky questions, self care for Tarot readers, and so much more…

Jenna’s Links:

Interview with Jenna Matlin Read More »

How to Give a Tarot Reading in 10 Minutes

One of the most challenging aspects of giving a Tarot reading to someone is doing it in a specific time frame – especially if that time frame is short, like ten minutes.

I was recently hired to read Tarot at a Halloween party, which is something I don’t do that often as most of my readings are done online. Since there were around 15 people wanting readings, I had to make these readings short and sweet and keep to my ten minute time limit.

If you’re interested in becoming a professional Tarot reader, being able to do “quickie readings” is a required skill, but it’s also something that many readers (including myself) struggle with.

So I’m here to break it down for you! I’m going to tell you:

  • My ONE favorite tip for keeping readings short and sweet
  • THREE things that can derail a “quickie” reading and turn it into a long one (and what to do about it)

My #1 Tip for keeping Tarot readings short & sweet

Have a general 3 card Tarot spread that you use with everyone. If you’re doing a Tarot party, using the same spread over and over again will help you get into a groove and you won’t waste any time trying to choose the right spread.

Here’s the one I use…

The let go card represents what might be standing in your client’s way, what’s blocking her or what she needs to release.

What you need to know is simply what your client needs to focus on right now – sometimes this card indicates a mindset or way of operating in the world that will be helpful for that person. For example, The Empress could be saying “take a relaxed, laid back approach to life right now and focus on nurturing yourself and your dreams.”

The upcoming opportunity card can represent an action your client needs to take or what will help her most right now.

You can be flexible and slightly alter the positions to suit whoever you’re reading for. I find that most people getting a quickie Tarot reading just want a general reading or they want a general reading about a specific topic (love life, career, health, money, etc).

If their questions are more specific, you can adjust the spread as needed, but I find this spread works wonderfully for all sorts of questions.

Tip: Practice using this spread beforehand and keeping it to just ten minutes! Just do some pretend readings for imaginary clients – it will boost your confidence and help you flex your Tarot reading muscles.


3 Things that can derail a “quickie” Tarot reading:

Whenever you’re trying to keep a reading short and sweet, it’s inevitable that you’ll encounter obstacles at every turn – little things that will threaten to turn your quick reading into a long, drawn out affair. In order to avoid them, you need to be prepared!

1. The chitty-chatty client

Every now and then you’ll get a client who’ll want to unload their life story prior to the reading or ask a million questions, or both! As the Tarot reader, it’s your job to act as a referee in these situations and not let this person run roughshod over your time and energy.

I once had a client who, after asking her “is there anything you’d like me to focus on during your reading?” took a deep breath and then launched into a convoluted story about her ex, kids and money woes which revealed very little except that she was overwhelmed, stressed out and confused.

In this situation, I had 3 choices:

Option A) I could have let her ramble indefinitely, wasting tons of time (not a good option!)

Option B) I could interrupt her and say “it sounds like you’re going through a difficult and confusing time and would like some clarity and guidance,” and then focus the reading on the question “what does she need to focus on right now to bring peace and clarity?”

This is what I call a compassionate response – it takes the client’s feelings into account and let’s her avoid doing the heavy lifting of coming up with her own question for the cards.

The compassionate response takes a bit of skill on the readers part because you have to quickly assess how that client is feeling and form a question around that.

This way of dealing with an overly chatty client is kind of like saying “okay, I get the picture, now leave the rest to me.”

Option C) I could interrupt her and say “what is ONE question you have for the cards today?”

This is what I call a clarity question – it forces the client to quiet her mental chatter and drill down on what is truly important to her right now.

*Tip: if you’re short on time, this is actually a great question to open the reading with.

Either response B or C would be helpful here, depending on the client. Some clients might just use the clarity question to keep chatting, in which case you can move into compassionate response mode.

So I guess what I’m really saying here is don’t let your client ramble on and on before a ten minute Tarot reading. I usually allow ONE MINUTE MAX for preamble chit chat before I draw the cards.


2. BIG questions that can't be addressed in 10 min

I find that most questions or issues can at least be explored in a ten minute Tarot reading, even if you don't get super in-depth or come up with a solution/answer.

However, there are some questions that demand a longer period of time and there's just no way you'll be able to satisfy your client with a quick ten minute reading.

These include questions that are actually multiple questions in disguise or what I call questions within questions.

Here's an example: "should I accept the new job offer or stay in my current job? And if I should stay in my old job, should I ask for a raise or do anything else differently?"

For a complex, multi-layered question, you can simply take ONE aspect of their question and focus on that. In the above example, I would take the first part of the question "should I accept the new job offer or stay in my current job?" and just focus on that and let my client know we don't have time to cover all her questions.

Questions that carry a big emotional weight to them are also good to avoid when you're giving a ten minute Tarot reading.

For example, questions like "why did my marriage fall apart?", "will my aunt beat cancer?" or "should I cut my sister out of my life?" aren't the kinds of topics you want to be diving into in a mini reading.

If your client asks an emotionally heavy question, you can sometimes transform it into a "light" question. For example, why did my marriage fall apart? can be turned into what was I meant to learn from my last relationship? Or even what can I do to move forward successfully?


3. Your own tendency to ramble on and on...

This is the one I struggle with the most! Sometimes when I'm reading Tarot there's a part of me that's watching myself (like in an out of body experience kind of way) and thinking oh for fucks sake Kate, get to the point! because it's hard for me to say something just once - I like to repeat myself and say the same thing but a bit differently.

Less is more. Be concise. This is especially important if you've only got 10 min to give a reading.

Another thing that's sometimes tricky is wrapping up the reading. It's especially difficult if you feel like there's still more you want to say or if you sense your client feels unsatisfied. But wrap up you must!

There's a couple good ways to wrap up a reading. I always like to quickly recap the key points of the reading, then I say "thank you for having me read your cards for you" as I gather up the cards and re-shuffle. If there's extra time (which there usually isn't in a 10 min reading) I might ask if they have any questions about their cards.

Get comfy wrapping things up. Practice doing pretend readings on imaginary clients and run through your wrap up procedure until it feels like second nature.


Make these 10 minutes really count!

Having only ten minutes to read someone's cards really forces you to focus on what's really important. When you're giving a "quickie" Tarot reading, ask yourself how can I make the most out of these ten minutes?

Don't waste time rambling about the past or blabbering endlessly about the future - save that crap for the 20 min readings! I find that focusing on the NOW and what your client can DO to make life more magical is what makes for a good ten minute reading.

A Recommendation...

If you're interested in doing Tarot reading at parties and events, a must-read book is Have Tarot Will Party by Jenna Matlin (this is my affiliate link). She explains everything you need to know about party readings and really lays it out in a practical way.

Even though I've done party readings before, I never felt 100% at ease doing them. In fact, I've always felt a vague sense of terror while reading in a party atmosphere. But after reading Jenna's book I felt confident and excited about doing party readings. Shortly after reading her book I got hired to read at a party and for the first time I actually felt calm, relaxed and organized while doing readings. Yay!


I want to know...

What are the things that YOU struggle with when giving quick, 10-min Tarot readings? Let me know in the comments...


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My client hated her Tarot reading (and here’s how I dealt)

Thank you to all who did last weeks Tarot Challenge 🙂  Your insights were enlightening and I wish I had you all sitting beside me the next time I do a tricky reading! This is my follow up to that reading (details have been changed for confidentiality purposes)…

True confession: my last Tarot reading client totally hated her reading.

Here’s another confession….it’s not the first time this has happened!

Not too long ago I did a reading for a friend of a friend. She wanted to ask about a new guy she’d just met. They were going on their first date on Saturday night, three days away, and she was pretty sure he was The One.

We asked the cards “what is the potential of this relationship? What could the relationship be like if they continue dating?”

I pulled three cards and turned then over one by one….The Tower, Five of Cups and Ten of Swords.

It didn’t bode well.

Robin Wood Tarot

And while I almost never say things like this, but I went ahead and said “I don’t think it’s going to work out.”

She looked at me like I’d slapped her and said “but it HAS TO work out. He’s THE ONE and I NEED for this to work out right now.”

She was pissed!

So I said “okay, let’s take a closer look at each card and what it could mean.” I broke down each card individually and all it’s possible meanings – both negative and positive.


The Tower shows that this relationship could shake her to her core and create many changes in her life. Which could be a good thing, but the miserable cards accompanying this one suggest otherwise.

The Five of Cups represents dwelling on what isn't working. If it was surrounded by some neutral or positive cards I would say it symbolizes a need to change one's mindset and look for the good. But since all the cards are dreary, I really struggled to put a positive spin on this one.

The Ten of Swords can signify betrayal, feeling utterly powerless and/or a tendency to think things are worse than they really are. All the cards together seemed to be saying stay away! Run! Run!


The cards were clear as day, but here's the frustrating part:

She was absolutely unwilling to hear anything that didn't support her fantasy that this guy was The One.

In the end I kind of gave up and said "I could be wrong. The cards could be wrong. Perhaps this will work out wonderfully. But this is just what I'm getting from these cards in front of me."

After all, my reading isn't The Last Word and I always encourage my clients to take what I say with a grain of salt.

When it was all said and done she thanked me for the reading, said I'd given her lots to think about and left. But I could tell she felt unsatisfied, like when you go to a restaurant and order french fries and the waiter brings you steamed tofu.

Or when you crash a wedding party only to find out it's a "dry" wedding. Or when Chris Hemsworth only takes his shirt off once, at the very beginning of Thor, and you sit through the rest of yet another boring superhero movie, hoping for a glimpse of ab that never comes. Okay, you get the point.

And nothing feels worse than being the cause of someone else's disappointment.

As a Tarot reader, I want to deliver. I want to give someone the goods, the nitty gritty, the juicy details they've been longing to hear. I don't want to be a wet blanket or a brick of steamed tofu. Noooooo!

But I also don't want to just make up a bunch of happy crap if the cards are saying something else. I don't want to be a Debbie Downer but I also don't want to be dishonest.


So this leads me to two important questions that every Tarot reader will eventually ask:

  1. Is there anything I could have done differently in that reading to avoid disappointing my client?
  2. What do I do if a client doesn't like their reading?

Let's start by tackling question #1

Is there anything I could have done differently?

My biggest mistake was doing a reading that focused heavily on The Future, by asking about the potential of a relationship that didn't even exist yet.

Anytime we focus a reading on the future, we dis-empower ourselves because we assume the future is set in stone and that our actions and thoughts have little influence. And that's crazy!

Some better questions might have been:

  • how can she best prepare for her upcoming date?
  • What does she need to know about this situation?
  • What message does her higher self/guides have for her regarding romance?

These questions would have made it easier to steer the reading in a more empowering direction, even if she got the same three crappy cards.

But even if I did everything right and delivered the perfect reading, she may still have hated it...


What to do if a client doesn't like their reading

Ask yourself this: Was this a bad reading skill-wise? Or did I just not tell my client what she wanted to hear?

Nothing triggers insecurity in a Tarot reader more than an unhappy client, but it's important to distinguish between a genuinely crappy reading and a reading that just didn't mirror your client's hopes.

In my case, I was confident in my reading skills. I knew the reading I gave was solid. But I did wonder....should I have delivered the information in such an upfront fashion? Or should I have been more gentle?

But what if it had been a bad reading skill-wise? Should I have offered her a refund?

Luckily, I've never had a client ask for a refund and I've never felt the need to offer one. But if I did feel like I delivered a terrible reading - and my client seemed unhappy - I wouldn't feel comfortable just sending them on their way.

However, I once read this on a Tarot reader's site: "Tarot readings are free. I charge for my time."

So I think it's up to the reader to do what feels best for them.


Self Care 101

If you're new-ish to reading for others, a bad experience can have a powerful effect on you. Even if you're more experienced, the feeling that your client didn't love their reading can be de-motivating and make you question if you're really fit to be a Tarot reader.

Set an intention: Before each reading I set the intention that whatever comes up during the reading is exactly what that person needs to hear at this time. This allows me to let the reading go once it's over and not think I should have said this or I shouldn't have said that.

Have good boundaries: It's helpful to remind yourself that your role as a Tarot reader is to interpret the cards as best you can and help your client find ideas and solutions. It's NOT your job to fix their problems or tell them what they want to hear.

Learn from your bad experiences: Whenever I'm not happy with how a reading went, I ask myself what I could have done differently (like I did above). This isn't about regret or beating myself up, it's about learning and growing as a reader.

Over to you! Have you ever had an unsatisfied client or a reading you didn't feel great about? What did you do? Tell me in the comments below 🙂

My client hated her Tarot reading (and here’s how I dealt) Read More »

Tarot Talk with Christiana Gaudet

I recently had the privilege of chatting with Tarot reader extraordinaire Christiana Gaudet – Certified Tarot Grandmaster and author of Fortune Stellar and Tarot Tour Guide. I had tons of juicy Tarot questions to ask and in this interview we touch on some hot Tarot topics like:

Tarot beginners: what you need to know

Doing professional readings: how to know when your ready

How to interpret a Tarot card in a specific position

Do your family and friends hate Tarot? Here’s what to do…

Christiana even shares what it was like to give Tarot readings at a polyamorous community festival!!!! If only my own tarot gigs were this intriguing!

Check out Christiana’s website:

Leave a comment and let me know which issue/topic really resonated with you 🙂

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Should Tarot Readers Charge For Their “Gift”?

There is something that I occasionally hear people say that drives me batshit crazy.

It is this:

I don’t charge for giving readings because being able to read is a gift so therefore I would never charge someone for it.”

Ummm….what the f*ck?!

I typically hear this from readers of all types – tarot, psychic, mediumship, etc and it often carries a whiff of judgement upon those readers who do charge for their services.

Before I launch into a big rant about this, I first want to say that there are some very good reasons that readers recoil at the idea of charging for their talents. I felt this way in the beginning and I’ll tell you why in a minute.

Now for the rant…

Believing that it’s wrong to charge money for your talents or “gifts” is like saying that if you are really good at something then you should not make money at it because that is somehow unfair for everyone.

But what does that mean? Is it only okay to make money from doing things you aren’t very good at or don’t really enjoy? What kind of world would we be creating if we believed this? I know – a world where everyone is miserable and no one is doing what they are meant to do.

I think the hesitation some readers (or artists and healers for that matter) feel about charging for their “talents” stems from some misguided concept of “honest work” and making an “honest living” which dictates that you must work hard at doing something you don’t really enjoy in exchange for a meager paycheck so you can survive. Anything more attracts suspicion!

This is a totally outdated, ridiculous idea, but so many of us still have this belief nestled far back in the dark recesses of our minds, whether we know it or not. It’s time to let it go.

Are Tarot reading skills really a “gift”?

giftAlmost all readers I know have worked tirelessly at honing their skills. No one pops out of the womb being able to read Tarot. Even the most accurate psychics and mediums must study and practice to have better command of their “gift”.

When I first picked up a deck of cards, I had no idea what to do with them! I read tons of books, practiced like crazy and took courses in psychic development, reiki and counselling.

The ability to give good readings may be a gift, but its a gift with no instruction manual! It requires training and practice….which does not come free.

My Wish…

Whether you already read tarot professionally or would like to transition from doing free to paid readings, I hope what I have to say here helps you in some way. And whether you feel totally A-okay with charging others or if you feel slightly apprehensive or downright icky about it – I hope what you read here helps you sort out your feelings.


Why accepting money for a Tarot reading can feel….awful

Over the years, there have been times that I felt awkward about making money from reading Tarot. I no longer feel this way, but below are the main “issues” that I struggled with and how I overcame them.

1) Tarot gets a sleazy rap

Tarot reading, along with other types of readings (astrology, psychic, etc) is often judged by the general public to be a charlatan’s gig, and Tarot readers to be modern day snake oil salesmen, taking advantage of gullible people by promising them answers to their problems and glimpses into the future.

So what will it be? Bigger boobs, a vibrator or a tarot reading?

When I was a teenager I used to read Cosmopolitan all the time (no wonder I was so messed up!) and I remember at the very back there were tons of little ads for diet pills, sex toys, breast enhancing creams, psychic hotlines, LaToya Jackson and….Tarot readers.

Not charging money for giving a reading eliminates the risk of being accused of being a scammer who is out to take people’s money.

How to shift this: You can’t control what other people think of you, but you can control how you think of you. Get clear on why you want to give Tarot readings, develop strong ethics and boundaries and be clear and honest about what you can and cannot do during your readings. Once I did these things, my fear of others judgements totally evaporated.


2) You just want to help people

As a Tarot reader, you aren’t out to exploit people. You want to help, heal and guide those you read for.

When I first started reading Tarot professionally, I noticed that many clients came to me during times of crisis or struggle and taking their money in exchange for a reading – particularly when I knew they didn’t have much money – made me feel like I was in some way benefiting from their troubles.

Mother Theresa. Not me.

Many of us who view Tarot reading as a helping profession also believe that in a healthy society, help should be freely given and compassion and guidance shouldn’t carry a price tag like everything else.

How to shift this: In a perfect world we would all be able to help each other, express our gifts, do what we love and not worry about money, bills and having enough food to survive. Maybe some of us even have a distant memory of some utopia where things were like this.

However….we need to acknowledge that we don’t live in that world just yet – right now we have bills to pay and it’s not like we can just call up our gas or electric company and say “oh, I can’t afford to pay the heating bill this month, so how about a Tarot reading coupon instead?”

If readers didn’t charge for readings, they would have to get other jobs which would eat up time and energy that could be spent on giving readings. Which would mean they are no longer using their “gift” to help others. Silliness!


3) Am I really good enough?

Almost all Tarot readers, at some point, struggle with confidence issues. The major benefit of not charging money for your readings is that it dampens performance anxiety and lets you relax. If you deliver a terrible reading, its not like your client will be angry with you for running off into the night clutching their money and laughing like a drunken gypsy!

And I think that often this is the real reason many wonderful Tarot readers don’t like to charge for their service. Putting a price on what you do is making an unspoken promise to your client that your reading is going to be worth $____. If you aren’t 100% certain this is true, then it can feel very uncomfortable.

How to shift this: Do whatever it takes to gain confidence in your skills as a reader. This might mean doing free readings as practice – but make sure you get feedback from those you read for, as this will boost your confidence and trust in yourself.


But do you have to charge?

Keep in mind there is no rule that says you must charge money for giving Tarot readings. Maybe you just want to keep Tarot reading as a fun hobby or perhaps you would rather trade your Tarot skills for baked goods or sexual favors? I don’t judge 😉

My advice is to be intentional and deliberate about why you give readings and why you choose to either charge money or give them for free. If you give them for free, make sure you aren’t doing so out of guilt, low confidence levels or fear.

If you really don’t feel comfortable charging for your “gift”, then charge for the time and energy it takes to give a reading – because that, after all, is always worth something!

What do you think?

Please share your opinions and experiences in the comment section below – I would love to get your take on this hot topic!

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