Q: I have been thinking about becoming a professional Tarot reader. What are the most important things to know when giving readings to others in exchange for money?
A: Excellent question, Paula! Becoming a professional Tarot reader isn’t something to take lightly. When I first went from doing free Tarot readings for friends to paid readings for strangers, I was amazed at how different the experience was. Honestly, I was really quite unprepared for a few things. Here is a list of all the things that you should be prepared for:
- A lot of people seek out a Tarot reading when they are in a time of transition and chaos, therefore they may be unusually sensitive and vulnerable.
- Many clients will feel nervous at the start of a reading.
- Every client is different – some will pour their heart out and want to tell you their life story and others will clam up, preferring very little interaction during the reading.
- A client may get emotional during the reading and cry
- Many clients will take what you say quite seriously (so choose what you say carefully!)
How Professional Tarot Reading is Different Than Reading for Friends
1) Dealing with Nerves:
When I first stepped into the role of becoming a Professional Tarot Reader, I immediately noticed how different it was from reading for friends. To begin with, I felt quite nervous reading for complete strangers. The fact that the person I was reading for was paying me money definitely made me feel pressured to “perform” and deliver a good reading.
Since it is so important to be calm and grounded during a tarot reading, this was something I had to work on. You might want to set aside a bit of time before your readings to get calm and centered, particularly if you are feeling nervous. Listening to a meditation CD can be extremely helpful – here is a link to a free guided meditation that I made to help myself get calm and let go of anxiety.
2) Time Limits:
When you venture into becoming a professional Tarot reader, chances are you will have time limits for your readings. This can take a bit of getting used to. Make sure you practice doing a 20 min reading with a friend a few times before you start reading Tarot professionally.
Sometimes you will get a client who keeps talking and asking questions long after the reading is finished. It is good to think of different ways of gently ending the reading in a way that is assertive, yet sensitive to your client’s needs. Here are some ideas:
- “I would love to explore this further with you, but our time is up. It sounds like you are still feeling charged up about this. I would encourage you to do some journalling around this issue while your thoughts and feelings are still fresh.”
- “Sometimes the answers aren’t ready to reveal themselves just yet. I know that can be frustrating. However, with time, things have a way of sorting themselves out. So right now it may be helpful for you to find a way to be okay with not having all the answers.”
It’s okay to go a little overtime with a reading, such as ten minutes. But allowing a reading to go well over the agreed upon time range will make you seem unprofessional and unassertive.
Develop Your Coaching & Listening Skills
A few years ago I took an intro counseling course through my local college and this prepared me for being a professional Tarot reader in ways that I never imagined!
It helped me get really good at “active listening”, being present, maintaining boundaries, etc. So I would recommend that anyone interested in transitioning from hobby Tarot reader to professional Tarot reader take a basic, introductory counseling course.
Developing my coaching & listening skills helped me do things like:
- Create a safe reading environment and help my client feel at ease
- Listen attentively and communicate clearly
- Feel calm when a client gets emotional
- Develop strong ethics and boundaries
Develop Strong Ethics and Boundaries
It is important that you get clear on what your reading ethics will be. Be clear on what you can and cannot do for a client in a reading. For example, if a client wants you to give detailed information about their ex-husband, will you feel comfortable with that or not? Or, if a desperate client returns for multiple readings in the same month, will you feel like you are taking advantage of her situation by reading for her repeatedly or will you feel okay doing this?
It helps to have your reading ethics written down somewhere. I have posted my ethics here on my site so potential clients can review them.
Develop a Mission Statement
Ask yourself why you want to do readings professionally and get clear on what your intentions and goals are for your business. For example, maybe your intention is to uplift, inspire and empower your clients while providing accurate information that will help them on their life path. Write down your “Mission Statement” so you can refer back to it from time to time to remind yourself of why you are providing this service. You may also choose to display your mission statement on your website or any promotional materials, if you have them. To see an example of a mission statement, check out mine.
There are many practical things to consider before becoming a professional Tarot reader, such as how much to charge for readings and where you will be doing readings (over the phone, in your home, in a metaphysical shop, via email, etc…)
There are a couple books that cover these topics and provide lots of info about professional tarot reading. One is Professional Tarot: The Business of Reading, Consulting and Teaching by Christine Jette and the other is Fortune Stellar: What Every Professional Tarot Reader Needs to Know by Christiana Gaudet. I highly recommend both of these books if you want to explore this topic further.
Always End the Reading on a Positive Note
Most people seek out a Tarot reading because they want to feel better about their life situation. This doesn’t necessarily mean that everything you say in a reading should be 100% positive and uplifting, since you might receive information that is important, yet difficult for the client to hear. But you should always end the reading on a positive note so your client walks away feeling empowered and supported on their life path.
I like to end my Tarot readings by having my client draw an oracle card from one of my positive oracle decks. Any Doreen Virtue oracle deck works great for this, but I particularly love the Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards. This is so important especially if the reading was really deep and heavy. This allows me to bring the client an uplifting, lighthearted message that can tie the reading together and leave them feeling inspired.
Good luck with your journey of becoming a professional Tarot reader – I hope you find it as enjoyable and rewarding as I do!!!