I’ve been reading Tarot cards professionally for a long time, and I want to share with you what you can expect if you go down the Tarot for a ‘living’ route. Firstly, you may find that the joy of doing Tarot readings goes. Secondly, you can expect many of your presumptions on what a Tarot reading ‘is’ or ‘does’ to come under fire.
One of those presumptions that I had with the Tarot was that the Tarot helps people. I don’t know why I thought that, I just assumed, rightly or wrongly, that Tarot helps people on a Spiritual level; this in turn, I assumed, helps them on a practical level. After the first two or three weeks of reading professionally, this was challenged severely.
I’ve subsequently worked with the Tarot in most mediums; face-to-face, over the phone, text messages and emails. I have a fair background of experience with which to point out some things that doing Tarot readings for a career will challenge you with.
Personally, I assumed that the Tarot:
- Helps people.
- Develops your own Spirituality.
- The Divinatory meanings are important and the backbone of a reading.
All those presumptions of mine were wrong. You may find this to be the case too.
The Divinatory meanings of the Tarot cards are almost irrelevant to a successful Tarot reading and that’s because, what you may think a successful reading is and what the client thinks is a successful Tarot reading are two completely different things.
To go off topic for just a moment; I’ve done Tarot readings where I knew if I ‘went with the cards’; it would have been unsuccessful. In situations like that I just say what ever thought comes into my mind.
I’ve read, and can validate through personal experience that thoughts do not belong to the individual who thinks them; in fact nothing belongs to us. We own nothing; not our possessions or our relationships, other people or even our memories; and least of all our thoughts.
They say that Spirits are thoughts; separate intelligences.
It is in this sense that I will privilege Thoughts over the Tarot card divinatory meanings: consider this, certain anatomies of Tarot posit that Spirits are represented by the cards and that HRU governs the operation of Tarot divination.
The point I’m making is that the study of symbols, interesting though it is, is not required for a successful Tarot reading.
I mentioned earlier that I was under the illusion (and what isn’t an illusion?) that the Tarot developed Spirituality. This presumption is a contradiction. Yes, the Tarot does develop Spirituality (along with everything else) but it can accomplish this with only a few minutes a week devoted to the practice or every day like me; in other words, the frequency is irrelevant, as is the manner in which the Tarot is thought of or studied.
What is Spirituality anyway? I’m using the word to define an awareness of Self; I would also define this as Enlightenment.
I am not Enlightened nor am I Spiritual. In fact, I’m ruled by my desires, baser instincts and all other manner of things (ignorance is the greatest sin) which indicates a lack of awareness in a Spiritual sense. In this sense there is nothing that separates me from a client to whom I’m giving a reading for. I’m not convinced that this is actually helpful for a client – the fact that I can empathise and understand does not necessarily assist or empower the Client. There have been studies done in a Social Work context that illustrate this point. For example, imagine a woman who has been raped and is asked or pursues a mentoring position for other women who have been raped. It would appear at first sight that this woman will be of great benefit to the other woman because of the shared experience. However, evidence does not support this; in fact it can be damaging to both her and the other woman. It is now considered good practice to employ people who have no shared experience with the group they are assigned to mentor. This actually produces a better therapeutic environment.
I want to take a quick second to further clarify what I mean by saying that my understanding of the client may not be the best for them. I will illustrate this by a true story concerning a lecture I attended on Buddhism. During the course of the lecture the Buddhist mentioned the problems of psychism. He told us a story where somebody asked him if, during his many years of meditation (he spent many years mediating in a cave) he developed Psychic ability. He replied that he had indeed developed some Psychic ability. The person then asked if he could see the future; oh yes he replied. The person finally asked if he would use his abilities to predict what would happen for them in the future. The Buddhist replied: You will be miserable, and you will always be miserable.
Apart from making me laugh, this story perfectly explains Spirituality; ambition of any kind does not sit comfortably with Spirituality. It removes a person from being in the moment; and to be in the moment one must simply be aware. Spirituality is often compared to Water, because water is non-ambitious, it flows down stream; it does not seek to go up the mountain (consider the Devil card and the mountain goat).
It also implies that ambition is a necessary part of asking for a Tarot reading and that in some senses Tarot readings can remove us from Spirituality. The following video illustrates the problem with divinatory readings and its relationship with Spirituality.
To go back to the start of the reading where I mention the presumption that the Tarot helps people; I would say that this again is not a black and white issue. Firstly, a Tarot reader is unlikely to know in all cases if the reading helped and secondly, the cases where it obviously did help are in the minority. This is not simply confined to my own experience. I’ve talked with many Tarot readers who all report much the same. It makes it very difficult to accurately assess your own level of professionalism and effectiveness.
Finally, I was watching this video, which is meant to show you how to fake a reading, not just Tarot. I must confess that I saw no difference in their advice for the budding conman and the techniques that I myself use. Granted, I don’t use them often, but I still use them. I use this to build a rapport if I feel the reading is going badly. Although I never saw the Tarot as entertainment, in many ways it is.
Does this make me a conman and a charlatan? Yes, because a Tarot reading doesn’t provide what is needed by the people who seek a reading. A Tarot reading can predict the future; a Tarot reading can be therapeutic, yet the context and perhaps the implication of a reading itself, does not support this.