Thoughts on being a "professional tarot reader"
Tarot reader- obviously most clients want me to be able to read the tarot cards accurately, and express that reading in a way that they can understand and relates to their life. The “tarot reader” part of my job is the easiest to see. As I tie up the ends of a busy January I thought I’d share some of my other roles that sometimes people don’t see.
Mental health professional
Sadly some of my clients find me when they have tried everything else and have reached a point of desperation. Unless I know a client really well I always have the thought in my head that I might be their last resort. My reading might be a turning point in their life- for better or worse.
I am lucky, I have explored mental health and client care at various times in my pre-tarot days (including some counselling training) and as part of my shamanic training.
Many of us experience difficult mental health at various times in our lives, if you are thinking of setting up as a reader I truly believe some experience/research/training into mental health is important. I know many people have “transferable” skills from past jobs that can be a genuine asset.
Whether you set to reading around the subject, join a course, or work with a mentor for guidance…Most Tarot readers will work with clients with complex mental health issues at some point. A little understanding can be a genuine asset.
Holder of secrets (and the importance of personal boundaries)
I am in the strange situation of hearing peoples most secret thoughts. I am often the people confide in when they have no where else to turn.
As tarot readers I think it is really important to know where our personal boundaries are. What are the ethics/taboos/morals that cross our personal boundaries and mean we are no longer able to offer a genuine service.
When my husband had an affair I was reading for several clients who were having affairs, I really had to check in and make sure I was comfortable with this. In the end I have only had a handful of “moral dilemmas” including the client who wanted advice on how “wreck” someone’s life, and the client who wanted to know if it was safe to return to her violent ex-partner.
I believe moral/ethic considerations on such issues as gender, sexuality, abortion, religion, sex and honesty must be expressed, and the reading paused, adjusted, stopped, if they are in conflict with our clients situation.
Like it or loath the idea of charging for my “gift” (deep breath as I try not to mutter it is a skill, based upon years of practice) my sole income is as a tarot reader/teacher, and shaman. I have no other income, this work pays for me and my four kids. If I don’t work we don’t eat.
And so I have learnt along the way to run my readings as a business. I know this doesn’t suit everyone, and many are happy to work with word of mouth as a part time business based on organic growth.
However- if you want to run a tarot business then there has to be some business acumen there as well as the tarot. From advertising to websites, pricing, booking systems, accounting, and having a viable business plan to ensure a stable income.
This is not my favourite part of my work schedule, but it is so very important. It can take a lot of effort to get a business off the ground, and to stabilise an income. In the early years I spent far more time on building my website/blogging/social media/creating content than I did in paid work. But I am grateful now- for the skills I learnt along the way help me to keep my business stable.
Administration & secretary
This is without doubt my biggest bugbear, and my personal weakness. I am not good at details and work with numerous lists in the vague hope of keeping on top of emails, bookings and all the little extra details that my work needs.
Over time I have created more automated systems (including my booking calendar) which is a huge help. But still hours can be lost looking for a lost email. And still I sometimes do readings with a jumper over my PJ’s because I forgot to put a booking in my diary.
The best bit of my job is definitely client work. From the deep relationships that can develop with regulars, to the buzz of adrenalin. A new client, a deck of cards, and a life to explore. But there is so much more to my working day than client time.