Real talk: Are tarot readings the same as psychic readings?

Oracle Image“How’s your day going?” I asked the woman who had just sat down in front of me. She was here for a tarot reading, my third client of the day and a new one for me.

“Great!” she said. “My mom is babysitting so I have a day off from my five-year-old – but you probably already knew that,” she said, grinning at me expectantly.

“No, actually,” I said. “I don’t know a thing about you.”

Now, this isn’t always how things go when I’m starting a session. People don’t always assume that “tarot reader” is synonymous with “psychic.” But many do seem to think that “psychic” is synonymous with “omniscient,” meaning all-seeing and all-knowing, and things get tricky when all of these lines are blurred and lumped into one big, presumptuous mess.

Before getting a reading of any kind – whether it’s with a tarot reader, a medium, a palm reader, an astrologer, a clairvoyant, or anything in between – know that anyone working with intuitive tools, like tarot cards, or through spirit guides, like a medium, doesn’t have access to every single detail of your life.

I’ve written before about how I have a problem with the word psychic for this reason – because it’s been misused, misunderstood, and misrepresented as something god-like.

Plus, every reader will have their own style, and their own approach, but the umbrella term “psychic” paints us all with the same brush.

Palm reading is not tarot reading. Astrology is not tarot reading. Mediumship is not tarot reading. Still, different types of intuitive practices all get lumped into one category despite all being different techniques that sometimes offer completely different types of information.

But take a walk down any major street here in Toronto and it won’t be long before you see a big neon sign advertising psychic readings, tarot cards, and crystal balls.Image result for neon sign psychic

It doesn’t help that sites like Yelp group it all together, either, under “Psychics and Astrologers.” It wouldn’t my choice to have it that way, and the generalization can be misleading.

So it’s not surprising that one of the biggest challenges in being a tarot reader is managing the expectations people bring to a session.

Yes, reading tarot does rely on a certain level of intuition. But the information – at least through the techniques I use – will still come from the cards themselves, not from any visions I’m having or “downloads” I’m getting about you.

When I’m doing a reading, I’m truly reading the cards. I’m not reading you.

I say this because I don’t want to claim to be something that I’m not. It puts me in an awkward position when people sit down for a reading with me expecting me to know the answer to absolutely any question they might ask. Which can run the gamut from the state of their child’s health for years to come, how much money their husband’s business will be making by next February, or the name of their future lover and the date they will meet them.

Tarot doesn’t work like that, and my readings don’t work like that. I’ve never claimed to be able to know all and tell all, though there are readers out there who do make such promises. But there are also readers who claim “100% accuracy,” and I don’t know how anyone can claim a stat like that. (In other words: RED FLAG.)

I also don’t believe the future is set in stone – anything can happen and we all face a number of factors and variables outside of our control – and I don’t believe that we are meant to know everything that will ever happen to us, anyway.

If we did, it might ruin relationships that we are supposed to be in right now. It might throw us off our paths prematurely, before we’ve learned the lessons we need to take us to a higher place. It might stop us from just enjoying our lives as they are right now, because we would be worried about a crisis that awaits around the corner.

We all have to live through certain lessons, make our own decisions, and figure things out for ourselves. That’s part of our own evolution, and it’s part of our personal paths, and those are the things tarot can help us to tap into.

Sometimes, readings serve to remind us of that: “Be here now,” the cards sometimes whisper when our questions are pulling us off track. “Look at this instead of that,” they might insist.

The power of tarot is real. People study it, learn it, and bring forward incredible, life-changing insights from it. I’ve spent years committing myself to tarot, learning the cards, seeing how they work, studying different approaches, methods, and philosophies around it and blending those lessons to create my own ways of working with the cards.

I’ve put my learnings into practice and I’ve seen them resonate time and time again with the people I’ve worked with.  Which is what brought me to write a book about tarot, and all of the ways I’ve seen the cards’ messages come to life for the people I’ve read for. going-beyond-liz-worth

Every reader will have their own techniques, their own interpretations, and their own relationships with their decks.

But the key word there is interpretation: We are divining, after all. When we consult cards for advice, guidance, or insight, we are asking an oracle for answers. Sometimes they will be clear, direct, and honest; other times, they might be cryptic and unexpected.

But tarot doesn’t give me access to your every thought, desire, or waking moment in life. It doesn’t give me insight into the medical records of your family members, or your finances for the next five years.

Just as I don’t know what you do for work, what your priorities are, or where you’re from.

In fact, sometimes clients know more about me because they’ve carefully combed through my website and Instagram before booking a session. So often, the people I’m reading for have the upper hand when it comes to how much we know about each other.

Tarot readers, and tarot cards, don’t know everything. None of us can. (Hey, if I could know any answer to any question ever, I’d probably be working for the FBI or something right now.)  I can’t get into your head, and I don’t know what’s best for you – I only know what the cards are pointing towards.

You’ll get a much clearer, deeper, meaningful tarot reading when you go into it with a clear intention about what you want to learn, rather than assuming that your tarot reader is all-seeing and all-knowing. Surrender to the process a little.

Because when people have a whole list of questions and expectations that a tarot reader can’t work with, the energy gets thrown off.

Tarot is not palm reading. They are two different arts and practices.

Tarot is not palm reading. They are two different arts and practices.

So when you’re getting a reading, make sure you’ve come to the right place – the right reader for you – and know what’s on the menu. Ask your tarot reader what their approach is so that you know what to expect, and what might be an effective question or topic to explore.

Plus, it will give you a chance to build a good relationship with a reader whose style resonates with you – and don’t be afraid to try a few different readers out to see how they differ. All experiences will vary because we all speak in our own way, connect to you in our own way, and offer different strengths and perspectives in our readings.

Remember that at the end of the day, tarot readers are people, too. We just happen to know how to make the cards come alive in a way that can bring new meaning into your life.


Until next time,

Liz xo

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