When I launched my tarot business in 2015, I was excited.
And really, really determined. So determined, in fact, that I deleted my resume to send a message to the universe (and myself) just how serious I was about making this business work.
But I was also really, really scared.
And I learned how helpful fear can be as an emotion: It kept me out of complacency and pushed me to work hard enough to avoid failing.
This was important, because it wasn’t my first venture into self-employment. In another time in my life, I’d worked as a freelance writer, and that experience immersed me in a starving artist mentality where I was surrounded by peers who believed that if they could make just enough to cover their bills, that was good enough for them.
Which often meant that many of us were breaking even in our businesses, settling for low expectations and precarious financial situations.
I realized that as a tarot reader, I’d have to grow out of those limiting beliefs...
One thing that tarot readers have in common is how much time we’ve spent developing our skills.
It’s not unusual for spiritual practitioners of all types to spend years training. Many of us consider ourselves life-long students of our craft, always learning and going deeper into esoteric studies.
It’s also not uncommon for us to invest heavily in programs, courses and trainings over the years. If we can’t always afford to take a class, we make up for that in books, blogs, podcasts, and more.
Of course, we know it’s not really about the monetary investment behind a skill set that adds value to their work.
That comes from practice, experience, and ability. Which often is gained from the sheer amount of time, energy, and practice that goes into learning and then integrating acquired knowledge.
There are a lot of amazing tarot readers out there who are walking around with priceless spiritual knowledge within them.
But when it comes to getting their work...
When I started my tarot business, I was determined never to go back to the 9-5 I’d left behind.
After working for eight years in the charitable sector, and hustling my days away as a freelance journalist in the years before that, I was tired.
It wasn’t just the nature of the work I was doing that had worn me out.
It was everything else on top of it, too. Errands and chores felt like they were chasing me. As soon as I finished one thing, something else needed to be done.
I was also pursuing a career in creative writing at the time and working on my writing as often as I could.
And I was doing tarot on the side, reading at parties and for friends, and starting a newsletter to build my network.
Instead of feeling like I had evenings and weekends to relax, my downtime became just as busy as my workdays.
I was always trying to catch up to myself. While my friends and family were getting together on weekends, I was sitting at my computer, writing.
Which doesn’t sound so...
Sometimes the projects I take on keep me in knots.
Again and again, I questioned myself:
Is this wrong, or right?
Am I making a huge mistake?
Am I deluding myself?
Is this a complete waste of time, or does someone actually need to hear what I have to say?
This is the emotional rollercoaster that comes with talking about money.
And in spiritual work, money gets weird.
The roots can run deep and stem from a range of beliefs and feelings. Some spiritual practitioners, including tarot readers, feel guilty for charging for their work. They aim to help as many people as possible, burning themselves out in the pursuit of their labour of love rather than creating a fair exchange of energy.
It doesn’t help that in this industry, there are plenty of potential clients who are happy to take advantage of guilt-ridden, people-pleasing practitioners. Have you ever heard someone say that it’s wrong to charge for tarot readings because diviners have been “given a gift from...
A common trait that many tarot readers share is that we want to help other people.
Whether you still consider yourself a student of tarot, or you read professionally, I’d bet there’s a good chance you’ve been called to read cards out of the desire to be of service in some capacity.
But good intentions can backfire. Sometimes, the desire to help can actually leave your querent feeling insulted, put down, and unheard.
Why? Whether you’re reading tarot for practice or professionally, you’ll have to navigate the numerous perspectives and beliefs about tarot that are out there.
Some people see tarot as a predictive, psychic tool.
Others see it as a psychological one.
Some use it for self-exploration, healing, and reflection.
And some people seek out tarot readings for fun, entertainment, and curiosity.
In short, there are a lot of reasons why people seek out readings. And the more you read for the public, the more you’ll realize that your average tarot...
Not everyone wants to read tarot at a professional level.
It’s more than okay for tarot to be a hobby, an interest, and a personal outlet.
But it’s also okay to want to read tarot for other people, and even build a business out of it.
One of the reasons why I talk so much about reading tarot for others is because I meet so many people with a deep desire to do just that.
There is something about tarot that attracts compassionate helpers. We see the potential that tarot has when it comes to bringing clarity to a problem, opening up new perspectives, and holding space for meaningful conversation.
A lot of us want to use tarot to do something good in the world.
But there are differences between reading tarot personally versus professionally. Pulling out tarot cards for fun with friends comes with different expectations than reading for a paying client.
Those expectations don’t just happen on the client’s side. You, as a tarot reader, have to put new expectations...
Every so often I close my calendar and take time off from one-on-one readings. This gives me breathing room in my practice, and I come back clearer about how I want to use tarot when I am working with clients.
Recently, after taking a longer hiatus than usual, I got clearer than ever about what my work aims to do - which is not to entertain, but to inform, guide and support.
I know that depending on where you live, a reader may be required by law to say that tarot is for “entertainment purposes only.” Which is something we may need to say for optics, but does not necessarily align with a personal truth.
I used to do a lot of tarot parties and had awesome experiences that way, but also had some terrible ones where people really did expect me to be the entertainment for the night.
Some people want their tarot readers to be entertaining. They want the esoteric to provide recreation, not reality.
But that’s not all that my work is about, and I know the same goes...
Boundaries are a big part of your success as a tarot reader
There are TONS of things I could say about boundaries (and will in subsequent posts) but today I will focus on three main ones that I think are key for professional tarot readers:
Stick to your schedule. Time management is really important in appointment-based work. It doesn’t matter if you do tarot full-time or on the side. Your time is valuable no matter what, and clients should respect it.
That means following the start and end times of appointments and adhering to rescheduling and cancellation policies.
It also means that as readers, we need to be reliable and be able to stick to our commitments, too. If a reader is always late, their clients will not be motivated to show up on time, either.
You don’t have to share everything about yourself. Openness and authenticity are valuable in this line of work, but you don’t have to be an open book to your clients.
Sometimes I have had clients ask about things...
I was reading an interview with a celebrated occult writer last year and was surprised when he admitted that he almost only reads esoteric books.
When I’m scrolling through my social media feed, I often stop to look at posts about what people in the tarot community are reading. And usually those updates feature books about tarot, divination, spirituality, or magic.
When you’re passionate about something, you tend to gravitate towards it. And I spend my fair share of time reading about tarot, too.
Sometimes my tarot students have confessed that they feel pressured to read every single thing they can about tarot – even if it’s at the expense of making time to explore other interests or give their intellects a break by changing the topic.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with setting out to gain a substantial level of knowledge – in fact, I encourage it. Tarot, spirituality, and the occult are lifelong paths on which we are always learning....
People talk about tools like tarot and other esoteric practices as though they are shortcuts or hacks that will accelerate their paths to success.
Which is why I always feel so boring in that broken-record-kind-of-way when I say that learning tarot doesn’t come with any shortcuts.
To get good at tarot, it takes practice, commitment, and consistency.
Like anything else, if you keep showing up for it, put in the time, and push yourself to improve, things will change.
Which is what happened to one of my students last year, Nat. In early 2020, she sent me an email worried that her progress was slow: “I don’t think I’m very good at this.”
I told her to keep practicing, keep going.
I know that’s the key, because when I was in Nat’s position, I hit walls, too. And I have had to embrace the same learning curves in tarot as everyone else.
So I know how much can change with practice and consistent effort.
And now, a little over a year later, Nat is...