When people ask me how long it took for me to start reading tarot professionally (seven years), I always preface my answer with this:
There is no one timeline or linear path with tarot. It is an ongoing journey where you can always be learning.
Some people take less time than I did. Some take more. There is no right or wrong, and no perfect amount of time to measure your own progress against.
But there are things that held me back along the way that I do believe slowed me down. Not that I was in a rush, but if I could have gotten better a little bit faster, I would have taken that option in a heartbeat.
Some of the things that I got stuck on were:
Mistake #1: Confusing complexity for potency in a tarot reading.
You don’t need to layer your readings with a bunch of techniques – reversals, astrology, numerology, significators, etc.
Solution: Don’t second-guess yourself if a reading feels clear and direct. All you need to do when you read tarot is read the cards in...
Years ago, before I was reading tarot professionally, I used to do a lot of tarot parties for friends to get practice.
I was at a café one night where a friend was having a trunk sale for a jewelry line she was selling. The room was full of my pal’s friends and family, and I didn’t know many people there.
A woman sat down for a reading with me. I laid down my cards. I saw something in them that was so specific: A story about a family inheritance.
Except that’s not what I told her.
Because what I thought I was seeing did not match the meanings of the cards that were in front of me.
I wasn’t experienced enough yet to know how to trust myself as a tarot reader.
So I played it safe.
I gave a by-the-book reading – literally – rather than talking about what I’d initially seen.
And it wasn’t exactly wrong. But it wasn’t exactly right, either.
It was generic, safe, and middle-of-the-road enough for this woman to find something...
I remember how disappointed I was when I got my first tarot deck.
I went in with big expectations. I’d always thought of myself an intuitive, perceptive person. I felt spiritual.
And I wanted that connection to something greater – be it the universe, deity, or my higher self.
I was so excited, and a little bit nervous, when I shuffled my cards and started turning them over. I wondered: What would I learn? What would I see in my reading?
I went from excited to crushed pretty quickly. As soon as my cards were laid out, I felt…nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true: I didn’t get any visions or insights because I had no idea what to make of the cards in front of me.
But I did feel a mix of disappointment, confusion, and insecurity. That insecurity was directed towards myself: What if I’m not the spiritually connected, intuitive person I thought I was?
What if I’m just not cut out for tarot?
I know that sounds dramatic, and it is. I had gone...
When I read tarot for my clients, I rarely use tarot spreads anymore.
Moving away from tarot spreads has been one of the biggest transformations in my tarot practice since I started reading full-time.
When I first started out as a professional reader, I used to put so much time and energy into my tarot spreads: I would create custom spreads for each client, based on questions and topics they sent me in advance.
I thought they were absolutely amazing.
But once those spreads were put to use, I soon realized they weren’t always as helpful as I thought they would be.
Why? Because tarot readings are conversations, and like any other dialogue, they flow in new and unexpected directions.
Which meant that once my readings started, sometimes my querents would say, “I think I have some different questions I need to explore instead.”
Inevitably, many of my big, beautiful, customized tarot spreads would go out the window in order to accommodate a more organic tarot...
There are so many cards in tarot that indicate and inspire new beginnings.
But we have to remember that tarot is balanced: It shows us beginnings, middles, and ends. And all of the various experiences in between those states.
Some cards are static and unchanging, and others signify abrupt endings. Some show the hard work that comes with moving towards a goal, and others show the importance of rest and stasis.
We can’t be changing all the time, of course.
But if you’re craving a clean slate and want to open a new chapter, here are my Top 3 tarot cards to reflect on when you’re ready for a new door to open:
1. The Ace of Cups. I have a special relationship with the Ace of Cups. I find it reliably pops up when I need reassurance that things are going to turn out for the best. Especially when I’m making a big change.
The Ace of Cups is a wonderful card to reflect on for new beginnings in relationships, creativity, spirituality, and the self.
2. The Ace of...
It's back to school season here, too. Is it the same for you? I know that we’re all in different parts of the world and not everyone goes back to school in September, but in these parts, the end of the summer season leads into a new school year.
Even though I haven’t gone back to school since graduating college years ago, I always get that tingly, excited back-to-school feeling around this time of year.
Maybe you know what I mean: That nostalgic, warm sense of anticipation about what a new school year might bring.
Will I meet new friends?
Will I like my teachers?
Will I be inspired by what I’m learning?
Being in a new space and new city now is giving me a similar feeling. Even though I’ve spent a lot of time here over the years already, I keep wondering: Will I make friends? Who will I meet? Where will I hang out? What kinds of new adventures await?
In a way, I feel like I’m heading off to a new school: The city is my teacher, and I’m...
A lot of people are surprised when I tell them I don’t spend all day reading tarot.
“Isn’t that your job?” they wonder.
But that question itself says a lot: Many people are used to thinking about work as a single job – one role or job title that you’re assigned.
When you’re self-employed as a tarot reader, you’re actually doing a lot more work than just reading for clients.
Being self-employed means making time to manage many moving parts along the way. There are administrative tasks, marketing efforts, and a lot of unexpected decisions to make on an ongoing basis.
There are also ups and downs, emotional rollercoasters, and imperfect days.
Here are three truths that you will have to accept if you are running a tarot business (or any other service-based business, for that matter.)
1. People will unsubscribe from your mailing lists and channels.
All of the big advice out there says to build a mailing list (which I recommend,...
I get a lot of questions about how to prepare for tarot readings from a reader’s perspective.
Readers are often concerned with protecting their energy by staying grounded. Or by shielding against a draining querent.
Boundaries in tarot readings go both ways, though, and it’s important to remember that our querents have boundaries, too.
But we might not always know what those boundaries are for each querent. Every individual will have a different comfort zone. And not all querents will be experienced with readings enough to know what they want from the experience.
People often come to tarot readings with an open mind. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that anything goes in a tarot reading.
Establishing some boundaries for your own conduct can go a long way in ensuring that querents have a great experience with you.
Here are a few boundaries I’m mindful of that you might find helpful, too.
Honesty and respect can co-exist.
Some tarot readers like to...
"How much should I charge for a tarot reading?"
This is one of the first questions people often ask when they start to read tarot professionally.
Charging for a tarot reading is a big step: It is a move that can change people’s perception of you.
Someone who is willing to pay you for your time is more likely to see you as a skilled craftsperson. They are invested in what you’re doing because they have some skin in the game.
When a client isn’t paying for a service, they don’t have anything at stake. It can be the worst reading, or the best reading, but either way, they’ve got nothing to lose it ends up being a bad experience.
But there is a "but" here, which is this:
There is actually a time and place to read for free – and a way to make it feel like a fair exchange. And that’s when you’re in the learning phases as a tarot reader.
I didn’t charge a dime for my tarot readings for seven years, because I was gaining experience.
I did offer...
A few years ago, I was a tarot conference when a few readers started talking about gift certificates for tarot readings.
“Don’t buy your friend a reading when they’re celebrating a happy occasion – no one gets tarot readings when things are going well,” one of them said.
He was half-joking, half-serious.
And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
Gift certificates aside, it’s typical for people to seek out tarot readings when they are contemplating a dilemma.
Tarot helps people when they feel stuck in a rut or trapped in a tough situation. It helps when they are blocked around a decision, or when they feel unfocused about their overall direction in life.
Sure, some people book in for cosmic check-ins and general life updates, but by and far, I’ve noticed that most clients have specific reasons for buying tarot readings.
This is why tarot reading requires compassion. While it can be tempting sometimes to tell it like...