Taking My Tarot Further

I’ve been studying Tarot and doing simple readings for about six years now. For the last year, though, I’ve been studying in much greater depth, and my readings have developed tremendously more depth and nuance, and as a result, I’ve decided to take my journey into Tarot even further. I’m contemplating doing some professional Tarot readings, either online or in person, and am developing my skills and resources to make that possible. And I’d like your help, dear readers!

If you are someone who has or would get a professional reading: What do you want to know about a Tarot reader before you decide to work with her? How would you evaluate different readers and decide who to work with?

If you read Tarot, privately or professionally: What advice or suggestions do you have? How did you know you were ready to do readings for the public? What did you wish someone had told you when you were starting out or considering it?

I’ve investigated certification, but for the time being, I don’t see that certification would necessarily provide querents with valuable information about my knowledge and skill, and I don’t see that the organizations offering certification do enough to help their members to justify the high costs of advanced certification. I’d especially like to hear others’ perspectives on this admittedly controversial issue.

I have become a member of the American Tarot Association, which is an educational group, and I’m going to be developing my own code of ethics and a set of frequently needed explanations. I’d like your feedback on those as I work through them, too. I look forward to your company and advice as I try to take my Tarot further!

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About Literata

Literata is a Wiccan priestess and writer. She edited Crossing the River: An Anthology in Honor of Sacred Journeys, and her poetry, rituals, and nonfiction have appeared in works such as Mandragora, Unto Herself, and Anointed as well as multiple periodicals. Literata has presented rituals and workshops at Sacred Space conference, Fertile Ground Gathering, and other mid-Atlantic venues. Literata offers healing and divination services as well as customized life-cycle rituals. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation in history with the support of her husband and four cats.
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8 Responses to Taking My Tarot Further

  1. Mike Timonin says:

    I have a friend who, when I see her (which isn’t often enough) does readings for me. I think what makes the session work is largely the shared history we have. I’m not sure I would be comfortable having a reading done by someone with whom I have no shared history at all.

    I’m not entirely sure what I think happens when I have a reading. The closest I can think of is that by forcing a specific pattern on the pattern recognition portion of the brain, I am allowing the rest of the brain to focus on other things – the Tarot reading allows my brain to get out of its own way. But, because that’s a particularly disarmed situation (at least for me), I have to be comfortable to allow it to happen.

    • Literata says:

      I understand the issue of comfort there; it’s something I’m going to have to tread carefully around as I venture into new territory. I like your description of “allows my brain to get out of its own way” – that’s a great way of putting it!

  2. mrspremise65 says:

    I both read tarot (30 years), and have had others do readings for me.
    I sometimes tell the reader what I know, and sometimes not. I’ve found that I get a better reading from those who I tell. I think it’s mostly because then they are more at ease to interpret the cards in front of them, rather than trying to read *me*. When the reader is unaware, they spend way too much time fishing for clues that they’re on the right track (a la “..so, do you know any older women with blonde hair and blue eyes?”) Annoying. I think I would likely be just as annoyed with that fishing behavior even if I didn’t know anything about the cards.
    When I’m the reader, one thing I try to make clear is that tarot does not predict the future, but simply helps clarify the present, and having a clear idea of a situation leads to better solutions to problems. Mike T said it better: …the Tarot reading allows the brain to get out of its own way…!
    Something I wish I’d known when I started, is that It is really important to feel free to refuse to read for some people. When I read for others, I expend alot of energy. Reading for someone who doesn’t “feel” right sucks that energy like a vast black hole. It’s better just to walk away in those situations. You are not obliged to read. Ever. I don’t charge for readings, but I’ve heard of readers who do charge kindly refusing and returning a fee. Really it’s not worth it if the energy is wrong.
    I think I became a better reader when I took control of the environment – I use only the deck that I prefer, in a setting that is comfortable for me, with people that have a good energy about them. Reading tarot is an active thing, and I do a better job when I’m comfortable.
    Your mileage, however, may vary…!
    Good luck to you, Literata!

    • Literata says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience and advice!

      I’m thinking about including in my “explanation of my style” that, basically, I expect you to talk to me about some of what’s going on. I don’t want to do readings for people who are there to “test” me – I don’t think that’s how Tarot works, so why should I try to do something the wrong way around? I’ve promised myself that I won’t “fish” like that, either. I’ll present maybes and alternatives and possibilities, or I’ll flat-out ask if something (or someone) like that is in the querent’s environment. If they don’t want to tell me, that’s fine, or if they want to wait until closer to the end of the reading, that’s fine too, but then I’ll be presenting possibilities and projections, not working with them on their issues.

      I feel exactly the same way about it clarifying the present. That’s closely related to why I don’t think it’s a psychic process (for most meanings of the word), I think it’s a reflective, counseling one.

      Thank you so much for the good advice – I will not hesitate to refuse a reading if it’s the wrong situation or an absolute drain. Hopefully, I’ll let you know how it goes, too, with some general posts on the topic!

  3. Mrs. Chili says:

    Unlike Mike, I think that there’s more value in readings done by people with whom I have no connection. I am always more impressed by readers who can identify important things in my life through the channels they’re vibrating with, rather than picking up on something we talked about over lunch a few weeks ago. That being said, though, there is something to be said for having a personal connection – I think that makes it… not easier exactly, but somehow more fluid… if the reader can pick out, among all the noise, those things which are most relevant. I guess it’s kind of a 50/50 proposition.

    • Literata says:

      I wonder if the different kinds of reading aren’t different kinds of valuable. I know that I need an outside voice in some situations, and sometimes I need a heart-to-heart with a friend; I imagine Tarot could be useful in all of those situations, but in really different ways. That will be a good reminder to me as I start exploring different ways I may or may not be able to make Tarot work with others. Sometimes I may not be the voice they need, and that’s okay, too.

      • Mrs. Chili says:

        And being open to all those different possibilities and variables is going to make you a better reader. If you ever need a stranger to do a reading for, just say the word!

    • Mike Timonin says:

      As I’ve been thinking about this, I wonder if my readings with V. would be as valuable if I saw her regularly, instead of once or twice a year. Perhaps the shared history is a sort of mental shorthand that gets me to the “Tarot space” more easily. Equally, V. and I are both fairly busy people when we meet at those once or twice a year occasions; could be we’re both using the reading less as a Tarot reading and more as an excuse to sit down and be quiet with each other.

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