Many people are quite nervous when they first start reading for others. Thankfully, most tarot readers are motivated by wanting to help others. This is a great start since sincerity goes a long way. However, there are pitfalls along the road to becoming the great reader you know you can be. Here is the heads up on what to be aware of and what to do about it.
The top 5 mistakes are (in no particular order):
- Not being aware of your strengths and weaknesses
- Not knowing your ethical boundaries
- Not knowing how to politely bow out
- Not knowing your reading style
- Not trusting your intuition
Not being aware of your strengths and weaknesses: You know you have intuitive reading skills but you don’t quite know the reach of them in every area or scenario. Sit down and list the following (grading your skills in each area from noob to advanced). Learn to be OK with the fact that you are only just beginning and visualise going from strength to strength.
- Ability to give timing for events. You may choose to skip this altogether, or at least for now since timing is tricky business even for seasoned readers. Many pro readers refuse to answer timing questions.
- Ability to use clairs with your intuitive reading ability. List each of the clairs separately: clairaudience, claircognizance, clairvoyance, clairsentience. You may not be psychic at all. That’s OK as long as you know your limitations and to not list yourself as a psychic – not all tarot readers are psychic and there are some really great readers who aren’t.
- Ability to improvise, using different spreads. It’s OK to use just one or two basic spreads when you first start out as long as you know them like the back of your hand. You can always add to your arsenal later on.
- Your strengths and preferences when it comes to reading about various topics (list each popular reading topic separately): relationships, work, spiritual development, health, money
- Ability to do yes/no questions using the tarot cards. Many readers choose not to use the cards this way but I know readers who do with excellent results.
Not knowing your ethical boundaries: There might be things you can do but that you shouldn’t do. What you shouldn’t do is to give people professional medical, financial or legal advice (issues that often come up in readings.) The way around this is to inform people up front (before you start the reading) that you are not licensed to advice in a professional capacity when it comes to these matters.
You may or may not want to read on the energetics (how people feel, thought processes influencing the situation, surrounding influences etc) connected to these issues but whether you choose to or not, you have to make sure that you are comfortable doing so – something which also falls within the realm of personal ethical boundaries. For instance, many readers choose to not read on health matters at all.
You need to be absolutely sure which types of questions you would never answer under any circumstances. Don’t fancy reading on death? Be clear on it. Feel a bit iffy about reading on the sex of a baby? A good rule of thumb is ‘When in doubt, don’t.’ Make a list of ‘No-nos’ and stick to it. You can always revise it further down the line.
Not knowing how to bow out gracefully: There will be times when your gut shouts at you to not read for a person. The reasons for this are many and varied. You don’t need to have a different strategy for every possible scenario – you just need a strategy that works for you. The main thing to remember is that you don’t need to justify bowing out of the reading. Just gracefully state that you can’t do it at this point in time and offer to either reschedule or, in the case of a paying client, offer a full refund.
Not knowing your reading style: Are you a predictive reader or does the thought of foretelling the future make you cringe (inwardly or outwardly). Do you need a quiet space to read from or are you able to give readings in bars and cafés? Are you happy to ‘entertain’ with your readings or are you more of a counsellor?
Write a paragraph on your reading style. When you’re happy with it, condense it further into just one sentence that describes you as a reader. Ideally, this is something that also serves to give you a niche and lets people know that they need to come to you because what you have to offer is unique. Know what sets you apart!
Not trusting your intuition: Now, I’m not suggesting you start thinking you are infallible. In actual fact, trusting that still small voice of your intuition within will also let you know when to say to your client, ‘I’m sorry – I’m not getting an answer to this.’ It’s OK to pause for reflection. Learn to be prepared for moments of silence to allow for answers to float to the surface.
The other thing to keep in mind when it comes to intuition is that things will sometimes pop into your mind that don’t make sense to you. Don’t second-guess your intuition when this happens. Do tell your client what your thoughts are and don’t be afraid to say that it doesn’t make sense to you. You’ll be surprised to learn how your messages more often than not are completely spot on for the client.
I hope you find these tips helpful. If you are looking for a good mentoring program to hone your reading skills and get tonnes of valuable feedback, I can’t recommend the TABI mentoring program highly enough. I went through their training myself in 2007 and it gave me a solid foundation.