No matter how long you’ve been reading tarot, here is a sobering fact: you are going to make mistakes. But the good news: the longer you keep at it, the easier it gets to glide over the sticky wickets that many readers face.
I’ve been in the tarot trenches for over thirty years now (two decades professionally) and I remember all too well some painful mistakes I made early on. I learned some hard lessons along the way but the best part is this: once I understood those mistakes, I stopped making them.
I have spoken with many fellow readers over the years and we’ve all been guilty of one or more of these six common errors when we first started working with tarot:
- Depending too much on the “little white book”. While there is nothing wrong with using tarot books to get familiar with the cards, at some point you have to ditch the training wheels. One, no client is going to be comfortable with a reader who is constantly referring to the book. Second, you risk memorizing rote meanings that someone else wrote instead of listening to your own inner guidance. Read the book, grasp the concepts and then develop your own interpretations.
- Becoming enamored with your newfound “powers”. When you begin giving readings and start getting some positive feedback, it’s all too easy for that tricky ego to sneak in the back door and suddenly you assume you are some sort of all knowing mystical guru. One bad reading usually ends that mindset (of course, then you have the opposite problem of thinking you suck). Get over yourself. The reading is never about you or your powers – it’s always about serving the client.
- Giving a prediction without strategies to change the outcome. Just slamming down the cards and telling a client that something negative may happen is unhelpful and disempowering as well. Explore other possibilities and strategies with your client. Encourage them to ask questions that put the future in their hands. Remember that nothing is cut in stone – remind your client that they are always in control of their destiny.
- Not keeping healthy boundaries. Middle of the night “emergency” readings, clients showing up without an appointment, friends begging you to “just toss a couple of cards” – yes, this happens more than you’d think. Learning how to set appropriate boundaries with your customers will keep you sane and keep them from becoming dependent on you. This can be as simple as setting regular business hours or letting your phone go to voicemail. Once you have policies in place, stick to them.
- Taking on the role of a doctor, therapist or lawyer. A tarot reader is not equipped to be giving legal, medical or psychological care/advice. It’s okay to look at the general energy surrounding a situation, but it is not in your client’s best interest (nor ethical) to assume a role for which you are not licensed. Let them know that you are not able to provide that service and then refer them to the appropriate professional.
- Thinking you got it all down. No matter how long you’ve been reading tarot, you must still keep working on your skills. If you start to believe that you know tarot inside and out and don’t need to learn any more, you risk becoming complacent. Stay thirsty for knowledge. Take classes and attend conferences as often as you can. Don’t get too fond of your own tarot style – open your mind, broaden your base of knowledge and keep growing. Your clients will thank you for it and you will keep yourself from getting into a stale tarot rut.
Just remember, the more you practice, the more confidence and skill you develop. And if you do make a mistake, don’t sweat it. Brush yourself off, put those cards back in your hands and keep at it. No great reader happens overnight. Stay the course and keep on reading.
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” ~ Elbert Hubbard
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2012
What are some of the errors you made when learning tarot or starting your tarot career? Please share your stories in the comment section below: