The do’s and don’ts when a tarot client wants to talk about a serious illness

If you are a Tarot card reader (or any professional intuitive for that matter), at some point, you might find yourself working with a client who wants to talk about a serious illness.

Whether they are dealing with the illness themselves or asking about a loved one, this is a subject that must be handled with great sensitivity and TLC (tarot loving care).

Here are some do’s and don’ts that may guide you towards creating a meaningful and helpful tarot experience for your client:

DON’T play doctor.  That means no trying to diagnose nor prescribe treatment.  You must never, ever take that role, even if the client is seeking that from you.  Set the tone immediately by letting them know that you are not a licensed physician and ethically you cannot diagnose, prescribe, or treat their situation.

DON’T speak in absolutes. (“You’re definitely going to die.” “You’re totally going to live.”)   Here’s something you may not want to hear: you could be wrong either way.  You do not want to give false hope nor add fear to an already emotionally tender situation. The best path is to encourage them to continue with their current line of treatment, no matter whether the cards are overwhelmingly positive or negative.

DON’T be pitying or let your own fears about death / illness get in the way of delivering a good reading. If you have anxiety about death or illness, that can lead to projection, which will taint the reading.  A present, objective reader is what the client needs.  Keep your own feelings neutral.  If you cannot do that, you may be best off refraining from the reading.

DON’T bring your own story into the mix. (“My cousin Sadie had breast cancer, but now she’s fine! You will be too!”) It’s tempting to want to share “your story” and while that may offer some insights, it also takes the energy away from your client’s situation. Keep the focus on your client and your client’s questions — not your family history.

DON’T bring your religious beliefs into it – or restrict them from talking about theirs.  Some clients may wish to discuss things such as the afterlife or their relationship to God, spirit, Buddha, goddesses, or angels.  Or they may well be an atheist who doesn’t believe in any of that. Whatever the case, their beliefs should be treated with the utmost respect.

DON’T be squeamish if a terminally ill client wants to talk about how their death might impact their loved ones.  I’ve had terminal clients come to my office specifically to make sure “everyone would be okay” after they were gone. Those readings helped the client to feel peaceful and “ready to go”. These were some of the most meaningful readings I have ever done in my entire career.  Be present and try to understand that these types of questions might help them to feel at ease and better able to focus on the journey ahead.

DO create a safe space where the client can express their feelings freely.  Your tarot office should be a sacred container where the client can share their fears and emotions openly.  Be compassionate and allow them to vent, cry, or unload their frustrations without judgment.

DO allow your client to touch your hand during the reading or hug you if they need it. I have found that a simple hand on the shoulder can be helpful, especially if the mood gets emotional. (Believe it or not, some of my clients request that my cats sit in on their reading. A pet on the lap can be soothing when discussing fearful subjects.)

DO encourage your client to steer away from “Yes / No” questions or medical questions. (Like: “Is chemo the right choice?”)  You do not want to be in the position where you are making decisions for them.  Their situation and treatment must be in their hands and their physician’s, not yours.

DO encourage your client to ask expansive questions that point to a particular theme, path, or life lesson. (Like: “How can I use this difficult experience to heal old wounds with my family?” Or: “What should I be focusing on right now, to stay as positive as possible?”)  This can take the reading from good to deep and purposeful.

DO something to “clear your energy” after the reading so that you’re not carrying around any sadness, anger or fear that could potentially impact your ability to serve your next round of clients.  My favorite methods:

I’d like to finish with this post with a quote from Soren Kierkegaard: “Don’t forget to love yourself.”

Because when you love yourself, you are better able to show up as a loving + compassionate tarot guide for any difficult journey your clients may face.



© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2015

image from stock photography

special thanks to Alexandra Franzen

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