Talkin’ Tarot With is a monthly feature designed to introduce my readers to different tarot readers from our wonderfully diverse community! Each month, I’ll be asking various tarot readers 3 questions about their tarot philosophy and style, plus pointing you to their websites and blogs so that you can learn more about them! I like to hand pick tarot readers that I feel are talented and interesting.
If you asked me who the coolest chick in tarot might be, my answer would be swift ‘n easy: Liz Worth. It’s not just the rock star looks, mind you. It’s also her background: poet, journalist, and author of Treat Me Like Dirt, an oral history of Toronto’s punk rock roots. As an old skool punk rocker, that last part caught my attention. I dig anything musically-oriented so a tarot reader who writes about the punk scene? My kinda gal!
Liz grew up in a household where the mystical was typical. With a mom who hired psychics for house parties and had Ouija boards and other such things on hand (so dope!), it was only natural that Liz would be drawn to the supernatural. But it wasn’t until a visit to an astrologer in her 20’s that she began to study the tarot in earnest. That astrologer told her that she’d be “good at it.” She was right.
Since that fateful encounter, Liz has been studying tarot and astrology in depth. She’s been reading professionally for a number of years now and is the author of Going Beyond the Little While Book: A Contemporary Guide to Tarot. She teaches, lectures, writes, and offers private mentorships as well as group classes (both in-person for Toronto peeps and online for her worldwide fans). It’s not just tarot on her full plate either: Liz also leads Moon gatherings, oracle card creation classes, and teachings on how to live by the phases of the Moon.
On the front burner: a new poetry book, The Truth is Told Better This Way, coming out on October 16, 2017, published by BookThug. And for tarot fans: a follow-up to Going Beyond the Little White Book.
Check out her work. I guarantee that you’ll be a fan too.
Liz Worth thought her one and only career would be as a writer, but she started reading tarot in 2008 on the advice of an astrologer and her life has never been the same.
Today she uses tarot and astrology as tools of truth, power, and clarity. She also continues to write. She has written horoscopes for Flare Magazine and Spiral Nature, and has also contributed to Little Red Tarot, and the Numinous, among others. Her tarot book, Going Beyond the Little White Book: A Contemporary Guide to Tarot, is now available.
Check out her answers to my questions below:
Q: What is your philosophy about tarot reading?
Liz: I believe that tarot can do many things for us, depending on what we need in the moment.
Even though it’s an intuitive, esoteric tool, I find that it can be highly logical, rational, and decisive. It provides such clarity and honesty in ways that always blow my mind. The cards amaze me in how direct they can be sometimes – they really seem to say the things we are afraid to admit, or the things that our closest friends or family would be scared to tell us to our faces.
So at a very basic level, I approach tarot as a tool that helps us to see what we need to know, what we need to do, or what we need to admit to. It becomes much easier to embrace your truth once it’s laid out in front of you in plain sight.
On a spiritual level, I believe that tarot gives us access to our inner knowing. As clear-cut as its messages may be, I’ve had too many strange, magical moments with tarot that can’t be ignored. I love using tarot to create my own rituals, to better understand my own spiritual path, and to help others tap into their own sense of purpose and priority.
So many of us are affected by capitalism and structures that have us believe our only purpose is to make money, or that true callings come in the form of high-powered careers, fame, or status. And those ideas are disconnecting a lot of people from accessing their creativity and making space for things that bring them true joy and connectedness to the people and communities around them.
I think tarot is something that helps to become whole again. It can help us see that there is more to life than striving: That there are lessons and healing to go through, that patience and listening and awakening are part of our journeys.
I don’t believe that tarot is so much about future-telling, or fortune-telling, though I don’t discount those aspects of it as I know there are others who use tarot for such purposes and do it quite well.
I do think a lot of readers – myself included – end up divining to some extent, even if it’s not our main intent or raison d’être. But I always keep in mind that we live in a disempowered society. Many of us feel we have to take whatever comes our way, to settle, and conform, just in order to survive.
I don’t want to have a role in perpetuating that, so I always emphasize free will and self-awareness in my readings. I think that when we start to raise our own self-awareness through tools like tarot, we can begin to take some of our own power back.
That’s why tarot’s honesty is so valuable to me: Unlike the powers that be in our world – which can be anyone from our parents to our bosses to the media and beyond – tarot has no agenda. It really helps us find our way back to what really matters, and it teaches us to honour our own nature, rather than going against it.
Q: How do you feel a client might get the most out of a reading with you?
Liz: I am a pretty flexible tarot reader. I serve a wide client base and am very open to a variety of questions, as I believe tarot will always give you some kind of answer. Before reading tarot, I worked as a journalist, where I listened to people’s stories. Before that, I floated through life with no true aim and had all kinds of wild experiences with beautiful, wild people, and we lived a lot of life. It got messy sometimes. We found ways to survive.
So not much phases me. I don’t ever think it’s possible to really say, “I’ve heard it all,” but I’ve heard a lot. Sometimes people aren’t sure how much they should share because they are afraid of being shamed or called out about something.
I have no judgment. I think life is a non-linear experience, full of strange things. Sometimes it’s difficult. Sometimes it’s joyous. Sometimes we make huge mistakes. Sometimes we make huge messes. Sometimes we do things we know aren’t right for us, but they feel so good at that time we can’t help it.
I get it. Whatever you’ve got, bring it. I will hold space for you and work to help you the best way I can. I will read on most questions, as I find the cards always provide some kind of answer (though it may not always be the one you want, it is usually the one you need).
But I do think that everyone – no matter who they are seeing for a tarot reading – benefits from learning a bit about a tarot reader before booking with them. Because one thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes, clients have had a specific type of experience with one tarot reader and expect that all readings will measure up in the same way. And they don’t.
Every tarot reader has their own style, their own way of communicating, their own techniques, their own methods of reading cards. Some readers will answer any question, and others won’t. Some use tarot as a coaching or therapeutic tool, and others for divinatory purposes.
So people should always remember that tarot readings are not a “one-size-fits-all” kind of deal.
Another way clients will get the most out of a reading with me – and this probably goes for many other readers, too – is in being clear with me about their questions, or at least in their intentions for their reading.
I don’t know why, but sometimes people ask about one thing when they really want to know something else. For example, I had a client once ask if her kids – both adults – would be meeting any new love interests in the year ahead. But when I started to ask a few clarifying questions, it turned out they were both happily attached already, and this person admitted she just didn’t know what else to ask about and had said the first thing that came to mind.
I can easily work with open readings if a client has no question at all, but things become very confusing for me and for the client if I’m given a question that isn’t based on a relevant or real situation, or that isn’t clearly communicated to begin with. So clients should understand that their questions have a tremendous influence on the quality of their readings.
Q: What is your best piece of advice for an aspiring tarot reader?
Liz: Practice. Practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more.
Don’t rush the process when it comes time to go pro and don’t be fooled by certification programs that may lead you to believe you’ll be ready to start charging for readings as soon as you’ve got your certificate in hand. Clients don’t really care about certification. They want to know if you are any good at what you do, and most of the time, they will come to you through word of mouth. Your reputation will be everything. So take the time to develop your craft.
Tarot is really popular right now, and a lot of people are learning it. I think that’s great, and I hope it’s a trend that becomes a mainstay, rather than a passing fad.
But I’ve noticed a couple of things: First, that some people put tremendous pressure on themselves to their “thing” – their calling, their purpose, their one true career path. Tarot can certainly be a career path, but going into it with the sole intention of making money as a tarot reader can sometimes force things to happen before they are ready.
Tarot really isn’t something that can be forced or contrived. Learning tarot isn’t the same as taking a diploma program at a community college and then sticking it on your resume.
Most of the readers I know who have gone pro were learning and practicing for years – sometimes upwards of a decade – before they started their businesses. I’m part of that camp, so of course, I want to watch my own biases here. But reading for strangers is a very different experience – even when there is no money changing hands. And the things you learn about tarot once you are in front of someone are totally different from what you learn in a class, or when you are reading for people you know.
Reading tarot is also a lot more than knowing what the cards mean. It takes practice to figure out how to put them into the context of questions you might not be expecting. The real learning begins when you are putting your knowledge into practice, but you shouldn’t still be in student mode if you are putting yourself out there as a professional.
Remember, too, that every tarot reader will have their own philosophy and approach to tarot. Aspiring readers can also benefit from seeking out different instructors to learn other techniques and perspectives. Don’t take one expert’s word as the be-all-end-all, because in tarot, there is no such thing.
Second, some tarot teachers out there are encouraging their students to start charging for readings while they are still fresh to tarot. I totally believe in being compensated for our work, but I also believe in making sure you’ve done the necessary groundwork in order to charge for any expertise you are claiming to have.
New readers shouldn’t be afraid to question their teachers on this, especially if those teachers are talking about the business of tarot too soon. Remember that this may be a marketing tactic for some teachers. They see an opportunity to help you find your calling and sell it, but they could just be doing this to boost class registration, not to actually put you in the best professional light.
Tarot teachers may do a disservice to their students by encouraging them to go pro too soon, and it threatens tarot’s integrity to have people reading tarot professionally before they might be ready. Tarot already struggles to maintain respect in the mainstream world. The more aspiring readers take their time to really learn how to shine, the stronger this industry will be for everyone.
Believe in yourself.
Props to Liz for taking the time to chat with me. Get over to her world now and get ready to seize your future: Liz Worth Tarot.
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2017
picture from Liz’s personal collection