I’ve been a full-time tarot professional for more than twenty years. In fact, I literally wrote the book on professional tarot reading (Fortune Stellar is currently OOP, look for a second edition in 2017.)
One of my favorite job responsibilities is mentoring new and aspiring tarot professionals. Why, then, would I write about reasons a person wouldn’t want to make tarot their primary job?
There are a lot of business mentors available to coach you, inspire you, teach you and hold you accountable. Unfortunately, it is in their best financial interest to encourage everyone, regardless of temperament and talent.
I always cringe when I see business mentors online encouraging would-be pros to hang their shingles, when it is evident to me from the students’ posts that they are clearly not ready, or not suited, for the challenges of full-time reading.
I take a different approach. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time and money, and I don’t want to clutter the field with a bunch of disappointed and mediocre pro readers.
That said, I want to be clear that I do believe tarot is for everyone. We can all benefit from its wisdom and inspiration. Tarot informs our growth and helps us form special bonds with one another.
There is a difference, though, between being a tarot enthusiast, readings professionally part-time, and being a full-time tarot professional. I mentor all tarot lovers, but challenges are very different depending on the goals.
If you think you would like to make tarot your full-time job, or if you want to make sure pro reading is truly your path, please think long and hard on the following reasons you might decide to do something else.
1. Bias Against Tarot Readers is Real, and Legal.
It is perfectly legal for towns to charge you exorbitant fees that are higher than other businesses pay for the right to do business. It is also legal for merchant payment platforms to refuse to service you, or to charge extra fees.
Amongst family, friends and community, there will always be people who assume you are a huckster, a criminal, or simply delusional.
2. “Witch Wars” are Real, Too.
You haven’t lived until you’ve had a competitor spread vile untrue rumors about you, pretend to be you in order to steal your gigs, pirate your publications, or make public claims about doing magick against you.
The sad part is very often these pathetic haters used to be your friends.
3. Many of Your Hardest Hours Are Non-Billable.
Tarot readings aren’t cheap, so you might think we tarot readers make a bunch of easy money. Nothing could be further from the truth. For every paid hour, there are countless hours spent marketing, volunteering, writing, accounting, networking, traveling and creating.
4. Money and Recognition Sometimes Go to the Unscrupulous and Inexperienced.
Who’s making big money in tarot? It’s not your neighborhood tarot reader. Typically, big money goes to the neon storefront psychics who bilk their clients by using scare tactics to offer magical cures for imagined problems, and to the corporations that run pay-by-the-minute on-line and phone psychic services.
In the field of tarot publication, sometimes the best-selling and most recognized books are written by the people who have time to write books – meaning that many tarot authors aren’t writing from a place of operational experience, because they themselves aren’t actually reading full-time.
5. We Work When Others Play.
I’ve attended more fireworks displays than the average person, but I have actually seen fewer fireworks. That’s because I’m usually under my EZup doing reading during the show.
Likewise, I’ve often worked Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. My husband’s screen name is “Tarot Widower”. That pretty much says it all.
Are you scared yet?
If you love reading tarot but find these possible constraints a bit daunting, please remember that a career in tarot can be very flexible. Many of these problems can be avoided simply by choosing to read tarot as a part time job, or a side job, rather than as your only source of income.
It might be, too, that you are a tarot hobbyist rather that a tarot pro. Don’t let that discourage you – tarot is a field where hobbyists are skilled and respected. Sometimes hobbyists write blogs and books that truly contribute to the field.
On the other hand, if you, like me, feel a little jittery when you don’t have a deck in your hands, if you love reading for people more than you fear hard work and ridicule, and if you can’t imagine doing anything other than working with tarot, you might find that full-time tarot is your calling!