If you are a tarot reader, either hobbyist or professional, you surely know the exhilarating feeling of the reading that flows like a well-crafted story and cuts to the truth like a knife through butter.
You also probably know the drudgery of slogging through a reading that feels as inspiring as white rice.
When we readers contemplate the factors that create those epic readings, versus the readings we yawn through, we often credit (or blame) the client, or the deck, for the energy of the reading.
It’s true that some clients are easier reads than others. It’s also true that each reader tends to connect with certain decks more than others. However, I think it is safe to say that the responsibility for the energy of a reading lies not with the client nor with the cards, but solely with the reader.
The questions are, how can we control the energy of each and every reading? What can we do to make sure that each reading is not only accurate, but also inspirational? How can we stay engaged and interested in each person’s story?
These questions are particularly important to professional readers who perform multiple readings a day, psychic entertainers who work the cattle call at corporate events, and tarot aficionados who want to make sure they can read for all of their friends at the kiki. The truth is, although each tarot reading is as individual as a snowflake, each tarot reading is drawn from the same seventy-eight cards. And, although each tarot client is a unique individual, the commonality of human experience and the predictability of human psychology can cause us to feel that we are giving the same tired reading over and over again.
Professional readers who work with groups often receive that terrible review. “She said the same things to all of us.” Or, “We all got the same reading!” Typically, when I hear this complaint about colleagues, I recognize that the group of complainers really do have a lot in common, and those commonalities would be the logical talking points in each reading.
Nonetheless, a great reader must be able to reveal the truly unique aspects of each person for whom they read, even if their clients are a family of identical triplets.
Have you given readings that felt a little stale? Here are five things you can do to make sure each reading you perform feels fresh.
1. Use key words and memorized card meanings as a jumping-off point for your interpretations.
Key words and classic meanings can INFORM a reading, but cannot BE the reading. Use intuition and context to speak to the client’s individual situation rather than making a blanket statement based solely on what you have memorized about the cards that appear.
We all develop particular ways of understanding each card. We may have pet names for specific cards, or archetypes that resonate for us. It’s important to keep our personal relationships with the cards personal. Our internal understandings of the cards may be helpful fort teaching tarot students, and in our own contemplation. But, if we fall into the trap of always saying the same thing every time we see a particular card, we are no better than a tarot app, offering the same flat reading every time a card is revealed!
2. Be aware of your energy, and consciously control the energy at the table.
A tarot reader must be an energy worker. Don’t just flip cards and interpret! Make sure you conduct your readings in sacred space, and that you are constantly aware of the flow of energy in the room. Use your breath and your focus to keep the energy moving. This will ensure that the reading is a spiritual and enlightening experience.
3. Read books, watch movies and have conversations.
Tarot reading is a communication skill. The more you expose yourself to new vocabulary and new communication styles, the more you will naturally incorporate new words and phrases into your readings, avoiding the rut of saying the same things over and over.
4. Don’t rely solely on questions from the client; ask questions of the cards that will take the reading as far as it can go.
Your client may not have questions that will lead to an interesting reading or may not know what questions will be most helpful to ask. Let the cards that appear create curiosity in you that leads you to ask expansive and meaningful questions. Be willing to rephrase your clients’ questions, or to break a single question into multiple questions.
5. Use the right spread and/or reading technique for the right situation.
Tarot spreads and reading techniques are not one-size-fits-all. A past-present-future three-card spread may not give enough information to answer a complex problem, while a Celtic Cross may be too broad to give specifics.
Changing up your spreads and techniques will keep you on your toes and keep your style fresh, while giving you the best opportunity to give each client the most information, and the best experience possible.
A great tarot reading needs to be a lot of things. It needs to be accurate, entertaining, insightful and enlightening. It’s often a plus if there is some humor involved. Maybe most importantly, each reading needs to be tailored to the needs, truth and energy of each client. When we make this our priority, we are open to the authentic mystical divination process. And, we are able to effectively communicate the information we receive in a way that this relatable, interesting, and not a bit boring!