After teaching Introductory and Intermediate tarot classes for several years, I was asked by the keener students to prepare and deliver an advanced program. I formatted an advanced level into twelve all-day workshops. Completion of the twelve led to Certification as Tarot Master (CTM) recognized by certifying bodies in Canada and the US.
The topics covered in these workshops were a deep dive into reading for more complex client questions such as health, relationships, and spiritual direction. Also included were the more interpersonal topics related to psychology, psychic ability, business and ethical practices.
One of the workshops that was terrific fun was preparing students to cope with challenging clients. Everyone knows what you mean when you say you have a murderous boss, impossible in-law or maddening neighbour. The details may vary slightly but the dynamic is universally understood. Who is the dreaded client to a tarot reader you might wonder? They come in a variety of complexities and for a fresh reader it’s helpful to be introduced to a few in a training setting.
The Stoic, Silent Type
These are the clients who expect the reader to do all the talking as if they are paying by the word, rather like piecework. They don’t understand the process or are unwilling to appreciate the benefit of interactivity. The more deeply we get to know each other and their situation, the more accurately they be read. For most, this is logical and obvious but for some this is mysteriously counter-intuitive. These clients I liken to being sentenced to hard labour.
The Fearful Ones
I confess to praying fervently that the cards will be ever and always positive but at the risk of sounding cliché, you read the cards you’re dealt and go with your intuition. When I determine that a client wants only assurances and validation, I say the news may not be all cheery but the guidance and suggestions the Tarot offers IS likely to be elucidating. Some clients will say they don’t want to hear any bad news. Usually while I’m eying cards like the Tower, Mourning and Poverty. A fantasy drifts across my mind, “I guess our time together is at a close. There’s really nothing more I can say.”
The Tarot triggers thoughts and feelings in people that they may never have expressed to anyone. Long explanations, reflections, ruminations and excitement burst forth. As a psychological tool, that’s one of the Tarot’s special magic. The problem for a reader is that people do expect to glean something from the readings. It can be challenging to maneuver the heavenly balance of give and take in the Tarot reading whereby both parties have sufficient time to garner what they need to produce a helpful, and informative reading. Some clients feel that their life stories shared should not be included in the reading time allotted but stopping the flow of verbiage from them can be a struggle.
A tarot reader must work on a schedule like everyone else in this world, therefore it lies with the reader to establish limits for reading and for sharing.
The Bargain Hunter
This whole issue of money for readings can represent a frightening challenge for new readers. Most clients understand that they are being charged a fee for a service. You want a plumber to fix your faucet, you want someone to sell your house or you want someone to read your cards, you pay for the service, plain and simple.
When you first begin in this crazy business you discover there are some who resent paying for a reading that hasn’t provided what they wanted to hear.
Some are bargain hunters by nature and apply this approach to a reader. They will say they can get a reading from someone else for less hoping to inspire you to be more competitive. Some simply believe that because you are performing a spiritual service it should be free. I have no idea how these people expect me to eat and remain alive to do readings for them again in the future.
Along for the Ride
Some arrive with a friend in tow who isn’t keen on having a reading at all. In fact, they aren’t keen on the whole process. They laugh, make fun of, and often complain about price, the reader’s style, and are anxious to point out how silly their friend is for being so taken in by such ridiculous practices as the Tarot. Sadly (and somewhat hilariously) this has caught more than one, unsuspecting client completely by surprise. They were misled into believing their hand-holding friend was curious, open minded and was honoured to chosen to be the note taker!
There is typically a hidden agenda present that a reader must quickly assess. For example, it might be that the guest has been giving their friend advice that they are ignoring, and they are resentful that when the reader offers the same advice in a reading the friend/client takes it more to heart.
Everyone faces challenges when they begin their journey as a professional reader. I’m better at setting boundaries, asserting my voice and listening into the silence for nuance and feeling than I was ever able to in the past. My psychic ability has increased exponentially with all the exercise its gotten and this has helped me enormously in my daily life.
I consider it a privilege to have been invited so intimately into thousands of people’s lives. To laugh (and yes, I’ve cried too) as they bravely face the suffering life inevitably plants on our doorstep. To be invited to admonish them to love themselves more and hold their hand as they stare that wall of denial into oblivion. For all its tests and difficulties, it remains among the highest of callings in my humble opinion. Out of the more than 500 students I taught across the continent in a 20-year span, only 2 that I know of are continuing to practice occasionally and part time as professional readers. It’s clearly not what most initiating students expect it to be.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of retiring my Tarot teaching practice, I edited, condensed and uploaded the Introductory and Intermediate courses to my tarotbykathleen web site. If studying the tarot is in your learning goals for 2021 or you know someone who has expressed an interest in learning more about it, visit https://www.tarotbykathleen.com/college-of-tarot/ and begin this road of discovery and transformation in this second strangest of years on earth.
Kathleen Meadows, M.A. is a practicing psychic Tarot reader in Canada and online. To read more of her articles and watch her educational videos go to http://www.tarotbykathleen.ca.