I was reminded in the previous post of people who ask what they need to do to become a professional tarot reader. After you feel comfortable reading for self, friends, and friends-of-friends, here’s my number one suggestion for when you want to make the transition.
Your Rite of Passage
The ideal “rite of passage” is to volunteer for a full day (or better yet, a weekend) at a charity or benefit event and donate everything to the cause. If you keep the price reasonable ($5-20 or sliding scale depending on the length of reading and the venue) then your schedule should be filled. The point is to read non-stop (except for necessary breaks), even to the point of exhaustion (drink plenty of water!). There’s a point beyond which a part of you doesn’t care what you say anymore, and you totally let go. You’ll be surprised at what happens then and how accurate you become when you finally bypass your critic. I can’t even begin to list the number of things you will learn from such an experience, but here are a few:
- Letting go of the critic and trusting the process.
- Explaining what you do and/or don’t do in one short, concrete statement.
- Guiding people efficiently through the question, shuffling, etc.
- Learning to listen as well as speak.
- Realizing you can’t “fix” someone & letting go of the need to do so.
- Releasing the need to be “right.”
- Getting your timing down (how many cards for the time allotted).
- Learning how to end a reading (especially with a clingy or argumentative client).
- Discovering the things you’ll need in a “reading kit.”
- Arranging breaks, keeping hydrated, eating, etc.
A few basic accoutrements for reading at fairs and events:
- One or more tarot decks, appropriate to the clientele and occasion.
- A spread cloth. (Busy designs can interfere with the card images.)
- Business cards & promotional handouts.
- Water! Plus an emergency snack—in case you can’t get away for a meal.
- Clothing to put you and others in the mood, and in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes.
- Knowledge of local laws! If necessary have the organization collect the donation and give the person a token for a free reading.
- Watch, clock or timer.
- If outdoors, healing stones to keep the cards from blowing away (plus nice to have for the energy).
- Flowers, statue, other decorations. Don’t overdo it.
- Reading sign-up sheet on clipboard & pen.
- Mailing list (if appropriate).
- Cushion for folding chairs. This extra bit of comfort helps.
And, if you continue to do fairs:
- A professional looking sign. This probably will not be necessary for your first charity event.
- Code of Ethics written by you and to which you adhere. (Google for examples.)
- Optional: Tent.
- Optional: Tackle box with pens, permanent marker, index cards (for mini-signs), tape, tacks, clips, extension cord, etc.
- Optional: A Recording device. It’s ideal if the client doesn’t have to write stuff down. Here’s a post on great ideas for recording in person & online.
After doing this myself and making this suggestion to others for more than 30 years, as well as doing mini-events like this with my students, I’ve gotten tons of feedback from people who said it was the best thing they ever did to catapult them into the beginnings of professional confidence and expertise. Please, anyone who wants to add to these lists (and I know there’s more to say), do so in the comments.