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Reading for Others

So you've had your tarot deck for a while, love doing readings for yourself, have found you really are on target with your readings, and are pumped about trying out your new abilities on others. Before you go any further, ask yourself if you're really ready for this.

Reading for others means taking on a major responsibility. Most people who will come to you for readings will be in a place of some confusion. They are looking for answers because they're having a hard time making sense of things themselves. They need clarity. Whether they are looking for answers regarding a relationship, career change, new home, illness, or spiritual concern, their question is significant to them, and they strongly feel a need for help. It will be your job to offer real guidance to them, based not only on the messages of the cards, but on your own intuition, life wisdom, and personal perception. The cards will provide the framework, it will be the map, so to speak, but it will be you who will explain this map to them, and it will be you who will truly be helping to show them the way. Compassion is required, as is a non-judgmental approach. All sorts of personal problems will be presented to you, and as a reader you will need to see each client and each problem equally.

There are three essential points I want to bring up in this article. These are: sincere motives, sound ability, and self-confidence or trust. These three points are essential in reading for others, and should be taken into consideration before you set out to do readings, in anything more than an "entertainment" capacity.

It is important (and should be obvious) that you wish to help others through the tarot. Your motives mean a lot. It may be your life path to help others, and tarot may be the device you use to do so. You may realize that you have a natural talent for counseling, or simply have a strong urge to heal others. Don't take it lightly - the tarot is often fun, and for many clients it simply offers a little bit of extra advice, but it is important that you take it seriously, and genuinely care about each person you read for. I don't believe it is a good idea to become a tarot reader just as a way to make money. I do believe in being paid as a reader (which I will go into in a later article), but don't do it for the money. It is disrespectful to the people you are reading for, and ultimately it is disrespectful to yourself. Another important point about motive - be sure you are not reading for others as a way to boost your own "spiritual ego." I have known quite a few people who take up the intuitive arts simply to make themselves feel bigger. Doing readings for others is about helping others, not having some sort of power over them, or knowledge they don't have. You should wish to help others see more clearly. Don't make it an ego trip.

When I say "sound ability" I simply mean being good at reading the tarot. This means more than being able to name every card in your deck, or recite a basic list of interpretations. It means having an understanding of the cards that goes beyond basic interpretation - you understand a variety of interpretations for each card, and can see their flexibility, and how they work together. You can look at a layout of cards and see patterns. You see cards' meanings change based on where they fall in a spread, and which cards they fall next to. You aren't afraid of reversed cards, and don't read reversed cards as strictly opposite their upright meanings. You know a variety of spreads and are familiar with using them for a variety of questions. Essentially what I am saying is, your ability to read should be whole.

Self-confidence and trust are important too. If you are not confident, and are constantly doubting yourself (or the cards, or divination in general), then you are more likely going to do a poor job reading for someone. Your ability to see clearly will be affected, and you will miss elements in each reading. Your perception may be off. Have trust in what you are doing. Being a little nervous at first is fine! But relax, know that what you are doing is good, helpful, and right. Also, it is important that your clients know you are confident with what you are doing for them. Who would want to go to a doctor who was nervous about what he/she was doing? My father once had a cardiologist who scared me - really. He fidgeted constantly, never looked anyone in the eye, was always glancing around the room, and always tapping his fingers or his foot. He did not inspire confidence, and so, we didn't think he knew what he was talking about. Isn't it the same with anything - car mechanic, teacher, etc?

These three points are simply what I see as ultimately important when reading for others. Of course I also think it is important to be intuitive when you read, listening to your own intuitive guidance; it is important to present things clearly for your clients, don't intimidate them with jargon they will not understand, and if you are doing written reports, it is important to make sense, be neat, and spell correctly! Overall though, it is crucial that you care about those you are reading for, be sure you know what you are doing first, and have trust in the art of divination. These three indicators will show whether or not you are ready to read for others.

Illumination Tarot has been publishing articles, reviews, tarot spreads, and personal reflections for tarot enthusiasts and followers of alternative spirituality online since 1999.
All writing, reviews, and photography © N Levine - Illumination Tarot, unless otherwise noted. 1999-2021