10 Questions Every Tarot Reader Must Answer
It's about time I sat down and added my take on these excellent questions from James Bulls at Left-Hand Tarot. Get ready for a long one - this is an in-depth look at my tarot background and style. I hope it's illuminating, entertaining, and helpful for those considering me as a reader. For all you tarot readers out there, I would love to hear your responses! Link in the comments below so I can take a gander.
Here we go...
1. Were you mentored, or were you self-taught?
I'm a self-taught reader through and through. When I first started exploring tarot at age 13, my studies consisted of staying up late in my bedroom with a deck and a copy of Learning the Tarot by Joan Bunning. Many decks, books, and readings later I'm still constantly expanding my knowledge base and reading style.
Maybe other readers have had a similar experience, but when I started tarot I knew I was drawn to the vivid imagery and symbolism. And the magical and occult aura certainly attracted me like a moth to a flame. (Let's be real: I was an avid fantasy reader and semi-feral outdoor explorer. Tarot was inevitable.) But I was also very influenced by the academic, highly rational background I was raised in. So of course I had to approach tarot like a true scholar: by reading and studying intensely.
Luckily, over the years, my self-study has become much more flexible and intuitive. It certainly helps to get your nose out of the books and into real, dynamic readings. I suppose in that way I feel mentored by all the lovely people I've had the joy of reading for.
2. Are you a psychic or a Tarot reader?
I identify as a Tarot reader simply because my focus is exclusively on the cards. I don't offer any other services, spiritual or otherwise. In my personal life, I practice and learn other forms of divination (how could I resist) but don't include them in my business. My first love and the way that I can be of service to the world is tarot. Just typing that makes me very, very happy.
Now all this isn't to say that I don't believe in a psychic component in some readings. This energy can certainly pop up, but it's more like a butterfly landing on your head. A beautiful gift, but something unpredictable, which is why I do not advertise my services as psychic since I can't guarantee it will show up in any given reading. I can, however, guarantee that I will read the cards with true joy and a wealth of knowledge.
3. Are your predictions accurate, and is accuracy important to you?
Aah, two of the tricksiest ideas about tarot in one question. Let's start with predictions. If you've browsed my site you'll notice that I make it very clear that I do not tell the future with my readings. It might be a little redundant, but hey, I'm enthusiastic on this point! Simply put: I do not believe that the future is set in stone. That's a rather creepy and static take on the world. What about free will? And we all know that life is a captivating and confusing tangle of events, feelings, people... I could really get philosophical here. I'm not going to tell anyone "x,y,z will happen." At most, my readings show currents and factors present in the seeker's life at the present moment. More like, "If you continue down this path, it is highly likely x,y,z could happen." Where they go from there is up to them.
As for accuracy, I don't approach my readings with the goal of being spot-on. I find that doing this limits my intuition and focuses my attention away from the cards and into a more iffy, speculative zone. It's like going to school and obsessing so much about being "right" that you clam-up and stutter your answer to the class. I like to center myself around the cards and, better yet, draw my clients in to provide their interpretations and insights. That being said, I have gotten a lot of feedback about the accuracy of the readings. I'm perfectly happy that this is a byproduct of my approach and am touched that it helps my clients and makes them feel seen. It's a very magical part of tarot - the fact that in reading someone's cards you can learn so much about them without even asking a question.
4. Is there anything you can't predict in a reading?
Why, yes, I'm glad you asked! (Though as I've mentioned I don't consider my readings truly predictive.)
I prefer not to work with yes and no questions because I feel like they are very limiting and oversimplify situations.
Tarot is a flexible tool, so while I could technically work with many topics some don't match with my code of ethics.
5. Do you use only Tarot, or are you multi-disciplinary?
I exclusively use tarot in my readings. It's my passion and area of expertise. I have yet to discover the limitations of tarot - there are so many places to go in any given reading! As for the future, who knows? If I feel like I've mastered one of the systems I practice, like pendulum work and tea leaf readings, I would feel comfotable offering it as a professional service.
6. Is the message in the cards, or in your head?
I like this one.
For me, it's a little of both. I began my studies using the Rider-Waite-Smith system and it continues to be my old faithful and my north star. So when I use that deck and others based on it you could say that the message is in the cards. For example, say I pull the five of cups. Since I've studied and used the card, I have a wealth of meanings from learning the history of the deck and from personal practice. I always like to start my reading here.
But that doesn't mean that I just tell you the meaning of the five of cups. While the structure of that deck underpins a lot of my interpretations, I also use my intuition to expand from these meanings. This is where the reading really coalesces and relates to the individual client. Using the other cards and my intuition, I'll interpret the card as it relates to your question specifically. In this way, the meaning is also in my mind.
7. Are you a priest or a fortune-teller?
Oowee! I can't say I could ever imagine introducing myself as a priest! Too many religious and hierarchical connotations there. In terms of meaning, however, I suppose I am more priest-like. I focus on the here and now, the connection between the spiritual/subconcious, and supportive guidance instead of commands. I'm not going to spread the cards out for a client and tell them about a definite future, nor am I going to hide behind a veil of esoteric mystery.
My approach is much more grounded, and I don't believe this makes it any less magical. Rather, the magic is in the experience shared between the reader and client. A good old mingling of the sacred and the mundane. And for the record, I prefer the term cartomancer 1) because it sounds amazing 2) because it describes exactly what I do - read tarot cards as a form of divination.
8. Are you a fixer or a looker?
I'm definitely more of a looker. I don't believe it is my place to tell you how to live your life. I like to respect the autonomy and wisdom of my clients. It's my job to work with their questions and share with them how it's reflected in the cards. This also helps me maintain healthy boundaries as a reader and empower my clients to make the best choices for themselves, by themselves.
That's not to say that my sessions ignore possible solutions. I believe that introspection without action leads to stagnation. I like to lay out possibilities and co-create options with clients. It's up to them which path they choose.
9. Do you read for free, or for fee?
I read for fee, for sure, with a free reading as a giveaway once in a blue moon. Reading tarot is my pride and joy. I like to honor that by charging for the work and expertise that goes into each reading.
10. Is there anything you won't predict in a reading?
Yes! The type of questions I won't read for:
Lotto numbers, questions about other people's beeswax (not my style!), medical & legal questions, locating missing items, and similar topics (i.e. when will I die? Am I pregnant? is he/she cheating on me?)
I love delving into situations and topics, so if you're looking to explore lots of layers and nuance to uncover a point of clarity, I'm the woman for you. Straight-up predictions, yes or nos, and questions for other professionals, not so much.