3 Things I've Learned as a Spiritual Professional
I got a wonderful question on my Instagram announcement about phasing out of reading tarot full-time at Incandescent Tarot:
What advice do you have for people stepping into this role?
When I think about all I’ve learned during my 3 year tenure as a professional tarot reader it’s difficult to distill it into concrete advice. My first thoughts careen through so many categories: spiritual components, business strategies, ethics and boundaries, and more. I’ll likely touch on some of these later, but for now I’d like to focus on the major lessons I’ve learned and approaches that have helped me:
Stand by your Style
Each person reads tarot, does reiki, or teaches meditation differently. When I started out I spend so much time researching the current “pro-tarot scene” that I lost sight of my unique approach. The more time I spent interacting with different readers’ business approaches and tarot philosophies the easier it was to unconsciously adopt their attitudes. This led to a lot of needless tension! Plus, it was almost comical how resoundingly successful I was when I embraced my true voice vs. how awkward and stilted things came out when I tried to be a calm, “enlightened” style reader with a soothing whisper voice. (Definitely not my natural way of being!)
I found that the more time I spent “researching” (aka comparing and drowning out my creative voice with other information) the more muddled and confused my marketing became. In a sense, I spent a lot of time running away from my authentic voice as a tarot reader and, delightfully, my voice won by a landslide.
So, to sum it up here, my advice is: Trust your abilities and work as your true self.
Lest you think my advice to be yourself includes wearing your sweatpants to appointments! Truly, being professional from the beginning has been one of my best decisions as a spiritual business owner. Well, actually, as a business owner period.
Having your ducks in a row - that means terms & conditions policies, a code of ethics, local permits, cancellation policies, ironclad boundaries, and much more - is one of the best things you can do for your business. I’ve found that having all this ready from the get-go has done so much to ensure that I’m ready for whatever happens AND that I attract clients that are a good fit and know what’s expected when they work with me.
There’s a lot of misinformation and, sadly, disrespect for spiritual businesses that can sometimes lead to difficult situations. I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid most of the sticky situations I’ve heard about, in most part because I feel I’ve set up all the infrastructure to make sure people know what they’re getting and that they’re interacting with a legit professional.
Have Beautiful, Clear Boundaries
Ah, boundaries, how I love you!
This is somewhat of an offshoot of professionalism, but one that’s particularly important in any healing modality. When doing spiritual work you’re entering into a deep and often vulnerable relationship with your clients. A lot can come up in this space, and it’s your job as a professional to hold it for whomever is choosing to work with you. It’s a huge honor to do this work, and stepping outside your boundaries as a professional is a huge breach of that trust.
Where I think this gets tricky is that often people doing this work are extremely empathetic with a strong desire to help. Having a strong sense of self - knowing the boundary between where you end and another complex, sovereign being begins - is absolutely essential. This means having a healthy detachment from your client’s emotions, problems, and reactions. They belong to them alone and it’s not your job to fix or interject with unwanted advice.
Caring for yourself and your mental health is a great way to bolster your boundaries. Have an identity and life outside of your practice! Make time to be a weird, wiggly human being so that you can bring your clearest self to your time with clients.
All sorts of ethics come up here, which is why I think it’s key for each practitioner to spend time really thinking about what they will or will not do, how they approach their sessions, and how they’ll enact their boundaries in real life. For me, this means keeping our interaction within the bounds of our session together, respecting my client’s free will, and not giving prescriptive answers or solutions to problems, no matter how much they may want them.
I’ve written so much here, but there’s still a lot left unsaid!
Let me know if you’d like to hear more about the business side of the equation and, as I continue to process and navigate my gradual shift towards a more muggle profession, I’ll keep you updated on what insights and observations arise. And, as always, thank you for following along on this journey - I’m so grateful to have you here.