How to deliver the “bad” readings?


I have nothing but love for my job as a professional tarot reader, but I would be lying if I said there weren’t nights where I stayed up by my altar, praying on behalf of someone I laid cards for. There have been times where a person has eagerly looked into my eyes, wondering if the love of his life would ever return, and the cards lock my jaws and fill my chest with pressure. When the glamour of self-employment and living the dream all goes away, I remember that I really do have one true job: Deliver the message.

I have been asked, “Is he cheating on me?” even by family members and close friends. “Is she still alive?” “Will my child ever forgive me?” “Will I ever get out of debt?” “Is my loved one’s addiction going to kill him?” Most readers turn away these questions, especially those that don’t “do fortune telling,” but I always give my client the option- “Are you sure you want to know?”

Honestly, if I don’t answer, the client will just ask the next reader who may not be as gentle as I am with painful news.

Sometimes, I get sunshine, rainbows, and lots of glitter. Everyone leaves my table happy. Other times, I am not so lucky. So, when it is time to deliver those heart wrenching news, what do you do?

Read the cards.
This sounds so obvious, but when that Tower and Death and Ten of Swords is glaring at you right in the face, in that order, you will most likely lock up. Instead of keeping your client in deafening suspense, begin with the first card and tell the client what you see. Then move on to the others and tie it all up. Whatever you do, don’t sit there, dumbfounded, with a deer in headlights look on your face. Also, don’t tell your client you “just can’t do it” and send them away. You will do more harm than if you just said what you saw.

Lower your voice.
A gentle notion of speaking softer, maybe a little slower, will ease the intensity of the way the message is being presented to the client.

Do not judge.
One of the things that tick me off is when I hear other tarot readers say, “Oh my gosh, if I get ONE MORE QUESTION about is he coming back… Im gonna…” It’s not our place to judge. Understand that. If our client wants to obsess, wants to cry, wants to cling, wants to deny, it is never EVER our place to make fun of them behind their backs. Furthermore, never force a client to do something that he or she does not feel comfortable or ready to do. We are not here to conform them to what we feel is “right.” It is not our shoes to wear, not our lives to live. They have given us the privilege of reading their cards, divining into their most intimate parts of their lives, and respect must always be there.

Offer options, but not hypothetical scenarios.
Honestly, when I’m in tears over a break up, I don’t want to hear about the hypothetical great man that “might” come into my life in some hypothetical time in my life in the hypothetical future. I doubt my clients do, either. Instead, have some support groups (for those suffering from addiction, violence, etc.) Ask the client what they love doing and pull some cards on some outlets they can use to ease the pain- is it the spa? Maybe getting some ice cream? Walking barefoot on the beach? Don’t leave them with hypothetical scenarios. Give some options. Pull “one last card” to tie up the reading for them, even if they are over their time limit.

Deliver the message.
This is the most important part of what we do. We deliver the message. We don’t put sugar and honey on top of it and tie it up with a nice bow. With tact, we read the cards, explain what we see, and then offer some advice, as well as options. But ultimately, you must deliver the message and answer the question that is asked. That’s why you’re being paid. It would be a disservice to lie about what we see and quite frankly, unethical.

Take the time to understand what questions you do not feel comfortable answering. I personally will never read about whether or not a child will be carried to full term and I will also not read on how/when someone will pass away (unless the person is dying of terminal illness.) If someone asks you to read on a subject that makes you uncomfortable, politely decline. “I’m sorry, that’s not something I’m comfortable doing.” Perhaps, “Sorry, that’s not my area of expertise.” There’s no shame in that.

It’s the nature of the job… and it’s a beast… but hopefully the messages that we divine through the cards can help those that seek us… maybe it will set them free.


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