Reading for Others: Meeting the Unexpected with Grace

Decks used:  Sasuraibito Tarot  (Stasia Burrington),  La Corte Dei Tarocchi  (Anna Maria D'Onofrio, Il Meneghello),  Wooden Tarot  (Skullgarden) 

Decks used: Sasuraibito Tarot (Stasia Burrington), La Corte Dei Tarocchi (Anna Maria D'Onofrio, Il Meneghello), Wooden Tarot (Skullgarden) 

I totally espouse reading for oneself, especially since I primarily consider tarot as a wonderful tool to get to know yourself. Integrating tarot into your spiritual practice—whether that's yoga asana or meditation or journaling in a coffee shop every Saturday morning is wonderful. It helps you dig into the crevices of your Self that you wouldn't normally dare to on your own.

The other side of the coin is reading for others, which is a completely different ballgame. You're not using your intuition to help yourself, you're using it to help others. When I read for other people, I'm using the cards to assist them in figuring things out for themselves—showing them different options, helping them backtrack so they figure out the links between past and present, and guiding them in coming to terms with whatever's going on.

Despite the most well-meaning intentions, however, not everything always goes to plan when reading for others! It can be as comfortable as shuffling the cards for myself in bed while Netflix is going (and going… and going…), and those are the good days. But it's not always like that!

If you've ever thought of dabbling with reading for others or really plunging into this professional tarot business full force, here are a couple of scenarios I've been through that I've not exactly dealt with as gracefully as I could have (LOL) but should at least try to meet with more poise the next time around.

  1. When you misread the cards. When I read for others, I flip the cards so they face the querent so I'm basically looking at things upside down. It's happened more than once folks, I've read the IV of Cups as the VI of Cups and only realize it after we're done with the spread and are moving on to a different question. 

When this happens, I turn to what my piano teacher used to tell me before a big recital—no one knows but you. Instead of disrupting the flow of the reading, I ignore the little mishap and chalk it up to intuition. If the reading moves seamlessly, then I really believe I was meant to read it that way. If hiccups start happening from that point on, however, I think the best thing to do would be to backtrack, make the correction, and see where the reading goes next.

2. When even *you* become emotionally involved. The first time this happened to me was just two weeks ago. I'd been seeing a client regularly over the past three years and when she launched into a story of verbal abuse, I found myself tearing up and getting really invested in the situation.

I didn't try to stop myself from crying (because even if I tried, I really couldn't). I told my client that the next round of advice I was going to give her was coming from me sans the cards. I said what I needed to say and when I had calmed down and so had she, we laughed at ourselves and switched back into reading mode. "Okay, let's get back to the cards!" 

3. When your client becomes super emotional and you don't know what to do. I've gotten used to this at this point, but when I was starting out, I found it pretty challenging to deal with. Being trained in Reiki I and II helped a lot because I'm able to offer that service to them if they needed; but if there aren't any other modalities you can lean on, I would say that the best thing to do is to give your clients space and hold it for them. Offer a box of tissues or a glass of water to break an awkward silence, don't rush them right back into the reading just because you're pressed for time, allow them to breathe in silence and give their release the respect it deserves.

4. When you realize that you know the back story of a stranger you're reading for. I had the biggest shock when one client I was reading for began to tell a strangely familiar sob story… only to realize at the end of our session that the person she was talking about had gone to me for a reading just a week before. And of course they had no idea they were seeing the same tarot reader.

Obviously, this is where confidentiality and utter respect for the client/s comes in. I'm lucky the pieces of the puzzle clicked after all had been said and done, otherwise I don't know if I could have been as impartial through the reading as I was. If, from the get go, you find yourself getting involved in a sticky situation between two opposing parties, you do have the prerogative to refuse a client.

5. When you give wrong information. This happened the first time I started reading for strangers—I went on a whole spiel about the chakras only to realize when I'd gone home and had totally mixed up the sacral and the solar plexus. And I was reading for someone who was familiar with the chakras, but kept quiet the whole time (bless her soul).

In hindsight, I could have probably texted her after our reading to explain my rookie mistake—I didn't though, because as in the cards I sometimes misread, I believed that whatever I said was exactly what she needed to hear anyway. I don't know. Was that the best I could have done? Maybe, maybe not—but I no longer want to beat myself up for this because everyone makes mistakes!

Do you have your own *oops* stories when it comes tor reading for others? I'd love to hear them—feel free to share them in the comments and let's help each other out. :)