Monday, 1 August 2011

how to

Over the years I've picked up many different tips and tricks on Tarot technique from other readers and from the websites and magazines we favour. Some of the advice is difficult to stomach since it addresses fortune telling from the perspective of a psychic and focuses on the problem of introducing querents to 'the truth' in a responsible way. Since I'm not a psychic and I don't feel I exclusively possess the truth about a querent, I tend to come at Tarot from a different angle. These are just a few of the tips I give my thumbs up to and have passed on to others.

Go your own way. Most decks are rich in pictorial symbolism and offer countless avenues for exploration. Don't tell yourself that you need to learn the book's interpretation by heart. If anything, parroting information from a book you've learned will make the reading feel stunted or engineered. Confidence when it comes to the cards is important. Even with the underlying understanding I have of each individual card, I still accept that each card means something slightly different to each reader and that's why some readers develop a loyal client base - it's all about your style of reading appealing to certain people.

No one word is the law. Feel free to address different texts and look into different spreads and ways of reading. Mix it up and practice different techniques. Find what fits you best and don't just be ruled by the book that came with your deck or by a particular high profile Tarot writer. Question anything you feel like questioning.

Practice what you preach. A lot of readers have expressed the benefit they received from having their own cards read. I've never had my fortune told by another Tarot reader but I have looked up readings online, both secretly filmed and filmed by readers as practical demonstrations. It has been revealing and confidence-boosting to see what other readers do and to see the quality of their readings.

Tune in to unsuitable clients. I've read some horror stories from professional Tarot readers who had to deal with addicted clients. Some clients look to the Tarot as a way of making decisions and dealing with life. Some querents become so engrossed in the process of receiving readings that they come to depend on the practice in an unhealthy way. If money is changing hands it can be tempting for a reader to ignore the signs of unhealthy attachment but if you want to practice in an ethical manner it's well worth limiting very frequent users to one reading per six month period. Another kind of unsuitable client is the ego monster. Querents who use Tarot readers for flattery or empty ego boosts can be a drain. Make sure you stick to your style of reading and don't feel forced to state things that aren't actually true to what you feel or what the cards represent. If the ego monster hasn't had their sense of self stroked enough they'll soon go elsewhere and at least you've been honest with yourself. Tarot will lose all its magic if you have to start bullshitting.

Gyspy Rose Lee is dead. Don't feel that you need to 'play the part' in order to be good at Tarot reading or get a job in the field. Stay true to your own style of reading, sense of dress and spiritual beliefs. There's no need for a veil, some big earrings, a glitzy shawl or a third eye. Of course the whole Romany dress up thing is still popular and there's no harm in it but if you're planning to strike out on your own, either just for entertainment amongst your own friends or for money, the gypsy dress up route isn't the only one open to you. After all, Tarot needs to be hauled kicking and screaming into the 21st century and, as an ancient art form, it should be accorded a little more respect than it currently enjoys. One way of modernising the practice is to 'keep it real' and not feel pressured into dressing up.

Don't strike fear into the hearts of men. For real. Assist compassionately, because that's what quite a lot of Tarot reading is - assistance. You're normally in a client's life at a time when they have questions or decisions to make and they feel they want to open up their mind to various options. Be down to earth, cater to the needs of the querent in terms of the questions they've asked or the subject that needs focus and, above all, make it clear that they are ultimately the ones in charge of their own destiny. You can clear the path as a guide of sorts but they're the ones that will put one foot in front of the other.

All work and no play makes Tarot a dull boy. Explore new ways of staying fresh and interested in the craft of Tarot. Sometimes it can feel dull and as if it's become an exhausted method, especially if you're not putting it into your daily life enough or you have it in your life too much! Treat yourself to a new pack from time to time, or book a Tarot workshop or seminar. Check out different online sites, subscribe to a relevant magazine or buy a book that takes a different approach to your usual references. There are always new ways to look at the practice and keep it relevant to you. (I need to follow my own advice more on this point.)