How to Become a Professional Tarot Reader – Advice From The Pros
I began my first experiences with Tarot in the professional field. My mentor owned a shop. Once she felt I knew the cards and had tapped into my intuition, she had me reading for clients who came in for tea. Turning the cards over on a small, lace covered table in the back room, I read for clients who were pregnant, getting a divorce, starting a business, or dreaming of leaving the country in between serving tea and coffee. Later I learned I could make money reading Tarot at renaissance fairs and local festivals. This is how I spent several summers. I paid off a few debts and bought a new computer.
The image of a fortune teller dressed like Disney’s Esmerelda, laying out cards depicting death and love, predicting the future through an incense haze is often a picture that springs to mind when the words ‘Tarot reader’ are spoken. Today, however, Tarot readers range from stay at home mothers to corporate types. A tarot card table can be set up in so many different locations… a living room, a tent space at a local festival, and a mini-mall store front. Using the Tarot is also a diverse matter; some readers predict possible outcomes, while others use the cards as a therapeutic tool in psychology. Tarot is a varied profession; it is therefore accessible to many.
Over the years, when I’ve told friends and acquaintances of my Tarot reading, they’ve had a number of questions about the cards and how to make money doing something so unconventional. I wasn’t sure I was the best person to explain the profession, as I don’t do it full-time. There are, in fact, many people who read the cards as their main or only source of income. I turned to the pros like Shevanee Cardoza, Brigit Esselmont, and Theresa Reed for answers.
Do you need Qualifications or Certifications to be a professional Tarot reader?
Certification is a tricky subject within the Tarot community. There aren’t any governing bodies to certify all tarot members. Instead there are several schools that offer courses ranging from Tarot basics to business courses with certifications offered. Some professional readers obtain certification to help instill trust in their clients. Others feel certification is just a piece of paper with no real power of authority, and offers no proof that the certified person ‘has what it takes’ to read Tarot.
Brigit of Biddy Tarot offers Tarot certification through her site. When explaining the certification process, she acknowledges that certification is not necessary or mandatory for someone to become a good Tarot reader. “Many people choose Tarot certification because they want confirmation that they have the skills required to deliver a Tarot reading and they actually know what they’re doing,” says Biddy. “They want to be a part of a full Tarot training and certification program so that they know they’ve covered all bases, and don’t have to spend countless days, even months, searching for free Tarot classes online without getting the full picture. And they want the increased credibility that comes with certification, especially if they go on to become professional Tarot readers.”
Shevanee, a Tarot reader and healer in Jamaica, has a unique and beneficial perspective on certifications and courses. She explains, “anyone who is in touch intuitively can learn Tarot themselves. What needs training is how to handle people.” She suggests that if someone seeks certification, they should do so in a course that teaches a form of counselling.
The Tarot Lady, Theresa, has written about certification several times on her website. She includes quotes from other prominent readers who discuss the concept of certification at length, especially when some Tarot experts suggest mandatory certification to clear the community of ‘fake readers’. She brings up discussion of class separation regarding certification limiting marginalized readers, causing issues when certification boards or programs collapse. In the end, Theresa suggests, “let your own wise self and the wonderful people who sit at your Tarot table be your authority, no one else.”
In the end it comes down to this: certification is not necessary for you to become an excellent Tarot reader. It’s up to each person to decide if seeking courses or certification would help them on their journey.
In Many Ways, Reading Tarot is Like Any Other Job
Despite all the woo-woo of reading Tarot, it’s like any other job. This needs to be kept in mind when a reader faces people who expect readings for free. This comes up a lot for readers, and the best advice experts have is to remember that what you do is worthy of being paid; why else would people want it?
Like any other job, there are technical aspects. You will need to decide how you want to offer your service (online or off), you’ll have to pay your taxes, and you’ll need some basic business know-how. Tarot, like any entrepreneurial field, is not a get-rich-quick scheme with overnight success.
When I asked Shevanee about what Tarot looks like as a business for her, she explained that she agrees that it’s a lot like any other service. Other than relying on word of mouth, she does a lot of article writing and workshops. This not only gets the word out about her services, but also rounds out her income. When I asked what business advice she had for aspiring Tarot readers, she suggested looking into getting a business coach or other business training. “It’s not necessary to get a MBA but business skills are important.”
Set your boundaries.
Like other service businesses, it’s important to have set boundaries. Tarot readers need to be confident in knowing when, where, how, and who they will read for.
- Are they comfortable reading in public?
- Will they read for someone who is intoxicated?
- Will they read for people asking “taboo” questions about death, illness, pregnancy, or legal matters?
These are questions readers might be faced with in their career. Without having considered any boundaries they want to set, they might face difficult situations where they are made uncomfortable or even risk their safety. Having read at major events, I’ve been in many of these situations myself and from them I’ve learned the importance of boundaries.
Editorial thanks go to:
- Shevanee Cardoza – http://coachshevanee.godaddysites.com/
- The Tarot Lady – http://www.thetarotlady.com
- Biddy Tarot – http://biddytarot.com
And special thanks to December of Stop Bitchin, Start Witchin for sharing her experience here.
Keep it open, keep it real, keep it going.
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Tagged in: Tarot