Back to all news

Eight hard truths about being a tarot reader – by Theresa Reed

Eight hard truths about being a tarot reader by Theresa Reed

True story: I was reading Tarot at a ritzy party when an older, well dressed man sat down at my table, eyed my tip jar and sarcastically remarked “I’m going to get a deck of cards so I can make as much money as you”.  He dropped a dollar into the tip jar and casually tossed his business card at me.  The card said “neurologist”.  In the back of my mind, I was stunned at his incredible rudeness. But my face didn’t register one iota of reaction.  I simply got down to the business of doing my job.

It’s scenarios like this that make me laugh.  Easy work?  Not in your life.  Easy money?  Believe me, you earn every penny when you are in the tarot trenches.  Easy to learn?  You never stop learning.  Fun and glamorous?  At times…but like any job, Tarot reading has a very unpretty side to it.

Before you “get a deck of cards” and start living your full time Tarot dream, let me clue you in to a few hard truths:

  1. Not everyone will like you or your work.  There are plenty of haters out there that will find a reason to send you some bad mojo.  They may discredit the way you read or they may simply not like YOU.  You’ll get your fair share of flack just for showing up and being you.
  2. People will want you to be wrong.  Skeptics love nothing more than proving that you are “full of crap”.  They want to cast doubt on anything that seems to be too far outside their norm.  When a prediction doesn’t come true or if you can’t guess their middle name, they’ll cry fraud and feel smug.  Keep rollin, baby.  Brush your shoulders off.
  3. You will be wrong.  You won’t always get it right.  You will misinterpret.  This isn’t a big deal.  It keeps you humble.
  4. Clients will leave and never come back.  Not everyone will be dazzled by your talents.  People may like you just fine but may not need more than one tarot reading, ever.  And some will be pissed for whatever reason and take their business elsewhere.  Just keep on keepin’ on.  The ones who really value your work and resonate with your vibe will stay.  Give them lots of love.
  5. You’ll face discrimination – sometimes from your own loved ones.  My mother was so ashamed of my profession that for years she told people I “worked for a corporation”.  I’ve had “friends” diminish my work as ‘fruity’.  Even my own children were embarrassed at times because I didn’t do a “normal” job (although they secretly thought I was cool).   Let it go.  It’s OK to be an  alien even amongst your own kin.
  6. If you want to do this full time, you will have to learn some basic business skills.  Thank goodness my father forced me to take a bunch of secretarial and business classes at school.  I hated him for it because it was a slap on my artistic soul.  Little did I know that it would come in handy.  If you want to make this your life work, some business education will help make it easier. (Thanks Dad!)
  7. Some people will chastise you for making a living doing this work.  Every so often I come into someone that thinks I shouldn’t take money for reading Tarot.  These people seem to believe that making a living doing this work makes it somehow less “spiritual”.  They don’t seem to realise that a full-time reader has bills to pay, mouths to feed, and only so many hours in the day.  Your time is valuable.  It is the only thing on this earth that is finite.  Clients are paying for your time – not just the time you spend with them but the time you spend learning and developing your skill.   Remember that next time you get another request for a freebie.
  8. Your boundaries will be constantly tested.  From the no-show appointments to the “friends” who constantly request the you “toss a few cards” on demand – to the person that shows up at 10pm begging for an “emergency reading”, you have to be firm and polite – and stick to your guns.  You’ll make some people angry but you’ll keep yourself sane in the process.

These are wise truths to consider before you toss that neurology degree in the trash and pick up the cards.  You must approach this work with a thick skin and positive intent.  And although these warnings sound discouraging, know this: this work is rewarding.  Every day you have the opportunity to help people and transform their lives.  And you can’t put a price tag on that.

Theresa Reed – The Tarot Lady, using the power of the tarot to empower YOU.


Published in the Journal of the Tarot Guild of Australia Inc. The Magician, #37, Winter/Spring 2011
Want to read more?  Purchase your digital copy of this issue of The Magician in our online shop.

Magician Issue 37