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Tarot Practice – by Anne Shotter

Tarot Practice by Anne Shotter

The practicing of tarot precedes the creation of a tarot practice.  As we learn to understand the tarot and practise readings as in the Eight of Pentacles, we learn to master our skill and this for some people leads to the creation of a tarot practice.

Whether your practice is with friends and family or a professional practice conducting readings for the general public, the common denominator is always you.  You bring yourself with emotions, your feelings, your thoughts and beliefs – your personality and attitude to the world, into the consultation with you.   Some of these qualities you will be conscious of and others will sit in the subconscious or the unconscious.  As tarot consultants, working with others, we need to be as aware as possible of these aspects of ourselves.  This allows us to be as clear channels as possible to interpret what we see for a client.  There are many therapeutic modalities we can use to assist us with the development of this self-awareness.  It is also my personal belief that as tarot practitioners we also need to learn basic counselling skills to assist us in working effectively with our clients.

Each tarot practitioner is a unique human being, as are the clients for whom tarot practitioners reads the tarot.  Each practitioner learns to develop their own style of reading.  This usually come naturally, according to the personality type of the practitioner. Each practitioner may use several of these styles in combination.  They are generally attributed to the four elements, or four function types.  Each of these styles has both positive and challenging aspects for both the practitioner and the client. It is interesting to consider the type of practitioner you would choose to consult as well as the style you may develop and use yourself.  We can aim to develop positive aspects of all four.

The tarot can guide a client through major transition periods in life.
As practitioners, we can hold The Hermit’s lantern to assist the client’s passage.

The Hermit
From the Rider-Waite Tarot published by U.S. Games, Inc.


Counselling/Therapeutic Style – Based on perception and intuition, it involves using counselling techniques and developing a rapport with the client.  It looks beneath the surface of the current situation to discover the root of the problem; thereby making connections between past and present issues.  The style of reading motivates and encourages the client to take control of their own situation. practitioners often use symbolic language and metaphor.


Analytical Style – This method involves using the mind to make connections between the cards, and the practitioner has developed many techniques and memorised many meanings of the cards. This style is often predictive and clever.  It is a style of reading where conclusions are drawn and clear options for future action considered. It can involve a conversational, rather then counselling approach with the client, and practitioner often give detailed advice to the client.


Psychic/Empathetic Style – This basis of this style of reading relies not only on the cards but also on the feelings about them. The practitioner uses compassion and empathy to connect with the client. It involves consultation with spirit guides, clairvoyance, mediumship and other psychic abilities.  The practitioner is often able to go to the heart of an issue and is often able to accurately describe the characteristics of others involved in the client’s life.

It is quite magical the way
the universe seems to connect
the style of practitioner to the client.


Practical Style – The practitioner may point to each card, describe them and talk about the symbolic meaning they convey. There can be a calm, down to earth approach to issues in the client’s life and the practitioner may help the client accept that their life is the way it is, whilst at the same time seeing the trend that it is taking in the future.  The practitioner may give practical skills to deal with issues.  This style of reading also often has a fate and destiny approach to what is seen, a type of “what will be will be” message.

It is quite magical the way the universe seems to connect the style of practitioner to the client.  People seek tarot consultations for many different reasons. It has been said that people only seek intuitive sciences, such as tarot, when the rational mind has exhausted all other possibilities but in my experience the main reason seems to be for hope and reassurance.  Being a tarot practitioner is to be in a position of trust and comes with an enormous responsibility to be authentic and to work with integrity.

The tarot is beyond culture and generational interpretation and can be used as an important tool to feed and care for the soul and the inner being of a person. Hunger for soul-food is very present in our culture.  Developments in science and technology, the pace of life and lack of nurturing in life has robbed our soul of its space in our life, The inner being needs nourishment and for many the old ways of caring for the soul, such as organised religions are no longer valued and there is for many people a large and empty void.  Renaissance doctors believed that the essence of each person originates as a star in the heavens. How different is this belief from the modern view that a person is what he makes himself to be! Life for many can be a difficult journey.

The practice of tarot has changed over the centuries to meet the needs of those seeking guidance. The tarot can guide the client through major transition periods in life.  As practitioners, we can hold The Hermit’s lantern to assist the client’s passage. Clients also have grave material concerns.  often a spiritual answer cannot be given until the surface questions have been dealt with. For instance, if a client is having serious and immediate money issues and a fear that they may lose their home, that is the area that they need guidance about. the tarot is quite amazing in the way it answers the question in the way it needs to be answered.  As tarot practitioners, we need to be non-judgemental in our approach and trust that the tarot will guide the client.

If your tarot practice is not flourishing, then perhaps it is time
for some personal introspection to see what is happening
on an inner level within yourself….

Technology is a great boost to Building a Tarot Practice. There is a variety from website creation, skype, text, twitter, blogs etc. to choose from and with these techniques we can conduct a reading for clients anywhere in the world at any time of the day.  It all comes back to your preferred way of working with your clients and mediating this with their needs.  There are many types of tarot practices as there are tarot practitioners. It is also worthwhile having a referral network with practitioners of other modalities and using all your social networking, whether through personal contacts or online contacts to attract clients.  With all of these possibilities, if your tarot practice is not flourishing, then perhaps it is time for some personal introspection to see what is happening on an inner level within yourself.  We need to look after ourselves in order to care for others.

As a tarot practitioner for over thirty years, I have been privileged to work with many people and I am grateful for having accompanied them through periods of their life journey. It has been a wonderful experience to see the resilience of the human spirit and to witness the capacity people have to endure, to accept difficulties, to change and to be hopeful. I am grateful to be able to work in this way with the practice of tarot.

Anne Shotter is a Tarot Practitioner and the Founding President of the Tarot Guild of Australia.


Published in the Journal of the Tarot Guild of Australia Inc. The Magician, #39, Autumn 2012
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Magician Issue 39