Mind Your Own Beeswax
A client had a number of concerns that she wanted readings on. I was the second, no third, reader she had ever gone to. What she was about to learn was that there is a big difference between tarot readings vs. psychic readings.
A Boring Reading
After looking at her big picture personal goals more generally and some specific career advice for her, we turned to relationship. Now, one reader I know says that most of the time the answer is in the question. The majority of the time, someone doesn’t ask about their relationship or job or family unless there’s a problem.
She told me she was experiencing the “fifteen year itch” and wondered if her relationship was okay. We had saved this question for the end, so I did a quick two-card pull. She got the World and the Eight of Pentacles. First of all, these are two earthy cards — The World is Saturn, which indicates dedication, stability, and consistency. The Eight of Coins is a Virgo card, representing slow steady progress, daily routines, planning, and list-making. Certainly nothing exciting here. And par for the course for a fifteen-year marriage.
Knowing that the “answer is in the question,” I addressed the fact that the cards did not bring up love (Cups) or passion (Wands). Rather, they showed both the success and achievement of a committed relationship and the steadiness of day-to-day life together. I suggested that sometimes a solid relationship can get a little boring and predictable, two Eight of Coins keywords. I asked her if she was seriously considering leaving, in which case I would read the cards a little differently, advising that the Eight of Coins recommended that she plan her exit carefully with attention to detail. No, she said, she wasn’t considering leaving, in fact, it was a relief to hear these things about her relationship.
An Intrusive Reading
She explained that the previous week she had attended the big Body Mind Spirit celebration, an expo with hundreds of readers, healers, and vendors in one big convention center. She was with a friend, and her friend chose a particular psychic reader to sit with. My client and her friend sat down. Without so much as a by-your-leave, the reader turned to my client and told her that she needed to leave her husband immediately. My client was shocked. The reader went on to say that the husband wasn’t abusive physically, but was emotionally. My client’s friend turned to her and mouthed, I’m so sorry. They were both aghast.
So you can imagine the difference when my client came to see me, a full-time professional. Not to mention receiving the reading in a private office instead of shoulder to shoulder with dozens of other readers, clients, and lines of people waiting. How reassuring to pull such ordinary cards for her relationship. What a relief that I struggled to even see a problem.
Psychic Readings: The Reader Calls the Shots
Now, some of my best friends are psychic readers (wink), and I respect them and their professionalism. But one thing that happens frequently, too frequently, with psychics that doesn’t happen with tarot readers is the unasked for reading. Psychics are trained to pay attention to and relay every “hit” they get. In fact, this is one of the training techniques that they are told helps them trust and develop their gift. The result is the unwanted psychic reading.
I have heard story after story, both from the psychics themselves as well as from ordinary people, of psychics blurting out unwanted, unsolicited readings. In the stories I’ve heard, the psychics always believe that they are doing a service to the recipients. The recipients, on the other hand, relate to me that they are appalled by the lack of boundaries and ethics demonstrated by these readers.
As a tarot reader, I am frequently mistaken for a psychic. Yes, we all, every one of us, have gifts, you included. But the training we receive to use, develop, and access these gifts varies drastically from one professional to another. People in conversation with me will say, “What are you getting?” I explain to them that I’m not getting anything. I don’t do readings unless the cards are out. Psychics don’t use tools and as an unfortunate result, many of them can’t distinguish between a reading, a conversation, or a random encounter with a stranger. When comparing tarot readings vs. psychic readings, you’ll find that a tarot reading is always performed at the request of the client.
Tarot Readings vs. Psychic Readings
But even for a professional psychic who knows better than to share information unless the money is on the table, indicating that the recipient has entered into an agreement to receive a reading, there is still a difference between tarot readings vs. psychic readings. Professional tarot readers help their clients develop appropriate questions for the tarot. Psychic readers are not taught that skill. A typical psychic reading starts with the reader “just seeing what they get” — in essence, prying around in the client’s mind to see what’s closest to the top.
A tarot reader doesn’t do this. A tarot reader works with the client to develop an appropriate question. The reader shuffles the deck, and frequently has the client shuffle and/or cut the deck, or select cards from a fanned out deck. With most tarot readers, the client selects the cards. (I have a unique way to ensure this happens even for phone and webcam readings so that the client is thoroughly involved into the process of selecting the cards.) This makes the reading a two-way street. Both client and reader are putting their energy and intention into the experience.
Tarot Readings: You Call the Shots
The result is that every tarot reading is asked for and actively sought by the client. I read for a women’s group once when one woman didn’t want a reading. I said that was fine, but her friends were encouraging her to get one. She explained that previously she had a reading that was scarily accurate. Unfortunately, the reading contained mostly negative information about her daughter. The woman said that she would get a reading as long as it was strictly about her career and nothing else. Perfect! That’s how I work. We developed the question together and had a good reading.
Tarot readers don’t pull out their deck in the middle of the grocery store or bank or public thoroughfare and start reading random passers-by. And when two women sit at a reader’s table, only the one asking for the reading gets the reading. A reading that is accurate, desired, and mutually engaged by both reader and querent.
If you are a tarot reader who is also psychic, you might find some useful tips in my post Managing Psychic Impressions. If you like getting tarot readings and want to have the best possible experience, check out my posts on Ten Steps that Will Guarantee a Great Tarot Reading, Part 1 and Part 2.
Joy Vernon is widely recognized by tarot professionals as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup has grown into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher at Isis Books. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.