Thursday, January 26, 2017

Tarot Thursday Three: You Can't Please Em All

Here is another round of #tarotthursdaythree, hosted by Julia at Spiral Sea Tarot. Feel free to answer these on your own blog, and let me know so I can read your responses!

Question One

What was your first time like giving an in-person reading? Where were you? How did you feel? Spill the deets!

Hmmm... the first time I ever gave an in-person reading was when I was 14, to my sister, using my mother's Medicine Cards. And I won't count that, for all of those reasons! As an adult, I started to read for strangers online before I read for them in person, and the two contexts are quite different. Reading online offers the opportunity to conduct the reading in your own personal, quiet space, to ponder the cards at your leisure, and to compose your thoughts at your own pace, without the pressure of having to perform on the spot. That said, it takes a lot of time to write a reading up; sometimes it's nice to just be able to tell someone what you see instead. Email readings don't allow for that, and also limit the ability to engage with a client. That said, email readings are what I do most!

I was terrified when I did my first email reading. That's actually when I started using reversals. I laid the cards out and was immediately struck with desire for what I felt were the critically valuable subtleties of meaning that reversed cards provide. At any rate, the feedback was very positive, and I was so relieved. I will say, however, that despite all of the positive responses I received from clients over the many months following that initial reading, it took me ages to start to overcome the fear.

I was anxious (not terrified) the first time I did a "proper" in-person reading for someone, but it was a great experience, and I left feeling exhilarated. I was sitting at the person's kitchen table in Miami, and they had just discovered that I was a card reader. They were excited, and it was entirely unplanned (which probably augmented my nerves, but also prevented a deeper sort of fear from setting in!), but it went very well. It was also the first time that I read Lenormand for others. One of the questions I was asked was if a certain individual would have to go to jail for probation violation, and if so, if it would be less than a 6-month stint in jail. Talk about pressure. I pulled the cards, and I said, yes, and yes. And that is indeed what happened. That was as educational for me as it was informational for them. I started to think that perhaps I preferred face-to-face readings because it's quite lovely to interact with a client, to discuss the cards together, etc. But in the end, I just don't have the time for it, so my mainstay continues to be email readings, which are still deeply rewarding.
Wild Unknown Tarot
Question Two

Have you ever had a negative client response to one of your readings? How did they react and why? How did you respond back?

Of course! I don't believe that many card readers who have read for broad and diverse audiences have ever entirely escaped the occasional "difficult" client response (yes, that's a euphemism). Fortunately, out of the thousands of readings I've done, I can count the negative reactions on one hand - well, two fingers, to be precise. Interestingly, they were very similar people, despite being from opposite sides of the planet. I will preface this by saying that I approach all clients respectfully and kindly, and even when the cards are "rough," I never leave a reading on a negative note. No matter what the cards say, there is always room for growth, and there are always blessings to be found (Christiana Gaudet just wrote a great post about this).

The first of these experiences occurred toward the start of my "reading for strangers" career, and it left me utterly devastated. It was also a free reading that I offered for practice. The woman had been essentially rejected by her family members, was single and lonely, and having a hard time finding work. She wanted to know if she'd find employment soon. The cards reflected her difficulties with finding a job where she could apply her skill-set, and suggested that she try to cast a wider net, to consider options that weren't necessarily in her chosen field, and to look into short-term certificate programs that might help increase her prospects. She was not happy with that, and accused me of giving her entirely worthless advice. She also said that she really wanted to know "when" a job would fall into her lap, and I hadn't answered that at all. I felt really bad, and told her that while I believed time predictions to be hard to accurately pin down, I could try to give her that. She calmed a bit, and agreed. I interpreted the card that came up to mean that she would locate work within a 3-month window of time. She came back with even more vitriol than before, and said that I had robbed her of all hope, and that she might as well just kill herself already. Yes, she did say that. And she ended with telling me never to communicate with her again. It's probably no surprise that I sobbed for hours, and felt the weight of that experience for many days to come. I knew I had not done anything wrong, and that she was in a "dark" place, but it wasn't a huge comfort. However it was a good growing experience. You can try your hardest, have the purest of intentions and the kindest disposition, and you still can't please em all (also - it's not always about you).

The second was a woman who was lonely, and similarly had been pushed away by close family members. She had asked about the future of an internet relationship she was developing with a fellow quite a number of years her junior. The cards suggested that she was carrying some pain from the past that needed to be released, and that the relationship was likely to be a bit unstable - though not without potential. The cards were mainly about self-healing, and encouraged her to find small ways to focus on exploring joy in her day-to-day life (taking a short vacation, or even a staycation, rearranging her furniture, getting a haircut, etc.) Honestly, I knew from the moment I sent the reading that it wasn't what she wanted to hear. She needed me to say that this was the man of her dreams, that her life would be saved by the relationship. She didn't want to hear about healing. I anxiously awaited her reply, which, when it finally came, was far worse than I had ever imagined. She berated me. She told me that I was a terrible reader. She accused me of being trite and even condescending. She used several choice swear words. She said she had never been more remorseful at having spent money before, and that she wished she had never ordered the reading. She said that she was too miserable to find joy. The thing is, as hard as it was to read her words, I actually "got" that. And because of my previous experience a couple of years before, I was more able to detach myself from her tirade, and be compassionate. To be too miserable to find joy. That is heartbreaking. And I could understand, in that light, how she might read my words as being trite, despite that not being my intention. I wasn't able to help her in the way that she needed. I replied and told her that I was extremely sorry that she didn't find any value in what I had offered her. I told her that contrary to what she had expressed, I was indeed very sincere in wanting to help and support her. And I offered her a refund. She became immediately calm and said, "Yes, please." I sent her money back immediately, and later I offered up some prayers for her. Her email to me was unfair and unnecessarily disrespectful, yes, but I recognized that she was truly and deeply unhappy, and I didn't take it personally.

Question Three

Have you ever been challenged by a skeptic regarding tarot? What was your experience like?

No. The closest I've come was once when I was taking an "intuitive Tarot" class and the instructor had invited in some acquaintances for us to practice with. I read for a woman's partner, and he was a total stone wall. The woman told me that he was generally pretty critical of all things divinatory (which I thought was ironic and probably not entirely true since he had volunteered to be there), but that she felt the readings were helpful for him anyway. It was a pretty powerful experience. The reading was potent and lovely, and the man never once uttered a peep! (But his lady sent me some smiles and deep nods along the way!).


  1. Damn, your experiences with negative responses indeed seem very similar to what my friend has encountered. It's so sad that it's usually troubled women who seek to receive some kind of miracle from a tarot reading. I bet these cases would end well if it was a face to face reading rather than an email one :)


    1. Right?? It is very sad, and interesting that the demographic seems very similar. You may be right - people often respond more thoughtfully in person... I suppose it's easier to lash out via the internet when you don't feel you have to demonstrate any accountability for your behavior!

    2. Sure it's easier to lash out via the internet but I also feel like it's just that people who are in a dark place tend to interpret written word as more sinister than it actually is. Can't really help it, all we can do in such situations is suggest finding professional help.

    3. Yeah, that a good point. Misinterpretations of tone in text are certainly easier when there are emotional (or psychological) imbalances going on. Sometimes facial expressions and eye contact can make a world of difference!

  2. Whoaaaa those are some intense experiences, though, really, not outside realm of possibility (obviously). I think your upset clients being in such similar life circumstances was the main reason for their complaints. And, of course, when clients do not understand tarot's scope. I'm kinda nervous for my first upset client (I've only read for volunteers so far online), but also I'm not sure I'll be able to handle it as gracefully as you! Deep breathing will be key haha.

    I really love giving (and receiving) online readings too. I express myself much better in writing in general but also I think with more comfort/practice I'll be a better in person reader as well.

    I really love reading the experiences of those of you who have been reading for so long! So, as always, thank you for sharing :)

    1. Thanks, Alaina! Yeah, those experiences (esp the first one) were great teaching moments, ultimately. Not very pleasant ones, but very effective!! I, like you, feel I express myself best in writing, which is a great asset for email readings. And I am confident that you will handle the bumps along the way with plenty of grace - you have a very good heart!