Developing a Reading Style

This entry is titled ‘Developing a Reading Style’, and is my attempt to share some of the insights that I have gleamed over the years of studying Tarot and Wicca. Some of these have come from friends and acquaintances while others from books with a heavy personal flavour to them. When I first started doing public readings I was made to be aware that not everyone would be sympathetic to my “rookie” mistakes and that I would, as my best friend Oein says, have to work in order not just to be a good reader but a great one. This rang bells for me as I certainly wanted my readings to be for the client and not for myself. I asked what would help to develop myself as a reader so that the querents would feel not only comfortable but be able to understand and gleam some sincere meanings from the reading. His first suggestion to me was that I develop a style.
Part of my personal reading style for any day or event I attend is to meditate the evening before and cleanse myself the morning of. I also bring a candle and a table cloth and once I’ve set myself up I light the candle and say an opening prayer of thanks for the Spirits in attendance for their guidance in the readings. This ritual helps me to focus on the task at hand not to remove myself from my own concerns since one of the many mistakes readers make (whether professionals with many years experience or a new reader venturing out into the world) is to project their own issues and ideals onto their client.
Post set-up the next stage is to make sure that when the client comes in they are made to feel welcome. This can be tricky as I’m a very expressive person myself but many people find hugs very familiar and slightly intrusive. It hasn’t happened to me yet but other reader friends have pointed out how some people can come along with severe traumas often of one of the three main forms of abuse; physical, emotional and sexual. This means as a reader that hugs would be very inappropriate no matter how heartfelt because it automatically tugs on a person’s strings. I do like to great people with a handshake using both hands. If the area I’m using means I’m trapped behind a desk (happens more often than can count) then a handshake is best and also gives time to properly introduce yourself and find out whether they’ve attended a Tarot Reading before. If not I strongly suggest spending the extra few minutes explaining the process as it places the client at ease.
The Reading itself has it’s own little customs or rituals involved. These change from reader to reader but my preferred method is to box the cards (usually would have done this to start with but its nice for the client to see that there is no trickery involved) and then ask them to do likewise until they feel ready to stop or are satisified that the deck is appropriately shuffled. Then double checking to see that they have selected a specific area (its fine if not) or aspect of their life. Then I separate the deck into three piles, there is a psychological aspect to this but can’t for the life of me recall the details, I think it was closest one to dominant hand is looking at aspects of life from a control perspective, middle is close relationships and matters of the heart and after that I draw a blank but will endeavour to clarify this again because knowing this in the event of a General Reading can be insightful for developing responses [1].
So far I have overly relied upon the Celtic Cross Spread because as a 23-year-old reader it can be difficult in gaining people’s trust for more specific readings and I find that the Celtic Cross Spread allows us as Reader and Client to find specific things that may be underlining and explore them after considering the more general aspects of the client’s life. I try not to be insulted by this because in all fairness at 23 how much more to life I have to learn and experience including my ever encroaching Saturn Return! Its the astrologer’s fancy way of saying approaching or turning 30. 😉
One of the key things I’ve noticed in a reading is that despite people’s previous experiences with Tarot Readers they often ask at the start or occassionally the end of a reading, “So what does all that mean for my future…?” The truth is very little. While some Tarotists can be psychic/sensitive as well I do often suggest to people that they ask the person they are booking with whether the Reader is psychic and if so in what way. Some Tarotists adopt a purely psychological approach to reading the Tarot believing that the Tarot is a beneficial tool in placing certain issues into an easier form to understand and approach a situation with a solution. Neither approach is wrong or right but simply goes to how the reader works normally and this can impact on the quality of reading you have.
I realise that the latter part of this entry speaks directly to customers of Tarot readers but baring this in mind as readers can be beneficial because there can be nothing worse than a clear and strong reading for a client and for them to have a bemused look because even though it is what they asked/needed it wasn’t necessarily what they were expecting. I often explain that if strong psychic or sensitive information comes through I will share it but that the nature of this will usually be of an emotional nature as that is the avenue I often work through as an empath. I do get clairsentient moments but as most clairsentients will tell you these are also of a “feeling” rather than “seeing” nature. I don’t want to confuse my clients either so I often just leave out clairsentient because its not one someone hears of on a daily basis, heck it’s one I’m still developing myself.
To close a reading I usually recap and give a synopsis for the client because each card has it’s own associated “question” which in the course of the reading we’d have looked at but these are difficult for me to remember let alone the client. So synopsis and then I always ask them whether they have any questions or comments and if something didn’t make sense to let me know pershaps there was something I missed because usually I either don’t know them at all or know them and might have gone an avenue that didn’t apply to them as rounded individuals that I don’t get to see all aspects to. Which brings me to my next piece of sage advice: DON’T ASSUME YOU KNOW EVERYTHING!! The reason for this is as I said you tend to close off and become trapped in the need to be right about everything.
Rachel Pollack in her book, ‘Tarot Wisdom’, suggests being aware of the trap of accuracy. This advice echoes my own experiences where I have been so eager to please and assert myself as a genuine reader that I look for details for my client. This is highly inappropriate because like I said to start with my intention had always been to be of help to my clients and cheap tricks don’t serve either of us. Not to mention they may wow a person but if the reading isn’t beneficial then eventually the novelty of paying for something wears of. It’s like seeing CATS for the 100th time!
The next stage for me as a reader to grow has been for me to develop a few more spreads, ideally for specific questions surrounding finances, relationships, career, personal development, etc. Hopefully as I do this I can continue to grow in understanding as a reader and be able to offer more to my clients.
With the growth in popularity in Oracle cards I recently drudged up my Goddess Oracle deck for a reading. I wasn’t sure until at the event why I’d brought them and sure enough as one reading went well I felt I needed to pull a card for a client to help offer some more insights for them to take home and develop. This seems to have developed a natural way for the client to recall the reading as they just have one card to note with one piece of advice. If they follow this then they will be on the process towards working their way out of whatever situation they may be facing. On this note I leave you dear reader with a note from Sige from the Goddess Oracle deck: “Take some quiet time alone to rest, meditate, and contemplate”


[1]. I recall being told that a great reader will use all the tools at

their disposal including developing their understanding of their intuition.

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