Ten years ago I designed and taught an Advanced Professional Reader
program. I formatted the advanced to be a series of twelve workshops
which followed a 6-8 week Introductory and Intermediate series of
The topics for these workshops included what you might expect; reading
for particular questions like health, relationships and spiritual
direction; topics related to psychology, psychic ability and several
more pertinent areas to an initiate advancing to professional
One of the workshops that was great fun to do was teaching students how
to cope effectively with difficult clients. Everyone’s idea about what
makes a difficult client differs slightly but there are commonalities.
Everyone knows what you mean when you say you have a tough boss, or
scary in-law or annoying neighbour. The content might vary slightly but
the dynamic is universally understood. So who is the dreaded client?
The Strong, Silent Type
These clients expect the reader to tell all. They say as little as
possible because they want you to tell them everything. They sit across
from you or on the phone without saying a single word after a
”. They don’t understand the process or
benefit of interactivity. The more deeply I get to know them and their
situation the more accurately I can read for them. For most, this is
just logical but for some this is mysteriously counter-intuitive. These
clients I liken to being sentenced to hard labour.
The Fearful Ones
I’m certainly guilty of praying fervently that the cards will be ever
and always lovely but at the risk of sounding cliché you read the cards
you’re dealt and go with your intuition. That’s what I do and that’s
the way it is. So when I sense that a client wants assurances, I say
the news may not be all cheery but the guidance and suggestions the
Tarot offers IS likely to be helpful. Some clients will just say they
don’t want to hear bad news. Usually while I’m eying cards like the
Tower, Mourning and Poverty. I have to be superwoman mindful about how
I’m going to relate this information and hypervigilant with my facial
expressions as well.
The Tarot stimulates thoughts and feelings in people that they likely
have never discussed with anyone. They burble over with long
explanations, reflections, ruminations and excitement. As a
psychological tool, that’s what makes the Tarot so powerful but the
problem for a reader is that people do expect to learn something from
the readings that they didn’t know before. It can be challenging to
effect just the right degree of give and take in the Tarot reading
whereby both parties have enough time to garner what they need to
produce a helpful, and informative reading.
A tarot reader must work on a schedule therefore it rests with the reader to establish limits for reading and for sharing.
Sometimes clients lie. They refuse to tell the truth because they want
you to “psychically” know the truth. They are testing the reader’s
intuition or they simply don’t want to tell anyone their truth out of
embarrassment or shame.
Some clients just resist every statement a reader makes because they are
in denial about what is going on in their lives. When a client claims
that I haven’t hit on anything – it’s time for interaction. What is
going on in their lives? Sometimes the timing of events is off (I might
be seeing something that isn’t in their lives yet and this happens
frequently). The oracle typically speaks a language that’s difficult to
translate into the physical mundane universe particularly when it comes
to the question of WHEN.
The Bargain Hunter
This whole issue of money for readings can represent a new level of
challenge especially for new readers. Most clients understand that they
are being charged a fee for a service and they don’t make an issue
about it. You want a plumber to fix your faucet, you want someone to
sell your house or you want someone to read your cards, you pay for the
service and that’s it, plain and simple.
When you first begin in this crazy business you discover there are some
who resent paying for a reading that hasn’t offered what they wanted to
Some are just bargain hunters by nature and apply this approach to a
reader. They will say they can get a reading from someone else for less
hoping to inspire you to be more competitive. Some simply believe that
because you are performing a spiritual service it should be free. I
have no idea how these people expect me to eat and remain alive to do
readings for them again in the future. Spiritual people don’t need to
Along for the Ride
Some arrive with a friend in tow who isn’t keen on having a reading
themselves. In fact, they think the whole process is ludicrous. They
laugh, make fun of, and often complain about price, your style, and are
anxious to point out how silly their friend is for being so taken in by
such ridiculous practices as the Tarot. Sadly (and somewhat hilariously)
this has caught more than one, unsuspecting client completely by
surprise. They were misled into believing their friend in tow was
curious, open minded and had only a desire to be the note taker!
There is typically an hidden agenda present that I’ll need to quickly
assess. For example, the guest has been giving their friend advice that
they aren’t taking, and they are resentful that when you’ve offered the
same advice in a reading the friend/client takes it more to heart.
Everyone faces these types of challenges (and more!) when they begin
their journey as a professional reader. We learn the most as we go.
This work has changed me more profoundly (for the better) than anything
I’ve ever done in my life.
I’m much better at setting boundaries, asserting my voice and listening
into the silence for nuance and feeling than I was ever able to in the
past. My psychic ability has increased exponentially with all the use
I’ve put it to and this has helped me tremendously in my own daily life.
I consider it a privilege to have been invited remarkably intimately
into so many people’s lives. To laugh (and yes I’ve cried too) as they
bravely face the suffering life inevitably plants on their doorstep, to
be there to admonish them to love themselves more and hold their hand as
they stare that wall of denial into oblivion. For all its tests and
difficulties, it remains the best job ever.Articles Published in September
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Our Forgotten Grandmother of Wisdom
- you are a gift! What has it been - 15+ years? You taught me tarot as a
tool to guide me on my own journey (and a few close family and friends)
and have ALWAYS been there for me...to help me appreciate the good
times and navigate those pesky rough patches with your wisdom, patience
and deep and honest insight. I am grateful!"
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