July 15, 2016

10 Ways to Infuriate a Tarot Reader


I love reading Tarot. It's a delightful hobby, I find it to be a deeply meaningful practice, and it's the best job I've ever had - I mean, how many people get paid to do what they love? Not very many. But, being a professional Tarot reader also means that I occasionally have to deal with clients who drive me crazy. I know some of my clients follow this blog and are also subscribed to my YouTube channel, so if you're reading this or watching me talk about it, please know that I'm grateful that you do business with me, but also that I want you to stop making me insane. Without further delay, I present to you my list of 10 ways to infuriate a Tarot card reader:

1st: I can't afford to pay anything right now, but if you give me a free reading I promise I'll pay for more readings later.

This is my #1 pet peeve: people who ask me to do free work (no matter how small) or who swear up and down that they're going to come back in a week and pay me for the work I did today. If you're a Tarot reader, just say "no" to free work. Don't do it. If you do free work, stop doing it. You're teaching your clients that your time isn't valuable, and they'll take and take until you've got nothing left to give, and even when you cry out that you've got nothing to give, they won't give anything back. I promise you this: free readings are the biggest mistake you'll ever make. And if you're a client who wants a Tarot reading, why in the world would you think it's okay to ask for a free service? I mean, it's not like you'd walk into your local greasy spoon restaurant and tell the waitress that you really want to order an entree but you need a free plate of French fries to make up your mind. And if you're a client shopping for a reading, what do you mean you "can't afford to pay anything right now?" I happen to know that you probably spent at least $5 on coffee, cigarettes, candy bars, soda pop, chewing gum, or even music or an app on the iStore or Google Play today. And how much did you spend yesterday? And how much are you going to spend tomorrow? So don't even pretend to be poor, because I know for a fact that's not true. What you're really saying is, "My daily indulgence of coffee, cigarettes, candy, soda, gum, or tech is more important to me than your time." So if you ever find yourself telling me that you "can't afford to pay anything," you'll understand why I'm going to laugh at you and tell you go away. 

2nd: Please just tell me whatever you see!

There are two mandatory ingredients for a good Tarot reading: desire and specificity. It's not enough for you to want a Tarot reading, because desire alone will only bring you to the Tarot table. Without a specific question which addresses the deep concern that motivated you to seek a reading, you will be sorely disappointed. Continuing the analogy of your local greasy spoon restaurant, would you tell the waitress to have the chef cook "whatever he wanted?" For all you know, the chef has a week-old can of spam that's still edible plus some floppy celery that he can't sell. Are you sure you really want to eat that meal? Or would you rather walk and tell the waitress, "I want a plate of buttermilk biscuits covered with southern-style gravy and a fresh mug of hot coffee with double sugar and double cream?" I know from years of professional experience that you won't enjoy a reading if I tell you "whatever I see." Ask a specific question, and I promise I'll cook something you like to eat.

3rd: Please just tell me what I should do.

How about, No? I'm not here to tell you what you should do. Only you can take responsibility for your life, and while I'll do my best to present options and alternatives, I refuse to absolve you of personal responsibility and enable you to make patently shitty decisions. You alone have to live with the consequences of your decisions, and for that reason only you can make your decisions. I'm also not going to tell you what you should do because I have absolutely zero interest in listening to you complain that things didn't turn out the way you hoped. No shit, stupid! They didn't turn out the way you wanted because you asked me to make decisions for you based on my limited knowledge of your life, when things would have turned out much better if you had looked at your Tarot reading as advice and then made a decision for yourself based on your knowledge of your life.

4th: Thanks for the reading, but I really wanted to ask a different question.

And how is that my fault? If you wanted to ask a different question, then you should have asked it first instead of the other frivolous question that you didn't really care about it. I'll refund your order and let you purchase another reading if you can refund my time and give me back however long I just spent with you. If you get to the end of a Tarot reading and feel that you really wished you'd asked a different question, you've only got yourself to blame. Choose your question with better care next time or don't come back at all.

5th: I know I told you his name was John, but actually her name is Jane.

One of my least favorite experiences is when I spend a few minutes talking with the client about the question so that I know the context in which I'm going to read the cards, complete the reading, and then the client says, "I know we just got done talking about my question, but I didn't tell you this one crucial piece of information that suddenly makes this entire reading worthless." If you're a Tarot reader, you know how angry this makes you. If you're a Tarot client and you've done this to your reader, shame on you. Speaking for myself, I'll say what I've always said: I'm not a psychic, I'm a Tarot reader, which means that I read the cards in context to your specific question. If you deliberately leave out some crucial piece of information that "breaks" the reading, that's not my fault: it's yours. If you get to the end of a reading and tell me, "I know I said I wanted to know about ABD, but I forgot to tell you about C," I'm going to tell you to purchase another reading because that's your fault. I mean, that's like going to a restaurant and telling the waitress you want a cheeseburger and then getting upset because it doesn't have any onions on it. No shit, stupid! Of course she forgot the onions - you didn't even ask for them! It's really hard for me to give you a complete burger if you don't even tell me what you want in it.

6th: I'm a psychic but I can't read for myself and I need you to do it for me.

Uh huh... and, tell me again why you can't read for yourself? I've heard lots of psychics say that their sanctimonious God-given powers prevent them from seeing their own future, and I've heard lots of Tarot readers say that the cards "just don't work" for them when they read for themselves, but I've got news for you: this isn't a matter of either your imaginary friends or your Tarot deck not talking to you, but a matter of you just not being a very good reader. I know from my own experience that you'll get past this self-imposed hurdle if you do two things: first, believe that you can divine your own reality, and second, practice divining your own reality. My experience reading for other readers is mostly positive, but I've got more than a handful of experiences with readers who tell me their question but then after I divine their situation swear up, down, left, right, and center that I'm completely wrong. Pardon me for saying so, but I thought you came to me because you can't see your situation and need another perspective? Because the way it looks from my side of the conversation is that you know full well what's happening because you can clearly define everything that isn't your situation. The problem isn't that you can't read for yourself, but that you refuse to see yourself. Suck it up, buttercup.

7th: I'm also a Tarot reader, and I want to know exactly which cards you pulled and what positions you used in your reading. Or, My friend is a Tarot reader and wants to know these things.

Uh huh... and how is it going to help you know what cards I pulled or what arrangement I was using? You might as well come right out and say, "I think you're full of shit and I want to test your knowledge." That's exactly what you're saying. Also, the next time you want to ask this kind of question, keep in mind that even Tarot readers who follow the same Tarot symbolism won't interpret Tarot the same way. Throw in a dose of intuition, plus the fact that Tarot is a practice that's often unique to the individual, and you've got a recipe that can't be duplicated by another reader. In other words, the answers to these questions are utterly useless. So don't ask them.

8th: How confident are you that this prediction is 100% certain?

What do I look like, an insurance agent? If you want absolute certainty, the only place where it exists is in the past. If you insist on 100% accurate predictions, then you're going to be sorely disappointed because the only way a prediction can be 100% accurate is if you embrace a world paradigm in which free agency doesn't exist and all actions are predetermined. If all actions are predetermined, then there's no reason to get a Tarot reading because nothing can be changed. If the future can't be changed, then any information I tell you is utterly worthless, and there's no reason for you to ask me to tell it to you. But if you're willing to accept that the future can be changed; that your decisions play a large role in the kind of life you live; and that nothing is certain, then I may yet be of service to you.

9th: I know I've asked this same question 15 times in the last week, but...

Yeah, I know you've asked the same question 15 times in the last week, too. And while I'm happy to get paid for the time I spend answering this question, what you don't realize is that asking a reader to revisit the same question over and over is actually really insulting. This is like you're going to a greasy spoon restaurant and ordering the same burger every week for months on end, and at the end of every meal you ask to speak with the chef and say, "The burger was good, but you didn't get it just right." Maybe for you there's some redeeming value in asking the same question 15 times, but for the reader is punishingly boring and equally insulting.

10th: Now that you've finished reading for my main question, please answer my 53 follow-up questions.

The reading is over when the reading is over. If you have one or two follow-up questions because you just didn't understand something I said, then by all means please ask and let me make myself clear. But if you get to the third follow-up question, then that's not "follow-up" anymore, that's an entirely new reading and you need to be paying for my time. Put your money on the table, or take a hint and get lost.