Reading for Strangers (It's not as hard as you think!)

by - May 20, 2014

Yes, the first reading might be a little jarring for you, but I always suggest to my students to practice, practice, practice on anyone and everyone that you can before reading for a perfect stranger.  But even then?  It's still not the easiest thing in the world.  Just as famous people can get nervous before a performance, tarot readers can as well.

So, I've come up with 10 steps you can take to make it less nerve wracking:

     1.  Bring with more than one deck so can choose from which to read from after you meet your client.  There has been many times I've thought "I will use this deck today", only to meet my client and change my mind immediately. I let their "energy" tell me which deck to use

     2.  Be prepared.  Bring everything you need.  I ALWAYS need music when I read, so I make sure the day before or hours before my reading to charge my Kindle Fire before leaving the house.  I have "Tarot" by Kevin Kendle downloaded to it so I always have it available.  If someone is coming to my house, then I have my CD player out and go through my CD's to see which one feels right.  I print out my layout worksheets (if I use them).  I have several decks ready to go.  Pens.  Extra paper.  Anything I might need, I make sure I have.  Make a "Reading List" if you have to, and laminate it with clear packing tape. That way you won't lose it and it won't get ruined, and you can refer to it any time you need.
     3.  Deep breathing.  Nervous?  This always works.  Breathe into your belly.  Put your hand on your stomach and feel it rise and fall, slowly.  

     4.  Water.  I ALWAYS have water available for myself (or for my client, too, if it's at my house).  Talking for an hour can make you feel parched and rather than asking for water and interrupting the flow of your reading, you will already have it.

     5.  Try to involve your client in small talk before starting.  Get to know them and what their issues are.  Most of the time I don't even ask a client what their "question" is anymore.  I get to know them and they will tell me things that I can tell needs to be touched on, so I just listen and see what unfolds.  Sometimes they will ask a question without prompting, but I normally tell them anymore "Let's just see what the cards say."  I feel that I know enough about them by then to just hone in on what needs to be brought forth into the light.  But online readings are different, and if it's a stranger, they will just give me some background info along with their question.  I need a question from them when it's online because I can't get enough feeling for their life in just a few sentences.  

     6.  If it's your house, calming smells always help the mood of both you and your client.  I have delicious wax tarts I burn in my burner and it fills the whole house in yummy scent.  People come over and say "Are you baking cookies?"  No, but it smells like I am!  If you are not at home but in a place you can bring something that smells a good, a candle is always a good idea.  Just be careful no cats or kids can reach it, or don't have it in a place that is easily knocked over.  Burning down someone's house is not a way to start off your tarot career :)

     7.  If you're going to the client's house and are scared to go alone (especially if you don't know them at all), bring a friend with you.  Could be your spouse or grown-up child or just a friend.  There is strength in numbers.  And safety!

     8.  Make sure the client 100% knows what your fee is before you get there or they come over.  I once was so nervous I blurted out "You can pay what you want!"  She looked at me quizzically and was very confused and then took out $20 and handed it to me.  It was horrible!  My responsibility as a reader is to NEVER, EVER make my client feel embarrassed, confused or put them in a position to do my job for me.  Because setting my prices?  Is MY job as the reader.  Not the client's.  During the whole reading I was sitting there thinking "I hope she realizes this is not a free reading...we didn't talk about it beforehand."  Now you know, never do that.  Make sure they know 100% exactly beforehand what the price is.  If they offer less, it's up to you say it's okay, but the beginning price is always your job to set.  Remember this and it will eliminate most of your fears as a reader.  Don't know what to charge?  Check out my post about The Goldilocks Number.  

     9.  Wear comfortable clothing.  I cannot stress this enough.  Being a tarot reader does not mean dressing like a stereotypical gypsy, either.  It means dressing like YOU.  Don't wear heels if you don't normally wear heels.  Don't wear tight jeans.  Leggings are comfy.  But although sweats are comfy, don't wear those either.  You want to look at least slightly professional, not like a slob who just rolled out of bed.  No, wear something that matches, and feels good on you.  If you feel constricted, you're reading will be constricted and uncomfortable.  If you're in pain, the reading will show that.  And it's YOUR job as the reader to not let your own issues interfere with their reading.

     10.  Last but not least, don't babble.  If you aren't sure of what a card means....back off.  Say "Let me come back to that, after I am done it will probably fit in somewhere."  Then come back to it later.  If you come back and can't tell what it means....throw down some clarifying cards on it.  1-3 of them, whatever you feel is right.  Speak what comes to your mind.  The client will usually join in and say "Oh wow! I totally get it now!"  Don't make excuses for not getting a card right off the bat, just move on and come back to it later.  Know it will come to you when you need it to.  Don't sit and worry about it, which will cause anxiety.  Sometimes a card isn't meant to be known to you until after you've figured out the rest of the puzzle. 

So that's it.  Those are my 10 tips to help you with your readings for strangers.  If you have any other great tips, please share them below! 

Good luck, Tarotistas!  You can do this!

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