How I work with the Tarot

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Never assume that a new client knows what to expect!

Whenever I read for somebody new, I begin with two questions. The first is ‘Have you had a reading before?’. The second is ‘What do you expect from me as a reader today?’.

I ask these questions because you can never assume that a new client ‘does’ know what to expect.

I once read for a woman who had experience of just one reading before mine. In the previous session, the reader had told her she’d be dead by 30. I am happy to tell you that when I read for the lady, she was 35.

A friend I once read for had seen a tarot reader in Camden. The woman had cocked her head to one side during the session and, in a strange and cackly voice, told her that her dead grandmother was with her in spirit. Both of my friend’s nans were alive, well, and living in North London.

These are the kind of events which lead people to become suspicious of the tarot and it’s interpreters. I like to be upfront with people before I read with them. I tell them that I will not predict death or illness and that it’s highly likely that they won’t receive a message from their deceased Aunt Flo. Some readers may provide these services, but I don’t.

A tarot reading is a pattern. There are many ways in which the cards can fall, which is why the shuffle we begin with is so important. Within the illustrations, we will find stories. Because the tarot cards contain imagery which covers the experiences in most peoples lives (births, deaths, love, disappointment, and successes), they can become uncannily familiar or accurate for some. When this happens, there is a buzz between myself and a client. This is possibly why people leave my table and say ‘there is no way that he could have known that’. Well, get this – I didn’t! I can only tell you what I see in the images. People who know little about tarot reading expect me to read their mind. I can’t.

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An empowered client makes for a successful reader

My tarot readings are based on two things – what I know about tarot and what I feel from the cards. What I know is based on my study of the tarot and it’s systems. The rest is down to the trusting of my intuition. I will explain what cards mean in their positions and then offer my intuitive reaction to combinations in a spread. From there on, the reading becomes a conversation between a querent and myself. For example, I might tell you that a woman (the Queen of Wands) is in your past, for this is the position in which she has fallen. Therefore, her presence in your reading means she is still significant. However, it is only the client who can make earthly sense of this lady and give her real form. The tarot provides as many questions as it does answers. Who is this woman? Why is she here? Can she help you? If so, how?

My job as a reader is to help. This is my main aim. If you walk away from your reading feeling better than you did when you sat down, then I am happy. It is not my job to provide false-hope though. It is my goal to help you see your life and the possibilities within it in a different way. Not everyone will recognise those situations which the tarot is mirroring. They may not be aware of those people who can help. A tarot interpreter is there to help them make sense of not just the possibilities on the table, but the potential within them self. An empowered client makes for a successful reader.

There are many times when a reading will just not make sense to a client. However, this does not make the information wrong. Many people test a reader by those things said which only they could know, but miss what could be potentially useful. In some situations, a reader will hit on something very personal, but answer me this – what point is there in being told about the things you know already? Would it not be more useful to find out about the situations and opportunities in life we are not immediately aware of?

When a reading seems so far from what is believed to be true, a client will begin to doubt both the reader and the reading process. Unfortunately, this is usually the point where the link between them is lost. I believe that when we don’t understand what the cards represent straight out, they hold the most important messages.

Quite often, those things I tell a client might not be easily understood in the present. But believe me, I have had many calls and messages from people who made sense of the messages not long after. I am not telling you this to massage my tarot-reading-ego. A lot of these people found a use in being forewarned and were therefore able to deal with difficulties head-on. If I tell you that you could be facing monetary difficulties at a time when your bank-balance looks healthy, there still might be good reason to check out the figures and keep your financial wits about you. Does everyone who’s relationship ends know that their union is in trouble before their partner pulls the plug on it? Of course not. The tarot will make suggestions and it is a person’s choice whether to act on these pointers or not. Quite often, their intuition will pick up on problems or potential, but their own bias or wishful thinking might prevent them from accurately deciphering the messages presented.

I have received negative comments online about my use of the tarot. I have had warnings about using cards by Doreen Virtue, have been told I will die a miserable and lonely death for using tarot cards, and that divination will send me to hell. For anyone with opinions similar to these, I will tell you this. My main objective is to help others. Period. Sometimes, people would do well to not worry too much about the cards, how they are used, or whether Jesus would approve, but instead think about the aim of a good reading – which is to provide options and help someone to live their life in the best possible way. I do not pull the information from angels or the Devil or through any means of deception. I find possibilities and suggestions within the energy of the person I read for during the time we spend together, locating road-blocks and opportunities within a series of ornate pictures.

I will try to help anyone who sits in front of me, but a lot of people forget that it is not I who maps out their future. It is them.

R Final

My aim is to remind you that the future is ALWAYS in your hands

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© Steven Bright Tiferet Tarot 2014

Photos from my own readings, posted with kind permission of querents

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10 thoughts on “How I work with the Tarot

    • Thank you, Erik. I think it is good to consistently evaluate how we work and for others to understand the process. Many people often have an expectation of tarot reading which is very different to how I work. It can sometimes unsettle a reading before it has even begun!

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  1. I love you calling yourself a tarot interpreter. Great explanation of the fact we’re here to help, and that a reading may provide more questions than answers. As long as those questions empower the querent to explore their life and its possibilities… 🙂

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    • Absolutely, Chloe. I think it is good when people start to ask them self questions and consider new possibilities and opportunities. I always want someone to feel ‘realistically’ empowered when they leave me. Then I have earned my money well.

      I like ‘tarot interpreter’ as well 🙂

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  2. Quote: “The woman had cocked her head to one side during the session and, in a strange and cackly voice, told her that her dead grandmother was with her in spirit. Both of my friend’s nans were alive, well, and living in North London.”

    Oh brother, apart from the lack of ethics, it is so manipulative when people have come for help. I remember buying my first deck and being afraid to touch the cards. It is this bumph, reinforced by unethical jerks, that gives cards a bad reputation.

    Fortunately, there are many ethical people with a sensible approach to offset this. Still.

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    • The lady actually left my friend waiting outside in the rain because she said the energy wasn’t right for her to come in straight away. If I hadn’t have met her, she may well have thought all readers behaved in this way. This was why I was compelled to write about this here.

      There are many great and ethical readers about but they often get overshadowed by these other kinds of people. It is ‘these kind’ of readers who make my work harder, since I have to fight and prove my worth in every single second of a reading for someone who has had a bad ‘reader’ experience, rather than being able to relax and read naturally!

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  3. The energy probably wasn’t right because the woman had not had enough time to think up a spooky scenario or dead person to try and “channel.” Ah dear, I feel bad for your friend.

    I was once offered a reading by a guy in a tarot shop, who was dressed raggedly and had a dirty, really dirty deck of the Rider-Waite. He was very agitated and kept pacing and riffling and snapping his extremely grungy, soiled cards, as he did kind of a loud, carnival sales routine. VERY off-putting, but the dirtiness and total lack of respect for his cards what the clincher. I’m very careful with my cards and keep them clean. Yuck, no way did I let him near me.

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    • I do remember, many years ago, when people were baking their tarot decks and sandpapering them to make them look old. I guess that some believe an old-looking deck shows the experience of a reader. I think in many cases, there is a difference between a well-loved set and a disrespected pack. I have some decks which have been used for years which are yellowing and rough. I don’t think it is nice for a client to touch a deck which has picked up grime over the years, so I have retired and rehired fresh copies of the RWS for readings.

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  4. I recently read for a young man who had never been to a psychic. He was so nervous! .He looked so vulnerable-how can people take advantage of this is beyond me. And to boot, the message from Spirit which came through, as I like to call it, was pretty personal. I felt so honoured by that.

    Having a method and a system is so helpful in grounding one’s self while giving a reading. I like to have everything in order, light a tea candle, and clear the space first with tsinga bells and ask the angels to come and protect the circle around us and bring assistance for accuracy and truth. I also like to have a glass of water nearby to absorb any negative energies which might be coming out during the reading. I invite the 5 elements, fire, water, air and earth.
    All this helps to ground us and also makes the client feel special and relax.
    It’s a sort of celebration of life when you get your energies read.
    I then first shuffle in the person’s name and pick an oracle card. It sets the tone of the reading. Then tarot, then scrying. I find that this system really creates a sort of march toward truth and we can examine it at various angles together.
    Like you said, the knowledge of the cards really kicked in; letting intuition glide on this knowledge like a surfer upon the waves was quite a beautiful experience and it was indeed a validation for how he had been feeling for so long via a neutral person whom he probably would not see again–well, that’s what makes this job so rewarding and magical. 🙂
    What was pretty crazy about it was that I was performing a series of readings in the basement of a family owned restaurant and the last person was he. He had actually been practically dragged in by his sisters for this reading. And Spirit’s message for him was that he really needed to get out of that restaurant and get away from the whole business because his sisters were so overbearing and bossy-he was the only boy! He was intensely miserable there. How ironic that the very people making him miserable got him this reading.. And then as I mentioned once before, suddenly three cards came together and “told” me that he had abandoned his studies and wanted to do counseling of his own and this too was accurate.
    Imagine how revealing this reading was and how, I do hope, this person has a choice to change their lives for the better or remain miserable..Indeed if done properly a good reading points the way but leaves the outcome in the hands of the querent. It’s brilliant!

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    • This is a beautiful story and a lovely description of your practice. Everything is considered within your ritual and for the benefit of the client. The woman I spoke of in this article was intent on using props and the like to inflate her importance as a reader (she charged a lot too). From what I heard from my friend, it was show over substance.

      I love this line – “a good reading points the way but leaves the outcome in the hands of the querent”

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