Tarot Readers ~ Public Readings: Ground Rules, & Protection

From ~ The Witch’s Desk…

I use to have a major tarot reading gig the end of each year at Ameristar Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  This lasted for seven years.  It was a crazy 6 hour marathon of non-stop readings.  People would wait in line for ridiculous amounts of time to receive a reading, and I always thought there had to be a better way of handling the crowd.  As the New Year’s evening wore on and the spirits flowed (and I’m talking about the bottled ones), the crowd became louder, more impatient, and overwhelming.  It was even worse when midnight rolled around and I was finished.  Yes, it ends– I was done at 12:00am.  I had been reading from 6pm to 12am, and there were often still people standing in line, people who had been standing in line for very long periods of time when they could have been doing something much more fun.  Understandably, these people were angry when I shut down my booth.  Considering where we were and the occasion, they could get belligerent and rude, but not always, so I still have some faith left in human nature.

The readings themselves, which were suppose to be mini-readings, so I could read for as many people as possible, often became very touchy moments when an individual thought they could settle down for a long chat, turning a mini-reading into a long tarot/therapy session.  They were often miffed when I cut it off, handing them a business card and telling them they could purchase a reading from me any time of the year, it wasn’t just a holiday thing.  Ameristar paid me hourly, so the readings it’s clientele received were “free”.  (Oh, horrors, that these individuals must actually pay me personally for my time.)

Almost always, without fail, I was sick the next day.  I don’t think it was illness of the flu-season/germ variety; I think it was caused by a dramatic depletion of my own energy, and perhaps even a hanging on of the negative energy that came from so many people, so many problems and issues, just so much energy period that wasn’t my energy.  Finally, as the 8th year rolled around, Ameristar abruptly informed me that my services would no longer be required.  I’m not sure what happened, if the business changed hands and new management wasn’t attuned to tarot reading and that sort of thing, I don’t know.  But this was the end of a long run, and my kids were thrilled when I spent a New Years evening at home with them for the first time in seven years.

I learned a lot from my years doing these readings

1.  Don’t become personally, emotionally,  and energy-wise drawn into a client’s dilemma.

It’s okay to care and to sympathize, but don’t fall into the trap of being sucked into their emotional crisis to the point where it’s going to affect you (physically, emotionally, mentally), as though it were your own crisis.  You have enough going on in your own life to deal with.  This sounds so cold, but it’s necessary, especially if you’re going to be dealing with a multitude of people and lots and lots of very negative energy and depressing circumstances and situations.

You’re there to read the cards.  You’re there to pick up messages from the universe that most people don’t know how to connect with; and you’re there to verbalize all this wonderful magickal information coming through, whether it’s a voice from the past, a glimpse of the future, or affirmation that they are at least headed in the right direction.

2.  When reading at a public venue, provide a sign up sheet, so that people don’t have to stand in line, waiting for their turn.

This is only going to work at a venue of reasonably small size, so that you can call out the next name on your list and the individual can hear you.  It wouldn’t have worked at Ameristar; the casino was too large, too chaotic, too noisy, and people would have most likely been wandering off where they wouldn’t have been able to hear me anyway.  But at shops and bookstores, this is perfect.  Your client can wander the store, browsing and shopping, while they wait their turn.  This works.  Everyone is happy.

3.  Post a sign, big and bold, with the time that you STOP giving readings.

This is going to be especially important at a venue with no sign up sheet.  I did a holiday party reading for Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Omaha one year, with long, long lines of people who became increasingly fidgety and upset as the evening wore on. Between the time allotted me for the evening, and the number of people waiting in line, I knew that I would not be able to read for everyone who wanted a reading.  I actually stayed over a half hour to 45 minutes past the time I was paid for in order to read for a few more individuals.  When the time came to stop reading, I was confronted by several angry people storming my table, demanding my business card, declaring they were going to “report” me to the individual who set up the party…I have to smile as I type this.  How do these people think I would ever be able to read for them after blasting me with so many negative emotions and nasty rude behavior.

First, hotel security should have been present during the event; and secondly, someone from the company should have been nearby to over-see things, or at least to handle their own unruly employees.

4.  If you’re reading at a hotel or other large venue, request security be present, or at least close-by, just in case you need them.

(See #3)

5.  Wear comfortable clothing, and make sure that you have something to drink with you.

You’re going to do a lot of talking.  You might do a week’s worth of talking in just a few hours.  Your mouth is going to get dry.  There have been times, during the course of these marathon reading sessions, where I have lost my voice.

6.  It’s nice to have someone come along with you to the larger events, a “go-for” person, or someone to fill your seat when you take a bathroom break.

7.  If you’re reading for several hours at a venue, do not hesitate to take a bathroom break when needed, or even pause to eat a cookie, or stretch your legs.

This is not slave labor.  No one in any other line of work would work through hours without a break or food.  The first year I read at Ameristar, for some crazy idea, I thought I should go through the whole six hours without a break!  It was a big mistake, and I paid for it dearly the next day.  And surprisingly, most people seem to be very understanding when you say, “I need five minutes.”

8.  Protect yourself, your space, and your energy magically and holistically!

On the evenings that I was doing public readings, I wore lots of moon stone and lapis and citrine.  The next day I wore lots of smokey quartz and hematite.  You want to ground and center yourself after marathon tarot reading.   Be sure to eat something.  You want to bathe with intention to cleanse your body, mind, and spirit– I like to add a pinch of sea salt laced with lavender essential oil, as well as a pinch of rosemary to my bathwater.  Smudge the tarot decks you used, the bag that you carried all your stuff in, the inside of the vehicle that you drove to and from the event.  Check your chakras, check your aura.   You get the idea.  Anything that is cleansing and grounding for YOU, do it.

I hope I haven’t scared anyone away who has thought about doing public readings.  If you follow some of this advice, you should do just fine.  It’s a learning experience.  It’s also extremely rewarding, and you just might be amazed and delighted at some of the interesting, intelligent, special people that you meet through these events.  I had people coming back to Ameristar year after year, and one of the saddest things about ending that era was not being able to reconnect with these individuals each New Year’s Eve.

Happy Tarot Reading, good luck!

Love & Blessings,

The Tarot Parlour


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