You Do What? Alternate Job Descriptions for Tarot Readers

By Jeanne Fiorini
What exactly does a Tarot reader do?  What is the job description?  How does one define the profession of being a Tarot reader?

Back in 2005, while reading cards for the celebrants at the South Portland High School's Project Graduation, an 18-year old student asked me if I, as someone he perceived to be a psychic, knew in advance what was going to happen to me.  I understand the difficulty in understanding something that you (think you) haven't experienced, but the question reminded me how alien the idea of reading Tarot cards is to some people. 

No, I'm not a mind reader.  No, I can't tell you your fortune (whatever that means).  No, I'm not here to tell you what you should do or what is your fate to accomplish.  Doing a reading is not even about being right anymore.  

The longer I work with people and the Tarot, the more I understand it to be about having whatever conversation allows a client to make their own best choices.  

It is an honest pleasure to help people discover (and then create) what makes for them a happy life.  Often through a reading comes the reminder that we all have intrinsic value, and that our feelings and emotions actually count for something.  We do know what we're doing, even when we feel very lost.  We can trust ourselves: what a concept! 

Oftentimes it becomes my job to reinforce these ideas, and to be the voice of support and encouragement.  In these cases, my "TWUID" (Tarot Workers Union ID) badge would say, "Jeanne Fiorini, Professional Believer in People."  (Also known as a ProBIP.)

Sometimes it requires regular meetings with clients, as their stories unfold, to help maneuver the twists and turns of fledgling authenticity.  The continued voice of encouragement helps people stay on task, be true to themselves, focused, and on guard against the negative influences of naysayers.  Here the Tarot reader moves into a Level II category of Personal Pep Squad (PersPepS), sans pompoms of course.  Holding the light for someone until they can carry it for themselves is truly an honor, and perfect for someone who always wanted to be a cheerleader.

I've learned a lot about life through the study of Tarot.  It has changed my life in profound ways, not the least of which has been learning to think and behave like an optimist.  It is not my nature to be an optimist; I'm basically a “glass is half empty” kind of girl.  But it has become a matter of survival to learn to think positively, to believe in the best possible outcome rather than the worst, and to hold that miracles can and do happen and that life can be magical.  These are belief choices, but have also been reinforced by actual events.  

It is a sort of chicken-and-egg thing, the believing and the seeing.  You may have heard the expression, “I'll believe it when I see it”; how about “I'll see it when I believe it”?  I earnestly, wholeheartedly, and emphatically know that we have the capacity to create the life we truly want, and it's important for clients to hear that message along with the specifics of their particular reading.  Here, the Tarot reader has become-- a get my cape, hands on hips -- Optimist for Hire (OpFH).

To this point, the assigned roles, and the hats and badges that go along with the job, are gratifying and a privilege to maintain.  But if you are going to do this work, you'll need to develop an effective set of boundaries.  Guidelines must be defined around such issues as what times (times of the day and of life) are appropriate to consult the Tarot, which personality types are best served by not poking around in the unconscious, what kinds of questions you're willing to address, and which ones are best left untested.  You'll need this kind of clarity because people do sometimes ask you to be an OnDeMag (On-Demand Magician). 

This situation isn't good for anybody.  It puts way too much power and responsibility into the reader's lap, and therefore, for a multitude of reasons, it is to be avoided.  In addition to OnDeMag, here are a few more Tarot reader job descriptions to avoid:
  • The 7-11 (always open and available for business) 
  • Emergency Room or Psychiatric Ward Stand-In
  • Daily Life Micro-Manager
  • Mom

But let's get back to the good stuff.  For me personally, one of the best things about being a Tarot reader is that it's a job where one gets paid for being emotional.  All my life I've been the person with the leakiest tear ducts within a 50-mile radius.  Sensitivity is hard to squash at holidays, graduations, school plays, etc., where often I've found myself displaying all my emotions as well as those of everyone else in the room.  Very rarely did it ever feel good.  It is a personal victory to have found a livelihood where people require someone sensitive and tuned-in to feelings and impressions.  But please don't call me a Professional Feeler; people might get the wrong idea.

A good reader knows how to listen, to what is said, to what is between the lines, and to what is unsaid.  All the little bits of information from one's head, heart, intuition, physical, and unknown realms, need to congeal into something that makes sense, or else there's no point in getting many business cards printed.  It often takes a bird's eye view to see the whole picture, and an objective bird at that.  So, in some ways, it's a reader's job to complete the dot-to-dot diagram (be a ConDot-er) so that a reasonable picture can emerge.     

It is inspiring work, sometimes challenging, but much more often rewarding and a privilege.  I'd like to see an organization for Tarot readers called the Tarot Workers Union, mostly because when you say the acronym T.W.U. out loud, it sounds like "true," in a Madeline Kahn, Blazing Saddles, kind of way.  And the search for that which is real and true, is, essentially, what the Tarot is all about.

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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2008 

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