A Strange Exchange: My first reading for a stranger

Yesterday I did my first tarot reading for a stranger.

It came about like this. Recently, I have been thinking that I would like to read for others, so I put an ad up on Gumtree offering to do tarot readings in exchange for some small service or gift. I don’t feel comfortable with charging money for readings, and I’m not sure I ever will, even if I become much more experienced. I feel like I get more out of it than the querent.

So yesterday, a guy came around to have his cards read, and in exchange, he read my cards and my palm.

It was a strange exchange. I didn’t get a good vibe from him for a number of reasons. And when I laid down his cards, the 5 of Pentacles and the 9 of Swords appeared in future and outcome positions. I couldn’t bring myself to say what I was really thinking, and I played down the negative connotations and gave it all a positive spin. Afterwards, he spoke of things that were happening in his world which confirmed the interpretation I had in my head.

In my reading I gave what I felt was some pretty solid advice. But, he was not prepared to take it on board. And he didn’t like that I didn’t allow him to shuffle the cards.

The agreed exchange was that he would read my tarot. He brought his own cards. He laid them out in a spread with lots of cards and proceeded to make guesses. Some of his statements were way off. The cards he laid were all familiar to me, and he didn’t use any of the meanings, or refer to the imagery. And then he lectured me on not letting him shuffle, and that I have to use my intuition and “read” the person.

I was basically waiting for him to stop talking, the reading was excruciatingly bad, and I was too polite to call him out. I wondered why he came, what he had wanted to get out of having his cards read. It seems he wanted me to bullshit to him, just as he did to me, with no real reference to the cards at all. When he talked about the difficulties he was facing, I thought “Ah, this is why you’re here”. But he didn’t ask anything that pertained to the subject before I did the reading. And he was resistant to the things I said. Perhaps he just wanted someone to talk to, and he wanted to hear what he wanted to hear, nothing else, nothing contradictory. Is this what everybody wants?

It’s given me lots of food for thought. What do people want when they come to a reading? What am I prepared to offer?

Mary K. Greer talks about different approaches to tarot reading, differentiating between psychic, intuitive and therapeutic tarot:

Self-styled ‘tarot counselors’ (when eliminating the intuitive and psychic words) seem to have an altogether different vibe. They use tarot “as a therapeutic method and means for self-realization,” “for drawing out information lying deep inside,” and “for helping someone to clearly see a particular present situation.” Sessions are “designed to bring personal fulfillment . . . to assist and guide, to empower and uplift.”

When I read this, I thought, “YES!” This really resonates with me. I have been trying to define my approach to tarot, steering clear of associations with psychic claims. I think tarot therapy or tarot counselling is the description I was looking for without knowing I was looking.

This is something I am going to give more thought to, and develop as I continue my journey. However, thinking back to yesterday’s reading, I don’t think he wanted tarot counselling. How can I attract querents to my style of reading? How can I even develop my style without querents to practice on? If everyone is only after psychic and intuitive tarot readers, then I’m pretty sure I will only ever read for myself.

One thought on “A Strange Exchange: My first reading for a stranger

  1. It’s fine if you were to only read for yourself~ There are other people who uses tarot as a form of a therapy and guidance, Brigit from Biddytarot is one~ My first reading for a stranger also did go so well either. But, that just means that they are not the ones that you wish to do readings for and that’s fine~ I myself use it as way to guide me through the day~


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