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What do I need to know about becoming a professional tarot reader?

In the style of last week, I’m going to be exploring further the question about my career options; specifically, my question for this reading was “What do I need to know about becoming a professional tarot reader?” While this decision is far off yet (I won’t be doing readings for money until Tarot Every Day is done), it’s still one that I would like to explore. So let’s get to it.

Since I’ve already covered how the Celtic Cross spread is done (here and here) I won’t spend time elaborating on the card positions. If you are new to tarot and want to see how the CC is done, check those posts.

The center card is the Four of Wands, the card of freedom and thrill-seeking, crossed by the Two of Cups, the card of making connections and healing relationships. These cards taken together seem to tell me that if I want to keep my spiritual freedom, I need to let go of grievances and do some internal healing work. While this could be talking about things that happened lately, I suspect it rather talks about old wounds that I thought had healed, but actually I just neglected. Reason being, I’ve been doing some meditation with rose quartz to try to align my heart with my higher values, and I’ve already been detecting major shifts in my spiritual state (okay, so I burst into tears. shut up). Not to mention the cards have been telling me lately that I need to work through the emotional fallout of exploring and conditioning my subconscous.

To the left is the Empress, who tells me that my life up to this point has been a process of careful nurturing and preparation for “such a time as this.” It seems my whole life has been leading up to doing some kind of spiritual work, and doing tarot could be one way that this plays out. It could also point toward learning the lessons of “motherly wisdom,” and the process of internalizing them.

To the right is the Hanged man, who suggests most strongly the idea of martyrdom, but to a lesser extent can hint at a major shift toward letting go and experiencing emotional release; the internal condition of a martyr if not the outward tribulation of one. This reinforces the idea of the Two of Cups, and contains both the positive and negative outcomes of that card; namely, that if I can manage to experience healing and release now, I will continue to be able to in the future when new trials accost me, but if I can’t or won’t, I will pay the price; which may very well involve some sort of public chastisement.

Above is the Ten of Swords, which says that I’m probably already experiencing thoughts and feelings of the martyrdom foretold by the Hanged man, as these cards reinforce each other. However, it also reminds me to remember who I am and be true to my Divine self, and not be a slave to ego and thus be crucified by my own mind. Rather, I should submit to the dismantling of Ego by the Id and Super-ego, a la the Two of Cups.

Below is the Four of Swords, warning me that I’ve entered a period of mental or spiritual fatigue and need rest and renewal. This has certainly been true of the past week, but this card says that there is still something I need which I’m not getting, that’s key to making a full and steady recovery. Discovering what that is should take priority. It could also be a sign that, as I tend to myself and start to recover, I will start to awaken even further to that higher state of pure consciousness.

At the top of the staff rests the Knight of Cups, representing the ideals of compassion and purity of heart from which we can draw strength, and making progress on our spiritual journey. This has certainly been what I’ve been working on making strides in, generally my whole life, but especially since I’ve been working with tarot, and I do feel like I’ve experienced significant spiritual growth since I started this project. However, this card also warns against the pitfalls of over-sensitivity and over-sentimentality. As the Jedi philosophy teaches, I need to guard myself against attachments that hinder me and distract me.

Following that is the Seven of Wands, suggesting that the outside forces arrayed against me, while not necessarily active, are resolute and unyielding in their stance, and changing things in this environment will be a struggle I may not have the power to take on by myself. Rather than speaking of certain people, I take this to concern the professional tarot “community” at large, which has been shown (at least to me) to be highly defensive of its own behaviors and, many times, completely unwilling to yield to any criticism. I know I’m not the only one who has experienced deleted comments.

Next is the Seven of Cups, which I think flows naturally from the contention of the Seven of Wands. It calls me to imagine a better world, one which I might help bring about with the aid of a few faithful companions and a lot of elbow grease, or as I like to call it, moon glue (in Japanese, the kanji for “elbow” is made up of the radicals for “moon” and “glue”). It also reminds me that “the weapon we have is love.

Should I follow this advice, the outcome of the situation is that I will have the chance to make my dreams real, as illustrated by the Page of Pentacles. This tells me that I actually have a shot. It also tells me that I have the potential to be really successful, both spiritually and financially. It calls to mind the excitement and wonder of a child opening a present at Christmas to discover that it was exactly what he asked for.

I don’t suppose I could ask for a better conclusion, but let’s not forget the influence of the shadow card, which in this reading is the Queen of Wands. This card represents hidden or unknown aspects that underlie the entire reading. The Queen of Wands is the card of self-confidence and self-control, with a secondary focus on responding well to criticism. This card seems to suggest that I need to re-examine the way that I handle criticism, constructive or otherwise, to make sure that it is in line with the warm and supportive nature of the Queen of Wands, rather than the cold and calculating nature of the King of Swords.

The Queen of Wands also persuades me to be charming but elusive. It encourages me to not take things too personally, and not get hung up on what are really only small annoyances. However, it would be unwise to believe that I’m impervious, or to pretend that I don’t have a stubborn streak. Even so, as long as I am mindful of the risk of burnout and keep from extending myself too far or spreading myself too thin, I should emerge victorious.

And this ties together the whole reading, actually. As an added bonus, this reading compares directly to yesterday’s reading, and can be seen as an expansion of its original message, although using different cards. As a tarot reader, this is always encouraging. It would be a pretty bad sign if your readings didn’t line up with one another.

So there we have it. I suppose at the end of the year it will become more clear whether or not tarot reading as a career is a viable option, but this message is extremely hopeful. Perhaps if the timing is favorable, and the right people are in place in my life, I’ll make a go of it. It’s clear though that I have a long way to go before I reach that point. Until then, I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

[This reading was done on 10/12/13 at 9:47pm]



  1. #1. The Four of Wands —
    Completion/Thankful —
    This card is associated with gratitude, fulfilling relationships, and completion of tasks. Based on the other cards, the desire for a meaningful partnership or relationship (probably professional) is probably at the root of this question.
    #2 The Two of Cups —
    Romance/Union —
    Your obstacle in fact is the lack of such a relationship. The nature of the relationships is nurturing and heartfelt and often romantic though not always.
    #3 The Empress —
    Creativity —
    To me this one is very clear. The Empress signifies creativity, birth, and nurturing. As you say, you have recently started a blog, in other words given birth to a creative project. It also directly relates to your question about being a professional tarot reader.
    #4 The Hanged Man —
    Suspension/Perspective —
    There is a sensation of being trapped or limited. From your new perspective, though, you may gain insight regarding this limitation that will enable change.
    #5 The Ten of Swords —
    Ruin/Coping —
    This one is very interesting. Usually it implies that a great wound has been dealt or will be dealt. As the crown position, it’s very unusual to get. I would have drawn a second card to explore this one further. My best guess, you have been struck by doubts or other trials and hope to find a way to cope with them. It symbolizes that the current situation may be ruin but there is always something new to live for afterwards.
    #6 The Four of Swords —
    Seclusion/Grounding —
    This implies to me that you are used to working alone through the world, that you retreat into an inner world and meditate on its questions while sheltering from the turmoil of the outer world. Perhaps your doubts have been sparked by the fact that the Professional Tarot World may not meet the ideals of your inner world.
    #7 The Knight of Cups —
    Consideration/Counselor —
    The cards have spoken. For you, the role of a Professional Tarot Reader will be one of counseling with a focus on the emotional aspect.
    #8 The Seven of Wands —
    Courage —
    In my readings, this position signifies how others may see you rather than outside influences. I think how others see you might provide a clearer reading. So in regards to breaking into the Tarot business taking on the establishment, people might see you as brave but also foolhardy. In addition, you will be leaving the safety of your inner world and embarking on a journey to the outer world.
    #9. The Seven of Cups —
    Illusion/Dream —
    This is a hope and fear regarding your dream. You feel that like an illusion or mirage it may exist solely in your head and is actually unattainable.
    #10 The Page of Pentacles —
    Practicality/Growth —
    You may encounter or have to act as a person involved in communicating practical ideas and useful techniques. It can also mean personal growth to a more practical position.

    #11 The Queen of Wands —
    Inspiration —
    This is the environment you find yourself in. The Queen of Wands through her assertive, charismatic, and self-assured personality knows how to see things through and inspires those around her.


    You have reached a rough point in the path to becoming a Professional Tarot Card Read. You may feel stuck, limited or at a loss. The outer world may be turbulent and unsupportive of your position. The Hanging Man, the Ten of Swords, and the Page of Pentacles imply that you hope to overcome those doubts, though this may require a change in perspective. A strong, supportive relationship will be key to this process.

    • Ah, very insightful, thank you! I always wonder which aspects of the cards I may be neglecting when I settle on a meaning. It’s good to see how someone else’s interpretation compares to my own.

      As a highly introverted person, I’m certainly used to being on my own. The cards have reflected as much, in my earlier readings. Something that happened earlier to day, something that your interpretation highlights, showed me that I need to work on how I react when my experience in the outer world doesn’t match how I expect or hope things will go within my inner world. I need to work on distancing myself from that immediate, sharp sting of disappointment when things don’t turn out as expected.

      Your overview was clear and succinct as well. Hopefully as I gain more experience with the individual cards I’ll be able to get a better feel for the overall reading like this. Something that still alludes me is uncovering the ways that all the cards interact. Some links are clear, others are somewhat tenuous.

      I think our general impressions of the cards were pretty much the same, at least it seems so to me. The difference lies in our approach to applying them. It’s interesting to see how our differing ideas of the premise of the reading brought out the different sides to the cards that followed.

      Also, I followed your advice and pulled a card for clarification on the Ten of Swords (because I always put the cards back in my deck in the reverse order they were pulled, so I can recreate the reading if I need to, until I do my next reading) and I got the Five of Wands. I pulled again just for good measure and got the Six of Swords. So what does that tell you?

      • Both The Five of Wands and the Six of Swords are very enlightening! The Five of Wands is the card of conflict, outer and inner. It is also of self-respect and implementing new ideas. The Six of Swords means passage and difficult transitions but hopefully to a better place.

        The three cards are all saying that a bad experience, a conflict where you were badly wounded, has formed the basis of your current goal. It is because of this incident that you are now seeking to reach a better place.

        And don’t worry, everything just takes practice and this reading was a complicated one. The staff section was clear which is why we both arrived at the same general impression. The cross on the other hand was no piece of cake.

      • True, this reading was a bit tricky. It’s surprising to me how a simpler spread can sometimes be much harder to catch the meaning of than a more complicated one. Both of my Sunday readings, for instance, were very easy and fun to interpret, despite being the most complicated spreads I did all week (it also helped that I didn’t really take it too seriously going in).

        I appreciate you taking the time to help me see the cards in a new light. It’s always welcome.

  2. Really enjoyed this interpretation and following comments 🙂

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