There is a moment when the owner of a Tarot deck has to decide to be more than a student and become a reader. In the prospect of reading for a stranger there is a certain amount of fear and anxiety. Going public with the Tarot is a defining moment. Many use Tarot privately and personally and some who venture to layout the cards for family and friends. These are all relatively safe ways in which to explore the cards, their meanings and reading them. Yet there is a divide to be crossed to read for a stranger for the first time.
It is my guess that along with the issues of fear and confidence there may be an barrier of opportunity. Some locations do not lend themselves to an open acceptance of the Tarot. Small towns, conservative communities and even some family members may be obstacles for some to be able to find opportunities to do it for the first time. In a great many areas there is an openness to non-traditional spiritual exploration and even an excitement to search out the mysteries of life in a myriad of ways. These areas are encouraging and lend themselves to sharing about and using the Tarot. Yet for some they live in an area that is a closed, restricted and hold to limited social conventions. For the new and ambitious reader there is a compounded sense that along with the normal first time jitters there is the consideration of being a Tarot ambassador in a potentially hostile environment.
There are many obstacles that block and deter us on our pursuit to develop. Crossing the threshold of Tarot for myself and into Tarot for others is one of many testing grounds. The battle to find yourself with a stranger and a tarot spread between you is worthy and full of rewards. Without the attempt there will always be lingering questions about if it is possible for you to read for a stranger. This question may linger perpetually over your understanding and confidence.
So what are the rewards that are the fruit of reading for others? First and primarily is the sense of self-understanding. What is your depth of knowledge about the meanings of the cards and the ways they communicate to you? Do you have the skill to verbalize the symbolic language of the cards to another who has limited or zero understanding of Tarot? The very attempt at in your reading skill will help you gain a perspective on where you are in your understanding of a subject. When you are out there for the first time you may need to remind yourself that it is a reward. Remember that important rule of Tarot reading, insight is always a gift.
A second reward is practice. It may seem odd to discuss practice as a reward but for many it is a sweet opportunity. Being isolated and feeling alone, there is a claustrophobic feel knowing that there are only so many ways of using the cards alone and by yourself. Engaging the challenge of reading the cards for strangers is insightful, fun and confidence building. I am staying away from the issue of reading professionally but simply focusing on the act of reading. When you read for family and friends you know there stories and can connect the cards with greater ease than with a stranger you know nothing about and simply have to rely on the cards. The very chance to discuss Tarot with another live person is amazing but greater than that the chance to use your skills is a validation.
Finally there is a truth in life and practice that we all must give as well as receive. As a tarot reader, I believe that the very truth of the universe is waiting to be revealed in a spread of cards. To receive that blessing of revelation demands that I in someway bless others. By reading for others we are able to complete that cycle and renews the balance. One of the best ways to break through a dry spell or a learning plateau is found in pouring yourself into a spread to give someone else a clearer picture of their life and place in the world. Giving back to the universe in this way you reopen yourself up to the cycle of recieving again. In this idea there are more ways to give a blessing than performing readings but for me it is a ritual part of my practice read for others to prime the pump for my own personal insights.
If you have not yet taken the leap into reading for strangers but are excited by the possibility take heart there are opportunities available! In my next post I will be discussing how I learned learned to read for strangers in a safe and rewarding environment and how you can as well.