Virtual to Reality: In-Person Tarot Readings by an Online Tarot Reader

A picture of a tarot reading.

A picture of a tarot reading.

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine asked me if I’d do tarot readings for her Halloween party. This is a friend who has done me so many favors that without hesitation I said yes. But I never had done professional readings in person before! While trying to recruit people to practice with, a friendly mutual asked me if I’d write what it was like to go from being an online tarot reader to doing in-person readings for a Halloween event. “What a great idea!” I thought. And so, here’s how my experience went.

As the title suggests, I do readings online for people. I have an etsy shop I started about a year ago cleverly called Allecadabra where I charge people small fees for my divinations. So while I am not a novice reader, I was a novice at in-person live readings. My friend asking me to read for her Halloween party was a great way to change that.

After my friend asked me about reading for her party, I immediately went online to Tumblr to ask the divination community for help. First, I just asked for live-reading tips. I had amazing feedback and responses from readers I really respected. Some of the tips I got included bringing something to drink, bringing personal items to ward off unwanted energy, and creating a cheat-sheet since holy crap there are a lot of cards to memorize.

And, frankly, the cheat-sheet idea was a saving grace for me. Doing my readings online, I can consult books and card descriptions in case I get stuck or can’t remember enough about the card. That wouldn’t be an option during a live reading, however.

Next, I decided what decks I’d read with. I usually have 30ish decks to choose from (I’m a collector), but I obviously wanted to narrow down my selection so that I could focus my studies on those decks. I chose three decks: The Halloween Oracle because it was a Halloween party, the Celtic Messages deck since I was connecting so well with it, and the Wild Wood Tarot since it was the only Tarot deck I had a lot of experience with.

So, I made cheat-sheets for the Halloween Oracle and the Wild Wood Tarot. Now a cheat-sheet is basically key phrases that go with the cards. I tried to keep them down to a page each so that I wouldn’t be basically reprinting the books (which defeats the purpose!) They’ve been really useful and I plan to keep using them. I never ended up making one for the Celtic Messages deck because I rely so heavily on the imagery of that deck that it just didn’t feel possible.

I realized I should practice doing live readings before the party, so I did a sort of half-online and half-offline approach: video conferencing. I gave free readings to five people in exchange for feedback on how my readings went, two of whom are good friends of mine. I learned so much by doing this. I learned that I was a very casual reader who made jokes. I learned that I still am terribly transparent when it comes to my initial reactions to the cards (eg: saying “Oooh…” or “Interesting!” and such). I learned how to interact with a client throughout the process of the reading — asking questions, asking if where I was going with an interpretation made sense, etc. I also learned that I had to do a bit more studying on my cards, since I was drawing blanks more than I was comfortable with.

Eventually came the day of the party. The setup was that I’d have a private reading space in my friend’s witchcraft room, so that me and the client would have privacy for the reading. I stayed in the room for a dedicated hour, then I could enjoy the party until someone wanted a reading (this way I could have fun and work.)

About twenty people showed up for the party. Out of those twenty, five people came in for readings. That ended up being a good number for me and I didn’t get worn down. I let the client pick which deck I used, otherwise I intuitively picked which deck I thought would best answer their question.

The first reading I did was pretty straight-forward and the client left with something to chew over. The last two readings I did were ridiculously positive, and I was overjoyed to share good news with them. One of the people I read for brought a lot of their own interpretations to the table with the reading, which was something I was worried about. But luckily they didn’t reject my initial interpretations or insinuate that I was a fraud (or something.)

What was intense was a reading I did for someone which started out as being a simple “What does the universe want me to know?” reading, that turned very dangerous very fast. The cards ended up seeming to be warning this client of something bad that may be happening in the future. In my fashion, I lightly joked that divination may be nothing but a pack of cards and that I hoped I was wrong. But right after their significant other came into the room and got a reading that seemed to tell me that they needed to protect their loved ones. They even drew themselves the card that was the crux of their significant other’s warning message. Granted, the significant other took the cards to mean something else and it made sense, so maybe it is just all a coincidence…

That was something I wasn’t prepared for, though. I am use to clients who get multiple readings for me to be influenced by one another (I once did an online reading where the second reading I did was completely changed because a card reappeared from the first reading I did for them.) But to do a reading for one person and have that show up in someone’s reading? Yikes. More over, I believe in confidentially. I don’t believe it’s ethical for a diviner to reveal what happened in a reading with a client without the consent of that client. So when the significant other had their cards read and they seemed to be directly referring to the first reading I did, I knew I shouldn’t tell them. But here comes the rub: this is about a dangerous situation. So what I did was tell the significant other to mention what cards they got to the first person I read for, and then tried my best to divorce the cards from my initial reaction. It was really hard. I wasn’t prepared to handle a situation like that.

Overall, I consider the experience a success. I definitely feel like I’ve grown as a diviner because of it. If you read online primarily, I urge you to try live readings once in your life. It’s definitely a challenge if you’re use to taking your time with interpretations, but it can be very rewarding to learn how to go with initial reactions. At least it’s been so with me. I don’t know if I’ll do live readings in the future, but I’m definitely not going to turn down any opportunities.

Also, I could write a whole post about the differences between online readings and in-person readings now. There are so many pros and cons to each! But I’ll save that for another day.

Have you read for both online and offline people? What did you think?


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