“Oh, but you don’t look like a Tarot Reader”, said the person I was telling about my blog and Tarot business. Although I have had this remark lobbed at me time and again I still did a double take. Was that a statement, a compliment or an insult? What does a Tarot reader look like anyway?
These are important questions not just because they might be things to laugh at and regale at cocktail parties but because it helps demystify Tarot and break down stigma. Being a Tarot Reader is a real job (really), you need analytical, intuitive skills as well as a certain degree of compassion to do it. One also needs to be organised, professional and ethical. Like any other jobs it’s got fun bits and not so great bits. For me, the “good” bits and the pleasure I get from reading Tarot for others outweigh any of the negatives coming my way.
One of the most annoying things though is the feeling I have of constantly needing to explain myself and let people know that yeah, this is a real thing, I’m not a con artist and neither am I telling lies about what I do and can offer people. People sometimes from their own wonder and astonishment feel the need to say things like, “You’re a reader and don’t look like one, I can’t believe you can read Tarot, oh my god how can you read the Tarot.” While surprising and sometimes annoying I can’t help but wonder what people actually think the Tarot and Tarot readers are like.
In the world I live in at least I believe that the Tarot does suffer an image problem. Mainstream media portrays readers as dark, mysterious fortune tellers dressed in long robes (usually black) with crystal balls and hooped earrings. Now there’s nothing wrong with any of these things, robes are great and so are hooped earrings. One could definitely dress like the readers in movies (if that’s one’s style) and be a great one. One could also wear jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers (me!) and still be able to offer people readings of real value to them. What I’m banging on about is that it really doesn’t matter what anyone looks like to be a reader. Readers are individuals (just like everyone else) and all of them are different. Last time I checked we weren’t given uniforms.
Telling people they don’t look like readers is silly and comes from a place of probably not knowing enough about Tarot and not ever having met someone engaged in such a thing (at least it was for the folks who know me). It also pigeon holes people and assumes that readers are all alike (they aren’t). There is great diversity in the Tarot community and I’ve tried in my own way to show the variety in approaches to Tarot through my interviews with other readers. You can read about that series here.
Now, I’m going to leave you with a picture of the Sun card from three decks that I work with as a pleasant reminder that we are all suns of different shapes and colours (just look at these diverse interpretations of the same concept), spreading light in different ways. Till next time folks, may you never need to hide the wonderful suns that you are x