Tarot Bytes
How to read for someone who is panicked, frantic, or in a bad frame of mind

How to read for someone who is panicked, frantic, or in a bad frame of mind

February 8, 2021

Episode 202. If you’ve been reading for a while, you’re going to encounter someone who is freaking out at some point. This can be challenging, especially for a new tarot reader. I’ve got a few tips for you - but I also want to share a few thoughts for folks who want a tarot reading and are in a state of panic.

Let’s start with that.

If you’re having a meltdown or are experiencing extreme anxiety, this is not the time for a tarot reading. Here’s why: you’ll have a hard time remaining grounded - and that may make it hard to receive an accurate reading.

From my own experience, I can say when I’m tripping out about a situation, I struggle to remain objective. I’ll tend to hear what I want to hear - or hear what I fear the most. I can assure you that even if I get a great reading that says “everything will work out,” that tends only to hold me for a minute when I’m in a bad state of mind about a situation.

If you feel frantic, I recommend prioritizing working with a therapist, healer, or health care practitioner. Extreme self-care needs to come first. A tarot reading can be part of your self-care, but it shouldn’t be the first thing you turn to, nor should a tarot reader ever take on the role of a licensed health care professional.

Now, if you’re a tarot reader and someone comes to you in a state of distraught, here are a few thoughts on that.   

Your job is to deliver a kind, helpful tarot reading. That means you must remain calm, centered, and objective - even if the person sitting at your tarot table isn’t.

I will recommend that you have self-care practices that you do every day because that will help you remain grounded. For example, meditation is excellent for finding your calm. Physical activity such as yoga or a brisk walk before you begin work can also get you in the right mood for working with clients. Tarot readers need to practice great self-care to care for their clients without getting their own lives impacted by the work.

A soothing backdrop is essential for both client and reader. I always have gentle music playing in the background. Your working space should be clean and peaceful, whether you see people in-person or do your work over the phone. A tranquil atmosphere can make all the difference for both parties.

Ideally, you’ll have good boundaries in place so your clients can’t just show up at your door and demand an emergency reading. However, even with strict boundaries, there will still be times when your client has a rough situation creating anxiety. They may want to see you immediately. I’ll let you determine how you feel about that. But I will say this: if you are going to offer on-demand services without any boundaries, you risk burning out. And a burnt out reader isn’t able to help anyone for long.

When you’re working with anyone, you’ll want to establish control of the experience. This is especially important when you’re working with people who are freaking out.

Begin by doing something that helps the client take a moment to center themselves before you touch the tarot. I like reading an oracle card first. The one I use is the Power Deck by Lynn Andrews. Each card has a different spiritual meaning written on the back, and taking that minute to read the card will set the tone for the reading. Sometimes clients wonder why I begin with that oracle card. This is the reason why. It creates a sacred moment, so we’re both in a good place before starting to work with the cards.

You may have a different process to set the tone for the reading. Perhaps you pour a client a cup of tea if you see them in-person. Or maybe you take a moment for a little light meditation or prayer. An invocation over the cards could also help bring the room's energy into a still, chill place.

Next, you’ll want to practice slow, deep belly breathing. People will link their breathing to someone else’s. If you focus on deep breathing, often the client will tune in and slow their own breathing down too. This will pull them into a centered place and may take the edge off.

Another breathing technique I use is “color breathing,” where I breathe slowly but visualize inhaling a radiant white light and breathing out a cobalt blue ray. I envision that cobalt blue surrounding the client and calming their aura. This is another way to cool the energy and soothe the client.

Next, it’s time to listen. Give the client space to tell you what’s going on - and why they want a reading at this time. What is their goal? What are their expectations on how this reading will serve them? Sometimes allowing them to flesh out what’s going on and what they need will help take the energy down a notch. This reflection will also give you and them input on how to proceed.

Once you’ve established a relaxed mood, begin your work. It would help if you remained calm at all times. Sometimes a person who is feeling anxious needs a person to talk to. If that is the case, again, let them have the floor. In fact, I find that this is a good practice in general when people are approaching tarot in a panicky way. Talking it out will help process feelings, plus it can lend well to finding good, helpful questions.

I would recommend that you refrain from “will I” questions. These are disempowering and do not serve to help the client. Instead, you’ll want to reframe questions with the “what do I need to know about” or “how can I” so the client is in the driver’s seat of their situation. Often, panic sets in when we don’t feel in control. You always want to help the client find ways to take their power back.

Never take the person’s pain lightly. Even if you think they are dramatic, do NOT judge or dismiss them. That is not only disrespectful but also unhelpful. It leads to shame, and the client might approach the reading with timidity instead of being open to the help the cards may have to offer. Think about it: if your reader just diminished your concerns, how open will you feel discussing anything with them? A reader should never pooh-pooh what the client is feeling.

Never end the reading on a hopeless note. Help the querent find the hope and power in their situation. That needs to be your goal.

I also recommend keeping a list of referrals such as therapists, hotlines, free text services for mental health, and, in some cases, local social services to help the client get the proper assistance. Again, your tarot work should never take the place of a licensed mental health expert or doctor.

Once the reading is over, you’ll need to practice good spiritual hygiene. That may mean taking a walk, meditating, or something simple such as washing your hands, a practice my friend Brianna Saussy recommends.

I’d also recommend that you encourage the client to put space between each reading. Sometimes a person who is stressed may want multiple readings on the same subject. This rarely does any good. It’s like picking at a wound. Time is needed to gain perspective. You don’t want to encourage dependence because that’s never good for the client or the reader.

If they insist, I always refer to a health care practitioner or mental health expert. This is to protect the client, which is ultimately the goal.

These are a few of my tips. I hope this helps you, whether you’re the client or the tarot reader.

10 ways to use Tarot in your everyday life

10 ways to use Tarot in your everyday life

January 17, 2021

When we think about tarot, we usually associate it with divination. Tarot isn’t just for looking at the future. In fact, there are many ways you can use the Tarot in your everyday life.

Before I explore that, I also want to remind you that Tarot wasn’t originally intended for divination. It was created as a trick-taking game - and it is still played as a game in many parts of the world. If you want to learn how to play Tarot games, a quick search of the web will lead you to tutorials. Be sure to check that out.

Now, on to our subject. Listen in and check out some of my favorite ways to to use Tarot in your daily life.

Hoodoo, Tarot, and the Black American Experience with David Davis

Hoodoo, Tarot, and the Black American Experience with David Davis

January 10, 2021

Episode 200. In this episode of Tarot Bytes, David Davis of Porous Palms joins me to talk about the role of Hoodoo and Tarot in the Black American Experience. How can the Tarot cards give insights into the lives of Black people? What is Hoodoo and how has it impacted Black lives, both in the past and present? How can Tarot and Hoodoo work together to support the Black community? David shares his thoughts about all of this and more. We also discuss "love-and-lightwashing" (aka toxic positivity) and the harm it does for marginalized folks as well as how to find a like-minded reader who can empathize with your lived experiences.

Reading Tarot in Layers with Jenna Matlin

Reading Tarot in Layers with Jenna Matlin

January 3, 2021

Episode 199. Do you tend to read the cards in the order of the spread? For example, does a Past, Present, Future reading need to be read that way - or is there a deeper, more intuitive method? Jenna Matlin joins me today to teach how she "pivots the table" and squeezes as much meaning as possible by passing back and forth over the cards. Intuitive hits and critical inquiry provide new details that might be missed if you simply read the positional meanings in a spread. She describes this as creating a "layer cake of meaning," a three-dimensional reading that goes further and provides more detail. 

Jenna's method will get you spinning the spread in new directions - and igniting your intuition like never before! 

Tarot and Disability with Sara YK

Tarot and Disability with Sara YK

December 13, 2020

Episode 198. For too long, the tarot has been centered around white, cis-gendered able-bodied folks, Things have begun to change as more people demand representation. While strides have been made, the disabled community is still under-represented. Social justice activist and tarot reader Sara YK joins me to talk about a wide range of topics such as inclusivity in tarot decks, reading for disabled people, working as a pro when you have a disability, apps, and more. Sara opened my eyes to many things about tarot and disability - and I think our conversation will do the same for you.

Tarot and the Akashic Records with Leeza Robertson and Pamela Chen

Tarot and the Akashic Records with Leeza Robertson and Pamela Chen

December 6, 2020

Episode 197. I'll admit: I know next to nothing about the Akashic Records. I've never studied them or worked with them in any way. When Leeza Robertson and Pamela Chen suggested this as a topic, I was totally game! In this episode of Tarot Bytes, they enlightened me about Tarot and the Akashic Records. Learn how they work with both to help people heal and rewrite their stories. You'll be fascinated too!

The Magic of Color and Tarot with Sarah Potter

The Magic of Color and Tarot with Sarah Potter

November 29, 2020

Episode 196. In our daily lives, colors influence our actions. For example, certain shades of orange and red are used in fast-food restaurants to get us hungry...and moving along quickly. Does this same thing apply to tarot? 

The colorful images in the tarot deck certainly capture our imaginations. But were the colors chosen deliberately for interpretation reasons? Or not? And what might the colors convey in a tarot reading? Color Magic practitioner and tarot reader Sarah Potter joins me to talk about how the magic of color adds so much to the cards...and how we interpret them. 

Tarot and Angels with Andrew Barker

Tarot and Angels with Andrew Barker

November 22, 2020

Episode 195. The Tarot is loaded with images of angels: Temperance, The Lovers, Judgement, and more. What messages do these angelic beings add to the interpretations? And what are "angel numbers?" I'm joined with tarot reader and angel expert Andrew Barker for an enlightening conversation about angels and tarot. After this discussion, I'll never look at the Wheel of Fortune the same!

Facial Expressions in the Tarot Cards

Facial Expressions in the Tarot Cards

November 15, 2020

Episode 194. In past episodes, we've looked at postures, gestures, and even the hands to glean information about the tarot cards. What about the faces on the figures? What do they reveal? A lot...and not a lot. Here's the deal: some cards have obvious associations with different emotions while others are rather neutral, leaving the reader to interpret what the figure might be feeling or conveying. Look at the smirk on the Five of Swords - that tells you there is something shady going on. But the inscrutable face of the Queen of Wands leaves your imagination to do the work. Different decks also have images that could give whole new interpretations based on the artist's rendering. I'll talk about all of this in the latest episode. 

Tarot and Palmistry with James Divine

Tarot and Palmistry with James Divine

November 1, 2020

Episode 193. When Madame Pamita told me about palmist James Divine, I was intrigued. They were teaching a workshop called the Palmistry Tarot Mash-Up, which decodes the hidden messages the hands reveal in the tarot cards. This got my attention (Geminis are always interested in hands!) and I booked him as a guest immediately. The information he shares in this episode of Tarot Bytes blew my mind. Was Pamela Colman Smith a palmist? I found myself asking that question once I learned James' method for divining what the hands meant. This was one of my fave episodes, hands down (LOL).

Play this podcast on Podbean App