Q&A: Tough Tarot Love

Q: You explained why different Tarot readers give different meanings for the same card. What about different meanings and attitudes from the same reader? Some of your example readings and q/a posts seem really nice and others seem a little snarky, even when the questions are almost the same.

A: Good question. And a very fair one. It’s no fun for anyone when the message is that the client is headed in the total wrong direction.

If it were a perfect world, everybody’s reading would be happy rainbows and feel-good unicorns – but life isn’t like that. I value honesty and authenticity and sometimes that means bringing a little Tarot Tough Love to the conversation.

It wouldn’t be right to gloss over difficult ideas just for the sake of avoiding hurt feelings. Avoidance and denial are problems, not solutions. When the sitter is going in the wrong direction, that has to be confronted in order to help them turn things around. Luckily, even at worst, caution messages feel more like a parent yelling at a teenager than anything truly dark. A little snark for humor’s sake is as dire as it ever gets. If I ever sensed any real fear or anger, I’d stop the reading right away.  Spiritual guidance may give “tough love” or correction…but it is always that, Love. Real spiritual guidance never uses fear, intimidation or shaming.

I look at it from the sitter’s side too. Looking back at the readings I’ve gotten over the years, some of the most helpful were the ones that were the most blunt, to-the-point, even sarcastic. They told me to suck it up and grow a spine just when I needed it the most. I’m grateful for it too. Pissed me off at the time, but in the long run it was a healing thing that made me stronger. I’m glad for the experience of it. I only hope I can do as right by my clients as those readers  did by me.

On the other hand – it would be just as wrong to be snarky and harsh if someone is really hurting. People often come to readings when they are genuinely upset and vulnerable. Especially when romance readings are involved. That goes double for younger people who are just working their way through the dating minefield for the first time. The question might be the same “will so-and-so be my boy/girlfriend”, but you would frame the answer very differently for an 18 year old with a fragile energy than you would for a 35 year old with a self-absorbed energy.

So how do you decide how to frame an answer? How do you decide when to be gentle and when to tell it like it is? Intuition is the only answer I have for that. Call it what you will – intuition, spirit, energy, our higher selves, angels, guides, the universe, whatever – I follow that lead. I give the tone and feeling of the message as I get it – just as with the literal words and images that come. I follow the intuitive lead, and trust that the process will ultimately lead us where we need to go. If they choose to reject the reading maybe that process will, in the long run, help them have more self-confidence in their decisions. If they get mad at my reading, maybe they will find someone else. If they hear the same thing from two people, maybe THAT will get the message through. Who knows? See how that works? Honestly following our intuition (both as reader and as sitter) moves things another step down the path. If a reading is happy and nice – good. If it is a loud wake up call – so be it. I set my intention to help and heal with these readings. Only time and the client will tell if it is a helpful reading in the long run.


“What did you expect? Pumpkin juice?”