Thoughts upon receiving my first professional reading.

Believe it or not, before last night I’d never had my cards read.

True story.

But, considering my ongoing interest in the Tarot, I decided a while ago that it’s something I should do, if for no other reason, just to see how it’s done. Last night I decided to actually go for it.

First, I stopped in the shop after work to get a feel for the place and ask a few preliminary questions. I left, promising to come back later, which of course, I did…

Before I begin to spin my yarn, though, I want to make a little side-note:

I recently purchased some runes for myself.* Despite my longtime fascination with Norse mythology, I’ve always been hesitant to actually use the runes for divinatory purposes. Last week, however, my hesitation inexplicably vanished, and I picked up a slim volume of runic definitions and a set of translucent purple stones etched with gilded symbols. They look like they fell right out of Dumbledore’s pocket.

Now, I really want to talk more about runes here, but I will refrain, because this remains a Tarot blog. Suffice it to say, I’ve branched out a bit when it comes to divination.

The runes do figure into my story, though, because I did a precursory reading with them before I left to get my Tarot reading. I wanted to know whether or not it really was a good idea to get the reading at this time. I cast three runes, and got something of a mixed message.

Amethyst, I think the tag said, but I don’t really know because I’m not a geologist.

The first two runes suggested a successful endeavor, but the last rune, which was in its reversed position, seemed to tell me that someone who I would otherwise have trusted was going to give me advice rooted in bias, or try to deceive me for personal gain.

Obviously, I took this to mean that the Tarot reader I spoke with earlier might not have my best interests in mind.

I was confused by the juxtaposition of this rune with the two others, and pulled one more for clarification about whether or not I should go. This rune was another positive one, suggesting fertility, and by extension, birth of new ideas (as a novice rune-caster, all of my interpretations for last night’s cast came directly from the little book I bought**). I came to the conclusion that I would take away constructive lessons from the experience, if not the reading itself, so long as I was wary of the source.

Fair enough. As a student of history, I’m no stranger to skeptical analysis of biased sources. So I poured myself a coffee mug of Irish cream as a barrier against the cold (and admittedly for a bit of liquid pseudo-courage – as I said, I’ve never done this kind of thing before, and didn’t know what to expect), drank it down, and set out on my return to the shop. As I walked, I worked on refining a question to ask the reader, something that would be real enough to give her something to work with, and would genuinely help me in the event of a good reading; in the back of my mind, though, I remembered that I was going into this for primarily academic purposes, and I braced myself for the potential drawbacks suggested by my runes.

I settled on asking about an emotional issue I’d approached my own cards with the night prior – a serious blockage that has been affecting my day-to-day mood. I failed to gain any genuine insight from my cards, though, and walked away none the wiser. What better question to pose to this strange third party I was on my way to meet than this?


I was surprised upon entering the shop to be greeted by a different woman than the one I’d consulted earlier. For a split moment, I considered asking for the woman I’d already met, but ultimately did not. I followed this new woman to the reading room, and we began.

The first thing she did (after trying to sell me psychic services that I was not interested in) was ask me if I’d ever had my cards read before. I said I hadn’t, but added that I am familiar with the cards, which was my way of subtly suggesting that I am not to be taken for a dupe. I don’t think she registered my message, though.

She told me to think of a wish and to keep it to myself. A red flag went up in my mind right there, because it suggested to me that her goal was to dazzle me with how much she could intuit from the cards, rather than actually help me to answer any questions I had brought. She then proceeded to lay out the cards in a variation of the Celtic Cross spread, telling me about myself and my troubles as she did so. She worked incredibly fast, and I could not process what the cards on the table were before she’d covered them up with new ones.

She was clearly very skilled at reading. She only had to glance at the cards to tell me what they meant. But she did not walk me through each card, and because I hardly had the chance to look at them myself, I cannot guess at how she came to these conclusions.

And she was correct about a great many things, in some cases hitting the nail right on the head. But she did not tell me anything about myself that I didn’t already know, and most things she predicted for my future were pretty generic. And because she didn’t show me how she came to these conclusions, I don’t know how much she actually drew from the cards. She claimed to be a psychic, telling me a little about my aura before I even sat down, and she asked for my birth date, so she had the information she needed for a general astrological blueprint. How do I know she wasn’t making generalizations about me from these methods? (assuming of course that these methods are even valid – which I cannot say one way or the other)

Sure, she told me that I struggle with addiction and depression, for example, but did the cards communicate that to her, or did she maybe just smell that whiskey on my breath? I’ve read enough Sherlock Holmes stories to know that you don’t need Tarot cards or supernatural abilities to tell people about themselves if you’re observant enough.

She presented me with so much information so quickly, that I had a hard time retaining it. Even now, as I write this, I’m having difficulty remembering a lot of what she told me.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I remember quite a few things she said, but my memory of the experience is a jumbled mess overall.*** Sure, I was impressed with how much she could tell me with very little information to go on, but again, she said nothing I couldn’t have just told her myself, and I got very little in the way of advice towards solving my issues.

That is, until she gave me the advice of pissing away more of my money to get more advice.

She told me I had some serious negativity that needed immediate attention, and that the best thing I could do was drop a hundred dollars right then and there so she could meditate for me. Seriously, lady? Thanks, but no thanks. I politely declined, handed her the money I owed her for the reading, thanked her, and moved to leave the shop. Before I was out the door, though, she offered me a small, polished black stone that “absorbs negativity,” free of charge. It was a nice gesture on her part. I pocketed it and left.****


There are three things from this experience that really stuck with me afterwards. The first was what the reader had told me about my aura before she had even laid out the cards: apparently, my aura is a bright, white light, which is a sign of great inner strength and purity. Now, this made me smile, and if she wasn’t just pulling my leg, I take great comfort in it. Of course, I’m not 100% sure she wasn’t pulling my leg to flatter me and suck me in, but either way, those words remained with me.

The second was something she said to me during the reading: having faith is very important, my capacity for faith is very strong, and because of it I am able to build strong connections with other people; but I really need to figure out exactly what it is I put my faith in. I’ve written about this dilemma before; its something that I wonder about fairly often. I was thinking more about this than anything else the reader had said to me afterward (although it certainly wasn’t at the forefront of my mind beforehand – and the issue that was on my mind was left unaddressed save for some vague comments about inner turmoil). If nothing else, this reading confirmed my tentative faith in the runes, and by extension divination in general. I thought to myself, perhaps this is what I have faith in, but I immediately corrected my thoughts – I may have faith in the cards and the runes as tools, but that is all they are. No, there is something on the other side of the spiritual divide with which I am using these tools to communicate  – that is what I truly put my faith in, what I allow to guide my spiritual life. So, I go right back to my original question: what is it? Perhaps it really is beyond me to name it, and rather than distracting myself with constrictive definitions, I should just have faith. And if the “other side of the spiritual divide” ends up just being my own subconscious reflected back at me, well, what of it? Am I not also divine, by virtue of my belief in the Paradox of Magic?

The third was a particular card she laid down: the Magician (she used a Rider pack). This was one of the first cards she drew, and it was one of the very few that did not get covered by other cards as the reading progressed, almost as if he was there to watch over the reading. I don’t know what this card contributed to her interpretation – I couldn’t tell based on what she was saying to me. However, as a reader myself, I found great significance in the appearance of this card, and it went both ways. The Magician was warning both myself and the reader about the Trickster sitting directly across the table.

He pointed at the both of us, as if to say to each, “Watch out for that one…”

In other words, I saw that this card was telling me about the snake-oil salesman on the other side of the table. I also saw that he was telling the reader, if she would listen, that I wasn’t exactly what I appeared to be, either – that I may have looked like I was two steps behind, when I was actually one step ahead. Why, the Magician represents the very force that put the warning rune in my hands earlier that evening. He is a close ally of mine, my patron, and I think she was too busy trying to butter me up so I’d spend more money that she missed that (not that she should have gotten that from the card, because it was a reading for me, but whatever psychic ability she possessed might have shown her, if only she had looked).


I didn’t go there to get proof that the cards work – I already know that. If I doubted, I wouldn’t spend my money, and I don’t understand the people who do. Of course, I understand that many Tarot readers have to deal with skeptics, but I don’t think that’s a reason to treat everyone who comes through the door as one. And I suppose I was a skeptic, although certainly not the skeptic she’d apparently assumed I was. I was skeptical about her, not her cards. And I was right to be.

I went there to gain a new perspective on the cards, and hopefully get some questions answered about my emotional troubles in the process, and I learned nothing about either.

In the end, however, I feel like the experience was a positive one, although I will not be going back to that shop to get my cards read again. In fact, because I study the cards myself, I don’t feel much of a desire to have someone else read them for me at all. There is one other shop in my town that does Tarot readings, though, and I think I’ll be paying them a visit in the future, just to see. Hopefully I will be able to actually learn something there.


*At some point, I intend to craft my own set of runes, but I figured I’d learn how to read with these for the time being.

**A Practical Guide to the Runes: Their Uses in Divination and Magick by Lisa Peschel, published in 1989 by Llewellyn Worldwide. That extra “K” in the word “Magick” always makes me cringe, but I let it slide this time.

***And I don’t think this is a result of the Irish cream, because my memory from both before and after the reading is very clear.

****Maybe it’s because I’m an Earth Wizard, but I tend to attract stones like that. I’ve got a small collection of them in my apartment, and I’ve never had to pay for one (not counting my new runes, of course). I call some of these “Sentinel Stones” and use them for a very specific type of magic, but like the runes, I will refrain from really going into that here.


9 thoughts on “Thoughts upon receiving my first professional reading.”

  1. It’s interesting that I’ve also never had my cards read by a professional reader, and I’ve been involved in the study and practice of tarot for 45 years now, at both a casual and professional level. Having acquired a broad and deep knowledge of the esoteric tarot early on, I never felt compelled to seek guidance from any other practitioner who doesn’t have a similar background. If I ever happened to be thrown together with another reader with a comparable history, it would be fun to compare notes and share readings at a deeper level of inquiry than is normal for the typical New Age diviner. I just would go out actively seeking it at this point, since I use astrology more for personal forecasts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (laughing) That woman’s a Tarot-card shark, and your description of her routine is psychic fraud 101. Sure, it was nice of her to gift you a stone on the way out, but that was part of the routine: she began with something nice by complimenting your aura, tried to get you to swallow the hook in the middle, and gave you a nice present at the end. She served you a scamburger with cheese sandwiched with happy buns.

    As for the top-half of the happy bun, my wife and I operated an occult store for ~6 years and bought stones like the one you’re describing. Do you know how cheap those are? That stone probably only cost her 10 cents, if not less depending on the volume in which she purchased it.

    I’m glad that you did ultimately get something out of her performance, but you dodged a bullet. If you were a less aware person, chances are pretty good that have spent way more money than you intended and the second performance would have still been another commercial for a more expensive service.

    If you ever change your mind about having your actual cards read instead of having hooks thrown at you by a talented cold-reader, let me know. No fee, you can consider the reading my gift to you in exchange for writing all these great blog posts that I always read (but rarely comment on.)


    1. Thanks for reading and the kind sentiments.
      The experience didn’t really bother me, despite feeling like a scam. I wanted to have my cards read by a professional, and I did. That professional just happened to not be the sort for which I was hoping, but what can you do. Based on many similar experiences had by other people that I’ve read about, this situation is fairly typical, and so in a sense, I really did get a real taste of the professional Tarot world, even if it wasn’t a flattering one. You gotta take the shit with the gravy, as my dad always says.
      Luckily for me, I knew what I was there for, and I went with an academic mindset, so even had I not cast the runes prior, I’d still not likely have been sucked in. Like I said in this post, the fact that I read my own cards negates any desire to have them read for me by someone else. It’s because of that, and not my experience with this particular reader, that I haven’t yet gotten another professional reading. But that’s not to say I’m prejudiced against all professional readers, or will never have my cards read again. I’m pretty open-minded, and I can see myself doing this again someday. But probably not anytime soon.


  3. I loved reading this. It is great you delved into the runes. I have been studying for some time at quite a langorous pace because I feel it is quite close to my heart and I don’t just want to divine with the runes but craft other things as well. And not for others either, just for me and my personal journey. Runes are truly something. Also, not that you need my recommendation but I have several of Edred Thorsson’s books on runes and they are very well written, informative and historical. I highly recommend him. There are a few others but he is, I feel at least, a good foundation to start with.
    And about that reading, ha! Something very similar happened to me at a shop I frequent. I had never had the cards reads for me specifically and one day I decided to try it, quite recently actually. Apparently speeding through readings is a thing, as the tarot reader threw down the cards and in 10 minutes or so smushed a whole lot of general info I can’t remember now. Like you only one card stood out, the hermit, and I took that as a good omen, as I have personal attachment to whom the card alludes to for me. Other than that the rest is a jumble I cannot piece together. Alltogether, would not have my cards read by another person. Although, there is an old lady nearby who read my husband’s palm and it was a good experience for him. I have been curious to try her out, perhaps one day.
    Truly, there are a lot of scammers out there, a lot of people adding identifiers to themselves and selling it with “glitz and glam.” Personally, I don’t care about psychics nor empaths nor whatever other identifiers. Just read the cards! All it takes is just being aware, really the human experience is all connected and it doesn’t take all these glamorous words to just get deep and really connect with another person. We all suffer afflictions, and surprisingly not so different from one another at the end of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely appreciate the recommendation and will look into it.
      I don’t know if the experience I had was the norm or not, but either way, it was a little off-putting. But yes, it’s not something I’m really interested in doing all the time. The other shop I mentioned has nothing but Tarot advertised, so hopefully there won’t be any psychic stuff there. But we’ll see.
      Your comment was insightful, and I appreciate that you took the time to read this long post and provide your thoughts.


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