5 Tips for Professional Tarot Readers


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Know Your Strengths

Are you better at distance or in-person readings?

Which would you like to concentrate on?

Which subjects do you prefer to read on? Which won’t you read on?

What are you best at?

You need to clarify this for yourself, so you can focus your efforts on providing the services you are good at.

You also need to spell this out for your potential customers. You can’t give everyone what they want. It’s better to serve a small audience well, than serve a large audience poorly.

You want repeat custom, not bad feedback, right?

Curate Your Content

No Tarot reader can read on every spread under the sun.

Even if you could, no buyer – especially someone new to Tarot, is going to be able to sift through 50+ spreads to find the one they want.

Most readers could stand to lose about 20% of what they offer. Are two of your readings/products very similar? Lose one or combine them.

Make sure your descriptions describe precisely what each spread (or product, or type of reading) is, does, and what it’s for.

What’s Your Style?

Another reader once told me she had all of her banners and promotional material made pink, to make her appear softer and kinder.

She worked in the MBS side of the Tarot world, so her readings were simple, and soft and kind, working more about building up the client in a therapy like way. Obviously, she wanted the attract the sort of client that likes that sort of reading.

However, personality wise, she had a very commanding presence and was quite brusque and appeared quite stern at first impression. This did not encourage her preferred clients to purchase from her.

So, she had all of her physical promotional material made pink. She said this was to soften her harsh aura, but whether you agree with that or not, your branding says something about you.

What does your shop, website or promotional material say about you? Do you like or agree with it?

What’s In it For the Buyer?

Most buyers couldn’t give a toss about all the fancy Tarot facts you know. If they did, they would buy a book on Tarot, not a Tarot reading.

What’s in it for them?

What, precisely, are they buying for their money? What can you tell them?

Why should they pick you, and not another reader?

Nobody really cares if you’re the Sixth High Priestess of Saturn’s Third Moon, if that isn’t going to get them a better product for their money.

The Law, and Third Party Guidelines

Make sure you are always acting in accordance with the law, and operating within the terms and conditions of any third-party websites you are hosted on, like Etsy or eBay. Etsy can and will shut your shop down without warning if they suspect you’ve been breaking the rules. And that’s fine, because it’s their site, and you agreed to their terms.

I don’t need to say that getting into trouble with the law could be so much worse. The law regarding Tarot reading and similar activities differs from country to country, and probably state to state or area to area in larger countries as well. Check your local laws, and check them again.

The deck pictured is the Wildwood Tarot and you can buy it here (affiliate link): The Wildwood Tarot

PBuP 02: Respect the Deer

Today I’m talking to Sara, from DreamweaverSpirit, about working with animal allies, and the importance of originality.

Green Man 3 (1)

“Having my own business has been my dream for as long as I can remember. I have always loved creating things and been passionate about magic and witchcraft, so I thought why not combine the two and sell what I make? Not only would I be creating something beautiful that could be worn or used, but I would also be imbuing the piece with magical energy that could help the person that it was made for. Helping someone on their spiritual journey and gaining their friendship is the most rewarding part of what I do.

Green Man 1

Deer energy is intentional for many reasons. The Celtic God Cernunnos is one of my favourite Gods. He is the Stag Lord, The Spirit of the Forest and I have a deep love and respect for trees and nature. Deer is also one of my Totem animals and my Native American astrological sign. I like to work with all animals, they are great teachers and have much to give humans. Unfortunately, many people do not see this. I like to help people understand what a precious gift they are. When an animal wants to be made or wants to give me it’s message, it starts showing itself to me, it’s everywhere I look. It comes to me in my dreams, when I go out, on the internet, on the front page of a magazine…It is everywhere demanding my attention. I also give a percentage of what I make to various animal charities. It’s my way of saying thank you to our animal brothers and sisters.
Green Man 4
Try and be as original as possible. They are so many websites selling the same old thing and people like to have something unique and unusual. Also take the time to listen the buyers and try to be supportive. A lot of people are after help and advice as much as the piece that they are buying. Lastly be patient and have faith in yourself and in what you are selling. The right person will always come at the right time. The Gods are always on our side if we believe in the Magic.”

Siobhan’s Advice: It’s tempting to follow the crowd when it comes to business, thinking that if they are getting sales they’re doing something right. And that’s useful to an extent, but when you copy someone too much, you become the same and that means less sales for both of you. Your Pagan business must come out of your Pagan practice, or it will not stick. Sara knows what makes her shop DreamweaverSpirit stand out, and that’s what makes her business work, because the only place you can get something like what Sara makes, is from Sara.

More from Sara:




More from Siobhan:

ResurrectionJewelryx Shop

Tarot Readings and More





3 Non-Pagan Books That Changed My Practice

3 non-paganbooks thatmy practiceOr, in the case of the first two, started it.

  1. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. This is one of his YA novels, but don’t let that put you off. The best children’s novels have a power beyond that of the best adult ones. This book not only changed my practice, but my life. Tiffany Aching is a normal girl, with normal hair and normal eyes, who is allowed to be a normal girl. She makes catastrophic mistakes, and has flaws, flights of fancy, friends, fights and falls. Tiffany is that heroine that is denied so many little (and big) girls, someone real, someone flawed, someone good who isn’t always nice.  That has a power all of it’s own, but it’s the way magic works in Discworld that has always grabbed me, or rather the way witchcraft works. Tiffany’s main flaw is her selfishness, and she realises that it’s also her strength, and it’s where her magic comes from. For too long women have been discouraged from being self-centered, yet here is a book that applauds it, and gives it the power it deserves.

2. Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett. Yes, another Discworld novel, but this time one of the adult ones. I picked this one out of all of the witches book he wrote, because of one scene in particular, but all of his witches books influenced my practice beyond measure. From the non-reliance on special tools because of the scene where they raise a demon in a washtub with a scrubbing board and a stick in (I think) Lords and Ladies, or the distinct difference between herbal witchcraft and doctoring, headology and psychology, witchcraft and actual magic. Pratchett taught me that the measure of a witch is knowing when to use magic, and when to use cunning. I chose Carpe Jugulum in particular, because of a scene between Granny Weatherwax, who is a witch, and a priest. Granny remarks that there are no shades of grey, only black and white ‘that’s got a bit grubby’. She also says that all the sins of the world start with the worst sin, and that is thinking of people as things. In later books, he gives a railway train a soul, and reminds us that we should treat everything as a person first, and a thing second.

3.Harry Potter Box Set: The Complete Collection (Children’s Paperback) Harry Potter taught me many things, but it influenced my practice by teaching me that the greatest magic is love. That doing the right thing isn’t easy, but you can find it on the edge between selfishness and selflessness.

Like books? Visit my book review blog Mercurial Review to get all of my posts about books from around the web.

Top 5 Best Pagan Books

Top 5.jpgThese are in no particular order, one, because they are all very good, and two, because they deal with such vastly different subjects it would be unfair to rank them. (Also, the first link in each, the actual name of the book is a link direct to that book on Amazon where you can buy it. It is an affiliate link which means I earn a tiny commission from Amazon should you buy anything through that link.)

  1. Pagan Planet: Being, Believing & Belonging in the 21Century edited by Nimue Brown. Full review here. I’ve chosen this one, because it features so many varied  viewpoints on what it is to be Pagan, that there isn’t a person on the planet who won’t learn something new or be offered a new way of looking at the world when they read this book. This book has articles not just from writers, but from other prominent Pagans, activists and clergy and both. This is a must read for anyone who feels like they’ve lost their way – there are so many ways out there, you can find one to suit you or create your own.
  2.  A Druid’s Tale by Cat Treadwell. Full review here. Cat shares what it’s like to be a Druid as she sees it, and it’s a wonderful tale, full of inspiration and lessons. Useful not only for people on a druidic path, but for anyone considering a clergy or professional religious role in a great many religions, I think.
  3. A Deed Without a Name: Unearthing the Legacy of Traditional Witchcraft by Lee Morgan. Full review here. Winnning the award for longest title on my bookshelf, this book has really opened my eyes to folklore and folk magic, and allowed me to investigate historical material more thoroughly. This is a book I go back to, time and time again, for things even beyond witchcraft – I’m doing some research for some folklore articles I’m writing, and yet again this book turns out to be useful.
  4. Pagan Dreaming: The magic of altered consciousness by Nimue Brown. Full review here. It’s several months on from my first reading of this book , and I still can’t believe just how much it’s helped me. Following it has not only given me greater clarity and an actual relationship with my dreams, but has also given me my health back. Being able to to properly analyse not only my dreams but also my sleep has allowed a doctor to finally find out why I am tired, and now I have my life back. This is the only book I’ve ever read which emphasized and explained that to work with dreams you need to work with sleep, and how important sleeping actually is. I would recommend no other book on the subject.
  5.   The Book of English Magic by Richard Heygate. This book is not really designed for practioners, or for academics, which is why I love. It is a tour of English magic from as far back as we can reach, to the Chaos Magic of the 1980s, and contains just about every flavour of English magic I can think of. There are also interviews with all kinds of magic users, from witches to magicians to Wiccans, as well as simple tutorials to try out all kinds of magic. My copy is almost falling apart from overuse and it’s full of notes and scribblings too.

Like books? Visit my book review blog Mercurial Review to get all of my posts about books from around the web.

PBuP 01: Mother Shipton, Spell Kits, and the Great Etsy Witch Hunt

Today I’m talking to Di from Trulymagick, about the Great Etsy Witch Hunt, and the importance of customer service.


“Our family are linked to old Mother Shipton on my father’s side. His family came from Knaresborough Yorkshire and a Capstick married a Shipton.

I have been a practising witch all my life. I have always cast spells from the age of 3 when my parents gave me my first wand for Christmas. I was so disappointed I could not turn my little sister into a frog!! So I decided to make my own wand and live a life as a faerie.
As I grew up I learnt the craft and how to live a positive life. I studied all forms of spirituality and absorbed as much info as I could.
In 2012 I decided to try to earn my living as a full time witch and spell caster so launched a few spell kits on ebay. All 10 sold with in 10 days…so that was all I needed to start to create the shop…I just knew people needed my kits.
I was flooded with questions and requests. I opened Trulymagick on Etsy and the sales flew out. Last year Etsy changed their policy on spells and spell casters so it was a bad time for many of us. I have had to remove over 100 items and go underground with some items. However I am very public on Facebook and my website http://www.Trulymagick.co.uk is just launched.
My advice for Pagan shops on Etsy is to build up customer relations. Be very honest about what you do and how you do it. Chat to the clients. Support other pagan and witchcraft shops by making treasuries and support the pagan communities & teams.
I am not prepared to hide what I do as my customers need my products and are intelligent people who are capable of deciding what is misleading or not. If Etsy wants to stop spell casters, conjures then that is their choice . I will comply, but my own website will be where my journey continues.”
More from Di:
Siobhan’s Advice: Always check Etsy’s, or eBay’s or any third party websites terms and conditions about what you are allowed to sell, and how. They can and will change their terms as they like, so make sure you check often, and ask if unsure. I know from experience Etsy tries to inform you directly to any policy change regarding spellcraft, readings etc, which is nice of them, but you can’t expect them to message 1000+ shops. Also check your local laws, and make sure your customers check theirs. A disclaimer of ‘Sold as curio only, can legally make no guarantees’ usually absolves you even in the case of enchanted items. Usually. Check the law, and check terms and conditions of any third party websites.  If you don’t like or can’t work within Etsy or eBay’s T&C, then follow Di’s advice and start your own website. How to do that is something we’ll be looking at over the course of the Pagan Business Project.
Have any questions about this topic, or other topics to do with Pagan Business? You can comment here or email me at: emmasiobhanjohnson@gmail.com

Introducing the Pagan Business Project!

introducingOr PBuP for short.*

So, what is it?

Every week I’ll be sharing  an interview with someone working as a Pagan Businessperson – whether they’re an author, a DJ, a shop owner or something else, they will be someone whose business has a solidly ‘Pagan’** point to it.

As well as that interview, I’ll be sharing my brief thoughts and advice on the particular topic brought up, in the same post.

They’ll also be another post each week about the more hard and fast technical points of running a Pagan business, both looking at why running a Pagan business is different that running a non-Pagan business, but also why it’s not. If the interviews are inspiration-porn, this part is the tutorial part.

I’m also looking for guest posters, and when I finally move house again***, there will be podcasts and videos as part of this project, as well as for this blog as a whole.

*The little ‘u’ counts, so it doesn’t clash with the other PBP, the Pagan Blog Project.

** We can argue until the cows go to the moon about what precisely is Pagan. I’m looking and featuring people who a) practise magic and/OR b) have an earth-centered religion and/OR c) have a religion that is not precisely Pagan, but one may confuse it with Paganism on a dark and foggy night. Basically, if you have some sort of ‘woo-ness’ in your business, you’re in.

*** We moved across the country but the house at the other end fell through. Now we’re in a rental and we’re not bothering to unpack until we move into an actual house.

Brain Dumping – To Do Lists, Minus Anxiety

I suffer from anxiety, and I also run two one-person businesses. Anxiety often results in procrastination, while my ambition demands that I do more and more.to do lists.jpg

This has lead to a love/hate relationship with to do lists. Mainly hate. Whilst I wander around like a balloon without a string, bumping into stuff and getting stuff done mainly by accident.

I’ve tried everything, but I think I’ve finally found the solution. For me, anyway.

Some people call it Brain Dumping, but I’ve also heard that same term refer to what I’ve always called ‘Morning Pages’, as described in the Artist’s Way. The form of Brain Dumping I’m referring to is creating a Master To Do list.

And by master, I do mean master. I have a huge notebook wholly devoted to this task. Since mid-February when I started, this master to do list now stretches nine A5 pages. And I feel fine about it.

Because the point of the master book is to write down every task as soon as I think of it, whether it’s something I need to do today or in six months. Then it’s out of my head and in a place where I know I will check.

Then every day, whenever I’m about to start work, I look through the book and choose which tasks I need to complete, and, if I like, write a separate to do list for that day.

I pick all the time limited ones first. Then, if there’s time and energy, I pick either to block out some time for a larger project, or blast through a few small tasks.

In the afternoon, I can see how much energy I have and possibly pick one or two more tasks, or not. I know I will already have completed time limited tasks earlier in the day, so my anxiety is limited in its chances to strike.

I’m gonna be posting another update on this to see if it still works in six months, but I’m very happy with my progress so far.

Book Review Monday: Candle Magic


Buy it here: Pagan Portals – Candle Magic: A witch’s guide to spells and rituals

This is the best sort of handbook, it builds literally from the ground up, containing spells and exercises suitable for any ability level.

It shows you why and how each sort of candle is used, so you can progress onto creating your own spells, rituals and practices with candles using them in a way to suit you, rather than copying them exactly.

I’ve worked with candles for nearly eight years now, and there was plenty of new to me information in here, so I would certainly recommend it to you at any point of your journey with candle magic.

Like books? Visit my book review blog Mercurial Review to get all of my posts about books from around the web.


Tarot Decks I Use

I currently only use one deck for professional readings, and that’s the Wildwood Tarot.


Buy it here: The Wildwood Tarot

I’d had my eye on it for ages, and picked it up at an MBS fair. I was attracted to it by the massive stag on the box, if I’m honest, because I have a Thing* for stags and I think I was being nudged by the Spirit Guide.

Anyway, I took it home and fell in love with it. It is very simple to use, and has the name and number of the card on each card so is perfect for beginners, or people who have used a traditional deck and want to branch out into something different.

However, it is not a simple deck, and I learn something new every time I read it. It is a very inutitive deck, and you are urged in the guidebook to form a relationship with the cards beyond what the guidebook tells you. I am endlessly impressed, not just with the use of the cards, but with the novella-sized guidebook that comes with, the depth and detail of the imagery, and the general sturdiness of the cards and box.

I am learning to use the Gods of the Machine deck, and hope to offer it in the shop around August, to coincide with the possible appearance of myself at Lincoln Steampunk Fair.


Buy it here: The Steam Punk Tarot: Wisdom from the Gods of the Machine

This is the other Steampunk deck, not the famous one, but I preferred the look of this one. It’s different, and features Steampunk paraphernalia other than cogs and gears. I can’t give you many reading points on this one yet, but it is also an intuitive deck.

What’s especially good about this deck is that the guidebook includes twenty two spreads in it, one for each of the Major Arcana. This deck uses reversals, and gives detailed hints and tips about reading each card in a number of ways.

If you’re looking for a Steampunk deck, I recommend this one.

Buy it here: Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot Deck (Anne Stokes Collection)

This was one of my first decks, and whilst it is stunning, I don’t think it’s a good deck for beginners. If you already read with traditional decks, you’ll get on great with this one. It’s got a touch of drama about it when you read with it, which goes very well with the beautiful illustrations for the court cards and Major Arcana.

*A spiritual Thing, not a weird Thing

(Some of the links on my blog are affiliate links. That means that I earn a small commission when you purchase something through them.)

It’s Okay Not to Read Your Own Tarot Cards

why it's okay.jpgA lot of the paid readings I do are for other magic-y -woo types, often other Tarot readers. A lot, okay. I myself have purchased  Tarot readings from other Tarot readers, and I will continue to do.

I, and many other, and probably you if you’re reading this, do not feel comfortable reading for ourselves on deeply emotional issues.

This is not because I am unconfident in my Tarot readings. It is because it’s easy to read meanings into things that simply aren’t there. This is why omens and messages from the wild often aren’t true.

Sometimes seeing a pigeon doesn’t mean that girl on the train wasn’t interested. Some times it’s just a pigeon, and you totally should email her. She gave you her card, right?

Anyway, I’m digressing. It’s totally okay not to trust yourself when you have an emotional investment in the outcome of the situation. It’s normal. It’s far too easy to deliberately misread something to make it seem like a certain outcome is true, and it’s also easy to be lead astray by false information that you think is true. That’s why I don’t read for close family and friends either. I have a pre-conceived notion of the situation, and it’s too easy to accept that as truth and not listen to the cards.

Not reading for yourself doesn’t make you a bad Tarot reader. It makes you a normal human being who can be lead astray by their own feelings. You are a better reader if you admit that you can’t do everything, and choose to work where you’re strongest.

When I work with a client, my objective is to give them the tools and advice to get through the problem and make the situation better. I help them solve the problem, I give them what they need, not what they want. It is much harder to do that for yourself, so never feel ashamed that you can’t.

It’s a difficult thing to do, and it’s okay to ask another reader for their impartial advice.

It is why we are here.