Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Tools That Help, The Tools That Hinder

Is the tool above helpful?
I never wear a watch when I do readings. Call it superstition. Call it what you will. But check my wrists the next time I’m reading for you, and they will be void of timepieces. Why?

I think it might stem from my wrist feeling incredibly heavy with the weight of time when I’m doing readings. I don’t want to feel constrained by time when I give a reading. It takes me completely out of the reading. I also don’t want to indulge into giving in to the urge to look at my watch if I am reading for a difficult client (few and far between, but, hey, it happens).

So, I find wearing a watch to be a tool that hinders. It stops me from doing readings to my best ability. Tools that assist a reader and tools that limit a reader I find to be an individual thing. Over time, you come to realize what works and what doesn’t.

What I think helps a reading:
  • A candle in a color applicable to the reading.
    • Actually, I carved a candle that I only burn during tarot readings. It is purple and anointed with specific oils for the purposes of divination, grounding, and goddesses associated with divination (Brid and Oya). It also is covered in silver glitter. I bet Martha Stewart would be either surprised and/or amused to know that her glitter brand was used for this purpose! I used a “7-Day Pullout” candle for this.
    • There’s plenty of books out there about magical correspondences of colors. Do a Google search with the search terms “candle color correspondences” and you’ll find a wealth of information and recommendations of books to read on the subject. When at a loss in choosing, I suggest burning a white candle, since white is an all-purpose color. Also, use your own gut for this. If you get a peaceful calm feeling from burning a black candle, even if the correspondence isn’t “correct” according to a book, do what you feel. Burn that candle!
    • If you already know what issue a client is coming to the reading for, burn a candle with the corresponding color for the situation. Or burn a candle to combat the situation, such as burning a light blue candle for peace if the particular situation is full of conflict.
    • Always use common sense when burning candles. Keep water close by. Use a candle snuffer when possible.
  • Crystals/gemstones.
    • I usually keep the stones with whatever deck I’m using the most at the time. I store my cards in a bag, so the stones lay right next to the cards in the bag. I favor clear quartz (all-purpose, energy boost), amethyst (intuition, focus), rose quartz (love, friendship), tiger’s eye (luck), and any clear light blue stone (communication).
    • Plenty of books out there about gemstones, too. The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall is a good, comprehensive resource book on the topic.
What I think hinders a reading:
  • Caffeine.
    • Caffeine causes me to become ungrounded. It is very hard for me to read when I’m not grounded. I feel fuzzy, out of it, and not present for the client. Gauge this for yourself. Me, it’s a personal choice to try to avoid coffee before I read for someone.
  • Alcohol.
    • I’ll further specify. I think one glass of wine while doing a reading is fine, especially if you’re feeling uptight/nervous about reading at an event. Sip slowly and thoughtfully. Don’t chug.
      I had a glass of white wine while reading at the Tarot of the Boroughs launch party, and I was fully present for my clients, and not wrapped up in my own confidence issues and anxieties. In this case, it helped. But keep it to a minimum. It’s unlikely that someone will be drawn to a reader that’s smashed out of their gourd. Use common sense. There are some readers that will disagree with me on this point, and prefer to avoid alcohol completely when reading the cards. Do what you feel is ethical. Remember to keep your client’s highest good in mind.
    • Additionally, avoid reading for someone that’s had too much to drink. Reschedule with them if you can. It will be very hard for their reading to be beneficial if they’re not mentally present for the reading, and they won’t retain any information you give them.
Do you need every item? Nope! After all, some of this paraphernalia can get pretty unwieldy. Take everything I said above and either take it to heart, or chuck it out the window. Use whatever tools you want, but always keep ever mindful of the “why” behind them. Be wary of those tools becoming a crutch. In summation, all you really need is your cards and yourself.

What tools do you use in your tarot practice? Do they hinder or help? Why? Let’s chat about it in the Comments section!


  1. I wear a watch because I am very conscious of my time and the client's time. It never hinders me and I am able to glance at it very discreetly.

  2. The Tarot Lady: Now that I think about it, I rarely wear a watch normally. Perhaps this goes hand in hand with my self-destructive "my time is not important" tendencies. I'm going to start wearing one regularly. Then I'll keep it on during readings... then maybe I'll become more aware that time is a precious thing, and my time is valuable!

    Notice that this will shift "a watch" from the category, "Tool that hinders" to the category, "Tool that helps"! ;)

  3. I use a kitchen timer set to "stopwatch" mode -- but I tuck it discretely behind my tarot box, so it doesn't look too obvious or distracting. I have a pretty good sense about when I've reached the 10, 15, and 20-minute mark, because my clients pay by the minute, and we agree in advance how long they want their readings to last. The stopwatch just makes it official.

  4. Here's the model I use:

  5. I never wear a watch at all, but I use a silent timer for all of my tarot readings. I book clients for specific reading times, and their fee is based on the time. I think it adds to the air of professionalism I am trying to uphold. I have a completely silent timer, that has a soft melodic chime when the time is up. I turn the timer so it is visible to both my client and myself, and they thus see that they are getting the full amount of time they are paying for. I am not bothered by any sense of 'time', and it doesn't hamper my reading at all. Here's the model I use:

  6. Corrine and Luna: I love these time options you suggested! I will have to look into this!

  7. I use my cellphone's alarm for my timer! But I really need to be more assertive with telling people that their time's up. :(

  8. Andalusia: As do I. I have been keeping in mind what the Tarot Lady has said to me. 5 minutes from the end of the reading, she says, "Okay, we have time for one more question." That way, the client knows their reading is coming to an end, but it is a smooth way to end the reading. :)