Your question explained
Why aren’t tarot readings free? I get asked to do free readings by people more often than you would think. As I’m becoming more visible I’m getting these requests on a fairly consistent basis. While I do want to help everyone I can, asking this question puts me in a difficult spot. I hope that what I have to say will enlighten people to the craft of tarot and why readers charge for their services. So for all of my fellow readers who don’t know what to do in this situation, and everyone who wonders why we charge what we do for our services, here’s the skinny.
When I first started to work with the tarot I really didn’t have a lot of experience, which is basically where we all start. And the only way to get that is by doing readings for other people. In order to gain experience, confidence and validation, I started doing readings on a donation basis. This helped me solve the problem of finding clients because now they could get the information they wanted on a payment scale that worked for them.
Don’t forget that when you are starting out you should always make it clear to your clients that you are a beginner so they know what they are signing on for. Sometimes readings can get heavy and people will take what you say to heart. This is why it is important to be honest about your skill level at all times. And for those of you looking for a free reading, this is where I would suggest you start.
Why Won’t I do Free Tarot Readings
Time & Energy
Reading tarot cards takes a lot of time and energy for each session Many times I am dealing with people who are going through very heavy or difficult periods in their lives and are in desperate need to make sense of it all. I deal with death, suicide, serious or terminal health issues, divorces, infidelity, mental health problems, anxiety, depression and financial hardships just to name a few. During some of my sessions I’m not only reading cards but I’m holding space for individuals who are in a challenging place in life. And who really need to be understood and not judged. While reading cards can be fun and rewarding, it’s also heavy work.
Everyone’s Time has Value
When I first started doing tarot and energy work I had a very wise woman (who happens to be a mentor of mine) tell me that no matter what you should always charge for your time because it has value. When you start off you can work on a donation basis or trade for your work until you feel comfortable charging for a set rate. But it’s important that people value your time because it IS a lot of work. And if you don’t put your boundaries up people will take advantage of you. Over time, I have found this to be one of the best pieces of advice I have gotten. And I share it with everyone. If you aren’t willing to work at your job for free then it’s probably not a good idea to ask someone else to do it either.
Knowledge & Skill
I have spent a great deal of time training and learning my craft. I have over a decade of experience under my belt and my expertise has value. The tarot deck is comprised of 78 cards that have several meanings right side up as well as reversed. I have learned not only to memorize them, but to understand the stories they are trying to tell me about the questions they are being asked. I can also work with my guides and intuition to provide additional details during a session.
It may seem like a fun thing to get a reading to see what happens, but for me it is also an intricate balance of providing people with the correct information to help them with the choices they make and the paths they choose. The cards will always appear the correct way, but it is my job as the tarot reader to make sure I interpret them for you correctly. This is a lot of work to ask someone to give you without compensating them in some way.
So what’s the solution?
For someone who is looking to get a reading:
Please remember that you are asking someone to share their time and expertise with you. Therefore you should expect to pay them for the value of the services they provide. If you do not have the necessary funds available, consider offering to trade services. I know some tarot readers who are willing and open to this type of arrangement. However, there is one method of payment you can suggest that may not be well received. And that is promising future referrals or business in exchange for free work up front. Please know this is not appropriate offer because the payout you are exchanging is purely hypothetical in nature.
At the end of the day reading tarot cards can be fun but it’s still a job and a professional business. You wouldn’t ask a plumber to fix your pipes for free. Your dentist wouldn’t clean your teeth and tell you that your appointment was on the house. And a restaurant wouldn’t let you leave without paying the bill. Try to consider the question from these perspectives before you ask someone to give you something for nothing.
For tarot readers who are asked this question:
It’s really up to you how you want to deal with people who are approaching you for free work. But in my many years of doing this I have come across people who do not charge for their time or what they are worth. And they always feel frustrated and taken advantage of. So I really would recommend asking for some sort of payment for your time. And that amount can increase as your skill level and confidence increases.
I have a pre-written note that I send to anyone who messages me asking for free readings. Because unfortunately this is how often it happens. But you should clearly state that while you appreciate the interest and would love to do a reading, your time and expertise has value so you charge for it accordingly. I offer free general readings on my Instagram, Facebook and You Tube (weekly or monthly) and I feel thats a good compromise. You can get a feel for who I am, what I do and see if I’m someone you’re interested in working with.
Also beware of people inquiring if they can get readings via DM (Direct Message), Instagram, or Facebook. I have learned to make sure I am clear that while I am open to reading in these formats, I do require payment up front and these are my fees. About 99% of the time people disappear completely, laugh uncomfortably or they will give me an “ok thanks” response. Which is a good way to weed out people who will take advantage of you if you open the door.
Always know the value of your time and energy. And be respectful of the time and energy of others.