Professional Tarot: The Business of Reading, Consulting, and Teaching by Christine Jette
Review by Diane Wilkes

If you would like to purchase this book, click here.

There has been little written about the specific subject of professional tarot reading. I remember an article by Gail Fairfield in an old Tarot Network News on the topic that I found valuable, but since I was not reading professionally at the time, I didn't put much of her advice into action. Since I "turned pro", I have had to lean on Donna Cunningham's The Consulting Astrologer's Guidebook for written counsel, adapting some of her suggestions to my tarot practice.

Now, however, Christine Jette (Tarot Shadow Work, Tarot for the Healing Heart, Tarot for All Seasons) has turned her talented hand to the development of a "reading, consulting, and teaching" tarot career, and I believe it is mandatory reading for anyone who wants to approach the tarot from a professional standpoint. It is particularly valuable for tarotists who constantly strive to erase the stain and stigma of rip-off artists who use the tarot much in the way crooked doctors use prescription pads to provide narcotics without a medical basis. In reality, doctors are not often tarnished by the same brush by those who use their tools nefariously as ethical tarot readers are by the professional curse-lifters, but that's a rant for another day.

What made me take that little journalistic side-trip is that Professional Tarot is a powerful tool in the legitimate tarot reader/teacher's arsenal, a light-saber that can illuminate and enhance professionalism and, hopefully, assist others in bringing legitimacy to the tarot community. With clarity and wisdom, Jette first has the reader assess him- or herself as a potential tarot professional, even as she deconstructs delusions and offers concrete realities about what building a tarot practice actually involves. She also spends significant time on money issues, which concern many tarot enthusiasts I have met in my travels. It's hard putting a price-tag on spiritual work, and Jette's book offers the tools for helpful self-examination on this, and other issues facing tarot readers. 

The author then provides nuts-and-bolts information on the actual building of a tarot business, such as rates and modes of payment, advertising and workspace concerns, computer readings (an entire chapter is devoted to tarot and the Internet), and bookkeeping and tax issues. She even has a section on closing your business, something I never even considered, but valuable and essential information nonetheless.

Jette also has a chapter on "Counseling Clients," which is worth the price of the book by itself. For those who haven't studied psychology or haven't had experience in counseling, this section offers salient and practical advice on dealing with clients in crisis, as well as general therapeutic approach and techniques. There is also a section on doing short readings and indoor/outdoor fairs. Jette's style is often anecdotal, which makes the material accessible and interesting.

The last formal chapter is devoted to teaching tarot (and one of the appendices includes several syllabi for classes Jette has taught). Only one other book in recent memory addresses this (Heart of Tarot), so this section would be valuable for its rarity alone. However, Jette's advice on handling "butterflies and spinning rooms", dealing with difficult students, and the tips on preparation will greatly benefit new tarot teachers and offer some ideas (and consolation!) to experienced ones.

The Epilogue shares suggestions on how to avoid burnout and sums up many of the author's basic points. The book contains three appendices--the aforementioned course outlines, a sample reader's code of ethics, and a large list of resources that supplement and expand on the material in Professional Tarot.

It seems Jette thought of everything a tarot reader "going pro" needs to know. I really appreciate the no-flake content of this book--Jette is spiritually connected and pragmatic simultaneously. The only thing I can think of that she missed is what I consider the budding professional's best friend: PayPal--a nifty way to be paid via the Internet without accruing large charges for credit card processing services.

I highly recommend this book for any tarot reader and/or teacher who is looking to be professional. And I mean that both in the "non-amateur" sense of the word (ie., charging for your services) and also in terms of professionalism, as in someone who is both proficient and credible.

If you would like to purchase this book, click here.

You can read other reviews of this book here and here.

Professional Tarot: The Business of Reading, Consulting, and Teaching by Christine Jette
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide
ISBN #: 073870217X


Learning from Lucy

Charles Schultz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, was a wise man, and Lucy was one of my favorite characters. She dispensed wisdom as she stood behind a sign that read "Psychiatric Help -- 5 cents." But mostly, she just showed up and paid attention.  As tarot readers, we have a lot to learn from Lucy.

In her wonderful book, The Tarot: Methods, Mastery and More, Cynthia Giles bases the qualities of a successful tarot reader on Angeles Arrien's Four-Fold Way:

Showing up means choosing to be present with the cards, the client, and the unfolding event.  It is the Way of the Warrior who is leader, protector, and explorer.  We pay attention to what the cards are presenting, not what we personally think.  It is the Way of the Healer who gives heart and meaning through the power of love.

We tell the truth when we speak honestly without shame or judgment, rather than trying to control or make a point.  It is the Way of the Visionary who creates and communicates.  And finally, we remain unattached and opens to outcomes, without taking a position, to allow our seeker personal responsibility and freedom of choice.  It is the Way of the Teacher who has wisdom and detachment.

Try this: Select a tarot card to represent each of the qualities of a successful reader.  For example, which cards represent Warrior, Healer, Visionary, and Teacher to you?  It's not a trick question and there are no wrong answers.  The cards you choose will be based on your own tarot philosophy and frame of reference.  Once you've made your selection, meditate with them one at a time and make an entry in your journal about each.  How would each of them conduct a tarot consultation?  You'll learn much about the qualities you bring to the reading table.

NOTE: The author of Professional Tarot, Christine Jette, has made some additions to her book and put them on her website.

Excerpt 2003 Llewellyn Worldwide
Review and page 2003 Diane Wilkes