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First-time Jitters

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 14 Apr 2004, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Kittaine  14 Apr 2004 
When was the first time you read the Tarot for people, in front of people? What was it like? How many people were there (excluding yourself)? One? Two? Three? How about ten? It's your first time to ever do a reading in front of people, and there are TEN people around you, WATCHING you! 8 of them are total strangers.

You feel the IMMENSE pressure to perform. You try so hard to concentrate and summon your intuitive powers. You tell yourself it's just like any other tarot reading, only there's a crowd watching you, talking loudly, constantly moving around and wanting you to read for them too! IMAGINE! They were asking, even begging you to read for them! All the while you were trying to block them out so that you could concentrate!

That's what it was like for me! It only happened hours ago! It was my first time, and I'm only just a beginner! It was so embarrassing! ALL my readings came out WRONG! They weren't even just inaccurate, they were not true at all! *sob* It's bad enough to have a wrong reading when you're all alone. Imagine how traumatizing it is when it's in front of a whole bunch of people, most of them you don't even know! And I was in that pressure-cooker for a whole hour! I couldn't get out easily!

You're probably wondering how I ended up there to begin with. Well, when it started, there were only two people; one of them I was reading for. But even with two, I already felt pressured! Since we were in the lobby, we were easy to spot when other people came in.

To add insult to injury, my cards got harassed. Yes, the people were just fascinated with what I was doing and with the cards, and I could see that. Yes, they meant well. But they were putting so much pressure on me! And, my poor cards... :( They're being borrowed now. Will they ever be the same again? I'm one of those people who're so conscious and sensitive about their decks...

The whole experience so affected me, that when I was alone again and tried to do a reading for this guy, communicating with him through cellphone text messaging (which is what I prefer when reading for others), there were some stuff that I just couldn't get. Something was blocking me. My self-confidence was so low, when just yesterday, I had such a great time with my cards and I felt they really were speaking to me. They were 100% consistent on everything. Now, it's like back to square one again.

I don't think I want to read with other people around anymore, not even one-on-one. I work better alone, even if I'm doing a reading for other people; I just work better alone...

How do you read tarot with people around you...? I mean, how would an experienced tarot reader handle a situation such as the one I described? 

cartarum  14 Apr 2004 
i sympathize with you. the vendetta skeptics are the worst though. did you get skeptics? your experience feels like seven of swords. with alot of nine of swords too.
basically, choose a complicated spread, and dont ask questions when you read. but study the spread until you know all its secrets
before you attempt to read for poeple. if you can read the "lay of the land" in the cards then when you speak, they will say: yeah, i know what you are talking about. then they can ask questions.
use the current information in the cards to answer the question.
take it easy. 

September Pixie  14 Apr 2004 
Awww don't get discouraged.. take some time and regroup your thoughts and let things calm down... then start again reading for people you trust.. then when you are ready you can venture out again.. but if you NEVER feel comfortable reading in front of more than one person.. that is totally fine. You do what works best for you.

Hang in there :) It will get easier. 

mysticalowl  14 Apr 2004 
I can understand exactly how you must have felt. Personally, I would only read in front of 2-3 people at most and I honestly don't like reading in front of more than one. To me a reading is a connection between you and the querent. There is no need for other people to hear what you might say to this person. Luckily I have not been in a situation where a lot of people walked in on the reading...I'm not sure how I would handle it. Maybe the question to the forum should be what do you do when a lot of people barge in on a private reading...if it is not in a "private" location. My personal opinion would be to explain that this is a private reading and if they would like a reading they can set up a time to meet with me. 

MeeWah  14 Apr 2004 
The presence of others can be very distracting, especially where the focus is concerned. Also, one may "pick up" on someone or a number of people other than the querent, resulting in confusion or in impressions not of the querent.

From the beginning, I have preferred the one-on-one sessions for the purposes of focus & for privacy. In a group setting, I insist on a private area for the reading, without the presence of others. Usually at a psychic faire, there is some distance between the readers' tables & querents & may include a waiting area away from the reading tables for those waiting their turn.

I was in high school when I was requested to read for guests at a large dinner party hosted by the parents of a classmate. Although the hosts had rented small tables & chairs placed through a portion of their apartment, it was cramped due to the number of people. I managed to do a few readings. One of the last was for a woman who was also a neighbor of the hosts. Bad enough to see serious marital problems but far worse was the lack of privacy in communicating as by then, we were surrounded by an audience. I resolved then to not read under such circumstances.

In getting the feet wet in the public venue, consider practicing readings via the private sessions with friends first. It will help in developing a comfort level when reading for others in person. It will also help to develop a level of focus (which for me is different than reading in the absence of the client) & the skills. 

Astra  14 Apr 2004 
Hey, tell them to go away, have a cup of coffee, take a walk around the block, but you don't want to deal with anybody except the person you're reading for. And if you don't like to loan out your cards, a simple no, or NO! will usually suffice.

If you don't like telling people no, or telling them to go away and wait somewhere else, find a friend who's willing to let you practice on him/her, and then get used to saying it.

Some people just don't like being crowded, some people don't have much problem with it. Actually I suspect that if you get really good at saying no, it won't bother you so much if they do hang around, because you know you can kick them out if you want to. 

Imagemaker  14 Apr 2004 
Reading is a little like being a teacher in front of a classroom--in order for the querent to feel they're in good hands, you need to project confidence you may not feel, you need to convey intelligence you may be unsure of, you need to assume a mask of "respect me" you may not feel you deserve.

It's not about arrogance covering inability, it's about "owning" your skill and trusting in your ability to deliver. All that means you need to direct the action, not be jerked around by crowds of oglers and chattering silliness.

It's perfectly all right to tell onlookers that due to the personal nature of what may arise in a reading, you require privacy for your querent. And ask them to leave the reading area.

It's all about presence of mind rather than desperate acting. Breathe and center yourself within, then do what is necessary.

Good luck next time! 

HudsonGray  14 Apr 2004 
Once you start thinking of all the people around you it's extremely easy to get so distracted that the whole reading can go bloey! Take a deep breath, do small readings, ask questions, you be in charge, not the others. Maybe emphasize to them that this is one of the first times you're trying to read for others so you need to keep relaxed.

Don't let it put you off doing it though, the more practice you get the better. 

CreativeFire  15 Apr 2004 
When there are lots of onlookers or audience for a reading, it can be like you are putting on a show. Which can be fine in some more light hearted situations, however I certainly agree if you are doing a personal reading for someone there definitely needs to be a certain level of privacy to really feel comfortable talking about what you may see in the cards and any personal feedback your querent may have.

I have done a couple of reading sessions with large audiences (20+ people) eg. New Year's Eve party where I was just doing quick fun spreads for what the New Year will bring for people but I explained before I started that these were only fun, light, quick readings and that normally I would do a "proper" reading one on one and would take more time.

So therefore everyone knew the situation before I started and all was fine and we all got to have a bit of a laugh. If there were things that came up in the cards that people wanted to get more personal about and into more detail, I just suggested that I would be happy to do a more involved reading for them at another time if they wanted.

Can certainly feel for you though, Kittaine, trying to do an indepth reading for someone with a lot of people wandering over to have a look. It certainly was a learning experience for you - albeit not a pleasant one. Maybe the lesson to learn is to try and find somewhere more private before doing readings if you possibly can.

Don't give up though!!! You will be able to look back and laugh about it one day ;)


Star Spirit  15 Apr 2004 
I'm sorry that happened to you, Kittaine! I've never read in-person yet, and will only do so when I feel I am ready. I do quite good online but there is little human contact involved. Don't feel discouraged--and don't borrow out your decks if it makes you uncomfortable! You have a right to say no. I think the problem was that you weren't really ready to read in front of people like that, so you got distracted, way too nervous and lost your focus, thus your readings got muddled. It doesn't mean you're a bad reader or that you can never do this again, you just have you build up your confidence and wait until you are ready! And if that means you have to do it with just one other person to start out, then let people know so that you can be comfortable and give your best readings possible. These things take time, so don't let one bad experience sour you. One day you'll have a better opportunity. 

closrapexa  15 Apr 2004 
Horrible first-time experience. I can somewhat relate, to a degree. My first time was at a family affair, and yes, there were several people around that looked, talked and even made some "helpful" suggestions. That wasn't the main problem, however. My Querent was just interested in testing me. "Well, what have you got up until now" kind of thing. Totally unnerving. But, I got back on the horse and perservered. 

The First-time Jitters thread was originally posted on 14 Apr 2004 in the Talking Tarot board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Talking Tarot, or read more archived threads.

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