Do you keep your Tarot doing a secret?

Michael Sternbach

I don't talk about it to people that supposedly wouldn't be open to it, but I don't make any efforts to cover up my reading either.

In your situation, dear OP, it's wise that you do.


I worry what people will think sometimes, so I don't advertise. I use them for inspiration and guidance.
There are a few people who know and show interest, so I share my experiences with them on occasion. But for the most part my Tarot time is a time for reflection, introspection and sometimes gentle play.


I feel you OP my parents found out that I read tarot and holy crap you think I was still living with them and that I was still a kid the way my father went on but oh well I'm just grateful that they still don't know I'm Wiccan then the fur would really fly so to speak.


Until now, only my closest friends and family members know.


I'm very open with it and will discus Tarot, other spiritual ideas, or whatever esoteric topic they wish the same as history, Pokémon, the weather or whatever. Most of my friends know I study and read Tarot ... I'd go so far as to say that all of my friends do. I'm pretty sure that all of my coworkers know as well. In fact most nights, as long as it's a fairly slow night, I'll have one or more Tarot decks out, along with notebooks and the couple of books I carry with me. So, if they didn't know, it's not because of me hiding it.

The thing is, if it's a busy night (and I can usually get a good feel for what it's going to be like as soon as I get to work), or if I have data-entry to do, or whatever, I don't pull my stuff out. But I started studying Tarot around 25 years ago, and it was very convenient for me to study during the Graveyard shifts that I was working. It helped me stay awake and I never let it interfere with my work. So, even when it was all new to me, I never tried to hide it. (Yeah, still working at the same place ... actually since 1985.)

My sister is Wiccan, so she was not only interested, but has asked for a few readings and has gotten a couple of decks of her own and bought one for me. My mom gave me her Tarot deck that she'd gotten back in the '60's and has gotten a few readings from me. My dad was fine either way, though not particularly interested. My brother is a little bit "don't ask/don't tell" about it because of his religion - but his wife has had a couple of readings from me. My wife isn't overly interested (as long as I don't spend too much money :D ) and her family are all pretty okay with it.

It has been my experience so far that most of the people I run into are moderately to very interested in it when they find out. It probably helps that I live only some 30 miles or so from Sedona, AZ - an extremely New-Agey type of place. A lot of that energy spills over to us as well.

I don't think I've lost any friends over it. Well, none that I can think of. And if someone told me they couldn't be my friend because of the Tarot, I'd figure, they weren't very good friends to start with. I kind of have an attitude of "if you don't like me because of x, y or z, then I hope you have a good life. Besides, I reckon I've gained far more friends than I've lost through Tarot ... because I have friends all over the world through Aeclectic Tarot.

Oh ... and one thought occurs to me about getting packages sent to you when your parents might disapprove of the Tarot; if they ask, tell them it's a video kit so you can produce your own gay porn videos ... then just before they have a complete stroke just say; "no, no ... I was kidding, they're just books on Tarot!" Who knows, it might work in your favor ... })


I keep it secret. I have only three friends who know. I knew they were open to tarot before I brought it up.

I have had really bad experiences with religious zealots, and it's no one's business but mine.


This particular issue strikes a chord this morning, because I was having a red wine-fuelled session last night with some friends about this very topic.

It struck me as bizarre and unacceptable that I still - STILL!!! - keep my tarot-reading sub rosa in certain circles of my life because I know it is deemed "sinful". Yet I am polite and respectful of the belief systems of those who are "praying for me" - they don't show me the same respect or curiosity.

I meet folk regularly who feel it their spiritual obligation to convert or condemn me and I hear that a 'fortune - teller' has been physically attacked in a nearby town (this may be a rumour, I still need to investigate this).

In my other line of work, I have noticed that expressing certain belief systems is absolutely fine whilst others seem to provoke at best ridicule or outright hostility at worst. I'm very cagey about telling anyone I am a tarot reader, astrologer etc - yet paradoxically, there's my name written in capital letters on the blackboard outside the shop!


My whole family is into tarot and occultism in general and everybody in my small circle of friends are familiar with tarot and astrology, so I do not have anything to hide!

In my neighbourhood, some people are "scared" because they see my students coming and going - and yes, I have some weird students! Having said that, there was this lady in my neighbourhood who left the playground with her kid as soon as I walked past it, giving me that evil look. Until one day, her 3 year old daughter was almost being attacked by a dog while the nanny was distracted chatting with other nannies. I managed to hold her in my arms as the dog bit my ankle instead of the little one, leaving me with a bloody foot. In that afternoon, when I came back home from the grocery store, there was a basket with a cake, a couple of flowers and a thank you note from the lady saying "I am sorry, you deserve a neighbour better than me, forgive me, I am grateful" and nowadays I read tarot for her. This episode made me realise that hiding is not an option.


I don't think that I'm going to advertise the fact that I read tarot unless it's with someone who I know is also interested. It just seems like there is so much stigma and confusion about what exactly tarot does and what it's about. Even if I were to really explain it to the people around me, I'm sure a few of them would look at me sideways for it.


I reveal that I have read cards in the past and that I consider myself to have some level of skill in reading the cards. I do not reveal that I curently read them and if someone asks me to read for them I will decline. I have never read the cards for anyone in person, only over the phone or at this website. My reasons include that as a Christian I know that it is wrong (to read tarot), I have a responsibility to avoid leading others into doing what is not pleasing in the eyes of God, and that naive persons can easily beome dependent on tarot readings.