Do you remember when you first ‘came out' and told your parents, your friends, your family, your co-workers, your non-Tarot clients, or complete strangers that you're a Tarot reader? Or maybe you still haven't? Maybe you're still hidden safely in the Tarot closet.
‘Coming out' to my parents was easy. Mum was the person who gave me the Tarot cards in the first place (despite clearly stating several times she is a ‘non-believer' in this hocus-pocus). ‘Coming out' to close friends – no problems there either.
But ‘coming out' to colleagues and people from my corporate life – eeks! Changing my LinkedIn profile to say “Tarot Professional” – nerve-wracking! And telling strangers that I read Tarot cards for a living… without blushing or trying to quickly cover it up with, “Oh, but I used to work in corporate and I have a Masters degree” – nearly impossible.
Keeping Your Tarot Talents A Secret
We all have our reasons for whether we're completely open about our Tarot reading talents or whether we keep it a secret.
Perhaps you're working in a corporate role where you don't want potential employers to Google you and find out you're a Tarot reader. Or your professional association rules that you cannot keep your credentials and practice Tarot openly (e.g. hypnotherapy or psychology).
Perhaps you come from a strict religious background where Tarot is ‘evil' (even though we know the Tarot has a clear historical connection with Christianity) and if anyone ever found out you read the cards, you'd be told you're going straight to hell.
Or perhaps you're worried you might be ridiculed or made fun of, even by your friends. “Oh, you don't seriously believe in that woo-woo stuff, do you?”
So, in an attempt to cover up what we really do, we might use a pseudo-name (I used “Biddy” for almost 15 years), withhold our personal photo (or use a picture of something else instead), hide our Tarot books and decks in a secret place or only tell the people we really trust.
But do we have to remain ‘in the closet' for the rest of our Tarot lives?! Why not ‘come out' and be free?!
Why Coming Out as Tarot Reader Can Be Liberating
I have to admit, I really struggled with being open about reading Tarot. I had a very professional, corporate image I had to protect and I didn't want anything to come in the way of that.
But I came to a point when I had decided I was going to quit my corporate job and become a full-time Tarot professional, and I decided it was also time to be ‘real' about who I am and what I do.
Why hide? Why act as if what I do for a living is something to be ashamed of, embarrassed about, or even in denial of?
I help people transform their lives. It just so happens that I use these 78 cards with pictures on them that help me tap into my intuition.
And what's more, I've created a successful and fulfilling Tarot business that enables me to spend more time with my family and to make a difference in other people's lives.
What is there to be embarrassed about?
When I started to see my Tarot work as a legitimate way of helping people and a legitimate way to build a business and a livelihood, I felt much more confident in being open about what I do.
And as I am more open, I am more authentic and in harmony with who I am. I am no longer this split identity, but I am whole again. I am me again. And what a wonderful feeling that is.
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Are you with me?! Want to try being ‘out', if you're not already?
How To Be ‘Out' with Grace and Confidence
‘Coming out' can be scary – you never know how other people might respond and whether you'll end up just making an even bigger mess for yourself as you fumble over your words. So it's important that when you do ‘come out' as a Tarot reader, you do it with grace and confidence!
Here are my tips for being ‘out' as a Tarot reader:
- Have an ‘elevator pitch' ready. Prepare your 30 second spiel about what you do and what value you add in people's lives. Don't just say, “I'm a Tarot reader” and quickly change the topic. Talk about what you actually do – “I inspire and coach people through difficult and confusing moments in their lives, using the Tarot cards.”
- Take it slow. Changing your LinkedIn profile to “Job: Tarot Reader” may come a little later on the list than telling your good friends or posting your photo on your website. You don't have to go all out, if you don't want to. Baby steps are OK!
- Don't down-play yourself. If you're going to be ‘out', be ‘out'. Don't say, “Oh, I'm just a Tarot reader. Yeah, I know, really weird, huh?! I do other stuff too – want to know about that instead?” Be confident and ‘own' it. Say, “I'm a Tarot reader and I love what I do. I help so many people reconnect with themselves in order to navigate life's challenges. I feel so lucky to be able to do this for a living!” (I'm still working on this one, personally!)
- Have a clear point of view on how the Tarot works. People are naturally going to ask you about “how it all works”. Be ready with a short and succinct explanation of how you believe the Tarot helps you to inspire and coach people, for example.
- Avoid getting ‘preachy'. You and I, we love Tarot and we ‘believe' in it. But not everyone does. No amount of preaching and converting will get some folks to agree with what you do or with the impact it has. So know when to draw the line and move on. Marie Forleo has a great video about the right – and the wrong – way to share your personal development with others.
- Know your stuff. Did you know that Tarot is steeped in Christian symbolism? If not, do your research! The next time someone tells you that you're going to hell for playing with Satan and dealing in divination, you can start reeling off all the ways in which Tarot and Christianity are aligned. (OK, just make sure you don't get preachy!)
- Give the benefit of the doubt. You might think the person you're talking to is the most straight, non-spiritual person in the room, but you never know! In the 2013 Biddy Tarot Reader Survey, there were folks who are nurses, lawyers, real estate agents, bankers, correction officers, medical students, swimming teachers and maths teachers… all reading the Tarot cards! Who would have thought? So give the benefit of the doubt – you never know if they're also ‘in the Tarot closet'.
Your Stories About Staying in the Closet or Being ‘Out'
I asked the Biddy Tarot community to share their stories about being out of the closet. Here's a few:
“My friends all knew I read the cards. But when I first told my mother, she asked if I was practicing witchcraft! She wouldn't let me read for her until this past year. Now, she is floored by how the cards work. She often asks me questions about the cards as they are drawn and is very supportive!” – Jake
“There was no “coming out as a tarot person” required for me as I was interested in intuitive, symbolic, and mythic ways of Knowing at a very early age. It was not a great surprise to my family when I purchased my first pack of tarot cards at the age of 12. When I “went pro” in my late 20s, I decided to use my own name on all of my advertising because the tarot was, and is, a part of me. I'm proud to be someone who employs the tarot in a way that sets up conditions wherein people can gain insight into themselves and their lives.” – James Wells
“I've been coming out slowly. My family is deeply religious and consider tarot to be the workings of witchcraft and evil. I recently have come out to only a select few of my close family members. My brother-in-law was the only one who responded negatively. He said “Oh man, you're going to hell! Why do you do tarot?”. I reminded him that he hasn't been to a church in over 14 years and hasn't even read the bible. Now to break it to my parents. Let's see how that goes!” – Hector
“I'm still in the closet. I grew up in the church and my dad was a preacher. When I think about ‘coming out,' I get a bit nervous. Not just because I have a lot of Christian friends who might think I'm a bit strange but because I think my parents may discover that I don't believe Jesus is the way to eternal life. Also, my friends have absolutely no clue that I spend hours each day studying energy and learning how to blend my spirit self with my physical self. They just think I'm a regular soccer mom who worries about the same things they do, and really I'm a lot different.” – Kim
“Still in my closet My immediate family and close friends know but I work in an area of health involving a lot of grief and loss. A very vulnerable population group so I'd rather keep this quiet.” – Anon
“I grew up in a small Midwestern town (in the USA) where Tarot was highly frowned upon. There were many religious people around who did not approve. When I was 17 I bought my first Tarot deck and practiced in secret in my bedroom after everyone was asleep. Sometimes I would drive somewhere and park my car and use the passenger seat to lay out Tarot spreads. I was in my thirties before I ever told my parents or most of my friends. A question from a new friend made me really come out. I answered it spot on. It was time to come out and let everybody know that I am a card reader.” – Curtis
“I am very careful to keep my Tarot separate from the rest of my ‘internet' work career persona. As a child, my mother was ‘OUT' but it never occurred to myself or her to be ‘IN' – so there was no formal ‘coming out'. I now live in the Bible belt of America and I see no reason to call attention to myself and bring to my doorstep those that may feel the need to ‘save' me. And, with the info accessibility on the internet – if a potential non-Tarot client Googles my name, I really don't want this identity mixed with Tarot listings.” – Marcella
“I'm an ordained Anglican Priest who started studying Tarot, High Magic, Kabbalah and all sorts of forbidden stuff about six years ago. Recently I made the decision to come out with my Tarot and set up a webpage. I'll offer readings from our caravan – Gypsy style.” – Mystic Sky Tarot
“I have “taken the plunge” into professional Tarot reading on the side. I am using my alias though, as I am not ready at all to tell friends, family, and businesses that I read Tarot!” – The Tarot Kode
“I started reading for friends after I went on a psychic course. I didn't expect to start reading for people but those who I did, I seemed to get stuff really right. I didn't really want to “come out” to anyone as I am an actress and TV presenter so I used my middle and surnames as a cover. I do about ten email readings a week with people coming back for more. I love to read for people but I still rarely talk about it as people want a cheeky freebie.” – Maria Thomas
Are You ‘Out' Or Still in the Tarot Closet?
Share your stories below in the Comments Section plus any advice you have for those who are still yet to openly share their love for Tarot.