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So, you want to be a fortune teller

You have a tarot deck, a stack of books on how to read them and a crazy dream of pulling cards as a working professional. Taking the jump from hobbyist to full blown fortune-teller is a big leap and one that requires a lot of patience, practice and perseverance to stick the landing. Nothing that is worthwhile comes easy and if you are expecting this hustle to make you rich and famous, I’d suggest you get into some other industry. I heard the cocaine game is lucrative.

However, if you are the kind of person who likes to chill with broken people, keep odd hours and get a certain visceral joy out of exploring trauma, then this series of articles aims to help you be a success on your journey. Over the course of seven installments, this column will detail methods that professional tarot readers have used for generations to rake in that cash, updated for a contemporary mindset and ethical standards. We’ll explore topics that range from branding to community building strategies, table setups and maintaining client lists. But before we get into that, the first thing that we should explore is the simple question of …


This is a good question to ask yourself before starting any new endeavor. The current hustle based economic climate exerts a subtle pressure to capitalize on the past-times that bring one joy, convincing folks that the monetization of a skill is the highest form of mastery. While nothing could be further from the truth, the reason for this mindset is easy to empathize with. Being paid for a service, while an immediate and tangible form of success, shouldn’t be the sole reason for seeking out this kind of work. There are many fulfilling paths for validation that don’t involve making it your job. Personally, some of the people I learned the most from never made a dime off pulling cards.

So, once we move beyond money as the motivating factor, we get to explore the deeper reasons on why you would risk destroying your social reputation moonlighting as a fortune-teller. One of the first things I ask when someone approaches me for advice regarding this topic is the “Why” question. I can usually ken from their answer whether or not they have the mindset to find divination work a fulfilling vocation. Responses are many and varied but the one common reply that points to the most emotional fulfillment involves motives no more complicated than the desire to hold space for others. To be a witness to another person’s life and to use the skills that they have acquired to help others find clarity and direction. If this simple motivation isn’t at the core of your reasons for going pro, you may not find the validation you seek and instead find yourself emotionally drained from taking on so much of another's personal pain.

Or, in other words: If you ain’t happy being a sin-eater, best find some other hustle to slake your hunger.


Perhaps you have noticed the use of the currently out of vogue term “fortune teller” to describe the work that this article is giving advice on. The anachronism is deliberate, as to distinguish between two different (and equally valid) expressions of divination in the 21st century. Many people nowadays have their first exposure to divination and occult practices on the internet, usually via outlets like YouTube, Facebook live and TikTok. The proliferation of content on these platforms can easily lead someone to believe that in order to be seen as valid in this line of work, they must have a substantial presence online. While the work these Mystic Personalities (or Influencers, if you will) do when it comes to educating people about esoteric subjects and divination is important, the skills for becoming a viral success aren’t necessary when it comes to being an effective fortune teller. Reading cards and casting runes (etc etc) won’t become any easier with a better follow ratio on Twitter. Where a fortune teller differs in regards to a Mystic Personality is the interpersonal nature of their work. Where a Mystic Personality must adapt their message to resonate with a broader audience, the fortune teller works on a micro scale, taking on the emotional labor of the seeker they are working with and investing time and effort on an individual basis. Before actually setting out on this professional journey, think about which one of these aspects of your practice you prefer to focus on. The advice contained in this series focuses on the subject of fortune telling and while it may seem like small potatoes when compared to 1.4 million subs on YouTube, the feeling of joy you get from changing one person’s life for the better can be more validating than getting hella views.


Finally, what are your indicators of success? What are the milestones you need to hit in your practice before you feel a sense of personal validation? This is an important motivational tactic for any undertaking. Without setting parameters of victory or an easy indicator of “killing it,” it is easy to fall into a self critical cycle of imposter syndrome. Maybe your threshold for success is booking every weekend of the Spooky and Holiday seasons for party gigs. One of mine when I was young was being able to get drunk at a bar without spending any of my own money. The threshold is different for everyone, as it is informed by their own expectations and feelings of accomplishment.

What matters is the feeling of confidence that success imparts to your practice; A fortune delivered with a lack of conviction is a message that never reaches its destination.


This is the first of a series of articles on pro tips for diviners, authored by our Guest Blogger Drew Clark, one of the designers behind the gorgeous deck illustrating this post! Do you want to know more? Don't miss Drew Clark and María Alviz Hernando live on WDA Members Group on Wednesday 25th of November at 7PM GMT+1 (Berlin time) Have you fallen in love with The Slow Tarot? Click here and enjoy a 10% off at checkout with code "DREW10".

Brought to you by Maria Alviz Hernando, WDA Tarot Teacher, and Blog Coordinator.

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Find out more about Maria here.


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