How I Became a Tarot Coach (And What Is That, Anyway?)
Many people know a little about Tarot cards, even if they’ve never had a reading. Usually, they’ve seen them on TV or heard about them from something they’re read. Maybe a friend told them about a past reading, or they walked by a professional psychic’s window display. A few may have even had a reading themselves. I stumbled onto Tarot cards as a child. When I was very small, my parents had a friend named Victor who visited us regularly. Sometimes, he pulled out a colorful deck of cards and laid them out in front of mother while they talked quietly. I always watched curiously. When I asked him about the cards, he wouldn’t tell me much, but I understood that they were a kind of magic. Both Victor and my mother were from Latin American countries with strong traditions of folk healing, magic, and divination, and my mother often practiced small magics, so this didn’t seem strange to me at all
I forgot about Tarot until early high school, when I happened to see an odd-looking card deck for sale in a local bookstore. I suddenly felt very curious as I looked at them. They weren’t pretty, but I felt a strong pull towards them, so I bought them. As I started laying out the cards out in my room and reading about their meanings, I got more and more excited. Almost immediately I began practicing on myself and my friends. Eventually, I found a new deck that I liked better, and then another. I soon discovered that each deck had its own “voice,” and I developed a unique relationship with each one. Different decks also seemed to communicate differently. Some were gentler than others, and some were better at helping me understand what was happening in my life. I quickly developed preferences about which decks I used and for what purpose.
I became comfortable when I could remember the most common meanings of each card and see its relationship to what was currently unfolding in my life. As I “lived” each card, I got to know it well enough to understand more and more about what it meant. Although I had no one to teach me, my experiences were my teachers. I learned first-hand what it was like to see my life reflected in the cards in front of me. Occasionally, I’d find a book about Tarot and learn a more about the card’s meanings from that new source, but mostly, I learned as I practiced.
Soon I began to see Tarot as an early warning system: whenever I saw a card that had appeared repeatedly during a previous painful experience, I sat up and took notice. How could I use Tarot to find my way to a better path, I wondered? Which techniques had helped me find my way out of the pain in the past, and which had just made matters worse? Soon I realized that my best bet wasn’t to ask what was going to happen in the future: it was to ask which negative patterns I was creating in my life and what I needed to do instead for better results. Because I wanted to be happy, I shifted away from trying to predict the future and learned to understand the present. Once I grasped what was really going on in my life, I could use this information to change course, building the future I wanted for myself. I began to use Tarot to show me what to do and what to avoid as I lived my life.
Eventually, I became very good at using Tarot to step back and look at the big picture of my life, scanning for paths that could lead me around potential pitfalls and towards peace and joy. I also began to do this for other people. And though they began by asking me when they might marry or how to get a better job, they left with very detailed information about the most important things that were holding them back and the changes they needed to make to create lasting happiness. I helped them see the big patterns in their own lives and use this awareness to figure out how to move towards sanity and peace. And I helped them see how they could find wholeness.
After 7 years of experience, I was a fairly good reader. After 10-15 years, I adopted a round deck that gave me more detailed information. At this point, I felt very secure in my skills and could give highly accurate readings. But it took me another 15 years to become wise enough and knowledgeable enough to give consistently good advice and offer people useful tools to transform their lives. As I learned more from different spiritual traditions, my wisdom grew. I became a 3 Degree Wiccan Priestess, and then a Buddhist practitioner (yes, it is possible to be both). I spent years learning a range of spiritual and magical practices and I studied with a shamanic healer whom I respected. This helped me to deepen my knowledge and enhance my judgement. Making mistakes taught me a great deal, too. Some of the best lessons I learned came from the worst decisions I made. As I grew, I asked how I could incorporate everything I was learning into my work as a Tarot reader, teacher, and coach.
I’ve now read Tarot cards for more than 35 years. I am getting better, stronger, and more insightful as I age. These days, I ask the people who consult with me to set aside at least two hours. I request that they audiotape the reading and/or take notes. I encourage them to take photographs of some of the layouts so they can match what they hear with what they see. We will cover much more ground than they can remember, and they’ll need to go back and listen again at regular intervals to make sure they are using all the information I give them. We do at least three phases of reading with my round Motherpeace deck, and we draw one card from an oracle deck whose good advice I love. Sometimes, I pull out a third deck, especially if I am working with a healer, future healer, or intuitive who needs guidance about her or his mission in life. In rare cases, I use other specialty decks as well. Finally, I usually ask the person not to come back to me until they have done big pieces of the work they have been asked to do in the reading. I ask this because I have learned that if someone returns for a second reading without taking the steps they were shown during the first reading, they’ll simply be asked to do the same things again.
I also offer a short shamanic boost if time allows and it is appropriate for the person I am working with. This is not a full shamanic healing session. It’s a brief scan and mini-treatment that will help the person level up in at least one useful way so she or he can move forward more easily (this does not mean that the work becomes less painful; it just means she/he becomes better able to do it). I ask the person to check in with me three or four days later to make sure they are functioning well.
Tarot coaching is not right for everyone. What you are told during a session can be hard to hear, and the reading may ask you to be courageous. You will not hear about who you are going to marry: you’ll hear about what you need to do to build a genuinely happy love life and create the intimacy that will fill your heart. You won’t find out about the kinds of jobs you can get: you’ll hear about your true mission in life and how you are or aren’t meeting it. You’ll also discover your best steps forward, and where to begin when you have no idea what to do next.
If you think you'd like to come in for a session, reach out to Isabella at [email protected]. She will send you my current appointment schedule and you can choose a time slot. If none of the available slots are compatible with your schedule, you can always request a special appointment.
Most important of all: don’t come to Tarot coaching to find out what your future holds. Come to find out about the future you can create. We’ll work together to help you find your way home.