First Time for Everything 

Firsts

My name is Bethany, and I began my journey with tarot many years ago.

I received my first tarot card reading when I was seventeen years old and at a tremendous crossroads in my young adult life. Confused and frightened, I turned to my friend’s mother that had years of experience reading tarot cards. I watched, fascinated, as she unfolded a beautiful piece of crimson silk and took from it her trusted tarot deck. She laid the cards out in a cross and studied them with her piercing blue eyes.

A moment passed and she began to speak. I sat, stunned, as everything she said aligned perfectly to my current situation. Tears came to my eyes as she spoke about the recent challenges I had experienced, but alas, the future was bright. My life was about to change in a very big way – and for the better, she said. She assured me that if I continued on my current path I would be glad I did. I left her house that days feeling relieved and at peace knowing that everything was going to be okay.

A month later I was married to my high school sweetheart, and eight months later I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy little girl. In April my husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. After that first reading, I was given my first Rider Waite tarot deck by a friend. I have been a student of the tarot ever since.

Years later, as a professional reader, I now sit beside clients with the same frightened expression I wore many years ago. It is my turn to comfort them when they cry, or to congratulate them when life promises the fresh new start they are seeking.

There is no greater honor than to assist people spiritually by providing divine guidance when they need it most.

If you are in need of such guidance, please reach out.

Coming Out of the Broom Closet 

This is me.

At 36 years of age, I just began to live an authentic life. I am no longer afraid to risk rejection, humiliation, or scorn. I am not easily embarrassed. I do not fear what people think of me.

For the first 35 years of my life, I existed in two worlds simultaneously. The contrast was so glaring that I feared I would never be able to bring the two parts together and still be loved by my family or respected by my peers.

Part One: I am what mainstream society expects of me.

 I excel in school and begin taking college classes at 16. I marry and have my first child at 18, and finish college with my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at 21. I begin working at an exhibit company that focused on environmental and cultural sites of interest throughout the world. With the birth of my second child I begin teaching students with disabilities at an elementary school to be closer to my children. Six years later I take a position with the Florida Department of Education where I support students on a statewide level. I earn a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, and advance to the University of South Florida where I expand my skills to include web development. I provide for my family, pay my bills, vote, serve as a member of my homeowner’s association, and try to be an upstanding citizen.

Part Two: I am rejected by mainstream society.

I am a mystic. I read constantly and my library includes books on psychic development, philosophy, astrology, Buddhism, and tarot. I am drawn to religion and spirituality but have lost faith in organized religion. I accept Jesus as a profound teacher and role model but do not believe he is the only messenger of God. I sit in nature for extended periods of time trying to connect to the earth and my spirit guides. I believe in spirit guides. I read tarot cards and I believe that they provide insight and guidance into our daily lives. I surround myself with crystals that I believe contain positive energy and vibrations. I bathe in salt and essential oils when I feel down to cleanse my aura. I believe some people have gifts that allow them to see auras, communicate with spirits, and see the future. I track the phases of the moon and align my intentions accordingly, and will complete certain rituals that I believe manifest my desires. Some would call me a witch, but I don’t really believe in the Devil.

Fear

For many years I kept the two parts of myself separate and few knew the whole truth of who I was. Only my closest friends knew the “real” me. I was afraid and ashamed to reveal my interests and beliefs for fear of people thinking I was crazy or just plain stupid. How could an intellectual believe this crap? I feared that this side of myself would open me up to public scorn or potentially hurt my chances of getting a job in the future.

Mostly, I was afraid of hurting my dear grandmother that I loved deeply. She was the best grandmother that anyone could ever wish for. She was deeply afraid of anything “new age” or “spiritual” as she believed it was from the Devil. She was in her eighties and I didn’t want to do anything that would stress her already fragile heart. A couple of our family members were struggling with addiction to narcotics, stealing and lying to support their habits, and she was deeply hurt and stressed out about this. I would never have forgiven myself for causing her any more stress or risking her health further.

Breakdown

Beginning in February of this year, most of my readings began featuring the Three of Swords in the future position. This card represents deep sorrow, grief, and heartbreak. Naturally, this scared the shit out of me. What it could mean? Would my husband betray me? Was someone going to be hurt? What awful thing lurked around the corner? As a result, I loved deeper, I hugged longer, and I made sure to tell everyone how much I cared about him or her every time we were together.

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Three of Swords, Wild Unknown Tarot deck (Kim Krans)
The Three of Swords came to fruition on May 12th, 2016, and it is a day I will never forget. My beloved grandmother had been in a rehab facility due to an ankle injury for which she required physical therapy. I was going to see her as often as I could, rubbing lavender oil on her bruises and bringing her food that I knew she enjoyed. That afternoon, my mother had visited her after work and found that she was quite ill. She didn’t look right, and she was so weak she couldn’t lift her arms. The staff had not noticed this, but my mother was alarmed and insisted a doctor check her out. The physician was called and he agreed it would be prudent to have her taken to the hospital. My mom was scared, so I decided to join my mother and grandmother just to make sure everything was okay. My grandmother was loaded into an ambulance, and mom and I followed her to the hospital.

Upon arriving at the hospital it became apparent that everything was not okay. The moment we arrived at the Emergency Room, a team of people rushed in. It was determined that her pacemaker had stopped working and her heart was failing. We were immediately barraged with questions about her DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders. We were told it was serious and she could die very soon. We had to make frantic calls to try to determine her wishes. After several insane, tear-filled hours, the doctors were able to get her pacemaker working again. It turns out that the rehab facility she was in was not making sure she drank fluids or taking her to the bathroom regularly, and her kidneys failed. It caused her blood levels to become toxic and force her heart out of rhythm. When she was stabilized that night, I told her that her sister and my sister were so worried that they were on their way to see her. She laughed and said, “Well, I ain’t dead yet!” Those were the last words she ever said to me, and it was the last time I saw her smile.

After a moment of hope that she would recover, I awoke the next morning to find out she had slipped into a coma. Various life-saving procedures were tried to revive her, but within the day she was gone. It was May 13, 2016. Friday the 13th.

Even now, months later, I feel a vast emptiness inside as I remember that she is dead. She is not at home in her recliner sitting with my grandpa. I can’t call her and tell about my day. Tears flood down my cheeks as I remember that last moment we had together, and I hope wherever she is that she feels my love for her from beyond the veil.

In my experience, the death of a loved one creates a vacuum in your life that I do not believe will ever be filled. It is such a void that when I allow myself, it swallows me whole and I swim in an ocean of grief and tears. It is a physical sensation of heaviness and emptiness simultaneously that I feel in my chest whenever my mind wanders and I think of her.

I recount this story of loss and grief for two reasons, I suppose. The first is that this is the first time I have written about it, and it is therapeutic to do so. The second is to return to where this story begins, and explain how it took the passing of my grandmother to bring the two sides of me together.

Integration

With my grandmother’s death, I no longer felt I had to conceal who I was. I would have hid it forever if I could have kept her in my life, but that was not possible. For the first time, I was free to be me and to integrate the two parts of myself without shame. I no longer feared what people would think of me if they knew what I did behind closed doors. Fearfully at first, I began to share my metaphysical interests with my family and my close professional colleagues. I then publicly shared information on my website and blog on my personal Facebook page. There was no more “hiding in the broom closet.” This is who I am – take it or leave it.

Death serves as a reminder that life is fleeting. With luck, we might have 100 years to experience all this existence has to offer. No one knows what comes next – NO ONE – and anyone who tells you with certainty that they do is full of shit.

We are not here just to get an education, work, fall in love, raise children, and accrue possessions. In fact many of these things distract us from our true purpose. We are here to be our authentic selves and live the life to which we are destined. We are here to help others and be our best selves. There is so much love and beauty to experience and share with others.

Forget what you think you know about life. In fact, don’t think at all. As Eckhart Tolle says, “You are not your mind.” For five minutes, don’t think. Just be you, in the moment, and be still and silent. Pretend your mind is a puppy and when it begins to think about the laundry, tell it to sit.

Be in the present. The only thing we truly have and are guaranteed is this present moment. Try to live in it and be as authentic as you can be. Every moment that passes is a moment lost. When we come out with confidence and lose the fear of judgment, we inspire others to do the same.

As soon as you are able – and it might not be now (you have your own reasons for holding back) – I encourage you to live without fear and be who you are. People might just surprise you.

*I am so thankful for my mother, for her unconditional love. Though I am not at all the person she would like for me to be, she loves me anyway and never makes me doubt it. I am so blessed to have her in my life.*

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The Genius of Kim Krans

Lost in the Wild (Unknown)

It isn’t often that I get obsessed with artists, writers, and poets. But it happens, and when it does I simply can’t get enough of them. As a result, I will read/listen to/watch as many of their creations as I can get my hands on. Some of my previous obsessions include (in chronological order): Stephen King, Radiohead, Quentin Tarantino, Cormac McCarthy, Arcade Fire, Sylvia Plath, and The National.

My latest obsession is with artist/writer Kim Krans, the creator of the Wild Unknown.

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Photo credit: Portland Apothecary
To begin with, she is beautiful, creative, and intelligent. But my admiration goes far beyond that.  I sincerely admire her creative drive. She has passion and an amazing work ethic that has led her to create music, calendars, a tarot deck, an oracle deck, a children’s book, jewelry, clothing, and more. Her creative vision is unstoppable, and her art will live on forever. As an aspiring writer and artist she is the quintessential role model.

Not that it came easy. Kim worked hard to hone her craft. This is how she answered Portland Apothecary when asked what she turns to for inspiration in her work.

“Aritsts memoirs, biographies, and interviews. Its easy to look at others and think wow, they have it all, their life is perfect, their success came easy, etc. This leads us to feeling disconnected and bummed out. But when you read the actual stories of people’s lives, you hear all that they have gone through to get where they are, all the resistance that could’ve stopped them at any point. Its very uplifting to read stories like this, to know the truth of an artist’s life instead of a projection.”

Girl crush.

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Photo Credit: Live the Moment
It wasn’t long ago that I purchased the Wild Unknown Tarot deck, and I was instantly smitten. It is incredible. So when I learned there was an accompanying oracle deck called the Animal Spirit deck, well, I couldn’t exactly wait until Christmas to get it. I encouraged my husband to buy a new video game and I placed my order ($56 with shipping) guilt-free. He gets his, I get mine.

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The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Guidebook, $50
The Animal Spirit oracle is the perfect accompaniment to the Wild Unknown tarot. While the Wild Unknown Tarot provides a clear glimpse of all elements of day-to-day life, the Wild Spirit oracle provides a big picture view of our personal development. As you all know, the person we are today is not the person we were last year. We are constantly growing and evolving, changing and morphing. Using this deck in tandem with the tarot deck provides a deeper glimpse at ourselves and our current place in life, as well as where we are going.

Kim fashioned this oracle deck and the animals therein around the five elements – earth, fire, water, air, and spirit. This further enhances the connection of this deck with the world at large.

I decided to use this deck to enhance a reading with the Wild Unknown. The example is below. In recent months I have felt a strong desire to write my own story with tarot and/or continue to education on a completely new path, so I decided to probe that issue.

Question: What do I need to know about my calling to work professionally and/or write about tarot?

 

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Past-Present-Future
Past 

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WU Tarot – Son of Swords (Forceful, Determined)
I jumped into reading professionally and developing a website and blog with a lot of unbridled energy. My efforts were bold, and I certainly didn’t ask for or consider the input of others in moving forward. My efforts were exhaustive and I didn’t take it slow. Within the course of a few days I had a blog and a website completely operational.

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WU Animal Spirit – Cosmic Egg (Completion, Harmony, The Infinite within the Finite)
This is the final card of the Animal Spirit deck, and it represents cosmic completion and the seventh chakra. The decision to move forward with reading professionally and writing about tarot was based on the long journey I took in exploring it. It was only after a long period of dedicated study and practice that it was set into motion. Only when I felt I was fully developed in this area did I proceed.

Present

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WU Tarot – The Lovers (Union, Desire, Joy)
At this point I am reading professionally but certainly not enough to justify leaving my career in education. I have choices to make about where I go from here. I need to decide what my next steps are. I have been feeling torn about where I should focus my attention.  Should I return to school for another advanced degree to further my career in education or psychology, or should I honor my creativity and spirituality and pursue learning that supports my spiritual desires? Or, should I continue my day job and dedicate myself to a daily writing practice? Whatever I choose, I must honor and nourish my relationship with the tarot. It is my passion.

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WU Animal Spirit – Turtle (Ancient Soul, Trusting, At Home in the Self)
The turtle is grounded and connected to life. It collects life experiences and preserves these ideas under its shell for the future. The turtle energy is the energy of writers and storytellers. My current experiences are teaching me where to go from here.

Future

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WU Tarot – 10 of Pentacles (Fulfillment, Abundance)
A welcome sign – there is fulfillment and abundance in the future! The groundwork I lay now will result in success and achievement in the material plane. Whatever I choose to pursue will ensure a firm financial footing for myself and for my family.

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WU Animal Spirit – Frog (Clearing, Cleansing, Healing)
It is imperative that I remember to take care of myself even as abundance abounds on the material plane. There is a tendency in the frog to become overworked and undernourished. Connecting to the source is paramount. Though frogs spend much time on land, water is critical to them! Water is rejuvenating to frogs, so when I feel bogged down I should seek renewal in lakes, rivers, or the ocean. This is an easy task as I live in Florida and am surrounded by all of the above!

I hope you have enjoyed this peek at the Animal Spirit deck. If you enjoy the Wild Unknown I would suggest adding this to your collection when feasible. As the Wild Unknown is the deck I purchased exclusively for my own readings, I simply couldn’t resist and I find it compliments my readings with the deck nicely.

 

Interviewing your Deck

Bonding with a New Deck

I view my decks as some might view their boyfriends/girlfriends in a polyamorous relationship. One won’t do, but I want a few select lovers. I think if you have too many, you can’t give them all the love and attention they require, nor can they give you what you require. I know collectors and tarot enthusiasts who have hundreds of decks, but this will never be me. I want less than 5 – 10 close friends on my shelf.

Still, it is so exciting to receive a new deck. Whenever you get a new tarot deck, you should immediately get to know it and attempt to bond with it. A tarot deck is a close friend! This probably seems crazy to people who aren’t into tarot, but decks are a sacred thing that you need to bond with and nurture in order to have a good relationship.

Here are some of the usual (wacky) things I do to bond with a new deck:
  • Hold it as much as possible.
  • Shuffle it in my free time.
  • Sleep with it under my pillow.
  • Talk to it.
  • Breathe on it.
  • Take it with me everywhere I go.
  • Burn sage and let the smoke cleanse it.
  • Thank it for what it will teach me.
  • Ask it questions and learn about it.

Yesterday I received the new Wild Unknown tarot deck (which you can read about here), and after a thorough shuffle and thanks I conducted what is called a “deck interview.”

I asked the deck the following questions…

What kind of tarot deck are you? What card sums up your personality?
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I am a deck of new beginnings that are prosperous and fruitful. I enjoy helping people succeed with their finances and material security.
What issues/areas of life do you specialize in?
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I help you see things clearly and see the facts. I am very knowledgeable but I can be blunt. When your emotions muddle your thoughts I will help you cut through the nonsense and see what is really going on.
How can you best help me?
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I can help you when you are sad and feeling heartbroken. I will lift you out of your gloom.
What quality is most important in a tarot reader?
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A tarot reader needs to be strong and determined to see what is being revealed. Working with the tarot can be challenging and a tarot reader must have a strong will to become a master.
How do you see our relationship?

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Ouch! You see our relationship as a burden? I promise to go easy on you and to take your advice the first time you give it so you won’t feel so overwhelmed at the thought of working with me.
I look forward to a long, prosperous relationship with the Wild Unknown. I hope you find the perfect deck (or decks) to bond with on your tarot journey!

The Wild Unknown 

Diving into the Wild Unknown

(This post contains expletives)

Here in the United States, yesterday was Election Day, but I will more fondly remember yesterday at the day MY MOTHERFUCKING WILD UNKNOWN tarot deck finally arrived!

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I was so excited to finally have this deck in my possession, having ordered it on September 25th and being forced to wait what felt like forever. Once I took it out of the Amazon packaging I promptly poured myself a big glass of wine and filmed my first unboxing video, which I immediately deleted because it was so terrible. I’m not made for film, folks.

The deck and guidebook did not disappoint. I am honestly so impressed with every aspect of this deck. Kim Krans created a beautiful work of art when she designed these tarot cards and the packaging for them is just as exquisite. The kit contains a gorgeous, sturdy guidebook that is really well done. I find the card meanings align very closely to a traditional Rider Waite deck, though the art is certainly different. The card stock is pretty good, maybe a little thin, but far better than some other decks (Thoth and the Gilded Tarot, for example).

The biggest distinction with this deck is that is features only animals, no people. For some that may be a turnoff, but it wasn’t a problem for me.

The court cards feature owls (swords), snakes (wands), swans (cups),  and deer (pentacles). Here are the “Fathers” of the court, aka the Kings.

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Now, I present to you some of my favorite cards from this truly rewarding deck.
The Majors:
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The Devil (this reminds me of Black Philip in The Witch): Addiction and Negativity
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The Chariot: Strong Will and Triumph
The Minors:

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Nine of Swords: I know the worms aren’t visually appealing, but there is nothing appealing about the Nine of Swords. Dark visions and Anguish

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Ten of Wands: Burdens, Blockage, Difficulty
 

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Ten of Cups: Radiating Energy

I am enthralled by the artwork on this deck and highly recommend it to anyone who may be considering adding this to their collection. I am looking forward to using this for my daily readings.

 

Prep Work 

Preparing for a Tarot Reading

I am an intuitive reader who prides herself on honest and open readings, and I consider it an honor and privilege to connect with spirit and help people. I am committed to an ethical spiritual practice and ensuring that my clients are satisfied with their readings.

Tarot readings are a tool for providing you with divine guidance in life. I take my responsibility as a tarot reader very seriously. If I cannot establish a connection with you and spirit, I will end the reading and refund your money. Most of the time, however, spirit shows up and information will begin to flow.

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My office, encapsulated by the Florida sun.
A reading can greatly benefit people who are open and empowered to take control of their lives. I believe the future is predictable, but not predetermined. We have the power to change the future and that power lies in our day-to-day actions. In a tarot reading, we will analyze where you are. We can then look at your future and give you an idea of what you can expect if you stay on your current path. If you do not like what the cards predict, we can discuss strategies to change your outcome.

It’s easy to get a reading from me – even if you are across an ocean. Spirit doesn’t require that we be in the same place at the same time. I am able to connect energetically with only your name, though I find a photo and birthday to be very helpful in establishing a connection.

If you are on the fence, please check out testimonials from my clients. If you have questions you can always contact me here (it may take up to 24 hours for me to respond).

Visit my Book a Reading page and locate the kind of reading you want. Payment will be sent through PayPal. I will contact you within 24-48 hours to confirm that I have received your payment and verify the details of the reading you wish to receive.

Once you have ordered a reading please send me your name and date of birth. I also need you to send me your question and the method through which you wish to receive your reading. You may send any additional information or other necessary details about your situation if you wish. I find a photo can be helpful in connecting with a long-distance client, and the birthday allows me to delve more fully into astrology which complements the tarot.

Here are tips to prepare for a phone, Skype, or Facebook Messenger reading:

  • I will call/contact you at our scheduled time. If you do not answer or respond, your payment will be forteited.
  • Make sure you are in a quiet space and will not be interrupted.
  • Prepare your questions in advance.
  • Refrain from asking the same question again and again – this will never produce a good reading.
  • The future is not predetermined! If you do not like something that comes up in a reading, know that you always have free will and can alter your life any way that you wish.
  • Timing is the hardest thing to predict. A tarot reading can only give a general outlook on timing.

 Here are tips for an email reading:

  • Make your question as specific as possible.
  • If you have requested a general reading, you may respond with three follow up questions. Once completed, your reading is done. If you want to continue to go deep on a question, it may be best for you to seek a phone reading instead.
  • You may ask between 1 – 3 follow up questions within several days of the reading and I will gladly respond.
  • Do not try to wrap more than one question into one. It may confuse the energy of the reading.  One thing at a time is always best and leads to a more focused answer.
  • Timing is the hardest thing to predict. A tarot reading can only give a general outlook on timing.

Final Notes:

  • Please refer to my ethics and business policies here. I will not perform readings on medical, health, pregnancy, or any other issues for which I am not qualified.
  • I do not “tarot stalk,” meaning I will not read to pry into someone else’s life except for how it may intersect with your own.
  • Once I receive payment and your information, all readings are usually completed within 24-48 hours. If you book a reading over the weekend or during holidays it may take longer but I will be in communication immediately as to timeline.
  • I reserve the right to refuse to read for any client and will refund any money paid.
  • I will not read for anyone under 18.

 

 

 

A Peek into the Psychic Capital of the World

The Importance of Ethics in the Psychic Realm: A Story from Cassadaga

Earlier this year I visited the mecca of the psychic world: Cassadaga, Florida. This quaint, sleepy town is the hub of the modern spiritualist movement. It has been termed, “the psychic capital of the world,” with more psychics and mediums per capita than anywhere else across the globe.

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A myriad of psychics located directly across the street from the Cassadaga Hotel.
How did this come to be? Were individuals with psychic abilities drawn to this region of Florida like a moth to a flame? I’m afraid it isn’t that interesting, but still notable.

In the early 20th century a group of people within the budding spiritualist movement left their home in upstate New York following their leader, George Colby. As a young man, Colby was told during a séance that he would someday be instrumental in founding a spiritualist community in the south. In 1875, that prophecy was fulfilled when he was led through the wilderness of Florida to an area surrounded with hills by a spirit guide named “Seneca.” There he established the Cassadaga Spiritualist camp, fondly named after the city of Cassadaga, New York, that he and the others had left behind.

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A photo beside Spirit Pond (which is said to have cured Colby of tuberculosis)
The first night there my husband and I enjoyed dinner at the historic (and haunted) Cassadaga Hotel, which hosts séances twice a month with one of their seasoned mediums. We did not attend the séance, though I did have a session with esteemed medium Rev. Judy Cooper while I was visiting. One night, 15-minute tarot “mini-readings” were being offered during dinner, and I encouraged my husband to get one.

It was disappointing to say the least. The reader was insistent that my husband, if not currently in the medical field, would work in the medical field soon. When he explained that he actually manages a very successful pest control office, she was insistent that he would go back to school and become a doctor.

Now I don’t claim to know the future, but this really missed the mark for us. The odds that my husband will quit his job, go to college for the next 8 years, and become a doctor are about as likely as winning the lottery. Nonetheless, he shelled out $20 for the reading and returned to dinner with me disappointed with the experience.

Later that night during our coming and going from the restaurant, we overheard the conversation of several readers in the lobby, one of which was my husband’s. They were discussing business as readers and we distinctly heard his reader say, “You have to fake it before you make it, right?!

When it comes to psychics and mediums, there are quite a few phonies out there who spoil it for the rest of us. These individuals bring shame upon us lightworkers who honor spirit and only operate from the highest good.

I have spent most of my life as a public servant and a teacher, and I am committed to working with the tarot with only the highest ethical standards. I will tell you what I see in the cards, honestly and clearly. If we do not connect during a reading and I cannot be certain of the message, I will not take your money.

Please take a moment to review my ethical principles and business policies that govern my work at Namaste Tarot Readings and let me your thoughts below.

Read here: http://www.namastetarotreadings.com/ethics-and-business-policies.html