Tarot Readers’ Crisis of Faith


Eventually, every card reader goes through a phase where the readings just don’t seem to work the way we want them to. For reasons that range from mental exhaustion to Mercury in retrograde, there are a hundred different things that can disrupt the communication between the reader and the cards. As we get more experienced as readers, we learn to shake off the frustration, ground, center, and get back into the game as quickly as possible.

But sometimes, it’s more than just a bad day or two. Sometimes, it can seem as if the ability to read cards has simply abandoned us completely. In these times, it’s not unusual for a card reader to have a crisis of faith.

When the Words Won’t Come

About five years or so after I started reading, I hit a patch where I literally could not read. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how. It was that, no matter what I did, when I looked at the cards all I saw was pretty pictures on cardboard.

I have to tell you, it was heartbreaking. I mean, this was something I was good at. This was something I enjoyed doing. And most importantly, this was something that connected me to something so much larger than my own tiny life.

The thought that this gift I was given might be arbitrarily taken away was depressing, to say the least. Since I didn’t really understand how I was getting the readings I was getting, I felt helpless to fix whatever was mucking up the machinery.

Usually, when you have a bad day, the best fix is just to get some rest, clear your head, and get back into the game again the next day. This is the metaphysical version of “have you tried turning it off, counting to ten, then turning it back on again?”

But when a hard reboot doesn’t do the trick, how do you get the system up and running again? Here are a few suggestions to try when you hit a wall that lasts more than a day or ten.

Check your hardware.

In the mind/body/spirit combination, many of us discount or even forget about the “body” part of the equation. You can meditate until the cows come home, but if you’re ignoring your physical health, it will affect your ability to read.

How much sleep are you getting every night? Are you filling your body with junk food, alcohol, nicotine, or other substances that can harm it over the long term? If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, are you watching your sugars? Are you taking your medication?

I suffer from clinical depression and anxiety. One of the icky realities of this disease is, the minute I start feeling better by taking the meds and doing the work, a part of my mind becomes convinced that I no longer need to do the things I did to actually feel better in the first place! A part of me begins to resent the daily regimen required to keep my disease in check, and as a result, I can slip back into old habits.

When I stopped being able to read, I was dealing with untreated clinical depression and anxiety that was raging out of control. My days were a struggle to meet the basic needs of adult life, and my nights were filled with nightmares and anxiety.  Of course, I was having trouble reading cards in that condition!

In order to read as anything more than just a hobby, you have to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Otherwise, you’ll have trouble making and maintain that connection.

Expand Your Horizons

It’s easy to become hyper-focused as you are gaining mastery of a skill. Becoming a great reader is not easy–you have to practice, study, and stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone.

When you become too focused, you risk becoming mentally calcified–so focused on the “woo woo” that you accidentally narrow your scope to the point of being ineffective. Good readings require a mental and spiritual flexibility that allows us to be open to messages we receive during a session. If you narrow your scope, you limit your ability.

An easy way to keep this from happening is simply to take your head out of the cards for a while and look up at the so-called “real world.” See a movie, check the scores for your favorite basketball team, read a few articles from a science or political blog you enjoy–anything that stretches your brain beyond where it’s been.

I used to write fiction. For years, I was a machine, turning out story after story. And then I hit a wall and thought, I’ll never write again. I have nothing left in me. So I just turned to song-writing and arranging. A different part of my brain, but it was creative and something to do since my writing mojo had taken off for the hills. I did that for a few years until, lo and behold, I discovered that I wanted to write fiction again.

As hard as it is to hear, if you’ve come up dry with the cards for an extended period of time, it may be time to take a break. Put up the cards for a while and explore another interest. You could learn numerology, or runes, or sound healing. Even if it’s just a beginner’s level class, taking your mind off the tarot can ease the pressure so that your gift can find its way back to you.

Never Lose Faith

It’s rough when you have a gift that seems to have evaporated. That’s why it’s called a crisis of faith–because you need to believe that this gift never truly abandons you. We are always connected to that higher space where good readings come from. But sometimes, that connection is hard to see or access. Sometimes, we just need to stop pushing so hard and let things rest.

But taking a rest, whether physically or metaphorically, doesn’t mean you toss the deck and give up forever. Like the tree in winter, it may look dead and hopeless. But it’s not. Your gift is lying dormant, just waiting for the right conditions to bloom and flourish before your eyes.

Keep it nourished. Keep it safe. Keep your faith, and I promise you–that gift will come back to you stronger than ever.

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Peace and Love,


Photo by Mishal Ibrahim on Unsplash

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