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My name is Sofia and I am a Tarot reader.

Some people refer to tarot reading as fortune telling, but I think of them as a tool to divine information about a person's circumstances.

There are 78 cards in a tarot deck. There are four suits (just like playing cards, except the suits are wands, swords, pentacles, and cups; this is referred to as the Minor Arcana) and then there's the Major Arcana, which are cards that are labelled things like The Fool, The Lovers, Death, and The Sun.

There's no reason to fear getting your cards read.

A reputable reader isn't going to tell you that anyone is going to die or that you have a curse placed upon you - that's a scam. In a legitimate tarot reading, the cards that are pulled and the way they are spread out will create a unique message that your reader will interpret.

I learned by reading books and getting my own cards read.

This was, of course, way before the internet. I practiced on friends and I learnt readings from the "LWB," (little white book) that comes with the cards. It's a lot like learning another language. Eventually you get to a point where the cards just seem to talk to you. You develop a rapport with them.

Otherwise, I'm a freelance writer, which is a solitary profession, so reading cards allows me to connect with people. I know that when I tell people I'm a reader, the first thing they think of is the stereotype: A neon sign that says "Fortunes Told," a shiny crystal ball on the table, and someone telling them they can remove a hex for

I start every day by prepping my space, which is my bedroom.

Although I do not see clients in person, I still want to make my space as sacred and still as possible, and cleanse it using sage, palo santo (a medicinal wood). I set up my bed with whatever cards and crystals I'm using that day, and then I do a meditation in order to be as grounded as possible, because often a lot of heavy emotional stuff will come up in readings. I need to be sure that I don't take on the emotional energy of others.

I always tell my clients that our reading is their time.

They can ask me questions and tell me as much or as little as they'd like. Some people come with a list of questions and others just want to see what comes up. I shuffle the cards and lay them out and one by one I turn them over.

Each card has its own meaning, but the real story happens when you see how the cards interact. Once some messages start popping up, the client will often start to make the connections and ask deeper questions.

Tarot readings have always been popular because people have a need for something less clinical (and cheaper) than therapy, and more objective than just talking to friends. A tarot reading offers a safe space for clients to explore their thoughts and feelings and hopefully gain a little insight.

There are a few main questions I always get from clients.

People want to know if they'll ever find love, if their family members are okay, and what their job situation looks like.

I think the hardest part of reading for me is when someone comes wanting a definitive answer, when they ask questions like, "Will I get back together with my ex?" of "Will I land the job?" or "When will COVID-19 end?" I don't give absolute, set-in-stone answers, because we all have free will and the ability to change our situations at a moment's notice.

I always say to look to the cards for guidance, not answers. My job is to present the options and explore the potential results. The best readings start with the question, "What do I need to know about you and your current situation?"

My ultimate goal with every reading is to make sure the client feels some sense of hope, purpose, or some clarity. The cards may not necessarily say what they want to hear, but at least they can leave with a plan or a direction.

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