Tarot Talk & How To: Reading for Money, and Pricing Yourself as a Reader

“But Lexi, isn’t it bad praxis to perform readings for money? Does selling a spiritual practice taint its value? How much should a reading cost, then?”

Today, I thought I’d tackle all of these concerns in one swoop, as I receive questions like this quite often. Let’s move down the line and break it down bit by bit, and grapple with something that is not always so fun to grapple with: money.

Isn’t it bad praxis to perform readings for money?

No, unless you think it is.

If we lived in a world where I could trade and barter, a world without money where I could live off of only my talents and have no need for paper bills, I’d for sure love to give readings for the sake of giving readings. Alas, people pay for time and labor in cash value, and so that is what I do as well.

Tarot readers are people with bills to pay, mouths to feed, and our time means something too, so there came a time where I, after deciding that I had the proper experience, knew I deserved to be compensated for my labor, talent, time, and studying. For a lot of readers, it’s hard to take that leap; there isn’t really a widely designated certification or a validation that your practice is ready to be sold to the public.

If it seriously bothers you to receive money for a reading, don’t do it. But you may want to ask yourself why that is, especially if you would receive money for a hobby or practice where you had a similar amount of experience.

Does selling a spiritual practice taint its value?

Let’s clarify that card reading is a spiritual practice… sometimes. For me, card reading is often a spiritual practice, but using one’s intuition isn’t innately spiritual nor religious. For some, card reading is not at all spiritual, and for others, card reading is only spiritual or connected to their religious practices.

And… no, it won’t “taint” your spiritual practice. Services that help people, that provide aid and comfort and relief, or even that connect to a higher power — these are still often not unpaid, and we still often consider them quite valid. When you pay for a readers’ service, you are, for the most part, paying for their time and for their skill, like most other services that you pay for. These aren’t things that tend to get overridden by cash exchange (thankfully).

How much should a reading cost, then?

When I would give out free readings in the beginning for practice, I would accept tips and donations, but there was no pricing on my readings, as I was only just beginning, and did not feel comfortable accepting payment quite yet. Once I started my business, my pricing was extremely low to reflect my experience, confidence, and capability that I had at the time. When I raise or adjust my prices, I am doing so because I feel that it better reflects my skill and the service I’m putting out at the time.

Some readers will feel immediately comfortable putting a price tag on their services, and some will take some time to get there. I think this sort of conundrum may pop up no matter what kind of freelance work we’re talking about here, because putting a numerical value on your skill is pretty dang hard sometimes, speaking of cards or not. You may ultimately conclude this isn’t something you want to sell, and that’s okay too. Just because you enjoy doing something and you’re good at it also doesn’t mean you have to immediately run to price it — but you also shouldn’t feel guilty about deciding to put a number on your service either.

If you feel super iffy about it but still want to put your leg in, start with low pricing, and see how it feels to get the experience of working with a paying client. Ultimately, though, you are the only person who can decide that it’s time to sell your service, and you should also be the one to price it at a range you’re comfortable with.