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Old 09-11-2019, 07:17 AM
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Tarot Card readings and fortune tellings?


I have a step niece who is starting some sort of business where she will do this.

Once years ago at a Ren fest my gf at the time paid like $5 to do this. This is about my only experience with it.

Anyone here have any experience with it? Is it popular?

I looked it up online and they have online free apps to get readings.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:26 AM
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Does she believe in it?
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:27 AM
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It's harmless, unless the card reader is shady. At best, Tarot reading is talk therapy. There's some cryptic nonsense involving card meanings of course, but mostly the client gets a chance to talk with someone about their lives, and what they would like to do, and how they might go about doing it. Nothing wrong with that.

If the reader is a crook, they will attempt to convince a vulnerable person that there is something wrong with their aura or their life's journey is approaching danger, or a jealous someone has put a curse on them. They will then try to bilk the client for return visits or however much they can get out of them.

Buyer beware and all that.

It's nonsense, but it's fun nonsense. And what the hell, it might be useful.

Last edited by Two Many Cats; 09-11-2019 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:31 AM
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I have an ex whose former partner was seriously into this and many other similar concepts. To my ex, this was all just a fun diversion, a goof that could entertain and maybe spur an interesting discussion. I didn't have much interest in it and the idea of paying for this "service" was laughable to me.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:50 AM
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Many moons ago I would occasionally do Tarot readings as a party trick. Barnum statements and general cold reading stuff makes it seem more profound, and for whatever reason “reading” a tragedy involving water in the “deep past” always got a hit. There are supposed meanings to the cards, which help push to whatever conclusion you want to obtain. And then the depictions are pretty much a rohrschach image, again you can take them anywhere. The effect of a reading correlated directly with the level of confidence exhibited by the reader. My typical “takeaway”, after suitable pseudo-mystic curlicues, was that the person needed to empty their medicine cabinet of expired medication, to avoid dire consequences. Many times I was told I had “a gift” - they meant psychic, but that was just their misunderstanding of the actual gift, that of bs.
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:22 AM
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I have no personal experience with fortune telling, but just want to point out that it is illegal in many jurisdictions. Those laws are rarely enforced - except to bust the scam artist types, so your niece would likely be OK, but there might be some fine-print to scrutinize if she wants to stay within the law.
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:40 AM
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My wife Pepper Mill is really into Tarot. She has a large collection of Tarot cards, which I have contributed to. She's so seriously into it that she has a commercially-available deck with three cards that she modeled for. she does readings occasionally. She doesn't charge (although if she were to be working, as at a Ren Fair, I'm sure she would.) Our daughter MilliCal occasionally plays with these, too.


Of course, as a Physicist and dyed-in-the-Wool skeptic, I don't believe in this myself. But I still don't play solitaire with her decks, because I still suspect that if I do I'll case a volcanic eruption in Rhode Island, or something.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:05 PM
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Many, many years ago, I started a thread here doing tarot readings. I did several before I got overwhelmed... and disheartened by how ready people were to apply what I said to what their experience was, no matter how little relevance it seemed to me to apply.

IOW, I found that people will not only accept tarot readings but actively work to make the readings fit their life.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:41 PM
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My ex-wife did tarot as a hobby. She made a little money at it, but not much; and certainly not enough to convince her to give up her day job. My impression was that unless you get into all forms of fortune-telling (palm reading, tea leaves, tarot, etc.) and pursue all of those full-time, you'll never make a living at it.

As an aside, I'll mention the time my buddies and I played poker with a tarot deck. Take out the Major Arcana, and the Knight cards from the Minor Arcana, and you have a perfectly good deck of 52 cards that you can use to play normal card games. Thanks to my ex, I was familiar with the cards, but my buddies weren't, and it was an interesting and fun game, though a little weird in spots. "Um ... I think I've got a flush in--what are those?--wands?"
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:19 PM
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A long-deceased great-aunt was a spiritualist leader/seer/whatever-their-leadership-was-called and she taught us kids all the tricks. And she was honest to admit at least within the family that they were tricks. Like a lot of businesses it comes down to the owner and how ethical they are. I know bartenders who have bilked people out of thousands and don't even get me started on lawyers -------- so tell her to go ahead with caution.

Tarot and all things mystical are hot right now and in many places the laws have relaxed to consider it a form of entertainment. But be sure to check the laws in your area; once you move from doing it for fun or as part of a recognized religious practice you can end up arrested and basically fined out of business.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
My wife Pepper Mill is really into Tarot. She has a large collection of Tarot cards, which I have contributed to. She's so seriously into it that she has a commercially-available deck with three cards that she modeled for. she does readings occasionally. She doesn't charge (although if she were to be working, as at a Ren Fair, I'm sure she would.) Our daughter MilliCal occasionally plays with these, too.


Of course, as a Physicist and dyed-in-the-Wool skeptic, I don't believe in this myself. But I still don't play solitaire with her decks, because I still suspect that if I do I'll case a volcanic eruption in Rhode Island, or something.
That's cool about Pepper Mill. Which set did she model for? I did "readings" for friends way back decades o.k. I collect different card sets just for the art.

I was never a believer, of course, it was just a lark.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:06 PM
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That's cool about Pepper Mill. Which set did she model for? I did "readings" for friends way back decades o.k. I collect different card sets just for the art.

I was never a believer, of course, it was just a lark.
It was the Robin Wood Tarot. Robin was a close friend back then. We still see her at cons occasionally.

https://www.llewellyn.com/product.php?ean=9780875428949

https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Wood-Tarot/dp/0875428940

http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/robin-wood/

https://www.robinwood.com/Catalog/Bo...s/RWTDeck.html
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:20 PM
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My ex-wife did tarot as a hobby. She made a little money at it, but not much; and certainly not enough to convince her to give up her day job. My impression was that unless you get into all forms of fortune-telling (palm reading, tea leaves, tarot, etc.) and pursue all of those full-time, you'll never make a living at it.

As an aside, I'll mention the time my buddies and I played poker with a tarot deck. Take out the Major Arcana, and the Knight cards from the Minor Arcana, and you have a perfectly good deck of 52 cards that you can use to play normal card games. Thanks to my ex, I was familiar with the cards, but my buddies weren't, and it was an interesting and fun game, though a little weird in spots. "Um ... I think I've got a flush in--what are those?--wands?"
Poker? Solitaire? With a tarot deck, why not a nice game of... tarot? The French version is quite popular, if a tiny bit far out compared to bridge.
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:15 PM
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Leaving aside its use for divination, the symbolism of the Rider-Waite tarot deck makes a fascinating field of study. If you did not know, the suits represent the estates of medieval society: Wands (clubs) = peasants; pentacles/coins (diamonds) = merchants; cups (hearts) = clergy; swords (spades) = nobility. And the Major Arcana are an allegory for a path of spiritual development.
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:16 PM
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This sort of nonsense is apparently alive and well in Portland. In my neighborhood alone there is a crystal store, a psychic storefront, and Ingrid the Rune Woman. Just more schemes to transfer money from your pocket to theirs.
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:29 PM
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Madame Pepperwinkle used to enjoy going to Psychic Fairs and have a Tarot reading done. Once in awhile she'd insist on a reading for me. Apparently I'm a terrible subject as I try to give nothing away, as nobody has ever managed a good "cold reading" on me.
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:01 PM
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You knew this was coming.
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:08 AM
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Poker? Solitaire? With a tarot deck, why not a nice game of... tarot? The French version is quite popular, if a tiny bit far out compared to bridge.
Well, none of us knew how to play the game of tarot. But we did know how to play poker.

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Leaving aside its use for divination, the symbolism of the Rider-Waite tarot deck makes a fascinating field of study. If you did not know, the suits represent the estates of medieval society: Wands (clubs) = peasants; pentacles/coins (diamonds) = merchants; cups (hearts) = clergy; swords (spades) = nobility. And the Major Arcana are an allegory for a path of spiritual development.
The Rider-Waite deck is beautiful. I believe it was Pamela Coleman Smith that did the art, if memory serves. The fact that every card in the Minor Arcana has a unique illustration incorporating the number and the suit, and representing a rough meaning of the card itself, makes the deck great for beginners, as well as experienced readers. Our poker game was played with a Rider-Waite deck.
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:40 AM
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It was the Robin Wood Tarot. Robin was a close friend back then. We still see her at cons occasionally.
Oooo! Cool - the Robin Wood tarot is my favorite deck in my collection (which is small). Robin autographed one of the cards in the deck for me (The Hanged Man, by request).

I've done readings for fun. An amazing number of people want them to be "real", but I agree with what's been said already. I always emphasized that I wasn't a psychic and mine were intended for entertainment. I'm not even particularly good with the spiel and yet some people take this really seriously.
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Old 09-12-2019, 04:01 AM
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A long-deceased great-aunt was a spiritualist leader/seer/whatever-their-leadership-was-called and she taught us kids all the tricks. And she was honest to admit at least within the family that they were tricks. Like a lot of businesses it comes down to the owner and how ethical they are. I know bartenders who have bilked people out of thousands and don't even get me started on lawyers -------- so tell her to go ahead with caution.
Since you admit it's all trickery, why compare it to a business?

Yes, there are probably some unethical bartenders and lawyers - but there are also many honest ones who provide a genuine and useful service.
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Old 09-12-2019, 04:07 AM
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My ex-wife did tarot as a hobby. She made a little money at it, but not much; and certainly not enough to convince her to give up her day job. My impression was that unless you get into all forms of fortune-telling (palm reading, tea leaves, tarot, etc.) and pursue all of those full-time, you'll never make a living at it.
If you do it a lot, how do you answer clients who ask serious questions like "Should I marry him?" or "Do I invest heavily in it?"
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Old 09-12-2019, 04:54 AM
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If you do it a lot, how do you answer clients who ask serious questions like "Should I marry him?" or "Do I invest heavily in it?"
"The cards indicate that you should search your heart and go from there. The cards further indicate that you can make a smart play in the markets, if you speak with the right guy."

"Who is the right guy?"

"The cards don't tell me that."

It's knowing when to say "the cards don't tell me that," and the rest of the time, saying things that people don't necessarily want to hear, but that they need to hear. "Everybody is pressuring you to marry John Smith, but you're unsure? Look in your heart; this, this and this cards say it may not be a good idea. But this card is encouraging because [reasons], and this one too. Best I can say is to follow your heart, and to do what you yourself decide is best, not anybody else." Being unsure about marriage was, according to my ex, a red flag; and no matter what the cards said, my ex would always come up with some creative way to interpret the cards that basically boiled down to, "Is this choice really what you want, or what others want for you? Who's in charge of your life, you or somebody else?" She was more tactful, but you get the idea.
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:12 AM
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I thought they were pretty cool and got a set when I was young (and wanted to believe). I did friends and family readings for fun but grew to realize the info I gave was so vague it could apply to anyone or anything, people saw the meaning where they wanted and I stopped. I finally understood the why people would pay so much to scam artists for readings.

A few years ago I was listening to a guy discuss tarot cards. He said when he was in university he read tarot cards to make beer money and he 100% believed in them. He said people's jaws would drop at how accurate he was and they'd walk out of a session thanking him profusely.

His roommate was a skeptic and said it was all bullshit and he was ripping off vulnerable people. They agreed to do tests where the reader would tell the people the exact opposite of what the cards said and see what happened.

You guessed it, every person's jaw dropped and they were blown away by how accurate he was and thanked him profusely on the way out.

The guy said he put down the tarot cards and never did another reading and he now crusades against fortune telling scam artists.
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:39 AM
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My daughter collected tarot card sets for a while i her teens. There are an astounding variety of them out there.

Add me to the folk who are astounded that there are still storefronts advertising psychic readings. I've long toyed with the idea of a hobby/project of going into each one I see - including on travels and such, and just paying for a basic reading. Combined with photos of the businesses' exteriors, I thought it could be an entertaining exercise. Alas, I've never quite convinced myself to unlock my wallet and darken the doorway of such a site. My imagination is that such "professionals" are well trained in identifying easy marks, and if you do not appear to be one, they would give you the bum's rush.
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:22 AM
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My daughter collected tarot card sets for a while i her teens. There are an astounding variety of them out there.

Add me to the folk who are astounded that there are still storefronts advertising psychic readings. .
Come to Salem, MA sometime -- they're all over the place.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:47 AM
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I still grind my teeth:

Twenty-something years ago, the town my wife and I lived in put on their annual Spring Festival (might have been Fall Festival) and hired the local older woman to come do her fortune telling. This was along the lines of Little girl, you will grow up to be a beautiful Mommy with three kids and a handsome husband. Eww, BOYS, Yuck! That kind of thing. The local Baptist church launched a campaign to have this "witchcraft" banned from the Festival. They were successful; the woman was sent packing. At which point, the Baptist church installed their own Christian-based fortune teller. And charged for it. And kept all the money. The end.

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Old 09-12-2019, 11:32 AM
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Compared to the Yi Jing, since we are talking about a deck of cards there is enormous room for the personal expression and interpretation of the artist. It is a subject that really deserves a book rather than a post, but you may look at eg this post for some photos of what is out there.

Inevitably, even the typical "modern" deck used to play cards, such as this one, is not minimalistic and devoid of decoration nor of symbols: notably, the trumps feature themes including the ages of life, the four seasons, classical elements, and urban versus rural life.

Agreed that a "real" fortune teller should at the very least be versant in all forms of divination, including cards, coins, coffee grounds and tea leaves, crystal ball, lots, belomancy, etc., though you will need to pay a little extra for haruspicy.
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:21 PM
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Since you admit it's all trickery, why compare it to a business?

Yes, there are probably some unethical bartenders and lawyers - but there are also many honest ones who provide a genuine and useful service.
And sometimes those tricks can lead to something genuine and useful; a sort of peace or closure the person hasn't found elsewhere. Don't get me wrong; its abused a lot - I have no question of that. But again, if you treat it as a business and act as a responsible owner - as a sort of service - it has its place as well.
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:44 PM
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If you do it a lot, how do you answer clients who ask serious questions like "Should I marry him?" or "Do I invest heavily in it?"
You ask the client further questions until you are able to ascertain what they actually want to do, then you advise them to do that. Most people that are going to ask a card reader those questions (heck, most people who go to a spiritual advisor) aren't really looking for advice. They are looking for someone to agree with a decision they have already made, but are insecure about.
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:49 PM
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Since you admit it's all trickery, why compare it to a business?

Yes, there are probably some unethical bartenders and lawyers - but there are also many honest ones who provide a genuine and useful service.
The exact same thing can be said for tarot card readers. Yes, there are some unethical ones, but plenty of others do want to help people and provide genuine and useful services. The cards are merely a tool to get people to talk not unlike therapy dolls.
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Old 09-12-2019, 03:12 PM
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Imagine your at a street fair and their are say 5, 10, or even 20 booths set up of people doing tarot readings and such. Which do you choose? I'm guessing the one with the wackiest costume and odd name.

Just looking their are 4 such persons at this years KC Ren fest. But they are scattered around.

Remember these people are NOT doing it for fun. It's how they make a living and they have to pay rent to be there. So I dont know maybe they start with a plam reading for $10 then tarot for another $10 and then they convince you buy their magic crystals and so on.

I know their have been conflicts with artists and craftsmen when they set up booths at say street art fairs.
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Old 09-12-2019, 03:14 PM
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My daughter collected tarot card sets for a while i her teens. There are an astounding variety of them out there.

Add me to the folk who are astounded that there are still storefronts advertising psychic readings. I've long toyed with the idea of a hobby/project of going into each one I see - including on travels and such, and just paying for a basic reading. Combined with photos of the businesses' exteriors, I thought it could be an entertaining exercise. Alas, I've never quite convinced myself to unlock my wallet and darken the doorway of such a site. My imagination is that such "professionals" are well trained in identifying easy marks, and if you do not appear to be one, they would give you the bum's rush.
THAT would make an interesting study. Go to several and ask the same question and record the response. Are they all the same or not?
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:15 AM
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This sort of nonsense is apparently alive and well in Portland. In my neighborhood alone there is a crystal store, a psychic storefront, and Ingrid the Rune Woman. Just more schemes to transfer money from your pocket to theirs.
Would that she'd called herself the Runed Woman
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:25 AM
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At best, Tarot reading is talk therapy.
I have a friend that does readings, and she's taught others to do it. She uses the cards to bring up topics in the subject's life and talk about them, she doesn't make predictions. As a kind of therapy it's not a bad idea.
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Old 09-13-2019, 11:18 AM
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The exact same thing can be said for tarot card readers. Yes, there are some unethical ones, but plenty of others do want to help people and provide genuine and useful services. The cards are merely a tool to get people to talk not unlike therapy dolls.
No, not even close. Trauma dolls, and other forms of therapy, are used by professional mental healthcare providers, who’ve spent years learning how to provide therapy; how to listen and what to listen for, how to guide clients, set boundaries, identify blocks, offer strategies to overcome them.

Tarot readers, psychics, and other woo-peddlers, on the other hand, are entertainers. They’re selling … well, advice, at best. The opportunity for their customers to open up to a neutral listener. Helpful, maybe; but no better than you’d get from a random stranger on the bus. But by dressing that up with mystical incense and tarot cards and New Agey bullshit, they invest themselves with an authority they’ve by no means earned. And that’s excluding the knowingly fraudulent, whose purpose is to get as much money from the customer as possible by pretending to some mystical insight or psychic abilities.

I don’t doubt there are some psychics who have enough life experience to offer decent advice. But so are some bartenders. And they at least can get you a drink.
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:32 PM
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I read tarot cards. I don’t charge people, and it is mostly just advice and encouragement.

That said, I definitely see where I could be super shady and milk it.
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Old 09-13-2019, 07:09 PM
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36 posts in the thread, and no one’s quoted Stephen Wright’s joke about playing poker with a tarot deck: “I got a full house and three people died.”
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