This FAQ (frequently asked questions) for telephone tarot readers has been prepared by members of the tarot900 list. Need to know more? E-mail us. None of these answers are set in stone. They are gleaned from our own experiences as phone readers.

Obviously, different readers will prepare for readings in different ways. Here are just a few suggestions. Pick and choose as you see fit.

What ethical standards should a 900 line reader adhere to?

How do I set up my workspace?

How do I prepare myself for readings?

How do I activate my chakras before reading?

How do I find my spirit guides/angels to assist me in readings?

How do I protect myself against negative energies when reading?

What about ritual baths?

How can I enhance my psychic ability? (Use your back button to return)

What is a psychic reading? How is it different from intuitive reading?

What other divinatory methods/tools can be used in readings?

How I cleanse my cards, crystals, and workspace (and how often)?

What you do from the time you answer your call until you hang up?

Where can I send clients if they are in crisis? 800 Numbers (Use back button to return for now)

What do I say to suicidal callers?

How do I handle harassing callers?

What sorts of spreads should I use?

Should I use different decks for different networks? (Ex: a Native American deck for a NA network, an animal deck for a psychic pets network, etc.)

Most calls to 900 lines are about love relationships. What strategies have you developed to handle these calls effectively? (Especially if the cards don't bode well for the relationship)

Many times clients will ask if their significant others are having an affair. Is this ethical? How do you handle this?

What do I do if a client wants lottery numbers?

How do I handle timing questions?

How do I locate lost items using the cards?

How do I locate or identify people using the cards? (As in, "Where is my husband?" or "Who stole my money?")

How do I handle the heavy-hitting readings -- those with many challenging cards?

How much online time can I expect?

Do the networks have busy and slow times of year/month/day?

How do I choose a reputable company?

What is a bookstore?

What is rotation?

What are the industry/FCC rules in my area?


What ethical standards should a 900 line reader adhere to?

Here's the Code of Ethics Pat provides for her readers.

1. My clients are responsible for their own behavior.

2. I will strive to be encouraging and give hope.

3. I will strive to be balanced, centered, and cheerful. I will concentrate on my client and not on my own personal problems.

4. I will strive to educate my clients so they do not have to keep coming back to deal with the same problems.

5. I will not exploit my clients financially.

6. I will never predict a physical death unless extreme circumstances call for such a prediction.

7. I will stress the karmic importance of keeping all promises.

8. I will recommend that any client with any disease, illness, or physical problem immediately seek professional help. I am not a medical doctor.

9. I will recommend that my clients consult an appropriate advisor -- a lawyer, banker, accountant, or financial budgeting advisor -- before making any important financial legal decisions. I am not a professional legal or financial advisor.

10. I will make a point of studying those things which will aid me in giving better readings. I will endeavor to advance my own professional development.

11. I promise to give the best possible advice to any client who seeks my aid.

12. I will treat my professional colleagues with respect.

13. I will honor, respect, and maintain all confidences entrusted to me during consultation.

14. I will not bring the Association into disrepute.

How do I set up my workspace?

[Bonnie] These are just some thoughts on what workspace setup is for me. This will differ from person to person, based on individual needs for ceremony/ritual. I see myself as more of a healer/counselor than "psychic", and I see my work as sacred.

I would advise finding a space within the home where you can be away from distractions.(This is easy for me - I live with three cats. They don't turn on the TV or take phone calls. :) ) Most lines do not want any kind of background noise that their callers can pick up on. I keep my cards in a bag with a crystal, and put a scarf down before doing readings. When I can, I like to have flowers in the room, and I like to burn a scented candle before I begin reading. (I sometimes burn incense instead.) I put out crystals for protection and clarity, and leave a white seven day candle (a candle in a tall, clear glass that will burn for seven days - they can be found in the US in the Hispanic section of most grocery stores) burning at all times for spiritual protection. Basically, anything that makes the reading area special and pleasant to be in may be used.

[Yvonne] I prepare for readings quite simply. I have 3 candles. One is a Leo candle, my birth sign. I'm afraid, though, that my Cancer moon pretty much rules the day, so I invoke my Leo sun at the beginning of each work session so that I'll be able to speak out in truth and with self-confidence and mastery. I light a white sandalwood candle for psychic ability, and a blue, orange-scented, seven-day candle for peace (blue) and purification (orange oil) of my workspace. I keep my quartz crystal ball and a rose quartz obelisk on my candle dish. I hold the ball when I need clarification in readings -- and use the rose quartz when I feel the client is in need of healing or afraid. I feel this helps me direct the appropriate words their way. I also use it when I am hesitant to speak what the cards may be saying -- however outlandish or intense it may seem. I sometimes hold the ball to my third eye for a zap when the message seems muddled.

I lay a purple scarf with moons and pentacles on the table, along with my log, pen, and other pertinent info. I use the Universal Waite deck -- I keep a "timing" deck to the side. I usually keep my runes nearby, but have yet to use them. I've pulled down Silver RavenWolf's Rune Oracle. I may incorporate them into my readings. I'm in the market for another non-tarot divinatory method to use for clarification and validation. I like the concept of the AORA Gemstone Oracle as mentioned recently on tarot-l.

How do I prepare myself for readings?

[Bonnie] This is another one of those things that are going to be different for each person. I think that we all incorporate beliefs gained from a rich variety of places into how we prepare to do our work. And that may vary from time to time - i.e. reading for friends/family does not take the same preparation that reading on line (or on the Internet, or in any professional setting where you are dealing with strangers) does. For family and friends, I simply ask for higher guidance and place myself within the white light.

When preparing to go on line, the first thing that I do is give myself the time to get ready, i.e. I do not rush in from shopping and sign myself online ! I get my reading area ready, then I do a short meditation. I ask my guides to be with me, and I ask that the callers that need me are able to reach me. I shuffle my deck until I feel that the cards are ready to work ! After I sign off, my cards go immediately back into the bag, I thank my guides for being there, and I spend a few minutes "unwinding".

How do I activate my chakras before reading?

[Yvonne] Before logging on, I take a moment to balance my chakras and pray for the strengthening of my third eye (between the eyes, just above the eyebrows). I often bathe myself in indigo light (the color of the brow/third eye chakra) as I meditate.

To balance my chakras, I start at the root chakra at the base of the spine, imagining it bathed in red light and spinning smoothly and brightly. (I breathe deeply as I work with each chakra, letting my breath aid in their energizing.) When I'm finished there, the red light merges into the orange light of the sacral chakra between the navel and genitals. Again, I imagine healthy, smooth spinning. I envision these two chakras spinning in harmony. I follow the same pattern for the other chakras in succession: the solar plexus (between the navel and base of the sternum)/yellow light, the heart chakra (center of chest)/green light, the throat chakra (base of neck)/blue, and third eye (above and between eyebrows)/indigo. I imagine all six chakras spinning in harmony and shining brightly. I then visualize all the colors from each of the energized chakras moving swiftly up to the crown chakra (top of head/violet) at the top of my head. I let the energy leave the top of my head like a fountain and bathe in the aura. This takes 20 to 30 minutes at first, but as you practice, it comes much quicker. When I sit down to do a reading, I'll often just concentrate on energizing the brow chakra. I might do this by holding a crystal to my third eye, visualizing indigo light from the heavens entering into my third eye, or massaging the pressure point on my hand that corresponds to that chakra.

When I'm finished with my session, I "close" the chakras in several ways. One is to eat. This is very grounding. Sometimes I let the energy of the chakras drain from the crown back down to the root. (But don't ever close the root chakra, it acts as your "grounding wire.") Sometimes I'll do the grounding exercise where I imagine the energy flowing from me through a root that burrows into the ground (kind of like an extension of my spine). One of these exercises always helps me to drain away any excess energy from my sessions.

How do I find my spirit guides/angels to assist me in readings?

[Jeanne] I am one of those who believes I have Guides working with me. I can't say I have a fully developed relationship with them, which is to say I don't "know" them by name or have a clear mental picture of who they are or who they were; the only exception is one very poetic energy that comes to me with a very distinctive style. However, I've had enough compelling personal experience to believe that something other worldly works with me when I work.

Before each reading, I recite the following aloud as I hold my client's hands: "I welcome the spirits who guide you and those who guide me. I ask to be a clear and open channel for this reading, and to leave the information that is intended for your greatest good."

I then "use" my guides - and I presume those of my client - in the course of a reading to try and keep myself out of the way! Even before I turn over the first card, I try to connect with my client's energy and determine immediate moods and energies. It's worth mentioning that it's often uncanny how much these initial impressions will be echoed in the cards and their combinations.

I also call on my guides (silently) to help me interpret cards in the context of the reading, and I make a conscious effort to focus on both the cards and that "mysterious energy," rather than my own opinionated opinions. Although my experience, my knowledge and my language naturally color my readings, and even the messages I intuit (what flows _through_ the channel picks up what's _in_ the channel), I find that I do my best work when I most successfully quiet my ego/intellectual self, which is filled with doubts and insecurities.

This matter of Guides is a touchy business, and I often think that while Guides and God are not the same thing, trying to define either can be an insurmountable spiritual and psychic challenge. However, I've come up with things in readings: mental pictures, messages, names, events, etc., that I know are not coming from "me" and are not coming directly from the cards. The cards serve as structure, context, imagery/reinforcement and a double-check for me. I often get information that I personally do not agree with; again, from what realm does this come?

At the very least, the Tarot is a portal into other realms - other realms of the self, other selves, other planes of existence. If I only trusted what I can see, I wouldn't believe in atoms or germs or air. My guides are a constant inner reminder that much exists that is not visible, audible or palpable by our usual senses. I find this exciting and reassuring - and an integral part of working as a reader.

How do I protect myself against negative energies when reading?

[Pat] The obvious one is the good old white light (or pink light, as one of my co-workers prefers). But I also use crystals on or by the phone, or round my neck. A clear one programmed to repel negativity, or obsidian to absorb it or red jasper to return it to its sender (I like that one - don't get mad, get even!).

I also use a tincture of hyssop to wipe down the phone every so often to dispel negativity, especially after a difficult reading or or "one of those days." Burning candles also seems to help.

If I feel negative energy is building up in my cards I apologize to them and give them a good bash on the table. I also burn incense to smudge them.

[Yvonne] I recently adapted a prayer from Doreen Virtue's _The Lightworker's Way_ to start a day on the line with. It was heavy on the Jesus and angel end, but I adapted it to my belief system.

I ask for and invite the holy presence and guidance of Spirit into this room. I ask for and invite the blessed Goddess to watch over us during these readings. I also ask for and invite the love and guidance of all of our angels and spirit guides. I now seal this room in the white light of love. If any spirits enter our sessions who are not here for the highest and best purpose, I ask that the Great Mother will escort these spirits to the light for their own progress and prosperity. I ask for and affirm clear guidance for the highest purpose for which my clients come today. I ask that this information be given to me clearly and that I be helped to convey it accurately to all who ask, and that they be able to receive it in the spirit of peace and love. So mote it be.

I also use crystals and candles for purification and protection. I have a beautiful natural amethyst that soaks up negativity. I usually hold my quartz crystal ball in my receptive hand (the hand I don't write with) for protection and clear intuition. I sometimes surround myself in a protective white bubble.

If I get a disturbing call (which really isn't so often), I'll log out, ground the negative energy, center, and start again. When my cards get clogged with negative energy or I'm consecrating a new deck, I usually pass each card, front and back, over a white candle dressed in lemongrass oil.

I keep mugwort hanging over my reading area -- it's actually from the garden and is drying, but I couldn't think of a better place to let it dry :) It's protective as well as one of the best divinatory herbs around. If you don't have mugwort, bring in some honeysuckle from outside. Good protective oils for candles are frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, clove, and cinnamon. (The latter two can be irritants, so be careful.) Peppermint and rose, both herb and oil, are also good -- and more commonly available, although rose oil is priced out of this world.

What about ritual baths?

[Yvonne] I have an online friend who starts her sessions with a ritual bath. She lights candles and uses oils or herbs in the bath that promote psychic vision. From my own experience, a few might be mugwort, lemongrass, or sandalwood. (Hyacinth, violet, and rose geranium oils strengthen the third eye.) As she soaks, she asks her spirit guides to be with her as she assists people on the line.

As she bathes, she places her crystals in salt water (sea salt) beside the tub. When she's finished, she rinses her crystals in clear water and logs on. (Third eye crystals are amethyst, azurite, calcite, sapphire, fluorite, and lapis lazuli, but it's good to cleanse all crystals used in your sessions).

How can I enhance my psychic ability?

See Keys to Clairvoyance by Doreen Virtue.

What is a psychic reading? How is it different from intuitive reading?

[Yvonne] Many times I'm asked by clients if I'm a psychic. I struggled with this question at first, because I don't consider myself psychic in the sense that I can name your aunt in Poughkeepsie or tell you what her favorite ice cream is. I can't pull very specific information out of thin air, so I guess I do differentiate between being psychic and being intuitive. When reading, certain information comes to me, but never anything as specific as what color the querent's husband's girlfriend's car is. LOL! I have flashes of psychism, but I'm not exceptionally, brilliantly psychic. I'm psychic as far as I believe the cards open us to channels of information other than what we experience with our five senses. But I reserve the term psychic for those with extremely sensitive psychic talents -- to those who can lead detectives to killers, pick up psychic imprints, foretell the future with accuracy, etc. Maybe it's a matter of degree.

Intuition is different, I believe, but related to psychism. Intuition prompts me to know when something might happen (or not) during the course of a reading. I can intuitively know all kinds of things that I wouldn't normally know when focusing on the cards. This ability is not particularly psychic, IMHO, as I depend on input from my client. Given the information they give me, I can see where things may go if nothing changes -- and give them tools for the journey.

So when I'm asked if I'm psychic, my answer is usually that I use the cards as a means of accessing the psychic information they seek, but that I prefer to call them intuitive readings. I get the impression from many clients that they want someone to say, "OK, your husband is cheating with the lady at the corner market and you're going to get a new green Lexus on Oct. 2. Oh, the other woman has 3 sons and a Doberman." Some want me to do all the work for them, lay it out for them with no effort on their parts. I have to tell them at times that we can control no one but ourselves, and that it's our responsibility to develop our own effective strategies for living. Most are open to this idea.

[Hap] To me - the use of intuition still involves using the 5 physical senses - it is the lightning fast combination of sensory input that yields the intuitive result. Psychic information, is, on the other hand, the actual information gained from beyond the 5 senses. This might be information gained from telepathy, channeling, clairvoyance, clairsentient and so on.

It is not out of the question that our intuitive process also takes into account information from more than the 5 senses - I often call this "high intuition" and I see it often with journalists, writers, artists, people who don't know they have psychic information coming to them and others.

It seems to me that Yvonne might be using "high intuition" in her readings. She probably is getting information beyond that available to the 5 senses but it is combining so rapidly with her card reading information, her 5 sensory information channels and whatnot that she isn't quite aware of working out of her psychic senses.

Try one time to do a reading that is just a "reading of the cards" - one that doesn't employ the information gained from the clients voice, birthdate etc. See how dry it will be. Try then to do a reading for someone without the cards. You might be amazed at the results.

Working really quickly on the phone makes it difficult to hone the psychic senses. At first, one needs the time and space to develop an idea of what kinds of other information one is actually receiving. It can be done - we are all "psychic". It is like musical ability - we all have it but it is a question of development and initial talent that dictates how far one wants to take it.

It is my observation, and experience, that tarot readers find themselves developing psychic skills as they continue to work with the tarot. Other openings can come by reading books like the Seth series (Seth Speaks is a good starter) or perhaps the Edgar Casey books - just above any book that brings more awareness to these skills.

I promise you - you do have them. The first Big clue is that you can identify that there is a difference between intuition and psychic - most people cannot.

What other divinatory methods can be used in readings?

[Pat] One of the things I give to clients is to offer to post them out a tarot card relevant to their particular situation, either to meditate on or to use in some magical way which I explain to them. I use my "retired" decks for this purpose, and clients really seem to appreciate it. The feedback I have got from it has also been very interesting - it seems to assist the creative visualization process.

[Bonnie] This is truly an IMHO (in my humble opinion only) post ! As in setting up our workspaces and reading ourselves personally, bringing other methods (tools) of divination into our readings depends on how we view our purpose as readers, what information has crossed our paths, and what we feel most comfortable with.

I use the following in different situations:

AFFIRMATIONS: When I am speaking with a caller that has opportunities that they are not seeing, or if I sense that they don't have enough self assurance to follow through on what they see, I give the tool of affirmation. I explain that an affirmation is a positive statement, in the present tense, that creates an energy form that works to help them get what they want/need. I ask them to address themselves by their own first name , because this lets them act as a "third person" in their own lives, as the mind thinks that it is hearing this from an "outside" source. I have them create an affirmation that is positive for what they want, and I have them set a time (either early morning or late night, because this is an energy form that they are creating, and they don't want interference from all of the daytime energies of radio, TV, cell phones etc) that they can use on at least three consecutive days. (Each time the affirmation is used, it makes the thought form stronger.) For example, if I needed money, I might say: "I, Bonnie, have unlimited abundance in my life."

VISUALIZATION: I give the tool of visualization when I receive the information from my guides that the caller needs to find their own answer, and not have it given to them on a platter ! I tell them to find a quiet space, to follow their breathing until the "mind chatter" has slowed, then I have them see what they want to have happen. If it is a difficult relationship, I have them picture the other person in their mind, talk to him/her as if they were there in person. I ask the caller to tell the other person all of the things that they want them to know. I tell the caller that they may be surprised at what they have built up, that there may be anger and tears, and that tears are cathartic ! I have them end the visualization by bringing in thoughts of the happy times they have had with the other person. Then I have them send unconditional love to that person. I ask them to do this at the same time each day, three days in a row, either early morning or late night.

RUNES: Runes are a tool of spirituality, rather than the mundane of everyday. If I feel the caller is open to it, I draw a Rune for them as a "way out" - i.e. actions that they can take to better their current situation.

MEDICINE CARDS: Medicine cards speak of the spiritual message that animals bring us. I use this in the same way that I use the Runes - as a "way out".

SACRED PATH CARDS: This is a deck of cards drawn from Native American teachings. I use these in two ways - where the caller is now, and what the caller "needs to know" about how to progress in their lives.

LUCID DREAMING: If the caller is amenable to working on their own path (and some are not!), I give the tool of lucid dreaming. I explain that dreams are our guides way of getting information through to us. I tell the caller that just before they go to sleep, the form a short, specific question in their minds. They can repeat it to themselves mentally or out loud, and they can write it out, if they wish. Then all they need to do is to go to sleep. They will receive a dream that will come in one of two ways: either it will be very straightforward, or it will come in symbols. The straightforward dreams are easily understood. The symbolic dreams come from our own sub-conscious, so the symbols are relevant specifically to each individual. If you understand part of a symbolic dream, but not all of it, on another night ask for clarification of the dream. If you don't remember the dreams, or don't think that you are dreaming (you really are :) ), just ask the question on consecutive nights until you get a reply. This is also a very good method to give someone who wants to meet their guides. They just need to ask their guides to come into their dreams and introduce themselves.

[Yvonne] ASTROLOGY: In the many relationship readings that I give, I often ask for the birth dates of the couple so I can give them an overview about the compatibility of their signs. I realize many, many aspects play into relationship synastry, but I feel the sun signs are an important aspect and will often hit on the big issues. (Like the fact that Leos and Virgos will often have money issues). I don't give on-the-spot astrological readings, but I do offer to give them the highlights of their charts if they want to supply me with their birth date, time, and location, and call me back in a week. In this way, I can give them the high points of their natal charts -- another useful tool for their journey. It's also possible to do compatibility charts for them and the object of their affection. Again, I give them high points, but can go into detail if they desire.

PERSONALITY/SOUL AND YEAR CARDS: Year cards are computed by adding the client's birthday and the current year. These numbers are then reduced to a number between 1 and 22. This number will correspond with a major arcana card that will be very significant in the client's life this year. (22 will represent the Fool.) Example: Aug. 21, 1999 would be 8+21+1999=2028. So, 2+0+2+8=12 or the Hanged Man. The Hanged Man is this person's year card. These cards are effective from birthday to birthday. It's especially significant if this card comes up in the reading.

Personality/soul cards are computed by adding the birthday and birth year: Aug. 21, 1956 would come to 8+21+1956=1985. 1+9+8+5=23. Since 23 is higher than 22, add the numbers 2+3=5, so the Hierophant would be the personality/soul card for this birthday. Another example: Aug. 18, 1956 is 8+10+1956=1974. 1+9+7+4=21. In this case, the World is the client's personality card, and 2+1, or 3 (the Empress) is the client's soul card.

The personality card indicates what you have come into this lifetime to learn. The soul card represents your soul purpose through all your lifetimes. The combined personality/soul card means you are working specifically on your soul's purpose in this lifetime, and are therefore more focused and directed.

How do I cleanse my cards, crystals, and workspace (and how often)?

[Bonnie] I feel that the nature of this subject changes the longer you read on a 900 line. At first, everything bothers you, and you want to do well, and you don't know how to take control of a normal reading, much less a harassing caller. These types of calls leave their mark on the reader and the cards, crystals being used.

I still keep two identical decks of cards - I can flow the negative energy through me, but I feel that it does linger on the cards, so if I have a "bad" or "hard" call/caller, I change decks for the remaining readings. After I am done for the day, I smudge my decks with sage (to cleanse) and sweetgrass (for harmony).

If the day has been a normal one, I feel that repeated shuffling is enough to cleanse and ground the deck.

Crystals also take on the atmosphere around them. I don't feel it necessary to cleanse my crystals as often, but when I do, I place them in water. I leave them there overnight, then I dry them and infuse them with their purpose (clarity, love etc).

What do I do from the time I answer the call until I hang up?

[Bonnie] This is my "take" on what I do in a reading from beginning to end. This will vary depending on the line that you work for, and whether you have to push club information, get addresses, etc. My focus is always on the caller - I do not let anything get in the way. If I don't manage to get in what the line wants me to, so be it. I want to give the caller the best reading that I can, making sure that they leave with the tools to handle their own issues. So, here goes.

1. Pick the phone up by the second ring. Most lines require this - it is common courtesy to the client.

2. Welcome the client. I phrase it this way: "Welcome to the Network, this is Bonnie at ext ###." In this way you have made them feel good about calling, have given them your name and the extension that they can use to call you back at. I use "Network" because the companies that I work for read for several different lines.

3. I ask for their date of birth (all callers must be over 18 years of age) and their first name. I use their first name throughout the reading. If they are Capricorn, I joke a little with them about our stubbornness (I am Capricorn also). This can make a nervous caller feel more comfortable.

4. I tell them that I read by intuition and Tarot, and ask them if they have a specific question or area of interest, or if they would like a general reading. note: If the question is specific, and the answer is a short one, you can draw cards for them and say: "I also see this in your life. Would you like to talk about that?" This will extend the reading, but only at their request. Sometimes people need an answer, and have little money. I honor that. For every short call (i.e. under 5 minutes), there will be a call that will make up for it. I regard that as my "giveaway" - and feel that it brings me luck. However, if I get several short calls in a row, I feel that it may be due to the nature of the advertisement that they are watching, and sign off the line for at least half an hour.

5. I tell them in the beginning that I will start my reading with where they are now, and then will do a look at the immediate future - i.e. the next 2-3 months. And I let them know that they can break in with a question at any time.

6. I listen very carefully to my callers, so that I can sense when they want to discuss something more fully, or when they are waiting for me to bring something up.

7. About 18-20 minutes into the reading, I start watching the time. Some lines have an automatic cutoff for their calls (i.e. at a pre-determined number of minutes, the call cuts off), and some do not. For those that do not, you are usually penalized by not being paid for calls going over a certain amount of time (and they do not count in your average).

8. The lines that I work for have a tone that indicates that there are 2-3 minutes left before the call is over. At that point in time, I ask the caller if there are any more questions, and explain that we are about to be cut off. I give them my name and extension number again, the hours that I usually work, the discount number for the line that they are calling from, and the number for the Psychic Club, and thank them for calling.

9. I always make it a point to let the caller hang up first. In fact - there can be a problem with the line that you are working for if they think that you consistently hang up on clients first. :)

10. I make sure that I have logged the name of the line the caller is calling from (we hear that as a "whisper" message), their date of birth, first name, the time the call started and the time that the call ended. I also make notes if I have offered to do a Reiki healing, so that I can put them on my list. (Non Reiki readers may want to start a prayer list.)

What do I say to suicidal callers?

[Bonnie] Many callers to 900 lines are at a very difficult point in their lives, and don't see that they have many options. A caller with a suicidal intent may not necessarily exhibit an "out of control" personality. They may converse very normally, they may seem nervous and need a lot of reassurance, or you may not realize until well into the call that they are crying and cannot talk! Here are suggested was of dealing with the situation:

1. Address their issues - take them seriously, make them feel important.

2. Speak gently and quietly, and try to point out that they do have options.

3. Ask them if they are on medication. If they are taking medication for depression, especially of they are drinking on top of that, this would be a red flag. Darvon, Valium, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft are some of the brand names. Also, almost any illegal street drug can be used for suicide.

4. Ask them if they intend to harm themselves - explain that you are very worried about them.

5. If they say that they do intend to harm themselves, ask them if they have the means to do so (i.e. drugs, guns, using a car in a closed garage, etc.)

6. Try and get their phone number (with area code), and call the police in that area if you feel that a suicide attempt is imminent.

7. If they are suicidal, but show no signs of harming themselves any time soon, give them the suicide hot line number, and encourage them to call it. Give them your extension number, and the times that you work, and assure them that you will be there for them.

8. If you are very upset by the call, log off of the line until you calm down. At all times remember to take charge of the conversation and reassure the caller. If you do Reiki healing, send them a distant healing. Or, you may wish to send a prayer for the callers protection. This may be addressed to a specific Archangel, such as Michael. Know that you were there for them, and that you have done your best to give the caller tools to deal with their life.

How do I handle harassing callers?

OBSCENE: The caller uses sexually explicit language and subject matter. If a gentle nudge (i.e. "You have the wrong line for that. Would you like a reading?") doesn't help, then inform the caller that you are hanging up, and do so. Note this on your log, and let your manager know what happened, what time it happened, and why you hung up. (This is so that it won't be held against you that you hung up before the caller did.)

DRUNKS: If they don't fall into the above category, and are relatively coherent (i.e. realize that they are paying for the call), I go ahead and give them a reading (or just chat with them, which is often what they want/need).

COMPLAINTS: These are usually very angry people who just received a phone bill with a 900 charge on it that they know nothing about (even if it was actually placed by another family member). Or, it may be someone who asked for a reading and felt that they were insulted by, or hung up on by the reader. Give these callers the customer service number for your line, and let the company handle it.

VERBAL ABUSE: These are usually callers who, due to religious or other personally held beliefs, think that 900 lines are doing the devil's work, that the readers are liars and cheaters, that 900 lines are a scam, etc. Tell them that you are hanging up, then hang up. Log the call, the reason that you hung up, and notify your manager as soon as possible. (Again, to let the line why you hung up before the caller did !)

[Yvonne] You may also get clients in this category who want to hear specific things in their readings. These clients may become angry or abusive if you tell them things they don't want to hear. If you get one of these callers, as calmly as possible explain that you didn't choose the cards, you're only reading them. Try to explore the meaning of the cards with the person, but if they aren't ready to hear the information, move on. By all means, don't press the issue. (But don't feel disheartened, maybe you've planted a seed that the client can ponder later. ) If the client yells or becomes verbally abusive, and nothing you do seems to diffuse the situation, tell them you are hanging up, then hang up. As Bonnie advises, let your manager know by phone or email.

[Pat] Negative calls on our line are almost zilch, as are bad debts. The reason? We put out a Newsletter to all our clients monthly. They thus feel that they are part of our "family" and treat us all with great respect, as we do them. We don't rely on new business to survive, we direct mail. 95%+ of our callers are repeats or referrals. It's a different approach but it works - and the readers love working - they never leave! Maybe you could talk to your bosses about it if negative callers are a real problem.

What sorts of spreads should I use?

[Yvonne] Nine times out of ten, I'll start with 3 cards to get some quick responses to the questions I'm being asked. In the beginning, I used the Celtic Cross, and while the readings were good, the caller would sometimes hang up or get impatient before I could get into the meat of the reading. Now, I try to strike quickly with some answers, and then expand the reading. Sometimes (most often) I just turn over cards as they ask me questions. The drawback to this is -- each position in the spreads offers a very specific context to the cards. Spreads are a big plus for this reason.

If you haven't read Power Tarot by McGregors and Vega, I highly recommend it. These women developed the spreads in this book when they were 900 line readers. I experiment with them extensively and have found some very good ones -- especially relationship spreads. I love using the Celtic Cross, but find the nature of phone reading doesn't lend itself to its frequent use -- for me.

In a nutshell, if a person asks about work, I may draw three cards, talking to them to get a clearer picture of what's going on in relation to the cards. If the choice is between 2 jobs, I may draw cards for each choice. If it's about a boss, I may draw a card and a crossing card to see what's going on, etc. The trick here is to clearly formulate the question in my mind before drawing each card. This method has served me well.

If they want a general overview with no particular questions, I usually jump at the chance to throw a Celtic Cross.

[Sophia] The main difficulty I encountered with the Celtic Cross (and other spreads over 5 cards) is having to keep on talking while I'm laying them out. It's not like reading in person, where the person can see you placing the cards. Plus, the caller may be concerned about time. So I feel there can't be silence. I usually tell them what I'm doing while I'm doing it, "I'm now laying out the cards, so I may be quiet for a moment," something like that. I haven't had anyone hang up on me in middle of a Celtic Cross. What has happened is that because I'm giving the caller a lot of info, they assume I'm finished before I get to the end of the cards and we get into a long conversation in middle of the spread. So I sometimes have to say "Well yes that's what the cards show so far, but I haven't reached the end yet."


Should I use different decks for different networks? (Ex: a Native American deck for a NA network, an animal deck for a psychic pets network, etc.)

[Yvonne] My line sends me calls from several networks and I was very surprised when I got my first call from the Native American Network -- cause I'm not! This disturbed me until I decided to purchase a Native American deck for these readings. I'm currently studying the NA symbology in the deck so I can give these callers what they expect when they call. Medicine Cards, Sacred Path Cards, or Native American astrology would fit very well in these readings.

My line also takes calls from the Psychic Pets line. I've yet to get one of these, but feel the Animal Wise deck by Ted Andrews or Tarot for Cats would work marvelously here. Medicine cards, too. I think whether or not you go this route will depend on your ethical system. Can you take these calls with a clear conscience? If so, stick with your favorite deck. If this seems to be on fringes of your ethics or seems downright unethical, invest in compatible decks and go the extra mile by learning their specific symbology.

Most calls to 900 lines are about love relationships. What strategies have you developed to handle these calls effectively? (Especially if the cards don't bode well for the relationship)

[Pat] I have found that the Art Nouveau deck is really great for relationship readings. The minors show four couples in the various phases of their relationships, and the pictures tell it all! You almost don't need to think, just describe the cards. (Sometimes they even LOOK like the couple concerned!) It's a nice deck to handle, too, as the deck is standard playing card size and BEAUTIFUL art work.

I also find The Lovers Tarot by Jane Lyle is good. The cards are majors only and hugely oversized, but the accompanying book is excellent, with good spreads as well. It's one I re read from time to time to remind myself what the Majors mean regarding relationships.

Many times clients will ask if their significant others are having an affair. Is this ethical? How do you handle this?

[Bonnie] I was always advised to address this question from the point of "No, I don't see that at his moment," even if I did see it. This is a question that can bring great personal pain, even cause the caller to bring harm to themselves or to someone else. We are not there to physically help them through this, so we need to proceed with caution. (I once took part in a three way conversation with a wife and husband, where the wife had been told by another psychic that the husband was cheating. I saw no such thing, and spent the better part of an hour convincing her of that !!)

It is better to re-direct the tone of the reading - as in "Here are some concerns that the significant other seems to have in his/her life right now." Then you can present alternative actions to the caller, making them feel more empowered in their lives.

[John] Another approach is to see what the cards say. More often than not, you can approach the question from the standpoint of "Yes, I can see he (or she) has given you reason to suspect just this." From there it's an easy step into counseling the client based on what the cards tell you. Often in answering questions, it is better to avoid an outright "Yes" and seek to address the issues underlying the question. It is also very much better not to blatantly lie about what the cards say. The cards will believe you and repeat back to you the same lie in the future. You'll end up not believing your cards and that is a true psychic disaster.

[Susan] I have yet to see this question asked that there wasn't a strong indication that the caller was unhappy in the relationship, anyway--so I usually shift the focus of the reading to her (normally) concerns and needs and types of relationships that would be happier--I find that to be a second form of useful re-direct.

I don't know that I would say anything contrary to what I saw--it seems so dishonoring of the whole process. Of course, I don't need to say everything or plant or urge fear and discomfort...and I would certainly stay positive and keep in mind the "for entertainment purposes only" caveat...but to stare at a three of swords between a King of Cups reversed and a Queen reversed---or such--and actually say "nope, no affair here" ? Hmmm lot to think about....

What do I do if a client wants lottery numbers?

[Yvonne] It happens. At first, I told them I don't give out lottery numbers. Now, I lay out 6 cards (or however many numbers they need) and give them the numbers on those cards. I also explain to them that there are literally thousands, sometimes millions, of people focusing prayers and psychic energy at these lotteries, making it difficult to get a clear impression about winning numbers. I caution them about pouring money into these lotteries for that very reason, and tell them to try the numbers I give them as a lark -- don't take it too seriously! Also, some people are not meant to handle large sums of money in this lifetime. Many times karma steps in when people play the lottery. I'm reminded of a story in Kenworthy's _A 1-900 Psychic Speaks_ where a client played the same numbers every week. The very week she changed her numbers, her old numbers won. It just wasn't meant for this woman to win the lottery. Many times we have lessons to learn in this life about abundance and prosperity. Winning the lottery would circumvent our learning process. Once I've explained that to my satisfaction, I give them the numbers with a clear conscience.

[Bonnie] This question bothered me very much when I first began to read - as the line that I worked for did advertising on this very topic !! I decided to go ahead and give the caller numbers, in my own fashion.

First, I warned them to place only as much money here as they felt comfortable with. That the numbers I gave them were pertinent to their lives, but not guaranteed to win. I asked them to play the numbers several times to give them a chance to win.

Then I asked how many numbers they needed. I worked out the numbers from their birth date. For the date 12/29/48 I would give them the numbers 12,29,48 (directly from their own data), 36 (adding 12, 29, and 1948), a fifth number substituting the current year with the original day and month of birth, and a sixth number adding the day, month and year of the date the call is taking place on. Each person should work out how they feel comfortable finding the numbers that they give out.

If playing the lottery is against a readers beliefs, or they don't feel comfortable with gambling in general, then my advise is to tell the caller that, in a gentle way so that the caller is not offended.

How do I handle timing questions?

[Bonnie] Questions of timing - I generally view the numbered cards as days/weeks, Aces as seasons (Wands = autumn, Cups = summer, Swords = winter, Pentacles = spring), the court cards as their indicated time periods:

King of Wands - March 21 - April 19
Queen of Wands July 23 - August 22
Page of Wands - November 22 - December 21
King of Cups June 21 - July 22
Queen of Cups - October 23 - November 21
Page of Cups -February 19 - March 20
King of Swords - September 23 - October 22
Queen of Swords - August 23 - September 22
Page of Swords - April 20 - May 20
King of Pentacles - May 21-June 20
Queen of Pentacles - January 20 - February 19
Page of Pentacles - December 22 - January 19

and the Major Arcana as happening at any time.

[Yvonne] This is my timing method: wands represent days, cups represent weeks, swords represent months, pentacles represent years. If I draw a 3 of cups, the timing is 3 days, etc. Courts are a little more obscure: Pages mean things are in the beginning stages; knights mean they are in process; queens mean the situation is reaching maturity; kings are completion. The majors work like this:

Fool: this year
Magician: 1 year
High Priestess: 2 years
Empress: 3 years
Emperor: March 21-April 20 (Aries)
Hierophant: April 21-May 20 (Taurus)
Lovers: May 21-June 20 (Gemini)
Chariot: June 21-July 21 (Cancer)
Strength: July 22-August 22 (Leo)
Hermit: August 23-September 22 (Virgo)
Wheel: 10 years
Justice: September 23-October 22 (Libra)
Hanged Man: 12 years
Death: October 23-November 22 (Scorpio)
Temperance: November 23-December 21 (Sag)
Devil: December 22-January 19 (Capricorn)
Tower: 16 years
Star: January 20-February 18 (Aquarius)
Moon: February 19-March 20 (Pisces)
Sun: 19 years
Judgment: 20 years
World: 21 years

There is a method to the madness here -- the majors that have astrological signs attributed to them correspond to that time span. The ones that don't represent years -- the number of years is determined by the number on the cards.

How do I locate lost items using the cards?

[Yvonne] I feel the tarot can help with these mundane issues. I received a call from a woman who had lost her wedding ring. I got a lot of swords -- as it turned out, she had taken the ring off to chop vegetables. Another card -- the Magician. Here the Magician is clearly pointing to plants overhead, and there are plants around the table where he is working. I asked her if she had a table outside and were there plants around it? Yes -- a picnic table, and they were having a cookout that day. But my eye kept going back to the plants hanging down at the top of the card. Do you have a hanging plant in your kitchen? Yes, right over the area where she was chopping. I advised her to scour that area. Of course, the nature of our calls makes it so that we rarely know the outcome of our advice -- but the important thing here is to go with your intuition. Look at the cards closely. What in the card rivets your attention? Go with that. And don't be afraid to ask questions. I saw swords, so I asked, "Why am I seeing knives?" These readings are trickier, in my opinion. We aren't looking at the meanings of the cards as much as at the pictures. We really have to trust our inner promptings here and speak out with confidence. Practice this yourself if it feels awkward to you. If you've lost an item, pull cards to find it, then follow your own advice. A few "finds" will surely make a believer out of you.

How do I locate or identify people using the cards? (As in, "Where is my husband?" or "Who stole my money?")

[Bonnie] Dealing with questions such as "Where is my husband?" or "Who stole my money?" need, to say the least, great tact and discretion. Unless you see/feel clearly the answer, it is best to stay general, as in "I feel that he is with many people," or "I last see your money here." Giving even vague descriptions will lead the caller to accuse a person who fits that description but may be innocent!! I usually try to find out what the caller really wants to know - what is behind the question, and attempt to deal with that.

How do I handle the heavy-hitting readings -- those with many challenging cards?

[Bonnie] A reading that is very challenging can be made easier by taking a deep breath and breaking the reading down into bite sized pieces. Forget the overall picture - that creates instant panic. :) Look at each card in turn, think about what the card by itself means, and what the position that it holds within the spread means. Take a quick look at the surrounding cards, and get a feel for how they interact.

Then start the story - for each reading is a story about where the caller is at this point in their lives. As the story unfolds, you will see and feel more about the reading, becoming more comfortable with it. If there are bits that are not to be told - i.e. death, divorce, or anything that in your opinion the caller would be unable to handle, leave them out, but point the direction. Find a gentle way to have them look at those areas of their lives, and try to leave them with hope even in a bad situation.

Consciously take deep breaths all during the reading, and feel the energy entering your body through the crown chakra and leaving through the souls of your feet. By not breathing, you retain this energy within yourself. Surround the caller with pink or white light (pink for compassionate love, white for spiritual protection), and mentally wish them well.

If, at the end of the call, you still feel that you have retained some of the energy, sign off line, get up and walk around, go outside, do anything that will encourage the movement of the energies within you. In time, this will become a natural thing for you, and fewer calls will fall into this category.

How much online time can I expect?

[Bonnie] On-line time varies from day to day, by time of day, and by advertising placement. Generally, holidays and summer are a relatively slow time. A majority of the readers want to do "nine to five", so there is a lot of competition for calls during that time period. And some lines have priority systems, where your priority goes up based on the number of minutes that you put in each pay period and your call average.

Evenings, late night and early morning are good times to be on line. There are less "I only want my free minutes" callers, and less readers to take the calls, so your ability to get a call goes up. Also, from my experience, the more "serious" calls take place during these hours.

Having said all of that, I would say that 35%-40% of time spent on line being spent on calls is average.

Do the networks have busy and slow times of year/month/day?

How do I choose a reputable company?

[Bonnie] My first (and second !) jobs came through an advertisement in the newspaper. My next job came through an advertisement in a metaphysical magazine. And - people do advertise for 900 line readers on the Internet. :) You can check out any of the above, or watch info-mercials for 900 lines, and call the customer service number for the lines that run the ads most appealing to you. (You can also obtain customer service numbers from any magazine that runs 900 line advertisements.)

Be aware that some lines do not use their own readers - they sub-contract their work to other companies. So don't feel bad if you contact "the" line that you want to work for, and they either say that they are not hiring or that they don't use their own readers! Also, some lines only hire readers from within their own physical area - i.e. Legacy in Washington State and Mile High Psychics in Colorado.

Once you have contacted the line that you wish to work for, they will ask you to mail/fax a resume, and do a sample reading. Your resume should include your prior reading experience (even if it is only for friends and family - we all start somewhere !), your "tools" (i.e. do you use intuition, Tarot, Numerology, Astrology, work with Angels and Guides, etc), and a short version of why you want to read for them (as a business, to help people, etc). Don't be nervous about the sample reading - the line just needs to know that you can do what you say that you can do !

Following is a list of questions that over a period of time, and working for different companies, I have found to be important to me. The answers give me a feel for how "reputable" a company is.

1. Is your contact a sub-contractor, or a direct representative of the company? It is better to work directly for a company. If you have a problem, there is no middle man. Also, if the company hires sub-contractors to hire readers, these sub-contractors receive so much money per the amount of time each reader puts in. And your checks will probably come through that person - not directly from the company.

2. What is the rate of pay? (Readers are paid per minute of time spent actively talking with callers.) The minimum that you should expect to receive is 25 cents per minute - and this can go up to 40 cents per minute (for an average line).

3. Are you expected to work a set schedule, or can you sign on and off at will? Lines that have schedules are in the minority, and I would stay away from them because it is hard to find shift coverage if you cannot work.

4. How is the call average determined? Your call average is your total minutes talking with callers divided by the total number of calls taken. Some lines discard any calls less than 120 seconds (they don't include them in your call average). This gives you a true average, as those callers hanging up before 120 seconds are only calling for the free minutes.

5. Are you expected to obtain the addresses of your callers? Some lines make this mandatory, as they do bulk mail advertising. You may be penalized for obtaining less than the percentage of addresses the line expects from each reader.

6. Are you expected to sign the callers up for a "club", or give out club information? Many lines have psychic "clubs" where callers can obtain readings for a reduced fee. The problem here is that if you are expected to sign people up for the club, do you need to meet a quota, and are you penalized if you don't?

7. Are the log on numbers toll free? If the numbers to log on the line are not toll free, you are paying to go to work !!

Most lines are highly reputable, and won't mind giving you this information.

What is a bookstore?

[Yvonne] A bookstore is a group that operates under a main company. They are contractors who are a different level of management. As far as I know, the levels go like this:

1. Main company -- like PRN or Kenny Kingston
2. Bookstores -- hire and manage readers for main company
3. Brokers -- contract with bookstores to hire and manage readers
4. Readers -- us, the worker bees

The lower the level, the less the pay. The main companies, bookstores, and brokers (and sometimes sub-brokers) all get their portion of the money per minute. I think it could be very lucrative for the brokers and bookstores, as they don't pay for advertising, equipment, etc.

What is rotation?

[Bonnie] Rotation is the way in which a reader receives their calls from the server. In some companies, it is straight rotation - that is, each reader gets a call, and then waits until all other readers have taken a call before they get their next call. In some companies, there is a rigid structure based on that companies priorities: i.e. sign-up for a club, minutes spent on line, or call average. Or it can be any combination of the above. And seldom will the company admit that there is a factor to the rotation other than "randomness". Sometimes it is hard to tell bad rotation from a slowdown in callers.

What are the industry/FCC rules in my area?



Send questions or comments to Yvonne.