How to start reading palms – for real! It’s one thing to learn, to check out one’s own hand, to giggle over love lines and destiny lines and forks in the road, but to grasp a real client’s hand, study the lines, the shape and texture of the palm, to feel into the energy of the person while on the lookout for body language and sometimes spirit guides who love to tag along on peoples’ shoulders is a little intimidating.
And why do spirit guides always choose shoulders anyway? The better to see you with my dear? Or the better to be seen? I have no idea. I once saw a cow standing at someone’s left side. Not on the floor where a real cow would stand, of course, but kind of in the middle between the floor and her head. So, about her waist I think, and she was sitting down. I figured she’d turn and walk out of my house if I told her, so I said nothing.
I can’t remember why I actually blurted it out later in the reading, but I think she told me that she has always loved cows. They were her totem animals or spirit guides or something. Well, then I had to tell her. And also to admit that I’d withheld that info because I thought she’d think I was losing my marbles.
It’s one thing to learn the science, to practice the art, but quite another to sit face-to-face with a client and give them an accurate reading.
How to start? Where to start?
It just so happened I had recently opened the doors to The Sunflower, a new age bookstore in Montreal. Co-owned with a friend, we sold candles and crystals, books and flower essences, incense and herbal tea (which we brewed a pot of every day and gave out endless cups to whoever entered the shop. That was the thing back in the 90’s)
Why not begin in the back of the shop? A battered wooden table and a couple of folding chairs were already in place. I could certainly make use of those. It was a quiet spot and seemed perfect.
OK, so far so good. There were plenty of people about – the store was rarely empty. And if they were coming into my shop, they were already in tune with “new age vibes”.
Next question. How much do I charge? Oh, and what happens if I see horrible things? What if I don’t see anything at all? Should I give their money back? Maybe I’d better not charge anything at all (you can see I was beginning to wimp out). Or maybe I should just give away my readings.
“You have to charge something,” Emily, a naturopath advised. “To start the flow of energy.” And as I went along, I found that people did want to pay something or at least do an exchange. I received so many massages and tarot readings that first year, healing treatments and essential oils, moonstones and CD’s; people offering to buy me coffee or bring me a sandwich, or send their friends (which was fine with me).
Still, I struggled a bit with wanting to give away and wanting to receive. After all, I was learning the craft. How could I ask for money? Yet – I had learned a skill, a science based practice and I had paid good money for the classes.
But still, I wasn’t confident enough – yet.
I remember one evening a teenager made her way down to my “corner”. Just curious she told me. “I have no money.”
Then why was she shopping?
“No worries.” I smiled and gave her a quick reading. At the end of the reading, she leaned over and blew out my candle as if making a wish. Not quite sure what she was up to, I sat back and waited, watching her face. But she’d turned in her chair and was fishing around in her jeans pocket. Sheepishly, she pulled out a quarter. Yes a quarter of a dollar – a 25 cent piece.
I laughed and tried to wave it away, but she insisted I take her money.
Another time I sat down with a lawyer. I didn’t know it of course. She was just starting her practice and was concerned about a new romance and also whether she should move to another home. I must have given her the information she needed because once the reading was done, she smoothly pulled out her chequebook and wrote out a check for $100! I nearly fell off my chair.
As time went on, I realized that the actual amount paid for a reading was not as important as the spirit of intention, the exchange, the desire to keep the energy flowing as my naturopathic friend had suggested.