All T, No Shade – Tarot at the Gay Bar


This post is reflective of my personal development and experimentation of divination and alcohol for personal/ non-paid client readings.  The ideas and thoughts expressed here and the nature of this post is intended for individuals within the legal age to consume alcohol. I do not condone underage alcohol use and remind those who can drink to drink responsibly. 

When it came to the topic of divination and alcohol I was in the “don’t drink and divine” camp. I was very much resistant to the idea of mixing tarot and mind altering substances (drugs/alcohol). This was mainly due to my own personal abstinence from alcohol use in addition to the “drugs are bad” campaigns as a child. I believed a reader should never do a reading if not in the right frame of mind (drunk or mentally unprepared due to illness or other stressing factors).

However, I am trying to experiment with the subject first hand to see what the results would be. How can someone be against something without experiencing it first hand to witness any consequences if any.  I am not much of a fan of alcohol. I think it causes more harm to society than whatever “fun” can result from it. However, I am trying not be such a prude bitch, I am 26 for Christ’s sake, let me live. I have learned the appropriateness of mild/moderate alcohol use. I approach alcohol now with Temperance in mind, just a little is ok, don’t over do it! If the room is spinning then I went too far.

In my quest to push my limits as a tarot reader and see if I am worth my salt. I took my experiment to the gay bars of NYC. Well, one bar so far. Not only am I tackling the matter of alcohol use and tarot (fortunetelling specifically) I am also testing out live reading in a bar. Bars are normally considered by readers as an unsuitable place to read tarot. Loud music, dark rooms, drunk guys, a good gay night out by any standard, but is it good for tarot?

I had four experiences so far reading for four separate strangers at XES Lounge on 7th street. These readings were free of charge. I did accept a drink in return for one reading. I forget that being at the gay bar, you cannot say to a gay man “can I read you?” They think you want to throw shade (insult them). So quickly I say no, read your cards, tarot throws no shade. Each time without any question from the subject I preformed a Celtic cross. At the time of the readings I was either one or two drinks in (two drinks are my limit in a night, I am a light weight). So I would say I have a very good buzz going, that lasted an hour to two give or take. In each case with the four separate readings I was still accurately able to preform a reading, provide details of their situation (no question asked to remember) and was able to tie the cards together as I normally do when sober. When something I said did not match I was able to reevaluate the card(s) to provide a better interpretation which was then validated. In all four cases the subject related to the reading, provided feedback and was satisfied with what had been reported.I should also mention that the guys I read for were drinking but they did not appear to be “drunk”. They had the mental reasoning need to interact, comprehend and respond to the reading. If one or both parties (reader/client) were totally smashed, well, crazy shit may be said, but who would remember it the next day? Because the subject and myself were both in the same mind frame we are energticlly matched (balanced) at the reading. If one was sober and the other drunk it would be imbalanced and I think then that is where the problems can arise.

Reading in a bar was also interesting, I think it was a good experience because of the location. The lounge has a great upbeat feeling, good music, good people and it felt fine doing what I do. Guys either we excited about getting a reading or they wanted no part of it. I did have to speak loud of course, but communication was fine overall.

Seems all good so far. It appears that my mind still retained the mental functioning needed to preform a reading. Looking back and reflecting on the experiences I asked myself, what was different about the experience or the way my mind worked if anything was different. I think that looking at the experiences I noticed that I was able to read with an easy flow, with less blockage and said what I needed to say without much filter. They say truth is in the wine, we speak freely when we drink alcohol. I also did not feel much of a burnt out feeling after the readings, it was not as mentally taxing, not that it was effortless, but there was more ease with the reading. I don’t think my views of the cards changed from what I normally view them. What I noticed that was bad was my shuffle was off a bit, I did drop a few cards on the floor ha-ha. I also misread one position with the spread and had to correct myself.

Looking back at my old beliefs, that these sort of things don’t mesh or you should not mix them has been rewritten. Such ideas are childish, if you are a mature adult you can do whatever you want, again with responsibility. I liked reading the cards at the bar, it was a great way to practice my fortunetelling and also talk to some cute guys. It moved me out of my comfort zone as a reader and I think will help me overall.

To think that you need to be “sober” or “in the right state of mind” to divine is a little funny because if you know your history you know the Oracle of Delphi was probably high off her tripod! There was nothing right with her state of mind, it was not rational, sober and logical, She spoke to Apollo, a god, she needed to shift her consciousness to connect to the divine.

So this topic should really not be a controversial one or an “OMG” moment. I hope that you should reflect on this matter for yourself and make your own conclusions. Have you drank and read the cards? What was the experience like? What are your thoughts on this topic? Share them with me.




The recipient of Tarosophist of the Year 2011, Angelo Nasios is a rising voice in the tarot community. Angelo is known for his popular YouTube channel in which he produces educational tarot videos. Tarot: Unlocking the Arcana, Angelo’s first book will be released by Schiffer Publishing.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

  • Memory_Hole

    Great post! I agree with your conclusion, although I’ve never tried doing a Tarot reading for anyone while under the influence of alcohol. But as someone aspiring to do more readings and increase my expertise, I thought maybe I might want to try reading in bars? I wonder, how you approached or signaled that you were there and could do readings? Did you have a sign? or did you simply have your Tarot deck out and offer readings to people who approached you?

    • angelonasios

      I was sitting at the bar with the deck out and just asked people around me if they wanted a quick reading.