A woman who switched careers to become a tarot card reader says she has found her purpose in life through telling other people's fortunes. Emily Thornton, 34, works under the name Solar Sister Tarot after developing her skills during the pandemic.
She said her interest in the supernatural started when she was young and claims to have had eerie experiences over the years that have made her even more drawn to the uncanny. On her website Emily says she was once "locked in the bathroom" by a "very volatile spirit" while house-sitting for a family, and that she often sensed a "presence" that "felt like someone was always leaning over my shoulder" in her student flat.
Emily, who is from Bradford and lives in Manchester, trained as an actor at drama school and picked up her first deck of tarot cards in 2013 while playing the role of Madam Arcarti in Blithe Spirit. "I was kind of drawn to it from that to begin with - and a few of my friends would ask me to do readings just for fun, and I found that I kind of had a knack for it, but I didn't properly start to learn how to read the tarot until lockdown of 2020," Emily told the Manchester Evening News.
"I was doing a course and it was yoga Tai Chi. There were lots of different things on this course, and one of the things was tarot and a lady who was doing readings every week said, ‘has anybody got a deck?' and I said, yes, and I wasn't sure what to do with it, or how to learn how to read it properly.
"She gave me a little technique and it was like it was my purpose. It was what I was meant to be doing and I just kind of ran with it."
She soon began being approached by people offering her money to give them a reading. "I wasn't asking people to pay for readings at that time, I was just doing it for fun, but there were people that started to come towards me offering to pay me for readings. So, it was almost like I just fell into it in a way," she said.
On her website, Emily says: "Unfortunately in July 2020 I was made redundant from my job at the theatre. It started to make me really consider what I want to do and what makes me happy. I decided enough was enough."
She told the MEN she was "always meant to be doing" tarot. "I started doing readings on a kind of pay what you feel basis, just to start off so I could practice and see where it led me, and then I properly kind of set up the business at the back end of the year."
Emily discusses tarot and astrology on her Solar Sister TikTok and Instagram accounts, and gives readings online. She also does in-person readings at a studio in Manchester once a month.
She said people's interest in tarot grew during the pandemic. "It was that time when we just had nothing on where I was able to really explore it. I think that was the case for a lot of people.
"I try to make my readings as accessible as possible and to not make it too mystical because I think that's what kind of throws people off sometimes when they're first having tarot readings, that they feel a bit like it's miles away from them. I think it's important to just open that door for people and let them explore themselves without making it too distant for them."
Emily said her clients are often seeking "personal growth" and want to know "what lies waiting" for themselves. "I think it just offers you a moment of reflection. That's the most important thing, I think with the reading, is that it pushes you past your comfort zone.
"I've had a lot of people that have come to me about jobs or relationships, where they've felt it was difficult to speak their truth or to put themselves out there - and usually after a reading they feel more confident in doing that. That's my main aim when people leave a reading, I want them to feel like they're ready to take on anything."