I clearly remember the process of deciding to become a professional tarot reader & teacher.
We had 4 young children who we had decided to home educate and it was clear we would need two wages to manage this, In the past I had been a nursery teacher & nanny and could easily get back into that line of work- but I had always wanted to develop my Occult skills, and this was a perfect opportunity.
So I decided to go for it!
Then- for some unknown reason- I spent at least three months trying to decide if I wanted to to teach or read Tarot. Luckily I came to the conclusion that they were complimentary and I wanted to do both.
So I thought I'd share some of my insights along the way.
Try to move through the nerves.
Before my first ever workshop I spent a full hour crying in the car texting a friend who refused to engage except to tell me to “**** Get on with it” with a heavy smattering of swear words. There have been many times when waiting to run a new workshop that I have hoped for my phone to ring and my husband say that I am much needed at home.
I still get nervous about new venues, new workshops. I manage my nerves- distract, prepare, breathe deep and take the step forward. Waiting for nerves to go, and I think you may be waiting for a very long time, the longer you wait- the bigger they get.
Sometimes things will go wrong.
I have lost venue keys, had printer malfunctions (emailing the handouts the day after) confused dates & tried dates & planned workshops where the only people who attended were there through friendship.
I have cried because I spent more on advertising & venue cost than I earn, dealt with the usual “why are you charging for a spiritual event” and had to ask difficult people to leave because of the way they were treating others.
But as I look back other the last three years these memories are in the minority. Some people have been coming to my workshops for three years now, many have become good friends. I love the energy of teaching a group & look forward to these times. Even if I am dog tired when I leave my home I get a surge of energy when I teach.
I make less mistakes now, am careful with planning, and appreciate that every now and then numbers will simply be down. The ebb and flow. I reflect, adapt, try to evolve & keep going.
Learn, learn & keep learning.
My first big workshop was a series of 9, 3 hour monthly workshops. It was a serious study of each card. I sat & talked for three hours. My voice hurt, my students struggled, but I felt more comfortable managing the small group in this way. Total control made me feel in charge.
About half way thhrough the third workshop someone actually asked “Do we get to have a go?” I felt fear wash over me, how could I handle this? I decided to just go for it, jumped on the table and demonstrated a spread to the group, It was a little difficult as I had said “this reading is not about anyone, I'm just demonstrating” yet it was clear the reading was about me. I decided to read it anyway- and this changed my tarot style completely. Being emotionally honest about the spread helped the students “get” tarot more than any obscure symbols.
All of my teaching & writing is now based on real spreads, mostly mine. It can be unnerving at times to be so honest.
My teaching style has completely changed, with most of the time now spent supporting students to as they read the cards, rather than me talking. People learn so much from the cards, from each other, discussions as a group.
I feel I hold the space, answer questions, help everyone to find their feet- but so much more learning takes place now I am confident enough to let the group explore.
It was a steep learning curve, and I am still learning, but forever grateful to that first group of students who challenged me to let them “have a go”.
Teach people, not Tarot.
I can always remember when I was doing my teaching degree a lecturer saying “you are not teaching subjects, you are teaching children”. I am certain the same is true of all teachers. I may have excellent knowledge & understanding- but if I can't share it in a way that my students understand then I am not a good teacher.
The best advice I can offer is to plan your workshops, but be prepared to adapt to the group. Some exercises & techniques may work really well, others may not sit comfortable with the people you are teaching.
Interact, engage, listen to your students. Understand what best helps them, don't just stick with what how you want to teach.
Know your stuff- most importantly know your limitations.
If you are going to teach tarot, it is important that you have a good knowledge about what you are teaching. But it is such a HUGE topic I argue none of us will know our subject area completely. My advice here is always be honest, and never blag it “I'm not sure, I'll check that out and let you know next time” or “Interesting question I suggest you have a look at- and recommend a book or website” is always the smart way to deal with those areas that are a little outside your expertise.
And check in with your group, there may well be people with areas of expertise that can really enhance your group- I'm lucky enough to have two excellent astrologers that come to my group.
It also helps to have considered carefully what sort of workshops you are offering, & what sort of tarot reader you are - Your advertising needs to match your skills & knowledge, and then you will attract the right students to learn with you.
The joy of tarot is it is such a broad subject- so make sure you understand your niche and make sure everyone else knows to.
My niche has grown, as I have grown. I started off teaching quite academic classes exploring the symbolism of the Rider-Waite deck & basing my workshops on my experience as a professional reader. As my shamanism has deepened I offer more workshops based on shadow work, as this is the main focus of my work as a healer. I learn more towards the spiritual, shaping of the future, connecting to source type of readings & teachings- reflecting how I have changed over the last few years.
Which leads me to my next point, keep learning!
When I first started it was a real struggle. I was home educating 4 young children and felt that at every point I was expected to be “in control, in charge & holding the space”. This led to a heavy dose of burn out, and difficulties in boundaries as some clients became friends- there were no boundaries between work & friendship. This worked very well in a couple of cases, but was disastrous in others.
I have discovered that by having mentors & teachers in place that I can learn from, that can hold the space for me, is really important. It gives me the space to just be, keeps me fresh, and keeps my ego in place. I see myself on a journey of discovery, ever moving forward rather than having “made it to the top”
I am always learning something- whether it is boundaries, business management, tarot, advertising.... or technology.
My latest learning curve is technology.
When setting up my Teachable courses it took me a full day to work out how to “save” my work. There were a lot of tears & very strong coffee on that day. Currently I'm working out how to video well & reliably, with out my tripod falling over midway (!). But I know it will be worth while, learning skills is always worthwhile.
So- if you fancy teaching tarot, here's some ideas to get started;
Keep notes about your Tarot journey, and start to develop your own unique tarot voice.
Try blogging, it's a great way to get used to sharing your ideas.
Run a tarot circle, get together with friends & try sharing your skill in a relaxed way as you build your confidence.
Write a goal of where you would like to be in five years time, and then plan small steps so that big dream is more manageable.
Most of- make a start. Even if you just start writing your own notes, or sharing ideas with friends on online.
Start today in a small way- because I promise you confidence grows with you along the way. If you are waiting for the confidence before you begin, you'll be waiting a very very long time.
I am growing used to technology, and building my online courses (though not as fast as some of my students would like) take a look- see if there is one that could help you... Explore my online tarot courses here.