A life-time ago I was a nursery school teacher. I saw myself as a “facilitator” creating an engaging environment for the children and supporting their learning.
Life changed, I took break from teaching to focus on my Norse shaman path, got married, had four children….and then I needed to earn again.
I thought of teaching- but honestly with four under tens in the home it was not an appealing idea any more. My mind was drawn to Tarot- it had become a big part of my life over the years, could I possibly set up a business in tarot?
Next came a really stupid phase. I spent three months carefully deliberating whether to teach tarot or read tarot.
Lists, conversations, research. I couldn’t make up my mind.
Every tarot reading suggesting there was no difference between the two choices (easy to get a blind spot when reading for yourself)
Until I finally realised- it was not a choice, the two worked better together anyway.
I set up low key local workshops, charged just enough to cover room rent, and trialled teaching tarot. Because I saw it as “trial” teaching I was quite relaxed, walked around the group, chatted, taught, really enjoyed the process. When the course finished I felt ready to step up.
I decided I would write comprehensive notes myself (still available on amazon as e-books), and teach once a month for three hours. A series of 9 workshops completing the course.
I spent what seemed a fortune on advertising, hired a beautiful venue, and excitedly waited for my first workshop. Actually I sat crying in the car for an hour, texting a friend, who I seem to remember texting back that I should just “f***ing get out of the car”.
Anyway, I sat in my beautiful venue with my lovely typed notes and instead of the hoped for 12 eager students I had 2. Just 2. It didn’t even cover my costs.
I was utterly heartbroken and felt like telling them to bugger right off. But I smiled, started teaching, and made the best of it. But nerves had caught me. Instead of chatting, demonstrating, and supporting them with tarot card readings (in that lovely facilitating flowy sort of way) I spent three hours talking about the imagery on the cards.
Amazingly they both came back the next month- with I think another three students, maybe four. But the nerves and disappointment stayed with me. I rigidly sat in my seat and talked at them for three hours. I’m sure what I said was fascinating, humorous, and insightful. But a three-hour lecture is a long time.
The next month they all returned (boy did I feel grateful- it was a pay as you go workshop). And I quickly got into my lecturing groove. Until one student (and yes I remember exactly who it was) was bold enough to ask if I was going to “demonstrate a reading” or even if “we ever get to touch the cards”.
I decided it was then or never. I climbed onto the table, sat in the middle of them, and started to read for myself. As they asked questions I realised how much easier this was than lecturing, and how engaged and interactive they became as a group.
From that moment on my workshops have moved completely from “lecture” to my favourite format of “facilitator”
I will almost always at some point read for myself- usually sat on the floor in a horse shoe of students. It can be strange opening up such an emotional process with a group of strangers- but the teaching value is amazing.
I may well “teach” a group of cards- but I am much more open to questions as well.
And we spend a lot of time in “supported readings” where students read for themselves, but discuss the readings in pairs or small groups- every one from the complete beginner to more experienced reader- making suggestions, comments, looking at the cards in slightly different ways.
At this point I flit madly around the group- answering questions, making suggestions, adding my opinion to a reading. This people lead, discussion based way of reading absolutely terrified me at first. Now I love it.
As for that first group of students. I am in touch with all but one of them.
One became a very good friend, and author of a book which has a dedication to me in the back (the front dedication is rightly to Odin)
Several of them still come to workshops or for 1-2-1 readings.
I visited one last year to stay on her woodland, planning to go back this year to lead her handfasting.
And about half way through the course several of them questions why I kept using Norse words. When I explained that I was a Norse shaman (seidr practitioner) but hadn’t actually worked since the birth of my children they were pretty insistent. The wanted to try it to. They wanted me to chant so they could journey and connect.
So form the utter disappointment of only two students a business grew.
And from challenging students gently suggesting I upped by game – I became a much better teacher.
May I always be blessed with challenging students.
I currently run regular tarot & shaman workshops in East Susses (find out more here) as well as teaching online via Teachable (find out more here)