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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Why I Volunteer As A Free Tarot Reader Even When I Run A Tarot Business

A Tarot Reader’s Learning Journey  

A friend asked me today what I loved most about my work around Tarot.  I told him that I loved mentoring my protégés.  I loved sharing with them my experiences and what I have learnt through my courses, my teachers and mentors.  I also enjoyed our animated discussions when we bounced off card interpretations with each other and practiced our Tarot reading and spread creation skills with each other.
Every time they shuffled their Tarot cards in wide-eyed wonder and asked me to help validate their interpretations, I saw a lot of me when I first started out on my journey with Tarot.  These always turned into an animated debate and the energy and passion I often felt within my group of protégés was truly amazing.
I told my protégés, that the Tarot learning journey will never end.  Every client reading provided me new insights and perspectives that I never got in the previous readings.  I enrolled for courses in Tarot, Numerology and Astrology regularly, to help me read even more effectively.  I checked my Tarot journal occasionally to compare past client readings with readings that I do today and was quietly proud about how far I had grown. 
But that was not enough. With the momentum gained, it had become even more critical that I did not rest on my laurels now. Continuous practice was necessary to better hone my reading skills.  It was necessary that I continued practicing Tarot reading with my protégés, my friends, and my family, I have also volunteered my time as a reader for the Free Tarot Network as well as for Biddy Tarot. 
With the free reading services, my experiences with the querants were invaluable to my growth as a Tarot reader. One day, when my protégés are ready, I would love to see them volunteering their time as free tarot readers too.
The Upside Of Being A Volunteer Reader
In spite of having established my own Tarot consultancy with which I conduct fully paid face to face and email Tarot and Numerology readings, I made that conscious choice to continue my work as a volunteer reader for the Free Tarot Network and Biddy Tarot. 
As a volunteer reader for these free reading services, I had plenty of opportunities to practice my Tarot reading skills continuously as I did an average of about 6 readings a day as a volunteer reader.  The feedback I received from the querants were invaluable to honing my skills and enhancing my confidence as a reader.  Moreover, I felt gratified that I could help the querants who chose to contact me through the free reading services because they might not have had the means to pay for a full reading with me.  When I received emails from my querants telling me how much I had positively impacted their lives with my readings, it motivated me to continue putting in my heart and soul into each reading that I did.
Finally,, because I often received different and interesting insights from a single card when I did a free reading, I would share these insights with my protégés (without mentioning names to maintain the privacy of these querants)..  This helped my protégés with their Tarot reading practice too. 
The Downside Of Being A Volunteer Reader
Being a volunteer Tarot reader for the free reading services did come with a few downsides.
I often had what I described as, the “2 of Pentacles” moments when I found it difficult to juggle all my commitments from my professional Tarot reading appointments, course work, mentoring sessions, workshops, day job, business planning for Sun Goddess Tarot, meetings with potential business contacts and charity organizations with whom I worked with on Tarot-related projects, family time and being a volunteer Tarot reader for the free reading services.
The juggling act often left me quite exhausted and I had to make a note to self, to recharge with regular meditation, or when it got too much, I might decide to take a step back and cut down on some of my projects or Tarot reading appointments.  I am still learning to multi-task as effectively as possible. I admired one of my mentors, Hope, who reads Tarot professionally, mentors for the Free Tarot Network, and when I was working on my CPTR (Certified Professional Tarot Reader) qualification from the TCBA ( Tarot Certification Board of America) last year, she was then my examiner too.  Where did she find time and energy?
Another downside was that sometimes, I might receive feedback from querants that the readings done for them might not be what they wanted to read.  Sometimes, I received questions which bordered on violating my code of ethics.  Such questions include health-related questions or questions about a 3rd party.  I would attempt to rephrase the question and read my cards to these questions in a manner that would offer the querants more meaningful advice.  However, no matter how I tried to educate these querants, they might not accept it.  I had once flatly refused a querant asking me to find out from my Tarot cards whether her ex-husband’s affair with his lover would end.  No amount of explanation could convince her that by refusing to shuffle my cards to this question, I was actually protecting her. It was a difficult situation because I felt her anguish and even when I asked to have the question rephrased to something like “Would there be a potential for me to reconcile with my ex-husband?” She had refused to accept it.  In situations like these, I had to make the hard decision to let it go and not entertain something that went against my code of ethics.
In the end, the time I spent with a single querant in a situation like this spanned an even longer time than the time I might spend with a paying client.  With situations like these, I do unfortunately feel that it was unfair to my paying clients.
Another downside of reading the Tarot as a volunteer for a free reading service was not receiving any feedback from a querant at all, or not receiving meaningful feedback.  Sometimes, querants might just be too focused on the outcome of that reading that once they got it, they would forget to provide feedback.  If you are a querant and are reading this, please remember, we are not that “Madame Zorba” slot machine at the fair ground that provides a reading in exchange for a coin shoved down the coin slot.  We do enjoy meaningful discussions with our querants about the completed Tarot readings so that we can be assured that we had provided some clarity and in some way helped you to make the right choices to influence the outcome of your respective situations.
Finally, at the risk of sounding like a nagging old crone, (and I am sure my fellow volunteer readers for any free Tarot reading service would agree), I would appreciate a word of thanks for the reading done.  It’s the least one can do, for all the time and energy put into delivering a Tarot reading backed by the genuine intent to help support a querant through his or her situation.  
After each Tarot reading, I also often ask my to  LIKE my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SunGoddessTarot. This offers me the opportunity to continue sharing my Tarot card interpretations and my thoughts about Tarot with all my querants who had at some point benefited from my Tarot readings.
Most importantly,  a simple word of thanks possibly means most to me.
A Final Word
I am passionate about Tarot.  That is why, even when I am already running my consultancy business, Sun Goddess Tarot, I have made a commitment to continue my efforts as a volunteer Tarot reader with the Free Tarot Network and Biddy Tarot.  The opportunities given by querants who contact me through the free reading service do fuel my passion to continue doing what I loved to do most.  Even with only  a one-card reading that I did for the free Tarot reading services, as opposed to several spreads that I did for my paying clients,  I always ensured that the interpretation I provided for that one card, was detailed and delivered robust advice. 
I am urging my protégés to volunteer as a free tarot reader at some point when they are ready, as a means to get more Tarot reading practice.  This was an important part of my learning journey as a professional Tarot reader, and I hope someday, it will be an important part of their learning journey too. Now, as an appointed mentor for the Free Tarot Network, I am already seeing how much fulfillment the protégés have with their work as a fellow free reader. I hope that one day, they will pass on the same enthusiasm to other protégés assigned to them as mentors too.

About The Writer:
The writer of this blog post is a marketeer by trade, and a tarot card reader by accident. She was awarded a Certified Professional Tarot Reader qualification from the Tarot Certification Board of America (TCBA) and is also certified as a numerologist.  She currently runs a Tarot consultancy called Sun Goddess Tarot based in Singapore. A member of the American Tarot Association (ATA) and the Tarot Association of the British Isles (TABI), she is also a reader for the Free Tarot Network and Biddy Tarot as well as a mentor for the ATA.   She can be contacted at www.facebook.com/SunGoddessTarot or www.sungoddesstarot.com