Tuesday 23 July 2013

I Chose To Walk Two Paths

Blessed With 2 Passions

I believe I am indeed very blessed.  I am not sure how many people can boast of having 2 wonderful “jobs” that they are very passionate about.  I certainly do.  They are not even considered jobs.  I feel fortunate that I get to wake up every day to a life that allows me the opportunities to make use of my skills within these 2 passions.  Together with the support of my family, they create my 10 of Cups moment when I live in joy and gratitude for these gifts as a marketer and a Tarot reader.

I am a marketing professional in my day job, helping to develop end to end demand-led marketing and communication strategies to support my company’s profitable growth.  My other job is a Tarot reader, helping my clients uncover options within their respective situations, so that they could make the right choices to influence the outcomes that they want.

While often, I experience this 2 of Pentacles situation of having to juggle multiple appointments, priorities, projects and commitments, on the whole, I love both with all my heart. 

And here’s where I found similarities in both passions the day I went professional as a Tarot reader, whilst continuing my career as a marketer.

Combining Skills As A Marketing Professional With My Passion As A Tarot Reader

A marketing communication plan always starts with consumer research.  I am a strong believer of insights-driven marketing plans.  The most important bunch of people involved in the marketing communications process are not the media planners or the creative agencies, but the customers, their needs, their purchase behaviors,  their pain points and any information that could help influence their purchase.

In Tarot, I am involved in research in a few ways.  One is my continuous study of Tarot, examining different aspects of exoteric teachings.  The other, is my “research” about my client.  I often connected with them through an initial numerological assessment that will ascertain some information about their personalities, decisions that they had taken, lessons that they had learnt, the energies surrounding their situation and the response to these energies.  This usually created a more meaningful conversation between my client and I, and the interpretations of their Tarot spread become even more meaningful.

The Brief
Before we got started on the marketing communications planning, we would always create a marketing campaign brief.  This is important as it puts together all information that is necessary for the planning process.  Other than the insights about the campaign target audience, the brief would include the marketing objectives, the media objectives, the business objectives, key messages we want to communicate, as well as the campaign evaluation metrics.

In Tarot, that “brief” is created with that conversation between my client and I.  He or she would provide me with a background of the situation, information about key parties involved in the situation, the past decisions that he or she had made, the outcome or goals that he or she desired.  With this background information, I would overlay her numerological and astrological information before I designed a Tarot spread for the client.

The Plan
The marketing plan always involved the inputs of multiple parties from my internal and external customers when I put ideas through consumer focus groups,  the creative agency, the media agency, the social media agency and the public relations agency.  The plan would  consist of  the full marketing strategy which included, the communications roll out plan, the field marketing plan, the channel marketing plan,  the creative idea and the rationale, the social media campaign ideas and the through-the-line media plan.  This plan allowed the management to make an informed decision about how we sold our products, which target audience to focus on at which stage, how we talked to them in the process and the right time to talk to them.

As a Tarot reader, my plan involved my Tarot spread designed to get insights about the client’s past decisions, current situation, developments around the situation in the next few months, outcome, external and internal influences, fears and hopes and advice.   The interpretation to the spread would provide my client the ability to make informed choices to influence his or her outcome.

Not Too Different

You see, there are very little differences between the two paths that I had chosen to tread.  When my friends asked me if I had to eventually choose a single path, or if both passions conflicted with each other, I always told them that they complemented each other.  With these two paths, there was only 1 single goal -  the goal of doing what is right to cater to the needs of the clients by holding the hands of these clients through each milestone of their lives.

An example of such a milestone is marriage.  As a marketing professional, I sometimes created a marketing plan to sell a product aimed at newly-weds.  As a Tarot reader, I sometimes provided advice with my Tarot cards to a newly married couple hoping to find a positive direction to manage their marital relationship moving forward.

As both a marketing professional and a Tarot reader, I am very humbled that I have the ability to use the skills that the Universe had blessed me with to do something good for my community.  Both these passions provided me with a sense of fulfillment that no money could ever buy.

Note:  The Tarot card image used within this blog post is from the Radiant Rider Waite Tarot deck by Virginijus Poshkus, published by US Games 2003

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 a certified numerologist.  She currently runs her own Tarot consultancy called Sun Goddess Tarot which is based in Singapore.   A member of the American Tarot Association (ATA) and the Tarot Association of the British Isles (TABI), she is also endorsed as a reader for the Free Tarot Network and is a mentor for the ATA.   She can be contacted at www.facebook.com/SunGoddessTarot or www.sungoddesstarot.com

Thursday 4 July 2013

Walk Away From A Reversed King

Have You Dated A Jerk In Your Younger Days?

I have.  Plenty of my ex-boyfriends were jerks.  When it comes to romance, I think I have got quite a lot of experience, having been twice married, dated several “imbecilic knobs” and got the t-shirt to show for it.  Many years after and honed by maturity, I thank the universe for presenting me with the world’s best husband who helped me believe in romance again.

So with memories of my past relationships still at the back of my head, ready for me to recount when it’s Joel’s turn to meet his special someone, some day (I told him “women are “money grubbing pigs, please stay with me till you’re 59 years old!”), I have decided to use the Reversed Kings in my Radiant Rider Waite Tarot deck to describe some of the men in my life – Lucky escape for me, I thought.

King of Cups Reversed

The image on the King of Cups card depicts a King sitting on a throne amidst a turbulent sea.  He is a picture of calm and control.  On his right, a fish jumps out of the water and on his neck he wears a pendant in the shape of a fish.  The fish is symbolic of his higher consciousness with which he is attuned to.  When picked upright, the card is a manifestation of one who is emotionally in control, highly intuitive, and has a kind and compassionate character. 

However, the bloke I dated back in Year 1 of my university days, by the name of YL, is completely the opposite.  YL was a moody, sulky and silent type.  He reminded me of a male version of Kirsten Stewart from Twilight, and often brandished a broody look not unlike what you see on a poster advertising a branded aftershave.  I think I fell for him because I thought he was the strong and silent type and contrasted markedly to my vibrant, child-like and bubbly personality. YL did not have many friends and came from a very traditional Asian family.  His Dad was a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner and one day YL was supposed to take over his Dad’s little traditional Chinese medicine shop.  As an eldest boy, the weight of the family’s business was on his shoulders.  YL often struggled between that filial Chinese son and the man he really wanted to be.  He wanted to be an artist – a profession his dad thought was useless and couldn’t make enough income to sustain a respectable lifestyle. 

I think part of YL’s mood swings was due to his unhappiness at being repressed at home.  What’s funny though, is he expected me to be similarly repressed.  He didn’t like my gregarious nature.  When I laughed loudly, or giggled uncontrollably, he would bellow, “Behave yourself.”  I was often treated like a child when he would just walk away from me in a huff in a public place like the university library, just because he didn’t like me smiling at another bloke, or talking to my friends.  In fact, he hated my friends.  In the few months that we dated, we never socialized with my friends because he thought “they were a bad influence”.  Come to think of it, he didn’t have friends either. 

One day, while we were studying at the library, YL had a tiff with me about how short my skirt was and was about to walk out on me for the umpteenth time.  So I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “No, you sit.  It’s my turn to walk away.”  And I never looked back since.

King of Pentacles Reversed

The image on the King of Pentacles card depicts a King sitting on a throne carved with bulls, a symbol of hard work and he brandished a scepter in his right hand, a symbol of power and a coin in his left hand, a symbol of wealth.  His robe is covered with fruits, flowers and leaves and laid at his feet are also fruits, flowers and leaves, all are symbols of abundance and prosperity.  This King in reversed would be a manifestation of one who is obsessive about material things in life. 

My King of Pentacles Reversed, is a manifestation of the character of an ex-boyfriend HY.  HY is a very hardworking man, but that’s the problem.  He knows only work, talks about work, met me at a work function and only socializes when work is concerned.  He was the CEO of a mutual funds company which meant he was well-to-do and enjoyed the good things in life.  We went to the best restaurants and I had the best prezzies.  However, he wouldn’t be seen dead beside me if I wore no makeup and wasn’t dressed in one of the designer frocks he bought me. 

His circle of friends were all CEOs, MDs, and Chairmen of companies. I was so bored whenever these friends came around to his home for a drink and was even more bored when we went out to the restaurants for expensive dinners.  Perhaps I wasn’t as clever and couldn’t hold intelligent conversations about the fluctuating price of commodities and the wisdom of investing in BRIC markets.  I was only a heart-lander lass hoping to find true love. I enjoyed walking around in flip flop and eating at public food centres.  His idea of a meal was at a 3-star Michelin restaurant. 

HY was obsessed about money.  In his mind, his only objective in life was to make more money. He told me that the reason he worked so hard, was to ensure he led a comfortable life.  I didn’t see that comfortable life because he didn’t have weekends. I on the other hand, enjoyed picnics at the beach with my little son on weekends, or shopping with my girlfriends on weekends, or going for a nice cup of tea and a scone at the latest coffee shop with my friends on weekends.   He thought hanging out with my friends were a waste of time because they lent nothing valuable to him. 
Our relationship ended when he told me openly that he was embarrassed when I drove that 30 year old hand-me-down mercedez benz to his home on weekends in full view of his neighbors.  I wasn’t sure if he was ashamed of me, or of my beaten up car.  So I was glad to wave goodbye as I drove my beloved merc away from his house.

King of Wands Reversed

The image on the King of Wands card depicts a King sitting on a throne brandishing a rod with leaves growing from it which represents him nurturing life and encouraging creativity. He wears a bright orange robe and on the ground is a salamander looking up at him, all of which are symbols of fire.  This King represents passion, will and enthusiasm.  He is the King that will take creativity to new heights and has the drive to turn everything he does into a success.  However, in the reversed, this King represents one who makes impulsive decisions, and is highly aggressive and overbearing.

This is representative of my ex-boyfriend MD.  MD owns a vineyard in the little Australian town of Mildura. He is quite short for a guy, and I often think that part of his aggressiveness was due to what I termed as a “small dick syndrome”.  He was a businessman and thought of himself as Donald Trump because of the vast hectares of land that he owned.  Frankly in a little town of Mildura which possibly is home to 2000 and your Mildurian Mum is your sister, is your cousin, is your Aunt, and they make a living playing the banjo in a tree, this Donald Trump want-to-be was nothing more than a small-time grape farmer.   The reason I am unfairly scathing here, and I apologize to friends who are from Mildura or who know people from Mildura, is that of all the boyfriends who had hurt me, MD had hurt me the most.

I met MD through an Australian trade event here in Singapore that was aimed at fostering Australia-Singapore trade ties.  We fell madly in love, and that whirlwind romance led to MD setting up a little business for me here in Singapore, dealing with Australian desert art.  I was big on charity then, and I had my mind set on doing a business that pays it forward to an Australian aboriginal tribe who created the art pieces.  However, he wanted me to make loads of money from it, and kept badgering me about setting up meetings with other companies and private homeowners to sell commissioned art pieces.

MD was a bully.  He dominated me and treated me more like his staff than a girlfriend.  When my son was very little, and was crying for attention while we were both watching TV, MD said, “Give the boy a fag to shut him up.” I was really upset with that.  Our relationship ended shortly after, and the art business went along with it.  He went home to Mildura to be with his banjo-playing folks.   Then just about 6 months later, MD phoned me to say, ” I got a Polish girl named Paulana pregnant and am marrying her next week. I just wanted you to know that.” I thought for a moment, that intelligent businessman I once knew must have died.  He had just hastily rushed into one relationship after acrimoniously splitting with me and worse, made a grave decision to marry a woman he hardly knew!  I was quite hurt, but nonetheless relieved that I got rid of that stupid bugger.

King of Swords Reversed

The image on the King of Swords card depict a King sitting on a throne brandishing an upward pointing sword.  He is in command and makes sure everyone knows it.  Behind him emblazoned on his throne are butterfly motifs, a symbol of transformation and above him, the skies are clear, a symbol of mental clarity. In the reversed, this King represents one who is brutal, cunning, and cutting with his words, abusive and tyrannical.

My reversed King of Swords was one of my ex-bosses.  No I didn’t date him. I didn’t have a boyfriend that was like the King of Swords Reversed, thank goodness.  If I had dated anyone like this jerk, I would have run him over with my car twice.  I tried to find someone in my mind that took on the character traits of the reversed King of Swords, and the only person I could think of that fitted the description was EK, an ex-boss from the bank that I worked in. 

When I was working at that company, EK had originally hired me for a regional role in that company that covered 5 countries.  On my first day at the job, he told me that he had carved the role into 2 and given me charge of Singapore and Thailand only.  I was unhappy, but had decided to just roll with the punches.  Over the next 2 years, EK had often singled me out for anything that went wrong.  He would ply me with hurtful accusations like “you were not strategic enough as a marketeer”, “you did not think of this idea earlier”, “you are not good with numbers, what use are you?”, and “you are not cut out to be a marketeer”.  Now, EK is a salesman at best, while I was a technically trained marketeer with more than 10 years of experience then.  His words had begun to cut into me, destroying my confidence completely and made me return home from work every day feeling like I was truly useless.  He would manipulate the rest of the staff in the department to ostracize me and would publicly rebuke me with offensive phrases in the Chinese dialect of Hokkien.  To translate, he said to me “If you can’t swim, please don’t blame it on the size and weight of your balls.”  I was totally offended by that comment.  Having worked in blue chip MNCs that prided themselves for treating employees respectfully, this was a complete culture shock for me.

Needless to say, I left that company within 2 years and went on to join another company that knew how to treat their staff with respect.  The wounds of those 2 years working with EK still sits deeply in my heart but I have turned those wounds around to be my tool of learning.  I have learnt to be the best boss, mentor and friend to my team members in my present company.

Walk Away When A Reversed King Crosses Your Path

At this stage of my life, thankfully, I haven’t come across a reversed King.  I believe that I am mature enough to be able to manage a reversed King and if all else fails, I would just swing my handbag at the jerk that takes on the character traits of any of the reversed King.

So if you’re a new tarot reader or a client had encountered a reversed King in your tarot spread, don’t panic.  Just ask this one simple question “Is this person worth investing my energy and resources in?”  If the answer is no, please walk away.

About the writer:

The writer of this blog post is a marketeer by trade, and a tarot card reader by accident. She obtained a Certified Professional Tarot Reader qualification from the Tarot Certification Board of America (TCBA) and is also a certified 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 is a mentor for the ATA.

She can be contacted at www.facebook.com/SunGoddessTarot or www.sungoddesstarot.com

Tuesday 2 July 2013

What You Should Know Before Becoming A Tarot Reader

The Road To Becoming A Tarot Reader

These few years, Tarot took me on a journey that involved immersing myself in various courses related to Tarot, Numerology and Astrology.  I had also the privilege of learning from some of the most experienced in their field and amongst them, some have become my mentors who were and still are critical to my growth as a Tarot reader.  

As my journey evolved and I ventured into doing more Tarot coaching work, my Tarot world opened another dimension of new knowledge that I never got in my Tarot books and courses.  While I had so much rich information about Tarot interpretations, Tarot spreads, numerological and astrological correspondences with Tarot, the one thing that I never quite got from my Tarot mentors, books and courses was what I needed to know before I became a Tarot reader.

So this blog post is dedicated to my protégés who had put that question to me recently.

What You Should Know Before Becoming A Professional Tarot Reader

1)  There Will Be Skepticism From Others:
“Where did you park your broom?’, “Is it black magic?” I was often asked these questions which might be offensive at first but I had become accustomed to them.  Just remember, skepticism is often a result of lack of understanding of what you do.   It happens in every career choice one might make.  When I was managing digital marketing, someone asked me if I was in IT.  As a Tarot reader, you will face the same questions.  The one I hated most was, “Are you a Fortune Teller?”  No we are not.  It did not help that the lack of professionalism of some “quack” Tarot readers in the past had given genuine Tarot readers like us, a bad name.

After months of emotional turmoil when people questioned what I did, true to my Public Relations training, I crafted a “holding statement” to explain my passion to them by saying “ Like the many talents and unique gifts the Universe might have given you, I was given a gift to help people who are opened to asking for my help.”
Like me, in time, you would no longer be bothered by the skepticism, particularly because you would have built a lot more confidence in your skills through the years.

2)  You Will Be Skeptical About Yourself:
What is worse than facing skepticism from others, is facing skepticism from within you.  Have you had moments when your rational mind come in the way of your intuition and you ask, “What science is this?”  I used to ask myself this question quite often at the start of my journey.  You would need to remember that a healthy dose of skepticism is really okay. As you spend more time practicing your readings, you will be more confident with your skills.  Do not let anyone talk you out of the fact that you can grow the depth of your intuition.  Really, you can.  It is through a good mix of consistent practice, calming your mind and focusedness that you tune better to your inner consciousness.
3)  You Will Encounter  Different And Sometimes Extreme Opinions:
Different Tarot readers have different styles of reading.  Some might use a Significator card, some might not.  Some might combine it with astrological or numerological significance, some might not.  Along with the different styles of reading Tarot, there are also different interpretations to a single card.  It all depends on the question, the client you connect with and what your intuition tells you.  My advice is to go with your gut and be prepared that one day, with the same Tarot spread, to the same question, another reader, might interpret it differently.  Ultimately Tarot offers the client options with which he or she makes choices to influence his or her own outcome.  There is no right or wrong interpretation to a card.

I remembered that when I contributed an article about a Tarot Spread I created for a reading, a reader of that article started a string of comments beneath that article arrogantly pushing his point that I might be off the mark with my reading and that it should have been interpreted in a different way.  That behavior does not bother me now, and I hope it should not bother you if you encountered the same.  You will definitely meet Tarot Nazis along your path from time to time.  Personally, I feel that these Tarot Nazis lack the humility and grace of a true Tarot reader. 

However, in a normal day to day life, I am sure you do come across different types of people.  I had personally encountered a “Beef Bourguignon Nazi” who claimed my Beef Bourguignon was not authentically French enough.  Honestly, it was only a bloody beef stew.  How difficult can it be to whip up a beef stew?!  I comforted myself then in the knowledge that extreme views come from one with an empty soul.
4)  You Might Need To Make A Stand About Getting Certified Or Not:
Closely tied to the last point, you might be thinking of raising the bar on your Tarot reading skills by getting yourself certified.  I got myself certified with the Tarot Certification Board of America.  However that was a choice I made to treat it as a personal challenge.  Whether you get yourself certified or not, that is not important.  Your purpose as a Tarot reader, your experience, and the practice you put into sharpening your skills do matter. 

A few months ago, as I was actively involved in a Tarot community forum, a fellow Tarot reader took issue with me about certification.  She said, “Who cares about certification?  I have got 30 years of Tarot reading experience under my belt, it is better than any certification one might have.”  I defended my certification as a personal choice.

You see, it takes all sorts to make this world.  So when you do make a stand about whether or not you want to get certified, please ensure you approach it with humility and grace.
5)  You Will Need To Be Generous With Your Time:
As a Tarot student, be prepared to put in the hours to improve your Tarot reading skills and to build your confidence level.  It is no use sitting at home just learning to interpret Tarot cards on your own without anyone to practice it on.  I would strongly recommend that you volunteer as a Free Tarot Reader within a Tarot community as it offers you the opportunity to practice your reading skills in exchange for feedback.  To volunteer your time and skills, do visit Tarot websites like www.biddytarot.com or www.freetarot.us
6)  You Might Need To Learn To Say No When Necessary:
As a Tarot reader, you will often encounter friends and family who might ask you for a reading.  That would be a good opportunity to practice your skills.  So be generous with your time when it allows you more opportunities to practice your reading. 

However, where you might want to draw the line is when you are faced with a needy querant, who might call you at odd hours to ask for an “urgent” reading.  Perhaps a querant might insist that you provide a reading that could unwittingly cross the line of professionalism and code of ethics, like a reading on legal issues, or a reading about the thoughts of a third party. 

You might also meet querants who could bring a lot of negative energy into your space and provide you with nasty feedback because they did not like the messages that the Tarot cards had unveiled at that time.   Sometimes, these querants might ask you to do additional readings in the hope of forcing the cards to unveil more positive messages.  We all know, Tarot cards do not work that way.

For such scenarios, do learn to say no.  You should not do a reading for a querant who pushes you beyond your level of comfort.

7) You Might Feel Uncomfortable About Charging For A Reading Even When You Are Ready:
When you have finally decided to “go pro”, do decide on a reasonable amount you would want to charge for your readings and go ahead to do it.  Like any professional skill, you might want to charge for a reading because you have put in so much time and effort into serving your client. 

When you have made a decision to do so, I would urge you to not feel uncomfortable about charging for a reading.  I was uncomfortable for a long time and kept offering free face-to-face readings to strangers who had heard about my Tarot reading skills via word of mouth.  In time, I learnt that when they paid me for  a Tarot reading session, it was like a fair exchange of energy because I had put in a tremendous amount of spiritual and emotional energy into each readings.

8)  You Might Feel Exhausted From Time To Time
Be realistic.  When you work in a regular corporate job, you could get burnt out from time to time due to the corporate stress and work load.  Tarot reading is no different because of the amount of spiritual and emotional energy spent on each reading. 
When you do get exhausted, take a step back from all the readings you are currently doing and spend some time meditating and grounding yourself.  I do that before and after every Tarot reading now, so that I can recharge myself for the next client.  I can attest to the difference it makes to my readings.

A Message From A Muse

This list of things you should know before becoming a Tarot reader is by no means exhaustive.  I am sure fellow professional Tarot readers could add even more useful insights.  However, I thought the most useful insight might come from Tarot itself, so I shuffled and picked one card to find out what additional advice I could offer to aspiring Tarot readers.

I picked the Page of Cups from my Morgan Greer Tarot deck created by Bill Greer and Lloyd Morgan. 

Typically, the Page of Cups represents the beginning of a creative project.  The image on this deck depicts a boy holding a cup and talking to a fish inside it.  The fish is a symbol of his inner consciousness and it’s appearance depicts the flash of inspiration the Page got from his inner consciousness.

The Page of Cups is an advice to aspiring Tarot readers to listen to your inner consciousness and give free reign to your creative spirit.  It encourages you to be creative in your spiritual journey.  Just as there are many styles of reading the Tarot, there are also many ways to bring Tarot to the people who matter – the querants who come to you for your help and support.

The Page of Cups represents youthful pursuit of spiritual knowledge.  You will find that there is so much more out there to learn, even when you have 30 years of Tarot reading experience under your belt.
The Page of Cups encourages you to trust your intuition.  You are given the gift of intuition for a purpose, so nurture it and use it well. 

Most of all, like the Page of Cups, do enjoy your spiritual journey and be enriched by the lifetime of bountiful experiences it will bring.

About The Writer:

The writer of this blog post is a marketeer by trade, and a tarot card reader by accident. She obtained a Certified Professional Tarot Reader qualification from the Tarot Certification Board of America (TCBA) and is also a certified 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 endorsed as a reader for the Free Tarot Network and is a mentor for the ATA.   She can be contacted at www.facebook.com/SunGoddessTarot or www.sungoddesstarot.com