When I first became a tarot professional I was surprised at the number of local organizations who asked me to speak at their meetings.
In the first two years of my career I was the guest speaker at a Rotary holiday party, a TOPS (Taking off Pounds Sensibly) meeting , a high school honors psychology class (I was a student’s senior project) and a hospital ladies auxiliary luncheon.
This was a part of my career I hadn’t planned for and didn’t expect. Luckily, my involvement in youth activities in my church and school had prepared me to avoid being nervous speaking in front of a group; or at least to cover up my nervousness with a smile.
Fast-forward twenty years. I don’t rely on local business as much as I used to. Blogs and webcasts have a wider reach than small-town clubs do. Nonetheless, I still make myself available for speaking engagements. Recently I spoke at a service group luncheon and a library event.
The interesting thing about these kinds of speaking engagements is that they allow me to present tarot to people who are tarot-naive, and who have some misconceptions about it.
I also speak at tarot conventions, metaphysical fairs and churches, of course. Those kinds of events are fun and rewarding, and require a different kind of finesse. There, you really are often preaching to the choir.
If you are a tarot pro or hobbyist with enough Leo in your chart to warrant your presence at a podium, consider making yourself available to speak for local groups in your community. It’s fun, it’s good for business, and, most importantly, it allows you to be an ambassador for tarot.
Often I am dismayed at the way the public at large perceives tarot, and tarot enthusiasts. Often, tarot pros drive me to sarcasm by complaining about unfair business laws, or their clients’ misunderstanding of their abilities. These inequities affect me, too. Rather than rail at how hurtful, ignorant and unfair it all is, let’s try to create change!
If the public at large understood tarot, and understood our profession, our jobs would be easier. Rather than letting shysters and frauds define our field, we have a chance to define it on our own terms, simply by being more visible.
There are two important things to remember when you speak about tarot to the public. First, tarot is a vast topic. You can discuss tarot from a perspective of history, art or use. You can demonstrate tarot in action by giving readings during a presentation. You can show cards to audience members and ask them what they see in the pictures. There are infinite ways to present tarot. Find the ways that work best for you and your audience.
Secondly, speaking gigs are easy to find. Check your local library system. They probably have a list of presenters. Find out what you have to do to get on the list. Your Chamber of Commerce might be another way to make yourself known. Colleges and universities also have opportunities for local speakers. The important thing to remember is that once you get your first speaking gig, many more will follow. It’s almost guaranteed that, once you finish your presentation, someone will come up to you, shake your hand, and ask if you can do it for their group, too.
Over time, you will speak in front of local policy makers, who will learn from you that tarot isn’t the harmful, scary thing they thought it might be. When asked to raise business taxes on psychics, or to regulate the psychic industry to the adult district, they will think of your smiling face and refuse to pass a law that might hurt you.
That may sound far-fetched, but I know for a fact this very thing happened in the first town I ever did business. It could happen in your town, too.
We have the power to change the way the public perceives tarot. Let’s make it happen!