On December 20, 2015, I was able to revive an old and favorite holiday tradition of mine, the Holiday Open House.
Early in my career, the Open House was simply a day during the holiday season when I would give free readings and holiday snacks to anyone who stopped by. I remember my young children (they are now adults) dressed up in their fanciest clothes to serve cookies and soda to the guests as they waited to see me for a holiday reading.
Eventually, as I started to build tarot community, the Open House became a group project for a great cause. My students and colleagues worked with me to raise toys, funds and food for the needy.
Over the years, I have held the Holiday Open House in a number of locations, including six locations in Connecticut and two in Pennsylvania. There were some years I held two Open House in separate locations, in order to serve as many people as possible
After moving to West Palm Beach, I held the event in the Harvey Building where I had my office. In the five years I kept my office there the event grew to an enormous size. Our 2012 Open House featured twenty-two readers and healers, and raised 600 pounds of food.
Our volunteer host, Brenda, organizing 600 pounds of food in the lobby of the Harvey Building at the 2012 Holiday Open House.
Now that I’ve opened my office in the Tampa area and founded the Tampa Bay Area Tarot Meetup, it seemed time to revive the Open House tradition. This time I chose a different kind of venue- the private room at Beef O’Brady’s in Land O’ Lakes. I hadn’t thought about the advantages of having food and libations available, but now I see it as a definite plus!
Regardless of Beef’s tempting menu, the snack table at the event was full of treats provided by our attendees. A number of people did enjoy a bit of holiday cheer from the bar during the afternoon’s festivities.
We also had a new student, Michele, working with Lenormand cards. She kept pace with the pros and received great feedback! There is nothing like reading for the public to let you know you’ve got what it takes to be a reader. Helping readers develop their skills is a definite side benefit of these Open House events.
Three wonderful readers made time to stop by to share a few readings during the day. We were honored to have Erika, Magda and Aria Sparrowsong with us for a few hours.
One of our tarot meetup members, Joy, offered a unique service. She is a calligraphy artist, and created colorful tags with special words for people. It was fun to see the words folks chose. Some did their name, or a concept or theme they wanted to keep in focus.
One person asked the Universe for guidance as to what words she should use. The message that came to her was “New Beginnings.” Then, she sat down to have an oracle reading. The first card drawn in the reading was called “New Beginnings!’
I was really happy with the level of support from our meetup members. Everyone who was available stopped by and helped out. Marianne and her daughter stayed all day to help me host!
The local community turned out in force, all ready to enjoy a day of fun and insight, and to help the needy.
Our crew of volunteers also included a coworker of mine from Origins Spa and Wellness Center. Rochelle did an amazing job giving ten-minute chair massages.
Our volunteers provided their services for free, in exchange for donations of food. The next day, I brought our collection of food and cash to Feeding America Tampa Bay. Our donations equaled 1,092 meals for local area families. It really feels good to make such a substantial contribution!
Afterwards, in the spirit of TarotCon, some of us stayed for a “Survivor’s Dinner” at Beef’s. The fellowship and fun continued, even after the Open House had officially ended.
The following week, I heard feedback from someone who had attended the Open House and taken the time to sit with each reader. A few readers mentioned a pregnancy around her. She is well past the age for pregnancy, and wondered why this message kept coming up. At Christmas dinner with her family, a pregnancy was announced. It became clear that my friend would have a special role in this child’s life, just as many of our readers had foreseen!
Thanks to everyone who volunteered and to everyone who participated. We’ll continue the tradition next year.
Enjoy the pictures from the event below, and, if you are in the area, make sure to join the Tampa Bay Area Tarot Meetup!