Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tarot Reading at Public Events – Keep Calm and Think of Monty Python

The perfect mindset for public tarot
reading! From "OSHO Zen Tarot"©
 by Deva Padma

You’ve picked your reading venue, run your ads, packed up your table cloth and your favorite decks. You show up to your event twenty to thirty minutes early so you can clear your space, ground and acclimate your cards. It’s show time and you are ready. You’ve thought of everything. Business cards, notepads, a gift for your event host – now all you need is a querent. You sit at your table with an open and welcoming smile as you greet passersby.  Then the unexpected happens. A couple strolls towards you. One of them looks rather upset, points a finger at you and yells, “I know what you’re doing. I know what’s really going on here! You’re a witch! Witch!” Sounds completely over the top, doesn’t it, accept that it actually happened to me during a public reading event at a bookstore. I looked around half expecting Michael Palin to suggest they build a bridge out of me, or at the very least, Terry Jones wanting to see if my weight was equal to that of a duck’s.

 Public reading events aren’t every reader’s cup of tea. You can try to prepare for every contingency, but when you choose to read for the general public weird stuff happens and you have to learn how to roll with it. How calm you remain and how quickly you can think on your feet determines the success or failure of your reading event. In my case, the witch denouncer backed out of the shop, taking their friend with them as they continued to condemn my mystical proclivities.  I looked at the people around me who were nervously awaiting my reaction. I grinned at them and responded, “Was it something I said?” People started to laugh and before I knew it, everything was back on track. The truth is that the majority of people out there want you to succeed. They came to watch you succeed. However, they take their cue from you at an event, so it becomes very important to put their comfort above your own, because to varying degrees, they have already put their faith in you as a reader simply by showing up. 

Stay in the moment
another great reminder from "OSHO Zen
Tarot"© by Deva Padma
Most readers have expectations of a venue host. Usually they are completely reasonable – a discreet reading area, the ability to display your business cards, posters, someone to help steer querent traffic, etc.  However, some also impose their own bias on the people they serve.  Some refuse to read for children, claiming their energy is too chaotic. Seriously? Children are charming to read for – all wonder and excitement. Others won’t read someone who’s consumed any alcohol whatsoever. What are you going to do? Have them fill out a questionnaire first? Some of the most successful and joyful events involve reading for children.  Restaurants with full-service bars are another good venue selection.  It comes down to trusting your host to support you while you support their clientele to the best of your ability.  It serves no purpose to offend a business’s clientele with high-minded principles. Don’t confront customers about their belief systems. You’re not there to win an argument, you’re there to entertain and no matter how difficult it may be, never let your audience see you stressed.  Yes, you heard right, entertain and audience, because believe it or not, your readings are a performance.  

There are tarot readers who take issue with being likened to
Don't forget to enjoy yourself. it's
your party! From "OSHO Zen Tarot"©
by Deva Padma
an entertainer.  They are welcome to because that’s all the more venues for me.  Liberace once stated in an interview that, “Good piano players are a dime a dozen.” So ask yourself what makes you stand out?  “My readings are clear and I’m honest with my querents,” you say. “I work to enlighten them while I respect their feelings. I have integrity.” So do the majority of readers.  What makes you so special?  Simple answer – you do, your presentation, the personae you project.  You have ten seconds or less to engage a potential client.  Within that time they will judge you on appearance, perceptions about your attitude and whether, or not, their inner guidance system believes you to be ‘safe.’ Be aware, be present and don’t use their reading to seek validation.

The reader sets the tone at an event. It is their responsibility to put people at ease. Do it with style, do it with grace, but most importantly, do it in a manner authentic to you as a person. I use humor and when that fails, I pull out the Paula Dean brownies. I have no mercy.  


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