This post actually started last week (hey, Mercury is in retrograde, my motivation is a little off) as a post about respect for tarot readers and the goods/evils of free readings, and now it's morphed a little into the idea of selfishness being good for the soul. Like the 7 Degrees of Kevin Bacon, it's all interconnected.
Getting started in the tarot biz is two things: 1) not easy and 2) a field where personal goal posts constantly change. My idea of myself as a reader is constantly changing, usually based on the experiences I have and the info I soak up from my interactions with the tarot community, as is my idea for where I want to take this part of my life. I am not in the same space I was 12 months ago; I daresay after this entry into Selfish Space I won't be the same 12 months from now.
A couple of weeks ago I had an Experience; note the respectful capital letter, that's a sign that something important is coming up.
Every month or so I offer up free readings on my Facebook page Full Moon Tarot in Drive by sessions, where I have an hour in which invite the first 10 Likers of the page to post a question and I give them a free one card reading. For Friday the 13th I decided to do a special one, but made the fatal error of not putting in a limit, I just posted that for an hour you could ask a question and I would answer it. Between wall posts and private messages I got over 40 requests for readings. It took all Friday night and most of Saturday to get all the readings done. On Sunday I had the worst Tarot Comedown I've had for a long time; I was exhausted, completely wiped out.
I logged back on on Sunday night to make sure that people got their readings (I tag them in the posts so that they know I have replied to them) and here's what I found ~ only about a third of the people I read for even acknowledged their readings and said thanks or expressed their appreciation. Some of the people I read for are people I work with and they didn't acknowledge the reading on the page or at work that week despite the fact that I had conversations with them!
My reaction: I was pissed. I had poured myself into that session, lost a weekend to it, and only about a third of the people I read for were lovely enough to say thanks. I did appreciate those people and their sentiments ~ they kept me sane actually, and convinced me that my time wasn't wasted, so thank you!
Two things got me thinking: the fact that I was pissed and wondering about the motivation of people who happily take something and don't acknowledge what went into it. Was I right to be upset? Did I have the right to expect a thank you/acknowledgement from people I had performed a service for? I also started thinking about free readings and the function they serve, then delved into the realm and nature of service.
I was thinking a lot that week.
I'm still thinking about it, and I guess it's something that you always have to consider as a worker in any kind of area: tarot, reiki, healing, reading.
Issue one: Are free readings doing anyone any good?
Angel Tara: Of course they are! Free readings are accessible to anyone who needs them and provide valuable guidance. They give you a chance to practice your skills and become a better reader. If you've got any sort of gift you have a duty to use it In Service and be thankful you can ~ reading tarot is a beautiful experience that gives joy, hope and confirmation to people at all kinds of junctions on their path.
Devil Tara: Ppffttt. Look at the situation clearly, sans cloudy white heavenly visions and harps in the background. Yes, free readings help ~ you gain more practice, hone your skills and get to explore a new deck. Squee! And yes, some people who may not otherwise be able to get a reading have access to them. But here's the rub ~ you need to look at why you're doing free readings. You have to make them mutually beneficial. Coming out completely drained while others get benefit from the time and energy you put into something is not mutually beneficial. Having fun, setting realistic limits and having people get something out of the readings is a much better scenario. No one said you should never do free readings ~ but be conscious of why you're doing what yo're doing, and make it an experience where everyone, including you, gets something from it.
Issue two: If I have a gift, shouldn't I be using that to be Of Service to God/Goddess and others who need me and not expect thanks?
Angel Tara: That is not a question worth pondering. Of course you are In Service, and should be thankful to be so. It's like Divine supply and demand: you have a gift and others need it. Always trust that you are in the right place and right time ~ that is the thanks you receive. Know that you've helped someone every time you pull a card and speak it's truth. That is your thanks and your service.
You also have to look at it this way: the value you set on yourself and your readings is exactly what people will take away from it. If you do nothing but give away free readings, people aren't going to value you or your services ~ and that will have a trickle effect. People will start expecting free readings from every tarot reader they interact with (particularly online) and will not like having to pay for what is essentially a service, not a right. Tarot readers and other workers in similar industries have bills too! And there's nothing wrong with wanting payment in exchange for a service, especially when you put a lot of time and energy into what you're doing. I love reading tarot, but that doesn't mean I am willing to whore myself.
|Well, I'm not an artist, but you get the drift!!|