This is an excerpt from my recently published book, Have Tarot Will Party. E Book and paperback are both available at Amazon
Someone wants to hire you to read tarot for their upcoming party! You know how to read tarot, but how the heck does one book parties?
How much should you charge? What kind of paperwork do you need? How do you handle guests who want to test your skills? How do you read tarot under ten minutes when the guest won’t stop talking?!
Don’t panic! You have everything you need to navigate party readings right here.
Have Tarot Will Party is a fully comprehensive business resource for professional tarot practitioners.
Have Tarot Will Party includes real stories to highlight aspects of the party experience, and includes topics such as: how to find parties that will book you, how to negotiate a price that respects your worth, how to work with the host to ensure you are busy and safe, as well as template samples of paperwork like contracts and disclaimers.
House parties are where most public readers get started. There are two types of house party: hosted and non-hosted. In a hosted party, the host is paying you directly at a per-hour rate, and the guests are not paying anything. A non-hosted party is one where the host is supplying the place for the party, but each guest is paying you individually for their reading.
Even though a house party is fairly casual, you still need to give it professional treatment. You need a contract and should consider including disclosures for everyone to sign before you begin reading. It’s a crazy litigious world out there, so I want to cover my risks as much as I possibly can. In my day practice, all guests must read and agree to my disclaimer as part of the on-boarding process. I also have business liability insurance. I will talk more about this later, and I have a sample document that you are free to use for your own events.
Once you have agreed with your host, and the negotiations are over, I recommend a deposit to hold the time slot. Every time I’ve not requested a deposit, I have come to regret it. It’s no fun to have a huge Halloween party cancel on you one week before Halloween and you are left scrambling to find a replacement after turning down ten other invitations. As much as you may feel a spiritual purpose in doing this work, always remember that money talks! What if that cancellation means you couldn’t take another job? There goes the rent! It’s no biggie to them, but it could potentially be a huge deal for you.
Make sure to tell your host that the time and date is not reserved until you have a deposit in your hot, little hands. The deposit can vary. I usually only require a fifty-dollar deposit which is refundable up to two weeks prior to the event. But for fall events the deposit is a nonrefundable fifty percent of the ticket. I only accept cash, debit or credit, or payment through the app of my choice. I don’t accept private checks. Some readers I know also accept Money Orders or Certified Checks for private events. This is a smart move because like cash, once it is in your hand, it is yours. For non-hosted events, the host can either put that money towards her reading, or she will have it reimbursed to her on the day of the party, provided that the number of guests and everything you agreed upon is still in place.
A non-hosted party is a gig situation where the host is not paying you for readings but rather acts as coordinator. She is lining up her guests and providing the space, but each individual you read for will be paying for their own time with you. A non-hosted party is often the choice for readers who are within their first year and are trying to build their client base. A non-hosted party is tricky because no one is paying you for in-between time, and you can easily find yourself with a loss of thirty minutes or more because no one is in a rush to see you!
Another challenge is that the host does not feel pressure to make sure that the number of guests you both agreed on will be there when you show up. Let’s say you agreed to read for fifteen people over three hours, but once you arrive it’s a different story. Perhaps the host says that she couldn’t get fifteen, and that she only has six people, but she still expects you to stay and read for them. Tell the hostess to agree on a minimum guarantee to book. If she is unable to hit that minimum on the day of the party, then she is still responsible for covering the amount you both agreed upon. With her money on the table, believe me, this is the motivation she needs to ensure that the number of guests you agreed on will be there!
Some hosts are solicitous. They will stop by a number of times to ensure your drink is filled or offer you something to eat. Others will invite you to stay and enjoy the party. Good hosts will be mindful of the guests coming to your table and will pay you promptly when your time is up. I love these wonderful, thoughtful hosts: may they live a long and happy life!
As friendly and welcoming as a good host might be, never lose sight that you are under their employ and are working (not attending) their party. While a host might offer you cocktails, a plate of food, or an offer to stay and enjoy, it’s usually a bad idea to accept. For one, I never have time to eat while I’m reading at a party, and if I did, it looks devastatingly unprofessional to eat a platter at your reading table. For obvious reasons, you don’t want to enjoy those cocktails.
Finally, if you hang around at the house after you’re done, it can be awkward. Perhaps you talked about a guest’s divorce or a recent job change, and now you are clinking glasses with them? Trust me, it never goes well. The intimacy of the tarot table does not easily translate to any other intimacy. People will feel uncomfortable about the new role you are now playing, especially if they divulged something intimate with you before! Work to maintain that sense of safety with them. Stay in your lane.
This has become an often-enough phenomena that I’ve come to expect it. Usually, a host is so busy that they won’t have time, to get a reading from you. As the host stops by to pay you at the end of your time, they will mention how they never had a chance to get a reading. This is the only occasion that I will go over my allotted time without compensation. If the host who hired me didn’t get a reading, I want to make sure that she gets one. Hosts are going to be your biggest supporters and believers, and they will often hire you for other parties. So, you want to keep them happy. Remember, this is the exception to the rule — so only one freebie allowed. After that, make a quick exit if you can or negotiate a rate to stay.
Have Tarot Will Party is 180 pages full of my own best practices (including some stories of my own epic mistakes). Immediately downloadable on Amazon but the paperback is great, too, for quick reference. If you have ever thought to read tarot at parties as a side-hustle, to supplement your retirement income, or as a home-based business. This guide is for you!
Creating an Altar is building an invitation…
I like spaces that have no other function except to create a sacred conversation. A sacred space is an invitation. Creating an altar in this space is like scooting over on a park bench and patting the seat next to us. It is the open arms. It is receiving.
It is saying, “Sit with me. I want your presence. Join me. I honor you.” It is an acknowledgement that there is something greater in our lives, and we dance with it, that great ‘whatever it is’. It is a reminder that life is more than the grocery list and the clothes that need to be folded and the annual review. With an altar, we invite the mystery.
But first, we need the why.
Once you have decided what you want your altar to be about, you can then decide how constructing your altar makes a symbolic statement that attracts the energy you intend. If you want Aphrodite to come and bless you with love, you know you better make a space honoring her beautifully!
The cool thing is that you can have as many altars as you want! As long as you have the space, you can create one. And you don’t need much, I’ve even heard of matchbox altars!
Location is the second aspect to creating intentional sacred space. It does not have to be big, but it has to be special and used just for that purpose. Perhaps a small table (or upturned cardboard box, even) in an unused corner of your room. Make sure that the place you choose honors the intention you are setting for the altar. By that I mean you probably don’t want your altar in a busy hallway. Make it special. Make it sacred.
Cleaning and Clearing
Once you have chosen your location, give it a good cleaning. Then, clear it using sage, ringing a bell, sprinkling some Florida water or even just saying a prayer. Healthy energy loves a clean and cleared space.
After you have your spot picked, cleaned and cleared it is time to decorate.
Since an altar is a sacred invitation, think about what items you wish to place in order to invite the Gods, Energy, Intention, or Ancestors in.
What I love about altar creation is that the magic is in the placement of items rather than the items themselves.
You can rummage through your shelves, go to the thrift store, or find things on your walk that, when placed carefully and thoughtfully, take on a special meaning all on their own.
You can decide whether to leave food or not, it’s totally up to you.
Now that you have your beautiful altar, what are you going to do with it? Sacred space must match sacred intention, so this is a relationship of sorts; don’t just set it and forget it.
Many people use altar space to meditate, to pray, to create intentions, to write, or just to spend a quick minute thinking about whatever it is that the altar’s reason is for being. Interact with your altar.
Allow your space to shift the spaces within you.
One thing that is important to remember is that an altar needs to be serviced. Keep your altar clean, update the items as needed or replace any perishable items regularly.
An altar helps with the flow of qi, that universal energy in everything but if an altar becomes neglected, the qi stagnates which is the exact opposite of what you want.
Energy goes where your focus goes. An altar can be a physical reminder to focus or invite, energy into your life in some way. “If you build it, they will come.” Creating altars builds your spiritual life, makes you aware of Presence, and helps you navigate the mystery in your life.
Demeter, Goddess of the Earth and mother to Persephone, grows depressed. In her grief, she allows nothing to grow. The world burdens under a land bare and quiet.
This is the time of the Dark Goddess, the Queen of the Underworld.
These seeds are often self-sabotaging thoughts, beliefs, or behaviors that work against our own growth.
They undermine us when we keep repeating, “I am okay. I am okay. I am okay.” While not getting on the scale, not opening the credit card statement, not opening the text, not breaking up with someone toxic. It is the mantra of kidding ourselves because we are scared.
A dark seed loves ignorance. A dark seed convinces us to pretend that problems aren’t real until those very problems threaten to undermine us. Swathed in darkness we become ‘comfortably numb’ to the quality of being alive. We adjust to accepting a life that is mere fragments of what we know we are capable of. We allow childhood conditioning capsize our sense of worth and work.
During this Dark Time, from the 23rd of September until the winter solstice on December 21st use this time to identify, truly and bravely identify, your 6 dark seeds.
Seed Number One:
Identify one internalized belief from childhood that has undermined your sense of worth.
Example: “My Mom was a neat freak growing up and I just can’t measure up to her housekeeping. I feel like a lazy person who is unable to keep anything nice.”
Seed Number Two:
Identify one self-belief that actively discourages you from reaching towards your goals.
Example: “I will never be thin. I have been overweight my whole live and, well, I am just not one of ‘those’ people.”
Seed Number Three:
Identify any area where you are being willfully ignorant. This could be your health, your finances, a relationship, or something else.
Example: “I am desperately unhappy in my marriage. But I can’t ruin the kids’ lives and I don’t want to end up broke and alone in a crappy apartment.”
Seed Number Four:
Identify one belief that is negative and malicious. This could be a belief about yourself, someone else, or an aspect in the world. You usually can recognize these when you use “all” or “nothing” statements.
Example: “I am always the fuck up.” “Humans are horrible.” “Wall St. bankers should be hung.” “Carla must be sleeping with the boss.”
Seed Number Five:
Identify something (or someone) that you are jealous about.
Example: “My sister has more money than me and I just know she looks down on me.” “I am sure his success was by luck alone.” “How did they deserve a house like that?”
Seed Number Six:
Identify a bigoted belief regarding another class, race, political affiliation or action.
Example, “People who litter are ignorant, selfish people.”
Usually, if we examine our seeds closely, we can see that they are often tied to one another. The seeds run in currents and themes, often closely related to one another.
By identifying these dark seeds, we start to become aware of the nature of the Underworld Queen: that shadowy, greedy aspect of ourselves that we are not proud of. Often we shove her down as much as we can and other times she rises up to make us into aspects of ourselves that can shock us.
So let us peer into the dark together.
See the trauma in them.
See how a family culture and models influenced you before you could question them.
Peering at your seeds starts to dismantle them.
Looking at your dark seeds without judgement begins to break shame.
Being kind to yourself (and others) during this process helps you stay open. As your eyes adjust to the darkness, you will see how the seeds will grow into something revealing about your Underworld Queen (or King).
Journal The Descent
Right now, all I want you to do is to identify your seeds. Get curious about them. Watch how they show up in your life. Grab a journal and jot down when you catch a dark seed in action. This is a mindfulness activity. You aren’t going to go head to head with them just yet. During this dark time, until the Solstice, jot down when you notice them.
If you feel overwhelmed by that process, take one Dark Seed and work with watching it for 2 weeks. Then, choose another to observe.
“Just as Persephone, the Goddess of spring, now descends to meet her husband in the underworld. I, too, am heeding the call to peer into my own darkness. I ask that my eyes adjust to the dim.
I ask that my mind and heart be brave and open, curious and thorough by what I find there. I know that without winter, there is no spring, without darkness we cannot truly be bright. During this dark time I allow its lessons to open me, shake me, and nudge me into the life long process that is becoming human.”
If you are comfortable with it, keep the candle lit until it burns all the way down. If not, then light it every consecutive night until it is done.
I might follow up with an activity for you for Halloween (but I am not sure yet). Or I will definitely follow up with work on the winter solstice. Don’t worry, I am not going to leave you hanging. I want to give you plenty of time.
Don’t rush this.
This Is Tough Work
If you feel like you cannot do this alone, please reach out to me, or speak to a trusted advisor or therapist. If you feel this might be too intense for you right now, put it away for another time.
In the Dark, holding hands with you,
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