The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 21, titled:
Astrology and the Tarot: Professional Parallels
With Chris Brennan and Brigit Esselmont
Episode originally released on September 14th, 2014
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: email@example.com
Transcribed by Elizabeth Ocean
Transcription released June 2nd, 2019
Copyright © 2019 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
Chris Brennan: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. You can find the show at theastrologypodcast.com and you can also listen to us on iTunes. This is the 21st episode of the show, and today I’ll be interviewing professional tarot card reader Brigit Esselmont of BiddyTarot.com, and we’ll be talking about some of the parallels between the professional practice of astrology and tarot. So Brigit, welcome to the show.
Brigit Esselmont: Hi Chris, Thanks so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
CB: I’m really excited to have you on because this is kind of new for the show, because obviously it’s an astrology podcast, but in coming across your work over the past year, I’ve been really impressed to see somebody else who is involved in kind of another kind of fringe field, like astrology and I think tarot are kind of characterized as, sometimes, but who is approaching it in a very professional manner. So I wanted to have you on the show and talk to you about what tarot is like for you and what drew you to it and talk a little bit about your story in pursuing it.
As well as the fact that, in listening to an interview you did on another podcast, I noticed that there were a lot of parallels between your story and the story that I see a lot of other astrologers have in terms of having something that is kind of a weird personal hobby that they eventually turn into or pursue as a profession, and I think there is a lot that other astrologers could probably learn from you in that respect.
CB: So, why don’t you tell me a little bit about your background or how you got into Tarot?
BE: Yeah, so I was around 17, and I was heading off to Germany for a student exchange for six months and I went with a friend to a tarot reader and I asked, okay, what might I expect on this big adventure? And the tarot reader drew the Emperor card and was like, “Oooh, you are going to meet a boyfriend and it’s going to be amazing.” I was like, okay, yeah she probably tells everyone that, but lo and behold it happened just as she had suggested, and I thought, okay, this is pretty cool, so from there I was inspired to go ahead and learn how to read tarot cards.
I’ve really been self taught, so I’ve read a crazy number of tarot books, I’ve read lots and lots of stuff on the internet; this was back in the late 1990s, so I was part of Yahoo! groups, and all those little online forums, just filling my head with as much knowledge as possible about tarot and at the same time I was studying at university. I was doing a Bachelor of Commerce and then later moved into a career around management consulting and human resources. So tarot was this nice little creative, spiritual thing that I had on the side to sort of counteract or balance that business-y stuff I was doing at work, and, you know, all the structure or corporate…
BE: At the time all of that good stuff, and it was really just kind of going from there, it was really just a passion or hobby for those first, I’d say, 10 years or so.
CB: Sure, and you started a website at some point early on but it was mainly just to share notes or other things you were taking as you were learning?
BE: Yeah, I think I was just getting really bored of writing essays about university all of the time and I started hand coding a website. I literally used notepad and learned how to use html and I created this website and I started sharing what I was learning about the tarot card meanings. This was like 15 years ago and now its turned into, through lots of iterations and revisions and so forth, now this is kind of what often attracts people to my website now, because I share so many different ways to interpret the Tarot cards and that started from that small and humble place, many years ago.
CB: Sure, and that makes sense and now it’s basically one of the biggest, I mean it seems at least to me as an outsider, is one of the biggest or one of the main resources in the tarot community in terms of sites that are well-respected that people go to, right?
BE: Thank you, I think certainly from the perspective of a person running that website, I mean you’ve got tarot.com that’s obviously a huge website but that is quite company-driven, but I mean to give you an indication of size, in the last year I’ve had one and a half million people visit the website, that just blows my mind.
CB: Yeah, that’s a huge amount of traffic. Okay, so you have this other career, so you’re essentially a successful business person but then you had this side hobby that eventually went from just a hobby to something that you really decided that you really wanted to pursue more seriously as a profession at some point, right?
BE: I was tracking along with my corporate career and doing really well in that and then in 2009 I had my first baby. I had my first daughter, which meant having time out of typical working life and waiting for your baby to wake up, just watching your baby play on their mat, kind of gets a little boring sometimes and I was like, oh, what can I do with my time? I know, I’ll explore my tarot business a little bit more, and over time I started to just connect with it more and more and then I think it was in 2010, when I read Tim Ferris’ book called The 4-Hour Workweek, I’ve never actually had a four-hour work week, I don’t know that it is possible, but I really appreciated his core principals, which were about building a business about something you love and doing it in a way that is authentic, and also in a way that’s smart, by automating things, or getting online, and so on.
From that I was inspired to create a number of e-books, and that was the start of me thinking of it more as a business than a hobby. I built some e-books, I started driving more traffic to my site, just by doing really, really basic SEO, and I started to see traffic increase almost instantly with just some small tweaks, and the income coming in was increasing as well. So by the time I had my second child in 2011, I was seeing a lot more potential in this as a source of income, and finally by 2012 I matched the amount of income I was getting in my part time work, because I was working three days then in a bank, and I was getting the same amount coming through my business and I thought, right, this is a really good sign.
I can indeed quit my corporate job and I can pursue my business full time, and since doing that it has just opened up this huge, huge space and opportunity and potential to grow the business and its continually growing which I feel very blessed and grateful for.
CB: That’s great. Did you have any trepidation about that? One of the issues, or one of the parallels that is kind of interesting to me is that sometimes one of the the things that comes up is just in terms of what people around you think about leaving what was otherwise a stable or, let’s say, successful career in the corporate world and pursuing something like tarot full-time. Sometimes people, at least in the astrological community, will think, you know, has this person gone crazy jumping into astrology full-time?
Or maybe their friends or family won’t understand if that’s something that even though they are passionate about, it may look kind of weird from the outside. Did you meet in any sort of resistance or have any considerations like that?
BE: No, not at all, no. I’m kidding, of course I did, yes. I was so worried about image or other people’s perception of what I was doing. And just like you said, I was thinking, oh my goodness, people are gonna think I’m bananas for going from a successful corporate career into becoming a tarot reader. Has she gone crazy? I had invested in another eight years of postgraduate studies. I was really committed to my corporate life, but suddenly I’m jumping ship, and I thought, am I letting go of everything that I’ve built up these last 10, 15 years in that corporate world?
Also yeah, I was worried that people would just think I was a complete flake, and what if it just wasn’t successful? Could I go back into that kind of profession again? Yeah, that was a lot of sort of worry but at the end of the day I thought, no, I’m just going to get on and do this.
I do feel really proud when I can say I’m now earning two to three times what I was in the corporate world, and when I share that with people they are just astounded. How does tarot help you earn a multi six-figure income? I wouldn’t have thought it was possible either, but I think when you get things right and are really authentic about what you are doing and you’re reaching your community in meaningful ways, and helping and supporting them along their journey, I think that is when you create abundance in your life, not just like from a financial perspective, but also abundance in the people’s lives that you serve as well. I’ve tried to really just reassure myself that this is something that’s really cool and I should be really proud of this.
Also, I have noticed as my business has grown, so many of the things that I was learning throughout my corporate life are now becoming very relevant in my current business. So I’m growing a team; I have three or four team members right now, so obviously HR is coming into play. When I was working in management consulting I did a lot of business development work, and knowing how to speak to the sales aspect, and presentation skills. All of this stuff actually comes into play even though we are dealing with something completely different and diverse to what I was doing before.
CB: Yeah, and that’s often an issue for people that are in these types of fields is that usually they don’t have that kind of business background, and so they really just come up learning about astrology or tarot but sometimes have a hard time figuring out how to market themselves or how to present themselves within that field.
BE: Yeah, I see that a lot because I think the types of people that get attracted to tarot and astrology are typically more creative or they are investing their energy in the tarot and astrology side but not so much in the business side, and there’s nothing wrong with that, I think that is great. But if you want to create a serious business, make this a primary source of income, and do really well at it, I really feel like you have to pay attention to the business side, otherwise it might not come to fruition. You know, it’s an astrology business or its a tarot business, therefore you’ve got to have a foot in both camps.
CB: Yeah, and that there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, if this is something that you’re genuine about and that you genuinely are doing good work and investing yourself in, that you don’t necessarily have to be sort of poor or destitute just because you’re pursuing something that you love, that you can have both at the same time.
BE: Yeah, and I’m curious; this comes up a lot in the tarot community, if you should indeed be charging for your services. Does that come up in the astrology community as well?
CB: Yeah, it comes up in questions of how much to charge and whether you should charge and when, or even people wanting something for free or having expectations along those lines, because it’s often thought to be, or sometimes portrayed as, more of a spiritual discipline of some sort, or because there’s the spiritual or religious undertones that there’s something wrong with charging for that or something to that effect.
BE: Yes, okay. I’m so interested to hear that is also playing out in the astrology community because it is prevalent in the tarot community, and I just think it’s absolute hogwash, because I totally get that it’s beautiful that we have these gifts and we can share it with people, right, but think about a lawyer or a surgeon. They have gifts as well and they are talented, but would we ever ask the surgeon, could you cut me open for free, because that’s your gift and you should be sharing that with everyone? We just wouldn’t do that.
Or even the request for a free reading just to see if we have a connection. You wouldn’t walk into your local doctor and say hey, I just wanna work out if you know my body and what’s wrong with me, how about a free consult? We just don’t do that. I think the more we set that image around tarot and astrology that we are professionals and it’s about the exchange of energy and part of that exchange is often a financial exchange for what we are doing. There is nothing wrong, in my opinion, with charging for readings and treating it like a business.
Also if you think about like if you’ve ever done a free reading, often times people don’t appreciate or value that reading because they haven’t made the investment in the reading, and therefore they might say, oh that was interesting, alright, and then just carry on. Where someone who has paid a hundred dollars, two hundred dollars and has had to really think about, okay, I’m giving over this money and investing in this reading, I need to make sure I’m asking the right questions. They’ve put so much energy into that reading already and will take so much more out of it, so you could argue its a disservice to your clients by giving a free reading. I might get in trouble for saying that.
CB: Sure, no, it makes a lot of sense and definitely re-framing and realizing that these people, whether they’re a tarot reader or astrologer, that when you’re going to somebody like that you are paying them for the years of experience and research that they did in cultivating some expertise in their chosen field and that there is something inherently valuable about that, about the time that the person invested in cultivating their knowledge in that area and that they have something valuable to share with you, which is just as valuable as a tangible product or what have you.
BE: Yes, I would even add to that, think the value of your insight when you give a reading to someone else. Let’s say someone comes to you going okay I’m at a crossroads in my career, what should I do? And your reading helps them to see a whole bunch of things that they haven’t seen before and now they’re crystal clear about, okay, yep I know which path I need to take.
What is the value of that interaction? That’s huge, right? To help someone see the different way to go in their career and to do something now that’s way more fulfilling. You can’t even put a price tag on it.
So I think yes we’ve certainly got to acknowledge the experience and energy that we bring into it as readers but also this huge amount of value in the insight that we give and then the transformation we often inspire with our clients.
CB: Sure, that makes a lot of sense, and I mean that it’s part of what an author, who I think you are familiar with, Brendan Burchard, calls the expert industry, how this has become a billion dollar industry of people who have expertise in some area and have the ability to help other people with their knowledge, and that that’s a valid thing to put yourself out there with and to offer to people as a service in some sense, your expertise and your ability to help them work through to help them make decisions or change their life or what have you.
BE: I’m really just agreeing with that because I think that is very powerful. I’ve just finished up, before we jumped on the call together, wrapping up a six-week course I’ve done with a group of tarot students to help them read the tarot and for me it’s doing a bit of a download about what I know about tarot and organizing in a way that makes sense but it’s so valuable to the folks who are in that course, because they can sort of tap into my insight about the tarot, and I know that you do it too, Chris, with your astrology courses. You can take everything that you know, and you could probably have years and years of courses, but take everything that you know and share that with people that can then take that and use it in their own very special ways as well.
CB: Sure, yeah and that’s an important part of, I think, what was interesting or fascinating to me about seeing your approach, in seeing that you’re doing many of the same things that I’m doing, is that it’s not all just about if you’re going to jump into these fields as a profession. It’s not just about doing consultations 24/7 but you’re also supplementing it with other things like teaching or doing webinars, you know, interacting with people through social networking and so on and so forth right?
BE: Absolutely, yeah. I don’t know about you but I could not sit here and do eight to ten readings every single day, because that’s probably what I need to do in order to make a full-time income but I would just be completely burnt out. So I think if this is something you want to make your primary source of income, and perhaps your lifestyle needs are such that you need a certain income level, then yeah, I strongly believe you need to diversify and you know have different ways that people can connect with you not just through one-on-one readings.
CB: So, what are some of the things that you do in order with tarot or that you offer in terms of that, in order to diversify what you have to offer?
BE: Yeah, I’ve got quite a few different streams, certainly e-books and digital products. I’ve also got some meditations that I offer. The great thing with the e-books is, yes, it takes six to twelve months to put together an e-book that you feel really good about, but once that’s up there that’s something that produces passive income from that point.
I mean, it’s a little bit debatable as to whether that is passive income because you have to do a lot of work beforehand but that’s a great way of getting your message out, helping people, but doing it in a way that’s quite automated in terms of distributing the information.
CB: That’s interesting because in my last episode I was talking to an astrologer who just published a book. One of the things we discussed was this huge transformation that the publishing industry is going through, and this choice that a lot of astrologers have at this point, where they can either self publish and make more money but not necessarily have as big of distribution, at least in terms of print distribution, or they can publish with the publisher and basically make no money but have much greater exposure, and it’s interesting how you’ve circumvented both of those, or at least you’ve gotten the best of both worlds with your approach. You’ve built up your notoriety with your website traffic but then you’re publishing your books as e-books in order to get the distribution out and not have a lot of overhead in the process.
BE: Absolutely, yeah, and I have looked into getting say my e-books onto Kindle, onto Amazon and my e-books sell at $39. The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings is set at $39 and my cost of sale was so lower because of the beautifully automated process now, and it’s delivered to the customer straight away. We typically don’t have to touch anything along that process. On the other hand if I was to sell on Kindle, I think the going rate for kindle book is $10 or less, and pretty sure the commission you might get maybe up to 70% if you’re lucky so we’re talking like maybe five, six, seven dollars,versus $39 for each e-book sale and I just don’t feel good about that. For something that you create and spend so much time and effort on and that you know has a lot of value in it, to only get five dollars for that, it just doesn’t feel right. But I do acknowledge that potential, say on Amazon or in bookstores, to reach a much wider audience so it comes down to use your own strategy and what’s right for your business.
CB: Sure and the strategy has just been impressive, seeing you do that. I know that my girlfriend Leisa really enjoys, loves your book actually. I think it’s called The Ultimate Tarot Guide, is that the title?
BE: Yeah, it must be for the tarot card meanings…thanks, it’s nice to hear that she’s enjoying it.
CB: It just pushed home the point to me that that’s an effective strategy and it’s an interesting way of dealing with that issue, just with the change in things, and being able to take more control over your own productive output by releasing ebooks essentially directly to your to your market audience.
BE: In fact the other thing that was preventing, stopping me or holding me back was, let’s say if I took that Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings to a publisher and said alright, I want to turn this into a book and I was lucky enough for them to say yes. It would mean that they have ownership of that content so all of the content I’ve got on my site that attracts the majority of my visitors, I would have to take off the site. That would just be bananas, that’s a lot of my business gone, so for me it just doesn’t make any sense.
Even for my other e-book which is Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence, again I would lose control over the content and I wouldn’t be able to republish that on my site. So I think there’s a lot of things to work out but for me ebook is the way to go, right now.
CB: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense because just ownership over one’s content is a huge deal, and I’ve seen some of the contracts that some of the bigger publishers make you sign and they definitely do not favor the author, at least in that way. So one of the other things I was curious about, and we already touched upon it a little bit, you mentioned in this other interview I was listening to about how some Tarot readers are trying to present a different appearance to the public, or to just change the cliché image that the Tarot readers sometimes invoke when people mention that as a profession of in terms of the crystal ball or the fortune-telling type image.
I thought that was really interesting just because there’s been a similar movement over the past few decades in the astrological communities as well, in order to get rid of that image, to put forward a much more professional appearance to the public in order to show people that this is an actual legitimate profession and there are real people, who are not just crazy people pursuing it or offering it, but it’s something that we actually take very seriously and believe works and is effective in helping people.
I’m just curious because you’re somebody who I was impressed by, the way that you come off as a professional in that field, and I was curious if you could talk a little bit about that in terms of how that’s been for you or what that’s like in terms of the tarot community in general, in terms of that movement.
BE: Yeah, I want to see more of that. I want to see more and more Tarot readers coming out super professional, super proud of our industry and what we do. I’m definitely seeing some great role models, that’s for sure. I always remember probably about five or ten years ago when I was reading at a psychic fair, I was thinking, oh my goodness, I was in my 20s, and I was like what should I wear? Do I have to go and look all mysterious? Maybe I should have crystals, and bangles, and everything. I thought no, that’s not me, and I would sit there feeling awkward. I still turned up in my jeans and a nice top. And a scarf, that was my intermediary for me trying to look slightly mystical but still remain who I was. It just reminded me that I just need to front up as who I am. And the more I think that we can do that, that we can be authentic and real and just who we are, the better. Because it just shows that in these fields of tarot and astrology and other related fields, you can be normal. It is normal and there’s nothing spooky or mysterious about it.
I’ve certainly gotten feedback from my community that people really appreciate that I just front up as who I am. I don’t try to put on that mysterious look, and it’s interesting because then I seem to attract a lot of people who are either in the corporate world or have been in the corporate world who are now starting to embrace tarot, and I think they can really resonate with my story in that respect as well. I just hope that what it means is that we can normalize tarot and we can normalize astrology.
CB: Sure, yeah and it’s something that I’m sure is the same in both fields in terms of having some concern about how other people view you, because of some people’s perceptions of these as not legitimate fields or fields especially where, for example, skeptics often try to portray astrologers and tarot readers as deliberately misleading people or deliberately employing things like cold reading, rather than actually legitimately demonstrating the validity or using something effectively or getting information from either astrology or from tarot.
I guess that’s one of the reasons why, at least in the astrological community, there has been this move towards professionalism in order to, on one hand, change the stereotypes, but on the other hand also push back against this, and almost be extra careful not to give off this air of lacking in legitimacy or what have you.
BE: Absolutely, it was interesting because I was in New York earlier this year and previously going to New York, I thought, I wonder why do people think tarot readers are scammy, why is there so much fear around this? But I stepped into New York City and I’m not kidding like every second corner had the neon signs, tarot reader! psychic! and these little sandwich boards out front and I thought, I’m not sure how authentic or ethical they might be. I was speaking to a lady who lives in New York, and she lives where there is a neon sign reader, just underneath her apartment. And she had been to this lady and she’s said, it’s totally unethical, it’s the $200 to remove the curse, and she is always standing out front of her shop like, hey, I know something about you, come on in and have a reading.
I thought, oh my goodness, this is why people think tarot readers are scammers and I don’t blame them because that’s the image that is being presented out there. It’s just sad in a way because it does us a disservice, the folks who are so doing this authentically, it does us a disservice. I don’t know if there’s a way that we could just eliminate those neon signs and unethical types of readers.
CB: Sure, yes, it’s a constant debate in the astrological community, how do you get rid of things like that? Because it’s not something that’s very prevalent. It’s actually surprising, given how much skeptics and other people outside of the community assume that all astrologers are scam artists.
It’s actually surprising when you are in the community and you go around meeting people, that you really don’t run into that, or you don’t run into people that are not serious about it or not actually genuinely trying to determine information just from astrology, so that when you do run into a person who is kind of sketchy or who seems to be involved in some quasi nefarious practices, it’s almost shocking. Or at least when I ran into somebody like that recently I was actually almost shocked by it, because it made me realize, like you said, that that does exist and it is a thing that happens. But it’s kind of a tricky thing to address in these types of fields because they are already on the fringe of society, and they are already across the board not looked on very well, so it’s hard.
So the astrologers have had various efforts to institute standards, like either testing standards or certification standards in order to set a bar for a certain amount of knowledge that you have to know in order to call yourself or to have a certain professional designations within the field, but that’s been not terribly effective, I wouldn’t necessarily say. Is there anything like that in tarot? Are there any bodies that try to do offer certification or training aside from just the sort of individual ones?
BE: Yeah, there’s some, there have been a couple of associations that do certification. There are always, though, some very strong opinions around certification, particularly with tarot which is quite subjective. I know my perspective is to respect different styles of reading and it’s hard to say when something is right or wrong, apart from the obvious, the “$200 remove my curse” fee.
Look, they do exist, but it’s a hotly debated topic. And I’m not sure that that’s necessarily the answer for, you know, how do we make it a legitimate kind of industry. I always just think sometimes that I can overwhelm myself thinking about, oh no, there’s all these dodgy readers out there, what do we do? But at the end of the day I think you’ve got to just bring the energy right back to yourself and think how can I be a great role model of tarot or astrology?
How can I show the people that I’m already connecting with that this is legitimate and this is authentic? Because I think that is the piece that you can influence and control the most.
CB: Yeah, definitely and that’s also the conclusion that I’ve come to, just doing the best you can in order to be genuine, and to provide a genuine service, and be completely above board with it is probably the most effective thing you can do.
Because then people, both inside and outside of your own community, will see that and if the person has a certain preconception about what your field involves, if they see you doing something that’s diametrically opposite to that in a positive way, then that might just in and of itself change their perspective on what you’re doing and what the rest of the people in your field are doing.
So, I mean that’s one of the reasons, just to reiterate, that I wanted to talk to you. Because the work that you do really strikes me as somebody within your field that’s definitely putting that forward in a very positive way and putting forward a very positive image in terms of representing tarot readers and showing people that this is something legitimate, and that legitimate people that otherwise are well educated and have stable backgrounds and what have you can become interested in this and find some meaning or value to it, and then decide that they want to share that with others that they can do that legitimate way.
BE: Absolutely, yeah, thank you.
CB: One of the last things I want to talk about, one of the other things that I meant to mention, is that I’ve also been interested in and impressed by the way that, in addition to obviously doing consultations and doing classes and teaching tarot, one of the things that you started to move into recently as well during the past few years is trying to help other people who want to become professional tarot readers to make a more graceful transition into that field, and that’s something that you are actively pursuing at this point by coaching people, right?
BE: Yeah, absolutely. I can’t really shut up about business and tarot coming together so I get such a kick out of helping people take all of their tarot gifts, tarot talents and then translate that into a real business that can help them sustain the lifestyle that they want, and interestingly enough, it’s not just tarot readers that I’m working with now.
I’ve worked with astrologers, I’ve worked with a numerologist, I’m actually working with a health coach right now; he’s building his health coaching business. I have such a passion for building authentic businesses and it’s been great to be able to share that, and up until this point it has been mostly through one-on-one coaching which I really enjoy.
What I’ve noticed through that one-on-one coaching is that there’s some really common issues that people are struggling with when they are setting up their businesses or growing their businesses. That’s inspired me to create a six month program that covers those bases that I know are fundamental or essential pillars that need to be put in place in order to grow a thriving business online and that’s Grow Your Tarot Business Online which is coming up in October.
CB: Okay, so you are just launching this program on October 1?
BE: Yes, absolutely, and I know we are talking here to a bunch of astrologers that are thinking tarot, what? I don’t do tarot, what is she talking about?! But these kinds of business principles do apply to most businesses, and I think the important thing here is that it’s about again bringing your authentic self into your business, creating a business that is professional, ethical, but also connected to, whether it’s the intuitive arts or healing arts, whatever you want to call it, this kind of information is very very helpful.
If this is something that is appealing to the listeners, I would really encourage you to sign up. I have a couple of free videos, three free videos to help start you thinking about how you might set up your business online and what it is that you need to have in place to help that become a thriving business. I’m not sure, Chris, do you have show notes or I can give the URL over on the podcast.
CB: Yeah, I’ll definitely include the URL on the page where they will download the podcast, but you can mention it here, as well.
BE: Ok, it is a little bit of a mouthful so pay attention. Its at tarotfoundations.com/tarot-business-videos, and you can sign up there. It’s absolutely free and you get access to three free training videos to help you build your business online.
CB: One of the things that I think is really amazing about that, in terms of what you’re offering, is just that it’s so hard to find. There’s tons of business coaches and business advisors out there, but it’s actually surprisingly hard to find somebody who has the background of business and in marketing, but also has personally had the experience of working in in a fringe field like tarot which has so many parallels with astrology and other fields like that, that it really seems to give you a different perspective in terms of what you need to do in order to both market and put yourself out there, but also to do it genuinely and in a way that’s not somebody coming in as a outside marketer and just imagining what a tarot card reader or astrologer needs to say in order to get clients. It gives you a very valuable perspective, I think.
BE: A lot of the sales and marketing techniques that are taught in wider business programs don’t really gel with our audiences and our communities. If we started using some of those sales tactics, I think it would actually turn people off. I think it’s so important to have a foot in both camps, where you get what’s important to your community, and then you can translate those sales and marketing techniques in a way that is going to really appeal to your community and that your community will respond to and not be totally irked about, why are you trying this, why are you being all salesy, sleazy? Yuck.
CB: Maybe just obviously people should check out the videos, but in terms of what you’ve talked about the videos, what are some things that maybe are more authentic that people should be doing, just to give them idea of what you’re talking about that might be different from a traditional sales technique?
BE: One of the most powerful and yet simple things is to get really clear about who it is that you want to serve. That might be thinking about your dream client; perhaps it is someone you have already worked with, or maybe it’s kind of a mishmash of different people, and when you are thinking about that dream client it’s like who do you do your best work with? Who is the type of client who walks away from that experience with you going wow, that was powerful?
Then, starting to get really clear about knowing that dream client, what are some of the biggest struggles they have, what are their biggest challenges? And then how can you help them resolve some of those challenges? Because what I’ve seen is when we know our dream clients, and we know who we want to serve, then doing things like writing blog posts, writing newsletters, creating new products, new reading types, all of that stuff becomes so much easier because we’re talking to the one type of person and we’re really appealing to what matters most for them.
And then I think if you start to get a lot clearer in your communications and who you’re appealing to, then you can leave behind those nightmare clients that you have. I always cringe when someone asked me like it when will I meet my future husband and what will he look like? Oh, I don’t want to read on that, that’s not me.
So now you know my book a tarot reading page is very clear about who I do my best work with, who gets the most value out of my readings, and who doesn’t. I am so clear that I do not do fortune-telling readings. And it’s good because now I can attract folks that I know I can do awesome readings for, and the folks who want more predictive style readings will go to other readers and that’s perfectly okay. The take away there is, just get very clear about who it is that you want to work with.
CB: Sure, that makes a lot of sense because then you don’t waste time attempting to talk to an audience who isn’t even the people that are coming to your website or what have you or waste time talking about your own ideal image of who you think might be showing up, but instead focusing instead on who is actually coming to you or who you would like to come to you, rather than just who happens to show up.
BE: Absolutely, and what I often say is when I suggest to people, let’s think about like who you’re dream client is, often times people go, oh, I just want to serve everyone, I just want to help everyone. Which is really gorgeous, but it’s very hard to serve everyone. Your message will just be completely blurred and it won’t really appeal to certain people if you are just trying to reach everyone and that is just not as effective.
CB: Sure, that raises actually a separate issue which is kind of interesting, which is another parallel. In the astrological community, there’s different approaches, there’s different people that specialize in different things or different people that conceptualize astrology as working in different ways and therefore have very different things that they’re shooting for.
Different outcomes that they are attempting to make happen in a consultation, and that raises a question for me in terms of tarot as a field, which is, how do you personally conceptualize tarot and how it works and why it works, or how do you conceptualize what you’re trying to do in a consultation?
BE: Yeah it’s a good question, and in fact this is something I encourage all tarot readers to figure out for themselves. Because you could speak to me and I’ll share with you how I see it, but you could speak to another reader and they will share a completely different way of seeing it, which is really good.
BE: I think it’s great to have that diversity. For me, personally, I see tarot as a way of harnessing or accessing what’s going on right now. What are the energies around us right now, and where might those energies take us in the future? And then to layer on top of that, I think that it’s important we acknowledge what our desired outcomes are, and how can you actually achieve those desired outcomes.
I don’t believe that our future is set in stone, I don’t think its predetermined on that day to day level, so I always think that you can change it. You’ve got free will, you can change things. If you really want something to happen a certain way then I think that tarot cards will show you that this is the kind of energy that surrounds you right now, and in order to manifest that desired outcome, here are the kinds of things that you need to do in order for that to occur.
Sometimes I do add in that little bit of predictive elements of what might you experience over say the next six months, and I tend to use that to help people say, well, this is kind of where things are heading now. If that’s where you want to go, fantastic, keep doing what you doing. But if you don’t want to be heading down that path, then you need to think about how to change things up. I think that tarot has to be very fluid and I think we have to allow our clients the room to make their own decisions and not feel that everything is just set in stone and predetermined.
CB: So, it’s much more of a process of self-actualization and self empowerment, rather than something that’s fully deterministic or predictive or what have you?
BE: Yeah, that’s my opinion, and I think you definitely will find others who will have more of a predictive view on it and again I fully respect that but yeah, that’s how I work with it.
CB: Sure, yeah, it’s funny that’s a pretty exact parallel in terms of what happens in the astrological community, in terms of the variety of different spectrums that you do see with people’s views, in terms of how much things are predetermined and what you should do as a result of that or to what extent you can change things or attempt to change things in the future. But also just in the way that you frame it, in terms of what is happening right now or what are the energies right now, is also very similar, that’s sort of what astrologers do in terms of looking at where the planets are right now and where they might be in the next six months or what have you.
So it seems like perhaps that’s where some of the parallels that I’ve noticed are coming from, just from the fact that from a practical or procedural standpoint a lot of what were doing is very similar, even if we are approaching it through completely different means. That could be the source of that I guess.
BE: Absolutely, yeah, and I think it comes down to your personal philosophies of life, and I think it’s really important as a reader to connect with what that is, and perhaps you and I use our modalities in a similar way because we see life in a similar way.
CB: Sure yeah, and then sometimes you can attract clients to you that will have a similar mindset, at least most of the time, and at least if you’re presenting yourself clearly in terms of what your view is then you’ll find people who you can probably help most effectively because they do have a similar view, in terms of what is in their control or what they want to do with their life or how much they want to attempt to take things into their own hands in order to change things.
BE: Yeah, and because readers like you and I will do our best work when we are working with people who are self empowered or self actualized, and we may not do our best work when someone’s looking for an answer or looking for someone to tell them what to do. So as a reader, getting very clear on your style will help attract the right people and then help you to do ace work.
CB: That makes a lot of sense, and that really gives me some insight into that. I’m trying to think of if there any other questions that I had in terms of just what tarot is and how to explain it to somebody that doesn’t have any background in it, like a lot of astrologers. I know for myself personally I initially got into astrology and tarot at the same time, but I realized that they were both such, at least that astrology was such a vast field, that if I really wanted to to master it or become as good at it as I wanted to be, I’d really have to focus all of my attention towards that, and so I didn’t pursue tarot as much as I could have.
What would you say to somebody that was interested in pursuing tarot and learning about it and becoming proficient in it? Where would you start or what kind of steps would you take?
BE: Well, I’d definitely start with the Tarot Foundations course; just kidding. I would recommend the courses that I teach, but if you’ve got a deck of cards, tarot cards, and they have been sitting in a drawer for a while and you are like, oh my goodness, there’s 78 of them, how am I going to learn all the meanings?
The easiest way of working with those cards is work with the pictures. Draw one card, have a look at the picture, and even just start telling a bit of a story about what you see in the picture. Let’s see, so the 8 of pentacles comes to mind, and in this picture there is a man, and he’s etching pentacles into these coins, and looks like he’s concentrating very hard, and there’s seven more that he’s worked on. So you start describing what you see in that picture, and you start to think, okay, what does that picture really mean for me? Maybe I’m working on something, and I’m concentrating, and I’m committed to my work. That’s probably the message for me in that card, to keep really focused. It is just a nice easy way to connect with your cards without having to have all of this background knowledge about what the pentacle really means, the symbolism of it and so forth. That stuff is really helpful at a later stage, when you got more headspace for it, but if you just want to get in there and start playing with your tarot cards, work with the imagery.
CB: It’s about, at its core, it’s about interpreting the symbolic significance of the images?
BE: Yeah, and once you start telling the story, then think about what’s the moral of the story and what is the message here? That way you can pick up a card and almost instantly understand what it means. I’ve tried this out with my husband. He’s not into tarot at all, but sometimes I just test out my teaching methods with him, and I’ll show him a card and say, what do you reckon this means? And he’ll start telling the story, and I’ll say, oh, this is good! Very interesting. It’s a helpful way for picking up quite quickly.
CB: Were you already well into tarot by the time that you two got together, or was that a transition that you started making after? Obviously professionally you got into it after you had been been married but how’d did he feel about the transition?
BE: It had been a hobby when we met, it was certainly in its hobby phase. I think he was curious but didn’t really dig it, didn’t believe in it, but then I think certainly in the last few years he’s seen how I’m growing it as a business, and now, I mean he’s a stay at home Dad. I’m working on the business and supporting the whole family with the income from the business, and so, yes he’s very grateful that he can have all of this time with his family as result of what I’m creating at Biddy Tarot. So now he is very supportive.
CB: That’s awesome, it’s just another one of those issues that I’m interested in just from a sociological standpoint, just because in both fields certainly in astrology I see it often, where sometimes you’ll have somebody who’s an astrologer and who is very into it, but then in terms of the people that they have relationships with obviously you are not always gonna be together with somebody else that has a similar interest or passion, and what the interface is between those two, and if that can work or if it creates too much tension because it seems too weird or what have you. Or sometimes I’ve seen people who were already in a long-term relationship, but then they get interested in astrology as sort of a hobby and they get more and more interested in it, but their partner might not be as interested or might be reluctant or might have a negative view on it and what sort of tensions that might create in the relationship and things like that.
I didn’t want to probe too deeply into your personal life necessarily, but it’s just another one of those issues that is interesting to me. Just because being a sort of fringe field, I can see the parallels or how there would be parallels in terms of these types of scenarios that come up in a person’s life, just as a result of pursuing something like that and making it an important part of your life.
BE: I’ve heard some really sad stories of where someone’s partner is just so anti them using tarot cards for example, and it does become such a point of tension in the relationship. And I think that’s really sad about the relationship, that you can’t give each other space to pursue what’s important to you. Yeah, I would be sort of questioning the values and principles of the relationship if that was the case, but I don’t know, it’s just sad if you can’t practice something that you’re really connected to.
CB: Sure, yeah, it’s just tough because I can also understand how, from an outsider’s perspective I think, most the time when you step back from some of these things you realize how weird it sounds if you had absolutely no experience with that, and you didn’t realize that it actually worked or that there was some validity to it. It might sound like a tremendously weird thing to pursue, especially with as much time and effort and energy as we put into it. But I guess that’s where it’s important for people to have at least enough openness to actually look into it genuinely, and see if there is anything into it before just rejecting it out of hand because it sounds weird or made up or what have you.
CB: Alright, well I think that pretty much covers all of the main points that I wanted to talk about so thanks a lot for coming on the show. I really appreciate it. And just to mention again, because I think that’s really one of most interesting things, aside from your tarot courses and your e-book, is that you’re launching this professional development course in October so I just wanted to mention that again. What was the date on that again?
BE: The doors for enrollment will close on October 1st, and right now there is an early bird special so if you can get in before September 23rd, you’ll save $500. So I definitely recommend, if it is something that might be of interest to you, check it out in the next week or so depending on when you are listening, of course, and take advantage of that early bird savings.
CB: Excellent, well, everyone can check out your website, which is BiddyTarot.com, which we’ll have the link to, and then the link for the professional development course was what again?
BE: That one can be accessed via tarotfoundations.com/GYTBO. So that’s short for Grow Your Tarot Business Online. Or if you’d like to sign up for the free business training videos that are available right now, you can sign up at tarotfoundations.com/tarot-business-videos.
CB: Okay, excellent, awesome! Well, good luck with all of that and thank you very much for coming on the show. It’s been a pleasure to talk with you.
BE: Thanks so much, and thanks to everyone who’s listening. I really appreciate your energy and your attention.
CB: Yeah, I think a lot of people are actually gonna be very excited about this and perhaps will become more interested in looking into tarot as result of this conversation so I’m glad we were able to do it.
BE: Wonderful, thanks for the opportunity.
CB: Thanks and have a good day.
BE: Thank you. You, too.
CB: Alright, well that’s it for the Astrology Podcast. If you like this episode then please be sure to give it a five-star rating on iTunes, and we’ll see you next time.