When I was 14, I got my first deck of cards and a book. That’s all I had and used for the next ten years or so. I moved back to my hometown after college, and met my friend, Mary. She was the first person who ever knew about tarot AND took it as seriously as I did that I’d ever met. That was a long ten years, you guys. (she’s also the person that Kitchen Table Tarot is dedicated to).
After Mary, I moved to St. Louis in 2001 and started working at everydaycircus as a fortuneteller. There, I met my first ever tarot professionals. I learned SO much from them. Where to order business cards, what requests of the event host are reasonable (could you NOT seat me by the speakers?) I also started doing readings at Pagan Picnic, and met a handful of other readers – both professional and enthusiasts.
I didn’t get a true tarot community, though, until I met Ryan Edward. I had made a lot of friends online (I love the internet) but hadn’t met anyone in the actual world. He changed everything for me. We met for coffee and talked about cards for hours. About a year after I met Ryan, I met Ellen Herget at an event. We exchanged info and I invited her to a coffee date with Ryan. Then, I found Potter on tumblr, Ellen brought Sarah Kate along and blam – I had a tarot crew. The St. Louis Cardslingers were born.
I cannot encourage you enough to find your crew. Whether you use meetup.com, or strike up an online community and bring it into meatspace, it’s so important to bring depth to your understanding of the cards, and to feel less lonely.
Another thing you can do is go to tarot conferences. Four years ago, I attended the Soulful Proprietor workshop, certain that I would either leave committed to my business, or would put it down entirely. Thanks to Theresa Reed, and the friends that I made there, I kept going with LFT and continued writing Kitchen Table Tarot. I was rejuvenated and supported in my tarot studies in a way I’d never been before. This year, I’m going to Reader’s Studio in New York, then presenting at the Omega Institute in August. Next year, I’m going to the Northwest Tarot Symposium in Portland.
I go to conferences for a few reasons – to make connections in my community, to talk business, to present, and to sell my book. The biggest reason for me, though? I get to see my long distance tarot fam and catch up. One of my favorite memories of my first Northwest Tarot Symposium was sitting at a table with Mary K Mothafuckin Greer, Benebell Wen, and four or five other readers just talking about our jobs. Do you know how rare it is to find a group of readers to just TALK to? So cool.
SO – find your crew. In person if you’re able. Have a coffee. It’s so worth it.