The Tarot Professional’s Dilemma

Along with much of the professional tarot community, I’ve been shut out of the local face-to-face market by Covid-19, Delta, Omnicron, et al, and have moved tentatively into online consulting, which I’m more than a little lukewarm about since my firm belief is that a tarot reading should be an interactive event, a dialogue rather than a monologue. But I decided to poke around in the virtual marketplace to see how I should position myself. What I found was less than encouraging, and has been borne out by subsequent experience.

There is a burgeoning population of $5 and $10 readers out there, many of whom I suspect are using tarot apps to generate the text for their readings, something any technologically-savvy seeker could do for themselves at less cost and greater convenience. Even at the bargain $1/minute rate that I was charging for private in-person sessions, I’m hard-pressed to compete with this “low-ball” mentality. Consequently, I’ve shaved quite a few dollars off my customary pricing model for remote clients but still haven’t garnered a lot of business.

Not only is this disheartening, but by its very reliance on written communication (unless one resorts to Skype, Zoom, etc.) online reading is a lot more work to do properly. It can take me thrice the time to produce the narrative of a typical one-hour “live” reading when I have to write everything down, and then I feel obligated to do a post-reading “Q&A” exchange to deliver full value. Granted that it gives me ample time to consider exactly what I want to say since I don’t have to think on my feet, for me the extemporaneous verbal tap-dancing of a face-to-face reading has always been one of its biggest draws. I guess I’m a storyteller first and a consultant second.

So what is a professional to do who is committed to tarot reading as a “performing art?” Mostly wait for Covid to wind down, I guess, although my suspicion is that it’s going to become like the seasonal flu and visit us every winter accompanied by an evolving battery of vaccinations. Short of moving to a much warmer year-round climate, I may just focus on three-season public reading and reserve my online work for the colder months. Maybe I’ll eventually become more proficient at crafting my e-mail epistles for maximum effect at minimum expended effort without resorting to the impersonal “Lego-block” approach that once plagued computer-generated astrological reports; there is nothing worse than a disjointed pastiche of interpretive language that receives no intelligent synthesis.

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