So you want to start teaching Tarot?
I have been teaching Tarot a longggggg time so here are my Top 10 Tips to making your classes the best around. Even if right now you do not feel like teaching Tarot, perhaps one day in the future you will and these tips might help you.
ONE – KNOW YOUR STUFF
Duh! This goes without saying. Know your Tarot cards before you decide to teach them to others.
Yes there are people out there who decide to teach and really…don’t…have…a…clue!
Can you close your eyes and see in your imagination all 78 cards in your Tarot deck?
Do you understand the structure of Tarot?
Do you know the systems that exist inside the Tarot cards – astrology, elements color and numerology?
Are you able to answer questions about keywords, connections between the cards, difficulties around court cards and how to do spreads?
If you are asked about Qabalah, Jungian psychology and Crowley do you know what those words mean?
Know your stuff and be professional. Of course you will not know everything about Tarot – I certainly don’t know about the latest released Tarot deck or what is the latest fashion with Tarot. It changes all the time but at least know your basics.
Imagine what questions you could be asked and then be ready with the answers.
Here are some common questions your students may ask:
How does Tarot work?
Tarot comes from Egypt, right?
Can Tarot predict the future?
Can I read Tarot if I don’t feel psychic?
How long will it take me to learn Tarot?
How the hell do I get my head around these Court cards?
What is the difference between Major and Minor arcana cards?
What does Arcana mean?
What astrological sign is associated with this card?
Does the Death card mean death?
These are just some of the common typical questions I have been asked over the years. Can you answer them?
My advice to you: Know your Stuff!
TWO – YOUR STYLE
Ask a trusted friend to listen to you teaching. Are you excited and animated about what you teach? Do you make Tarot feel easy to learn? Do you get your students running out the door after class raving about your teaching style? Ask a friend to give you honest feedback. If you are boring, drone the keywords and sound monotone, either change your style or perhaps think about not teaching.
If you have promotional materials do they reflect who you are? – flyers, brochures, posters, email sign off, logo and business cards. If you have social media accounts do they all have a similar design, color and photo of you. Consistency is gold.
What about your dress style? Are you down to earth? Or do you like to present yourself as mystical or New Agey? For some people it is really important how they dress. I once went to a job interview at a Tarot establishment. I got the job but the manager told me I did not dress like a Tarot reader! Apparently jeans and a plain cotton top was not the costume! So I rocked up every day in Gothic clothes and nail varnish! Not me. After a few months of full bookings and a happy manager I told him, ‘Listen, I’m a great Tarot reader. I’m not a Goth. Next week I am coming in jeans’ – and I did.
My advice to you – Be Yourself. Don’t be a fake. Your style is when you are being you.
THREE – BASIC DECK
I highly recommend teaching with the Rider Waite deck if you are starting with beginners. It is easy to find in shops or online, easy to understand and students usually get it fairly quick. Also many decks are Rider Waite clones so it makes your student feel super cool when they pick up another RWClone deck and start to read it instantly. I highly recommend you do not start beginners with the Thoth deck. Unless they specifically want to learn about that deck.
My advice to you: Keep it Simple with the Tarot Deck!
FOUR – SMALL GROUPS / EVEN NUMBERS
When you are starting off I would suggest not having more than 12 students. It is also wise to have an even number of students so you can pair them up together. If you have 11 students, one will have to go with another couple (a threesome) or with you and that does not always work well. So aim for even numbers. Once you get more confident then it is OK to have more students. My very very first Tarot class was for 4 students. My classes are very hands on so I prefer them to be smaller and more intimate. You need to decide what you can manage with and what your teaching style is.
Remember the more students, the more the questions and the less time teaching. You can always tell students to ask questions at the end but I kind of think that defeats the whole purpose.
My advice to you: Start Small. Get experience and then teach bigger groups.
FIVE – WHEN
You can teach one evening a week. You can teach over a weekend. You can teach for 4 Saturdays in a row. You can teach Tarot in only two hours.
First decide exactly what you want to teach, secondly determine how long it will take to teach the material and then decide on when best suits your students. If you are mostly targeting women in their 40’s with kids then perhaps evenings are best or a Saturday morning when someone else can be with the kids. If you are mostly targeting students in college then a weekend workshop could match them better. Corporate ladies in the city might appreciate a 45 minute lesson once a week on their lunch break.
My advice to you: Teach when it is best for YOU and your students!
SIX – WHERE
I have taught in my home (I have a very big table), in occult shops, in community centers, on the grass and on the beach (a very nice one in Fiji). Oh and once in a coffee shop but it was quite noisy! Decide what suits you best. Do you want people in your home or would you prefer to rent a space? How much can you afford to pay to rent a space? Is the space easily accessible via transport, wheelchairs and by foot? Is there a nearby toilet/kitchen?
Early on when I started teaching I told women that I would teach Tarot in their house if they got five other women together and the woman hosting would get it for free. Saves you rent and the women’s friends have a great laugh. You know how you can do those Lingerie parties at home? Well its kinda like a Tarot version!
My advice to you: Teach where YOU feel safe, comfortable and at an affordable place.
SEVEN – HOW
The ‘how’ is very much depending on your style. I will tell you how I do it…
I have an idea of what I want to teach and how long it will take. I then build a structure where every 15 minutes of that class I know exactly where I am. I have a watch and I make sure I stick to schedule. You will discover that when you teach Tarot you enter into another time zone and dimension where the normal rules of time will not apply. You will feel only 15 minutes passed and in fact it is time for the students to go home.
My style is very friendly, fun, dynamic and covers all the senses. I make sure everyone rolls with laughter at least once in each class and that they develop confidence quickly. I get them practicing reading for each other within the first hour. I praise praise praise. I give constructive feedback usually by asking questions. I give handouts. We color in pictures of Tarot cards while I tell funny stories. We role play a card. I talk about systems. I give them homework.
Most importantly even though I have a structure I also go with the flow. Obviously if someone starts to cry (it happens because Tarot tends to bring up emotions) I am not going to say, ‘OK now, lets move onto the Page of Pentacles…”. Every group you teach will bring new challenges, so best to thank the universe for learning so much about the nature of people.
My advice to you: Be structured and yet try and also go with the flow!
EIGHT – HANDOUTS, SUPPLIES AND MORE
These items in my opinion are essential for teaching:
Eraser for whiteboard pens
Blank sheets of paper
Pencils and colored pencils
Erasers and sharpeners for pencils
Computer, projector, PowerPoint and WiFi if you like tech
Items you can consider selling:
Extra Rider Waite tarot decks to sell and for students to use when they forget their deck
Beautiful selection of journals.
Tarot bags to store decks
Silk scares wrap decks in
Incense, sage sticks, candles and crystals (I teach how to use Tarot in ritual so all these items come in handy and students usually get very excited and want to buy on the spot).
Other things to have in the teaching space:
A supply of tea, coffee, herbal tea, milk, biscuits and cake can keep the mind sharp. It also creates an atmosphere of intimacy.
I have a table with my selection of Tarot decks and books so students can look at them before class starts and during the tea break. I have no problem with people touching my cards and books. Worst case scenario someone does not have great energy and then I just energetically cleanse them afterwards.
My advice to you: Be well prepared. Have a checklist and make sure you leave home with everything you need ticked off that list. There is nothing more annoying than a forgetful teacher!
NINE – PRACTICE
Get students practicing from day one, within the first hour. Get them over their fear by reading for others straight away. Couple people up and change the couples every lesson or hour. Hover around the students and praise, praise praise. Get the students confidence increased. If you correct students early on or criticize them some student’s intuition will shut down. So praise praise – let them go wild with their interpretations.
If you feel a student is way off the mark then you can ask them questions rather than correct them…What do you think this person falling from the Tower could mean? If you were in a Tower and it was hit and you fell from it, what do you think you would feel? How could that relate to the person you are reading for?
Often students want me to give them the answers all the time, but we do not learn with this method. I find the quickest way to learn with Tarot is through observation, questioning, repeated practice and stretching our intuitive muscle.
My advice to you: Really encourage your students to challenge themselves. You are going to give them the keywords anyway!
TEN – USE ALL THE SENSES
Tarot can get complicated very quickly. Don’t mention to beginner students that the High Priestess card is situated on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life between Tiphareth and Kether, passing over the abyss of Daath. Do not embark on Jungian interpretations of the Ace of Pentacles and its collective unconscious meaning, or Freud and the Odipus complex in relation to the Page of Wands. Not for beginners anyway.
Do 5 – 10 beginner groups over a half a year, gather their emails and then offer advanced classes later on. In my experience about 30 – 40% of the students you taught before will want to come to advanced classes.
Keep it simple. Do not overwhelm your students. Tell them they will be learning Tarot for life but that the fundamentals can be learned in a few hours. Make sure you teach with words, pictures, physical exercises, imagination, meditation and art. Get all their senses going. There is nothing more boring than sitting in a classroom writing down the keywords as the teacher drones them out. Yuck!
Let me explain how I might teach a card. I want to teach about The Empress Card. I will first get students to color in a photocopy of the card as I tell them about this card. I will bring them on a guided meditation to meet her. We will think about movie stars, musicians and famous people that could fit this card. We will look at the color of the card, what we feel when we look at it. We will learn about its place in the 22 cards and the Tarot and what cards are before and after. We will write the keywords in our notebook. We will write out own ideas about this card. I might get students to sit in the pose of the Empress and see what emotions come up. I will give them homework where they have to pretend to be the Empress for an hour at home. What would she eat? How would she dress? Get the idea?
My advice to you: Make the classes fun and alive.
AN EXTRA TIP – HAVE FUN!
I am not a qualified teacher but I have studied how to teach and I make sure to incorporate different techniques into my classes. I believe it is so important to laugh and have fun while learning – the information really stays in. I am also such an incredibly serious person inside so I learned early on to be a clown so people would not drown in my philosophical rantings. It is a fact – people laugh, people remember.
So each class I tell funny stories. I come dressed up as a Tarot card and people have to guess who I am. At the end of the series of classes I have a Tarot party. It can get quite wild. I often come dressed as the Devil. Nearly always the introvert comes as The Hermit and they get a lot of hassle from me. You need to be brave to come to my Tarot classes but you never forget them:)
The bottom line with teaching the cards is that you want the student to WANT to come to your class, to ENJOY it, to LEARN and most importantly, have the CONFIDENCE to read the Tarot cards for themselves and others.
BUT WAIT YOU SAY – HOW MUCH DO I CHARGE?
Great question and due to many peoples issues around money and Tarot, not an easy question to answer.
That therefore my friend is a topic for another time – stay tuned.
WAIT! WHAT ABOUT TEACHING ONLINE?
Yep, that is without doubt another blog post. Stay tuned for that one too!