Can you believe it?! Tantramar Tarotscopes is 4 Years Old! It’s been quite journey, and I am so pleased to take this moment to reflect on how far my little business has come, and to share some of what I’ve learned over the past 4 years <3<3
The Journey Begins: I first picked up a tarot deck in 2005, when I was 17. The Art of Tarot caught my eye in the Self-Help section of Chapters — it was an ugly, pip-style deck, and I strived to make sense of it but found it difficult to connect. I brought the deck to a New Year’s party, and over small glasses of blueberry wine, laid year-ahead spreads for a few of my friends — the results ended up being uncanny, and instead of being further intrigued, I was intimidated by the Realness, putting the deck away and carrying on.
A few years later in 2011, I was recovering from an awful breakup, and dropped in to the local used bookstore (a significant thread in this story), picking up the original guidebook to The Mythic Tarot, sans deck. I devoured the book and loved the connection between tarot and Greek Mythology, another line of study that has always resonated deeply with me — I could feel the connection I’d been searching for with the Art of Tarot waking up, but I didn’t have a deck. I started looking into creating one of my own based on the understandings The Mythic Tarot inspired in me, but I was so deep in my post-breakup head and the last year of my undergrad career/thesis-writing that I didn’t follow through at the time.
Fast forward to early 2015 — I had an 18-month-old daughter and felt like I was losing my mind; I had graduated from university and moved to Toronto with my partner and was starting the process of applying to school for Fashion Design when we found out we were pregnant. We panicked and moved back to our hometown, in favour of being near our parents and Steve finishing his Bachelor’s Degree. One fateful day I was out walking with Iris, caught up in my head about the many twists of fate that had led me to that moment — again I stopped in to the local used bookstore, this time picking up The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk. I devoured the book and found my Inner Fire ignited! Casting my own chart unlocked a whole new world of self-understanding and reconciliation of my life experiences, and several points in my chart indicated very real psychic/intuitive ability and interest in the occult. I began casting charts for every birthdate I could think of, and held a deep knowing that I needed to get my hands on a tarot deck.
I wanted a deck that would resonate, of course, and on a whim typed “Mucha Tarot” into the Amazon search bar — my spaces had always been decorated with Alphonse Mucha’s beautiful Art Nouveau posters, and to my delight, Tarot Mucha came into my life <3<3 The cards took my breath away and the words in Lunaea Weatherstone’s guidebook sent tingles all up and down my left side with every reading. The first time I used a spread the 8 of Cups appeared, described by the guidebook as releasing the past in favour of following one’s vocational calling — turning that card over came with my first fully-formed vision, and I saw a tent with colourful scarves and a table — I knew I was on to something, and set the ball in motion towards becoming a professional reader. Reading astrology charts and cards felt like remembering a long-lost language, and I felt “at home” with myself in a way I never had before, especially in the midst of the chaos of being a young parent with no clue surrounding the direction the future might take!
After a Spring and Summer of nonstop tarot/astrology study, I took a leap of faith and set up my tarot table at the local Farmers’ Market! I had been offering free readings through Biddy Tarot and had received incredible feedback on the way my readings resonated. I had also been avidly creating astrological art, and my original business model offered tarot readings, astrological profiles, and illuminated natal charts. On my table I had a duotang filled with client feedback, another with a “menu” of spreads, and a binder filled with examples of my art. I offered free one-card readings to draw people in, but wowowow — that first Fall/Winter was slow goings! That being said, I was so proud of the few illuminated chart commissions and tarot readings that I did book, and I learned the importance of consistency and presence for getting my name out there. I was writing near-monthly tarotscopes for Siobhan’s Mirror, which would continue into 2019 and really helped me gain online clientele. I set up an Etsy shop, and had begun what would later become my own tarot deck.
By Summer 2016 I had a tent for when the Market moved outside. I was pregnant with my second child and my setup was much more impressive! I was offering free one-cards as well as $15 3-card readings, but I was still a relatively new offering at the Market — while there was interest in what I was doing, that summer was mostly spent answering questions and continuing to establish my presence as a reader in town. I did my first SappyFest music festival, my first quite exciting success as a reader! That Fall/Winter I took a break from the Market to focus on baby Ori, and I had also begun and subsequently dropped out of my Master’s programme. At that point things were feeling pretty uncertain again — I was so thankful to have tarot and astrology as a guide through that time, and an important part of my business at that point was sharing daily readings on Instagram/Facebook and just generally living/breathing the tarot/astrology lifestyle.
Spring/Summer 2017 found me with my best market setup yet, with two tables – one at the back, one at the front of my tent – much more conducive to providing readings with some semblance of privacy. I was still offering free one-cards as well as 3, 5, and 10-card spreads, and had also attempted to create a Patreon. I was getting booked more regularly, meeting clients either at coffee shops or in my own dining room at home! I also did my first wedding, reading at a reception for roughly 200 people, and my second SappyFest, even more successful than the first. That summer I also did several readings in my tent in my driveway, which felt very exciting and “full circle” at that point — later in the summer under a powerful Solar Eclipse in Leo, Steve and I learned that the very used bookstore where I’d purchased The Mythic Tarot guidebook and The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need came up for sale, and we jumped on it! Steve had graduated and we were trying to figure out “what’s next” — we knew the bookstore would be a perfect fit for our family, not to mention my tarot business.
Blind Forest Books officially opened October 10, 2017, just days before Tantramar Tarotscopes’ 2nd Anniversary <3<3 Having a physical location (and such a complementary one!) was so integral in the tarot side of things really “taking off” — people could find me consistently through the week, and I’ve continued to grow and expand ever since. In 2018 I developed a beginner tarot course (Tarot 1-10), an intermeditate tarot course (The Tarot Reading), and a beginner astrology course (Astrology Crash Course), and I also started holding Moon groups for the New and Full Moons, all offered out of the bookstore. I also started working concertedly on my tarot deck, the Blood of Life Tarot. More dreams come true! I had planned for 2019 to be the year I really “took off” professionally, but the Universe had other plans — I got pregnant with my third child and scaled back a bit on teaching to focus on the deck. Interestingly, in 2019 I stopped offering free one-cards at the Market, which actually boosted the number of readings I do significantly. Charge what you’re worth! Now that Clover is born I am looking forward to 2020 — I’m already back at work because the demand for my tarot readings is fantastically high, and the future is looking truly bright. I have begun to turn my course syllabuses into books and am excited to complete and publish my tarot deck!
And so, in conclusion — If I could offer any “tips” for readers starting out, the first would be to know that it will take a long time for people to realize you’re “there” — do what you can to make your presence known, through being a regular face at the market or though some other form of visible advertising.
Don’t expect things to take off quickly — it was only in the third and fourth year of my business that things really started to happen, and to be honest, it was very much contingent on having a consistent physical location. Since opening a store is not the most feasible option, I recommend asking local hairdressers/cafes/bookshops etc if they’re interested in having a reader and seeing what happens!
I’ve had an Etsy since I started my business, and at this point I’m not sure I’d recommend it where the fees are so high and the traffic so low. Having your own website or some sort of PayPal setup and plugging yourself on every platform you can think of is probably a better option — I’m considering closing my Etsy shop and switching my online “shop” to this page.
Finally, don’t be shy and don’t give up! I’ve been blessed not to encounter many “skeptics,” but have become great at laughing off concerns of evil etc. in a way that is friendly and often entices people to try it out. I had many moments where it felt like I was doing so much for absolutely no return on my energetic investment, but having persevered I’m so proud to look back over the years and see how well things have come together. Have faith in yourself and when in doubt, tarot is always there as a comforting guide <3<3
To everyone who has followed my trajectory over the years, you have been such an important part of my journey and I am so grateful for your love and support! Here’s to many more years of living the tarot/astrology life <3<3 If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll be thrilled to answer!