Last night we had a lovely Women's Gathering at the Center. The theme was "Let Your Soul Sing," and Suzi crafted an original meditation designed to help you get in touch with your spirit and let it let out its unique sound. It was really a lot of fun (Tre's approach was laughter, and it was infectious!).
The lovely Woman Warriors (as I like to call them) who show up at every function and gathering we ever throw (small but proud core group who really know how to represent) formed a little klatsch after the other women had filtered out, and we got down to the nitty gritty of how we would throw our Psychic Spa. Basically, we wanted to showcase the gifts the organizers & core members of the Center have & were thinking of doing a Psychic Spa in May for the Women's Gathering. Our perennial problem is that we have the largest number of people show up for events where we have contracted in outside talent (past life regressionist, soul painter, etc.), when we have staff members (like me) who host/chair/perform at Women's Gathering with nary a peep of response. *sad face*
It is rather costly do get outsiders to come in and present (not to mention the "but... but... hey, I'm gifted!" element that I think Karen & I especially get a little pouty about) when we could be raising more funds if we could keep most things in house (funds we use to do things like outreach, supporting the annual breast cancer walk, cover the cost of feeding everybody... cover the cost of feeding everybody...), but we just aren't raising the interest in our own internal offerings that gets raised every time we have someone else in. This is a subject of many meetings, debates, and hair-pulling, as you can imagine.
Now, I have all kinds of theories running around my head as to why this is, but I experienced a new element last night that I had not taken into consideration. You might have to be from Hastings to understand how this works (or another "biggest little small town in America" - you know who you are), but I was talking to one of the women who I think I've seen only once before, and after she talked about how she uses a pendulum and talks to her spirit guides and meditates, she asked me a very surprising question.
"So, does your mother support your... lifestyle?"
I should add that, in a circle of five energy-reading women, this question was directed at me.
I can't be sure, but I think my eyebrows may have hit my hairline. It took me a good fifteen seconds to figure out what "lifestyle" she was referring to (she had, after all, just finished describing her own journey with energy), then I finally got a little help from my more "with it" brain cells. *Tarot - cough - Tarot!* "Yes, she's very supportive," I said.
"Oh," the lady responded with what I interpreted as skeptical surprise. "Well, isn't that nice."
I don't know why it keeps surprising me that people have some very funny ideas about what is still "holy" (aka: will not prevent you from being a good, God-fearing, upstanding, Christian member of the community) and what is just plain kooky (aka: apparently ME).
God love my Warrior Women friends, right after the Gathering was over, and the Psychic Spa was being fleshed out, one of the first things they started talking about was how to make people understand how wonderful and non-threatening Tarot was. Most of them helped me out (probably with great uncertainty at the time) by being some of the first people I read for while doing my apprenticeship readings. They all love Tarot now. Two of them even got their own decks for the first time this week and are so in love with and excited about them (and I'm excited for the great relationship they're going to build with them, there's nothing like your first deck).
I appreciate the loyalty, and am so happy that they've seen the beautiful things I see about Tarot. And I worry, now more than ever, if one of the obstacles the Center is facing is not, in fact, me. I mean, as an ambassador for Tarot practice, I'm about as non-threatening as they come. I'm very Regular Joe at the Women's Gatherings. I consider myself to be a thoughtful, accepting, mostly laid-back person who gets to do this really exciting thing. I just keep forgetting that people, even people who have been introduced to and involved in other "New Age" stuff, still think Tarot is evil.
And I keep trying to think of the magic way I can dispell that. One of the Women Warriors suggested we do an exercise like we do to start the Psychic Study Group - each draw a card from a Tarot deck (I brought in my Crone deck for study group) to open the gathering or as a kind of check in. I keep hoping the longer I do this, read cards in the small town while still being that same person who helps out at the charity walk and writes children's books and comes from a good family, etc, etc, etc, the more of a dent I'll make in some of the crustier ideas.
We'll see. In all, I'm just glad there are a really strong, great group of people who are excited about Tarot and are supportive. I'll bet they'll make fantastic ambassadors themselves. Strength in numbers, eh?