I know, I know... every reader is doing a Halloween Spread! Oh Well! This is my version! So I'm going to make this one short and sweet. So for all my Pagan friends, Halloween is called Samhain (pronounced like Sah-win), which is the Celtic festival of the dead. This is a time where we honor the ancestors and celebrate the harvest. This date makes a lot of sense because the season of Fall, itself, signifies the end. Leaves fall off the trees, birds fly away, flowers start to die, it starts to become darker earlier and earlier and so on. We are now going into the winter season which is a time of silence and hibernation. Samhain is also somewhat regarded as the spiritual new year for many spiritual practitioners. So in the "spirit" of that, I made this spread so we can figure where we can go from here.
1. What have you harvested or learned this season?
2. What you can leave behind?
3. Theme for Winter
4. What will help you achieve your goals for Winter?
5. What you do you need to pay attention to?
6. What might hinder it?
With Halloween around the corner, then the holidays, tis the seasons for house parties! Now, I know some people hate them and that's ok, but I personally like them. Unlike a fair, you usually go in knowing a bit more about how many people you are going to read, what the atmosphere is going to be like and how much money your are going to make (which is nice). But it can be weird going into someone else's home and being a stranger among friends. Also, safety is always an issue. I mean, your going to someones house who you have never met! Well I'm here with some tips on how to enjoy doing house parties.
1. Actually speak to the person and use your intuition- When you talk to someone about a gig, you will quickly get a good or bad feeling from them. Your a metaphysical practitioner for goodness sakes! Your job is to read people. So this will be no problem for you. Don't do any parties where the host makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy. Listen to your gut and pay attention to how you feel when you are talking to them.
2. Make up a contract, which includes how much you are getting paid and how long you are to stay- This is to make insure that everyone agrees on what your services are to be for the party. It doesn't have to be anything super complicated, just make something up that you can email to the client and electronically sign, or if you have met with the client, have them sign it in person. Make sure you have squared away how much you are to be paid (I recommend the host pays you beforehand or at the party) and also make sure you are only staying the time you are supposed to. Do not let anyone try to convince you to stay past your time if you do not feel comfortable doing so! You are only obligated to stay until the time your contract says. Stand your ground! Another thing to think about is you stance on alcohol. Sometimes at parties drunk people may want a reading and that can be very difficult. If you want the right to not read for people who are intoxicated, make that clear to host when you speak to them and in your contact. Oh and don't forget to ask if you can put out a tip jar!
3. Give the host realistic expectations- Never underestimate how many people want a reading. Let me give you an example. Once I had a party host say to me, "Yeah we are having 100 people, but only some may want a reading (mind you this was a corporate event)". When I got there, while I pulled out my deck and was getting situated someone came and sat down. From that point on, I was reading people for the next 2 hours without more than a 15 second break in between clients. I had to get short readings and even then some people didn't get read. The host needs to have REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. Many times you have to explain to them how many people you can realistically read in an hour. Ok, let's say you are going to give 5-7 minute readings at a party. So with that, you would be able to see between 8-12 clients an hour. And also remember, unless there is a line, there can be a lag time between clients when everyone is wondering who is going next or your last client goes to find the next one. So if your hired for 3 hours and you don't have a bathroom break, you could theoretically read between 24-36 people in that time span. So if a host is telling you 50 people are at the party and only booking you for 2 hours, let them know the deal. And also, if you feel that you can not handle that many people, there is no shame in that! Some readers don't like reading at that volume, and that is fine. We are all different and that is what makes us special.
4. Tell your host what you need- A quiet area? A table and chairs? Does the host have pets your allergic to or scared of? Let you host what you need in order to have a good experience.
5. Know where you are going- Map out your route to the person's house before you go there. That way you know where your going and how long it will take to get there. This is especially important when you doing a party in a major city. For example, sometimes I do parties in New York City where parking is atrocious 90 % of the time. I make sure I find out where the nearest parking garage is in the case I can't find street parking within a few blocks. I also recommend always leaving your home so that you arrive at least 20 minutes early so you can park and get yourself together.
6. Leave the address with someone you know- Leave the address and phone number if you have it with your spouse, friend, sibling, parent or someone you trust. Because you are probably going somewhere you have never been before, it's good it just let someone know where you going.
7. Have a extra phone charger- I like to have an extra phone charger on hand so I will know I have power and be able to get hold of someone if need be.
8. Have fun and send a thank you note- Have a great time with the guests! And as a nice touch, send the host a thank you note afterwards, I just think it adds a nice touch.
Do you have any extra tips?! Let me know in the comments below!
Periscope has been out since March and I'm just getting on board. Sometimes it takes me some time to get into new social media outlets because I don't like to jump on the latest "cool thing" just because everyone else is doing it. But I find Periscope to be different. I really think it could change the game for small business. If you are reading this and thinking, "What the hell is Periscope?", here is the scoop: Periscope is a social media service where you can live stream from your phone or computer. The videos are then saved for 24 hours, so people can go on and view your video. The fact that people can jump and here directly from their customers is awesome and really helps people to get to know a brand. So here are a few reasons I like Periscope for small business and entrepreneurs:
1. Announcements- Want to show off a new product? A new service? You can announce it in real time on Periscope! You can invite people to come and take advantage of your free products immediately! I love it!
2. Webinars- This is the perfect platform for holding a webinars. I know a lot of my fellow business friends do free webinars once in while, or hold some free quick classes for their clients. This is a great platform for it! You can control who you let into certain scopes (especially if people pay to take a class or webinar), so if it is something you only had certain people register for it, you can show just them. The people watching can comment and ask questions in real time, and the person holding the webinar/class can answer and address any concerns of the people watching!
3. Live Q&A: People may have a lot of questions about what you do or what your products are about. Well, you could tweet, Facebook or email your clients to know when you will be coming on, and then you could answer all their questions then and there.
4. Other entrepreneurs are on there, and they are giving away free advice!- Do you like free advice from other entrepreneurs and branding experts? Then you need to join Periscope! There are tons of awesome people on Periscope giving you their advice and sharing their experiences, and you can chat with them in real-time! It's so awesome!
5. Easy to block people.- Oh I love this so much. Someone make a comment you don't like, or you start to have a bunch of rude trolls, you can block them with 2 clicks. It's a beautiful feeling.
6. People get to know your business on an intimate level.- So far on Periscope I've seen some of my favorite business people broadcasting from their offices, outside, their homes and even their bedrooms. Talk about intimacy. But honestly, doing this makes these businesses and services seem much more like people with personalities more than just websites and cool stuff. I like seeing people talk passionately about their businesses while they are going about their everyday lives. This isn't some super rehearsed thing, they are in your face, raw and real. Transparency in business is SOOOO important! And Periscope is the definition of that.
7. People get to know you. - So, so important. More than anything these days, people do not just want to like your stuff or your services. They want to like you. That is why social media works. People love getting to know the people behind the products makes people enjoy the products even more. When people can identify with your values, your quirkiness, your humor, your logic and anything else, they are more willing to use your products.
Now Periscope is definitely not perfect, and their are businesses and people who it definitely would not work for. But if some of things I just mentioned sound good to you, I would give it a try! What has been your experience on Periscope? Do you like it? Do you hate it? Let me know!
One thing that plagues most of my tarot reader friends is the endless requests for free readings. A lot of people think because you are a tarot card reader you should be giving out your craft for free. What people don't realize is that we put as much time and money into our businesses as any other business person! Here are some of the things you pay for when you get a tarot card reading other than the reader's time:
Website and Domain Fees- Fees for domain names, to keep the site up, stock photos for blog posts and many other things. Many readers have scheduling programs, phone lines, web forums and other things on their websites to help their businesses run smoothly. Some readers even have webmasters and/or people who do the upkeep for their websites and they need to get paid too!
Liability Insurance- Many readers have it. Even though we have a code of ethics, disclaimers, and everything else, there may be someone who still wants to blame us for their misfortune.
Reading space- If you don't just do online readings and do not want to so readings out of your house, you may have find your own reading space. Many readers rent out office space (like me!) to do in-person readings in offices, spas, health centers and various other places.
Vendor Fees- Readers who you meet at fairs or festivals have to paid a fee to be there. Depending on the fair, prices can vary greatly. Depending on the fair and where you live, you could be looking at vendor fees that may start at $50 to upwards of $750, sometimes for only one day.
Business cards, postcards, brochures, pamphlets, other promotional materials- Want to take home some info on the services of your reader? We have got to pay to print business cards, post cards, pamphlets and any other Information for you to take home and keep with you.
Tarot Decks- Maybe your reader is doing a children's party? Reading at a hospital? Reading at a themed event? Or maybe they just need a new deck? There is nothing wrong with using the same deck for every event, but the reader may need different decks for different events. What would a carpenter be without his tools?
Gas/Public Transportation- Readers need to get to you the people we want to help right? How are we gonna get there if we have no dough?!
Tables, Chairs, other equipment- If you do fairs or have office space, you need various equipment so when you are reading for clients, they can be comfortable.
Professional Organizations, Conferences and Classes- So, as tarot card readers, we love to get educated on the different ways to read, different trends and talk to our tarot reading peers so we can all learn from each other! Many of us attend conferences where we get to mingle with our peers and learn more about how to be better at our jobs. And in the end who does that benefit other than ourselves! You, the people we serve!
So now you can see what goes on behind the scenes for tarot card readers! Is there anything else you can think of as a reader? Are there any questions you as the client have? Let me know!
I took a month off from blogging and in that month, one of the things that happened was I became a Shamanic Apprentice (yay!). So this edition is about woman named Nokulinda, who is Sangoma (a South African shaman) and she told us a bit about her practice and let me ask her some questions. Her perspective is real and raw and I really LOVED interviewing her. I think you will enjoy her too.
*Note: I use the word "sangoma", which is the way I found to spell it when I was researching, Nokulinda uses the word "isangoma" and "izangoma" to describe the practitioners, which is probably the right way.
How did you become a sangoma?
To become isangoma, firstly, one must be called to it. It’s a vocation and the spiritual gifts of plant medicine healing, divination and clairvouyance are passed down in your blood line. One is born with the calling to ubungoma (the practice) and there is a process of apprenticeship that one has to go through (ukuthwasa) in order to be initiated as isangoma.
For people who don't know, what is the role of the sangoma in the community and what type of issues do people come to you with?
iSangoma plays the role of a healer, counsellor and mediator. They provide more than just spiritual guidance for clients; they are also called upon to mediate in family and community issues, provide psychological support and counseling, as well as intercede between the physical and spiritual worlds, connecting people to the ancestral realms and higher realms to provide clarity, guidance and healing.
People visit izangoma for virtually all life issues, from professional, spiritual, personal, inter-personal, psychological and even physical health (but in terms of pyshical health issues, people also ttend to use western medicine in conjunction with the medicine from izangoma, much to the chagrin of doctors and nurses.)
There is a debate about the legitimacy of caucasian sangomas. What is your opinion on the argument?
I believe that Caucasian people may be called to divination and healing work within the contexts of their own histories, beliefs and spiritual practices of their ancestors. I don’t believe that they can articulate that calling in the context of ubungoma because that is a very culturally specific. I don’t believe that there is an authentic Caucasian sangoma, unless they are saying they have an African ancestor who bestowed the gift and calling upon them.
It is possible for a Caucasian person to go through the motions of ukuthwasa and on that basis be regarded as isangoma. White privilege allows for white people to infiltrate, consume and appropriate the beliefs, practices and cultures of people they have no ancestral, social or even political connection with.
Many people interrupt being a Sangoma as being some type of witch, how would you explain the difference between the two of them?
Off the top of my head, I understand the general, colloquial definition of witch to mean a woman who practices dark arts and sorcery. I know of course the patriarchal, misogynist and religious roots of such a derogatory and violent definition. A similar connotation exists for izangoma as well. The colonial, racist term has been witchdoctor and it has long been normalized and accepted as the English definition of isangoma.
The similarities between the practices of izangoma and witches is that they are nature centred spiritual practices.
A defining characteristic of the practice of ubungoma is the connection with the ancestral realms to provide guidance, protection and clarity. Izangoma channel messages from ancestors and spirit guides using different methods. I throw bones. Others use a mirror, others are guided by audible whistles which they translate, others use a bowl of water – there are so many methods, and they depend on the cultural and familial practices of the sangoma.
With the rise of fake sangomas in South Africa, how would you tell people to be able to tell the difference between a real and fake sangoma?
There is no real way to discern a “real” sangoma from a “fake” one because virtually anybody can go through the motions of ukuthwasa, even if they don’t have a calling to ubungoma. It is possible to go through the motions of ukuthwasa because there are a wide range of ways in which people can thwasa, and there is a lot of “creative license” around the practice of ubungoma.
A lot has been lost over generations because of urbanization, assimilation into Christianity and other eurocentric influences, so the relegation of the practice to the realm of superstition and myth by colonization, has created huge grey areas that people can and do exploit.
We tend to view our practices and beliefs from a colonial perspective that says our ways are subjective, primitive nonsense, so we can do whatever we like; as opposed to viewing them as structured, ways that are underpinned by ancient principles and order.
With modern technology and modern medicine, do you find the practice of going to see a sangoma has increased, decreased or stayed the same? Do you still feel like people have the same desire to connect with the spiritual world to help them through life?
I am not sure if there has been an increase or decrease in the desire to seek out spiritual guidance, but I have observed that people are no longer afraid to be open about their spiritual quests and explorations.
Perhaps the desire for spiritual guidance may increase as the grip of white supremacist capitalism tightens. The myth of meritocracy has people believing that their poverty, oppression, exclusion and suffering are due to some individual, magical or spiritual interference or issue. So people seek out spiritual guidance to understand the structural realities that govern their lives.
Also, people are realizing that there is really more to life than their limited sense of self and the Eurocentric obsession with individualism, so they are seeking other world views and frameworks through which to understand their humanity.
Her mom blog: www.homiematrimony.wordpress.com
Patreon Page: www.partreon.com/noksangoma
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