This interview is a part of the “7 Questions” series. I will be posing 7 questions to people within the tarot community; whether they are bloggers, authors, deck creators, or fellow readers (or sometimes, all of the above!).
This past spring at Readers Studio, I was able to meet a real-life Queen of Wands, Jenna Matlin, the mastermind behind Queen of Wands Tarot. I was already familiar with her work after reading for her blog and really digging her style and what she had to say about tarot and psychics. I especially loved her article My Intuition Is Better Than Your Intuition (about snobbery in the metaphysical field). No subject seems to be taboo for Jenna to tackle, and it is no surprise that she takes that brazen Queen of Wands as her business’s namesake!
After meeting her in person, I can safely say that she definitely walks the walk as well as talks the talk (and there were more than a couple occasions during that weekend where the giggling was getting out of control and we should have been separated!).
When Jenna approached me about being a beta reviewer for her new ebook Have Tarot Will Travel, I decided to do one better and apply my copyediting background to it as well. So yes, I may be a bit biased recommending this book, because I have an editor credit on it… but in all seriousness, if you are a reader with even the slightest interest in reading at festivals, this book is a must-read. I can safely say there is no book like this on the market at all. It’s the first of its kind!
Without further ado, here’s more about Jenna and the interview.
Jenna Matlin, the clairvoyant engine behind Queen of Wands Tarot, provides intuitive consultations based on empowerment, clarity and choice while honoring spirit. She has a Master’s of Science in Organizational Psychology and Performance Consulting and Coaching, which enable her to use both practical and esoteric tools to create a truly empowering session. In addition to providing intuitive Tarot consultations, Jenna also offers Transformational Tarot packages, Intuitive Life Coaching, and runs the Not Your Mother’s Tarot Meetup group of the Philadelphia area. Jenna is the author of Have Tarot Will Travel: A Comprehensive Guide to Reading at Festivals as a Tarot Professional.
Jenna can be reached at www.queenofwandstarot.net.
1) You are an accomplished festival reader. Do you remember what your first festival reading experience was (either side of the table)? Describe what it was like. How did it inspire you or draw you to festival work?
In general, I love festivals as an attendee, I love browsing through crafts and finding fun odds and ends in beautiful weather but I noticed that there are often no readers at many events. I hit upon an idea that my success as a reader would hinge on the fact that I would be where other readers weren’t, in places most readers wouldn’t even think of putting up a table reading for people who didn’t realize that they wanted or needed a reading. It was a strategy that was successful for me because I was usually the only reader there and I often got people who had never had a reading before. It was also a great way to further fund my business because in the beginning I did not have a reading room so people met me at various venues until I grew enough to have a place of my own.
2) Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? Does it matter when doing festival work? What advice do you have for those readers that are naturally introverted but want to experience working a festival setting?
I would say that I am a true ambivert. Every time I take a personality assessment, like the Myers-Briggs for example, that is one aspect that keeps toggling back and forth, I am a Gemini so perhaps that explains my intense introversion one minute and then my extroversion the next. At heart, I do not think festival reading is really ‘for extroverts only’ as no matter who is around, we are still reading one person at a time in a special, intimate space, the actual nuts and bolts of the reading are the same whether they be at the festival, in person or even online. My advice is to give it a try, owning a successful business means we are often pushed outside of our comfort zone that is where the growth begins. It may not be for everyone but then again, many will be pleasantly surprised by how fun and successful it can be.
3) How many years (on average) should a person be a professional reader before attempting festival work? Is there a minimum amount of time you would recommend? Why?
I would recommend about 2 years of study and reading for friends and family before public reading work. I feel 2 years of practice is the absolute minimum for being fluent enough to ask to be paid for a reading. If someone starts too soon several things can happen: clients get bad readings which hurt the field of Tarot overall, or the reader herself will be overwhelmed and not yet equipped to really handle reading requests in a high turnover environment. Festival work as a model in of itself can happen at any point throughout the career of a tarot professional that is what is so great about it, it can support a newer reader as well as a seasoned tarotist.
4) At the end of every chapter, there is a section entitled “Shining Guidance”, in which the reader answers questions about that particular aspect of festival reading as it may apply to them. What is your favorite piece of Shining Guidance from your book? Why?
I created Shining Guidance because I felt that being able to immediately relatable, this is not theoretical work to be done ‘one day’ this can happen now and it can happen for everyone. My favorite section is “Creating Your Big Picture” because I believe festival reading is a piece in the larger context of a tarot professional and if we are strategic about how to leverage that, it can support us well. Specifically I created reflection questions to help the reader identify what might work such as:
Assuming that festival readers are unique in skills, proficiency, and temperament, what kinds of readers/readings might be best for the following festivals?
A farmer’s market
A Sunday brunch at your house with a handful of your closest friends/family
A New Age festival that draw psychics from 3 states
A Renaissance Faire
A block party
A music festival
5) What portion of the writing process surprised you when you were writing this book?
Probably knowing when to stop. Even now I have these momentary cringes like, “Oh, I should have put this idea or that aspect in the eBook!” I guess that just means I have more material to share with other professionals and another eBook will be on its way! That, and I thought I was proficient enough with grammar until a certain editor I know set me straight!
6) What is the most VITAL first step to doing festival work (besides reading this book)?
Research festivals, really determine if they are a good use of time and fit where you are in the tarot business process. There is no one right way and it will be unique to everyone. Come up with five festivals for the year and begin applying for them.
7) What is your favorite tarot deck?
I do not have an absolute favorite deck but the cover of this eBook is an image of me with the Enchanted Tarot, this is my first deck that I got on my 14th birthday. She does not do festival readings, out of respect for her grand age and luminous patina. For festival readings I switch them up depending on the festival, as we are heading into fall I am currently eyeing my zombie tarot as well as my Halloween tarot and I am excited to use them.
Many thanks to Jenna for answering my questions, and please check out her new ebook Have Tarot Will Travel: A Comprehensive Guide to Reading at Festivals as a Tarot Professional. It will make you want to become a festival reader if you’re not already!
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