Earth Wisdom Tarot Sacred Art

The Shape of Things to Come

in Community, Gratitude, Spirituality, Tarot

When I picked Elizabeth up from her hotel yesterday morning, I said: Shall we go say Hi to Mama Ocean? So we did.

It turns out that the Star card was an excellent omen for this week, at least for the first two days of my business retreat. Elizabeth and I both felt as though we were “downloading” information directly from the Muse at times.  I think I might have chosen a more electric, fiery card to represent the last two days though, as I am still fairly buzzing with excitement over what we planned out for 2010 and beyond.  

I’m not quite ready to go into details, but I will tell you that I am going to be making a major shift in my business life.  I am going to phase out my web design business and start doing a lot more teaching.  Those of you who know me from this blog (which I started in 2004) may not be aware that I spent most of the 90’s making my living from teaching classes and workshops in the Northwest on Goddess spirituality and the Tarot. I’ve taught in living rooms, bookstores and conference centers. When I moved to the island in 2000, I stopped teaching partly because of logistics (the ferry/transportation issue) and partly because I was ready for new challenges, which included creating the Gaian Tarot.  

I have to admit that I was also weary of the conversation about “is it right or it is wrong to charge money for teaching about spirituality?”  The simple truth is: if you aren’t compensated for the time and energy you put into planning and preparing your material then showing up to engage with your students, you’re not going to be able to sustain teaching for very long.  At least I wasn’t. In those days, I was often asked to barter the price of a class for jewelry or massage or something else.  I had some boundary issues back then and I often agreed to barter, all the while wondering how I was going to pay my rent or buy groceries with jewelry or a massage certificate. 

I bring this up as I had a minor epiphany yesterday about healing the money/spirituality split.  One of the best things Goddess spirituality has to offer is the healing of the sexuality/spirituality split that most of us inherited from the patriarchal religions of our childhood, as well as the dominant culture in general. Those of us who have spent any time at all in Goddess circles have come to honor and embrace our bodies and our sexuality as sacred. It seems to me that it’s now time to heal the money/spirituality split as well. We need to stop feeling like there’s something wrong or shameful about making money, when all the while we long for abundance and prosperity in our lives. Making a good living doing what you love is not bad. In fact it’s good. It’s very, very good. I’ll have a lot more to say about this as time goes on.

Anyway — that was a bit of a tangent.  Getting back to teaching — the internet has changed everything, since the days when I taught in living rooms and bookstores. My “peeps” (all of you) now live all over the world, not just on the I-5 corridor in Washington and British Columbia.  And we can now share space together either online through discussion groups or forums, through video conferencing, or on the phone via teleconferencing.  It’s a whole new ballgame. 

I always knew that once I finished the Gaian Tarot, I would want to start teaching again. I thought I would travel to different cities and possibly countries to present workshops and classes. I would still love to do that! But over the last couple of months, I’ve come to realize that I long to return to teaching in a much bigger way — and not just about the Tarot, but about other topics that are dear to my heart as well (like creativity, connecting with nature, the mermaid metaphor, and more).  What each of those topics has in common is this:  I want to inspire and empower you to make positive changes in your life so that you can create the life you long to be living.

So . . . as the year unfolds, you’ll see me offering classes and e-books on a variety of topics. In June I plan to open a Gaian Tarot Membership site; I’ll have more info about that soon. In 2011 I’ll start a Gaian Tarot certification course that will be directed mostly at professional Tarot readers. I will also be available for some one-on-one mentoring; more details will be coming on that soon too.  

I’d love to hear from you, dear readers. What kind of classes are you interested in?  In what areas of your lives do you need to be empowered?  What is it that you think I might have to offer you?

Thanks so much for being part of my tribe.

Here’s Elizabeth and me in my back yard yesterday, taking a break from our visioning work. 


Thoughtful, sparkling comments. . .

  • Owlsdaughter Wed - Jan 13th 2010 11:40 am

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

  • Silverlotus Wed - Jan 13th 2010 12:18 pm

    I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Gaian Tarot site and course shape up. And I completely agree, we need to heal the split between money and spirituality. That might go a long way with healing our overall relationship with money.

  • Bonnie Cehovet Wed - Jan 13th 2010 1:09 pm

    Joanna – I am so happy to see you shifting, and enjoying the shift in your life. Good things will come of this! I look forward to your new deck, and your new site! 🙂

  • Shell Wed - Jan 13th 2010 5:08 pm

    Good to hear you are following your heart and going back to teaching.
    A class on manifestation linked with our creativity is something I would be interested.

  • Nelly Wed - Jan 13th 2010 5:43 pm

    It might be a bit off-topic from things you were considering, but I’d totally jump at the chance of an art-related class.

  • joanna Wed - Jan 13th 2010 6:29 pm

    Thanks for the good wishes! Nelly, an art-related class is not off-topic at all. I have several in mind. They would probably be video-based, along with emails, a forum and maybe some phone work as well. Shell, love your idea — are you thinking about something like a vision board?

  • Anna Thu - Jan 14th 2010 1:51 am

    Joanna! There is so much I want to say that I cant put done on the screen. I guess it boils down to this: You are a true source of inspiration for me!

  • Anna Helvie Thu - Jan 14th 2010 3:24 am

    Joanna, you could not be more correct about healing the limiting ideas many spiritual people have about money. For a long time, money has been the big Taboo — as big as sexuality used to be. Well, if healthy sexuality is part of having a healthy second chakra, then a healthy & balanced relationship with all “energy made solid” is necessary for a well-functioning root chakra. I look forward to your workshops and affirm my ability to pay for any I choose 🙂 and like everyone else says, your words and ideas are very inspirational.

  • Jennie Lin Thu - Jan 14th 2010 3:38 am

    It would be great if you had a beginner’s Goddess course in your bailiwick. I honestly have never been sure if the Goddess ways you practice were Wiccan or if it’s its own spiritual nature teaching. So for those of us who love tarot and are open to all possible beliefs, it would be nice to have a quicky course on your wonderful nature/mermaid spirituality. But I think the educational direction you’re taking sounds wonderful. I’ll be right here with you every step of the way!

  • Rita Thu - Jan 14th 2010 6:03 am

    I consider myself (most of us do!) as your student already! To continue to be in a level that supports your soul and life better it’s an honor.
    Can’t wait!
    Peace&Love and all things nice,

  • Bobbi Thu - Jan 14th 2010 8:16 am

    Oh, Joanna! I have been pondering living my bliss in the last several weeks. My blog is here if you are interested..
    Thank you for giving me that universal synchronicity that I needed today! I can’t wait to see what 2010 will reveal for both of us!
    Much love!!

  • joanna Thu - Jan 14th 2010 8:47 am

    Thank you, both Annas!
    Jennie, I taught “Goddess 101” for many years back in the 90s. I’ll let your suggestion percolate around for awhile and see what rises to the surface. I was Wiccan back in the 80’s but my path has evolved to something a bit more eclectic and more personal.
    Rita, what a lovely thing to say, thank you.
    Bobbi, you can DO it! 😉

  • Tierney Thu - Jan 14th 2010 9:41 am

    Joanna, the way I see the money issue is this. I’m a writer. Anyone can write. But they hire me, partly because I have a gift for it and partly because I’ve put in the time to develop my skills. That’s true for anyone in the business world.
    You’re a spiritual teacher. Anyone can be a spiritual teacher, but you have a gift for it and you’ve put in the time to develop your classes and skills. That has value.
    And, frankly, my experience has been that people don’t value things they get for free as much as those things they pay for. They look at your teachings with less regard and put less effort into following your teachings because if you were really offering something valuable, you wouldn’t be giving it away for free. By asking them to balance your energy with a payment, you’re actually doing them a favor. Because now your teachings have more value in their eyes and they’re more likely to follow them.
    That said, I know people who refuse to do any spiritual stuff that costs money because they feel that spiritual stuff should be given away. Their loss, imo. I gave away teachings for a while before I learned my lesson. The lesson came in feeling burned out, unappreciated and used. Having a teacher feel that way cheats everyone involved. It’s convenient for people to expect things for free. But the balancing of energies is one of the most important lessons we can learn in the spiritual plane, not just for the student, but for the teacher as well.

  • Trish Thu - Jan 14th 2010 11:16 am

    What welcome news! I found my way to your website in 2004 when I was searching for a tarot course/online instructor. I found an outdated notice of yours and I wrote you asking if you’d possibly consider taking me on as an online student and you politely, but firmly said no. Your website and journal has led to me to so many other resources and inspiration…but I am extremely excited hear of your future plans!
    All the best!

  • Nadira Jamal Thu - Jan 14th 2010 2:07 pm

    Following on Tierney’s comment about not valuing what you don’t pay for: In many traditions, you don’t get knowledge for free. You have to earn it, whether via time, labor, or dedication. You have to prove that you deserve the knowledge by showing that you value it. And a big part of that is showing respect for the time and effort that the teacher has spent learning it and sharing it with you.

  • Nadira Jamal Thu - Jan 14th 2010 2:13 pm

    Oops! I mean to say:
    You have to earn it, whether by time, labor, and dedication, or by giving a gift of value.

  • Carol Thu - Jan 14th 2010 2:25 pm

    Joanna – as I make my plans for the forthcoming year reading about your intentions is inspiring. You are so creative and a wise Capricorn with many talents and a role model for many who have crossed your path. Bright blessings on 2010, Carol

  • Lunaea Thu - Jan 14th 2010 7:43 pm

    The money thing can be so insidious. I’ve always offered two versions of my Ninth Wave women’s spirituality program — a solitary path and a supported solitary path, with different prices, so that it is affordable to more women. And even then, I’ve had people ask me to lower the price or give it to them for free — something that would never occur to me to do, and it’s very hard to say no. One woman wrote just to criticize me for my “high prices” (the lower price is $25/month). She said, “Do you only offer your teachings to wealthy women?” and “No matter how you sugar-coat it, that’s still $300 a year.” Stuff like that sticks with me, no matter how hard I know I work. On the other hand, I’m always struggling to make ends meet, and I’m really REALLY tired of that, and on still another hand, as a priestess, I really DO want to be accessible to all. I am also turned off by people who are “only offering to the wealthy” — and yet… and yet… I too long to be secure and comfortable, to not worry about rent every single month. It is a subject that deserves much discussion, and has been so as long as I’ve been involved in the spiritual community!

  • NORA Thu - Jan 14th 2010 9:08 pm

    Be thou healed in the love of the Goddess and with ABSOLUTE ABUNDANCE AND PROSPERITY!!!
    S P L A S H !!!

  • CrowsFoxes Fri - Jan 15th 2010 5:23 am

    Dear Joanna,
    I’m so excited about your future plans — if you are planning a class for experienced Tarot readers, would you consider a beginners class for people like me? I just would like to learn enough to be able to read for myself. On the subject of money, it is energy — and if people would simply look at the Universe, they would see how energy is transferred constantly. To use the christian metaphor “the laborer is worthy of his hire.” Keep us all posted!!

  • Lunaea Fri - Jan 15th 2010 8:05 am

    P.S. I just read over my comment above and wanted to clarify something — when I said “something that would never occur to me to do” I was referring to asking someone to give me their work for free or to lower their prices, not to lowering my OWN prices or giving away my work for free. Thanks again for an inspiring post, Joanna! 🙂

  • joanna Fri - Jan 15th 2010 9:52 am

    Tierney, I like you more with every interaction we have. I could not agree with you more. I have also found (even with myself) that people put a higher value on things they pay for than things they get for free. I think it’s basic human psychology. I also know what it’s like to feel burned out and disrespected and used, when I tried to “help someone out” by giving them an extended time to pay, or accepting barter for things I could not use, or giving a deep discount. I recently learned a rather bitter lesson about that with a former web design client. I appreciate your words more than I can say.
    Trish, thanks so much. I’m so glad you’re excited! I remember you asking me years ago about this, and I believe you’ve taken several courses with Waverly, haven’t you? I’m looking forward to working with you!
    Nadira: yes!
    Thanks Carol. Hugs to you across the sea!
    Lunaea, you and I have just finished a long telephone conversation about all of this. I feel another blog post coming on . . . but the main thing I want to say here, is that when we discount or give away our heartwork, not only are we devaluing ourselves, but we are taking away the opportunity for the student to be resourceful in finding a way to pay for the course or product. We are devaluing them, and they in turn devalue us. How does someone change after taking your course for a year? Aren’t they happier, wiser, more fulfilled? Haven’t they had a number of ah-ha moments and epiphanies that have changed their life? Isn’t that worth much more than $300?
    Nora: Splash!!! my sistah!
    CrowsFoxes: Thank you — yes I will offer a beginners class, but mainly for the Gaian Tarot, not Tarot in general. (I just forgot to say so in the post.) Right now I’m thinking it will be part of the membership site but it might be a standalone class too. Thanks so much for your feedback. Many blessings!

  • Kate Sat - Jan 16th 2010 7:10 am

    I ditto Anna – your inspiration of energy into your life, soul and business is spreading like wildfire in my body/life/heart. I’m thrilled to hear of you returning to teaching, and yes, I’d happily sign up for a membership and online coursework.
    Yay Joanna and super big yay for Elizabeth!!
    There are so many forces converging right now, conspiring for each and every one of us to be successful and fulfilled, I’m buzzing!! and not even a full cup of coffee in me yet!

  • patricia boutilier Sun - Jan 17th 2010 8:15 am

    Trying to heal the split between money and spirituality…
    Mama Gaia has a preponderance
    of small drawers
    where she tucks shells,
    settling stones, bones,
    coin of the realm.
    She hides messages.
    Keep death daily before your eyes.
    Activity loses purpose without sacred connection.
    Everything is possible.

  • joanna Mon - Jan 18th 2010 10:36 am

    Love your poem, Patricia. Thank you. Sage, I love your joy and enthusiasm! How wonderful it would be to have you in one of my courses. Blessed be!