Not being jetlagged at a conference (for once!), I arrived at Saturday’s events in good time, and settled down at a table close enough to the speakers to see what was going on – and far enough away to see what was going on. (Anyone over the age of 40 knows what I’m talking about!)
Kim Arnold welcomed us, and especially the overseas visitors. This year, the “Farthest Distance Traveled” award went to – not me! It went to a lovely woman named Lina (not her real name, at her request) from South America – who happened to be sitting next to me, and was a delightful and creative partner for the various reading exercises throughout the day. We even had lunch together, which was fabulous for me (more later).
Rachel Pollack started the day with a workshop on “Rescuing the Tarot from Psychology”. Rachel spoke about the tradition of using Tarot for divination and – gasp! – fortune telling, which has become discredited and somewhat outre in the modern psychological approach to Tarot. Rachel led us in an entertaining exercise to create an alter ego fortune teller, complete with exotic name (I chose Duchess Zsa Zsa), intriguing background (descendant of a long line of psychics, and everyone’s father had been the seventh son of the seventh son), story about how you received your first deck (family tradition!), and your clientele (all the nobles and wealthy in the French Napoleonic court). Then we paired off and introduced ourselves, and did readings in our new persona. Lina read for me, and she had concocted a delightful persona (which I can’t tell you about, again at her request.) It was one of the most fun and interesting readings I’ve ever had! I then read for her, and she agreed that it was a fun way to approach the reading. Rachel gave us some time to share, and Emily Carding jumped up and shared her whole persona, including history, likes, and dislikes (vampires), and it was one of the best pieces of impromptu theatre I’ve seen.
After a break for coffee and sweets, Kay Stopforth, creator of the Quantum Tarot (along with illustrator Chris Butler), shared her gorgeous deck and talked about quantum physics and the Tarot, and doing readings with her deck. Kay is quite good at making the physics easily comprehensible, and the beautiful cards from her deck really help make the ideas clear.
Then it was time for lunch, featuring a shorter workshop with Jane Lyle, followed by one with Erik Thorsen. However, I decided a quick perusal of Geraldine Beskin‘s offerings from the Atlantis Bookshop was in order beforehand. And then – oh my! – all thoughts of lunch vanished. Emily Carding was showing Geraldine the advance release copy of her Transparent Tarot, soon to be published by Schiffer Books, and graciously included me in the demonstration. And then Emily let me play with it! Mary Collin also joined in the fun. (Separate review – and podcast – finally posted!) I finally – reluctantly – gave the deck back to Emily. I then realized only 30 minutes remained before the afternoon sessions began! Not wanting to brave the masses at a local sandwich shop, I opted for the hotel restaurant. Lina had similarly been distracted by the shopping, so we ordered the prix fixe lunch specials and visited. I’m afraid I kept her talking rather a lot, so we ended up having to almost inhale our food and race back (literally!) to the room for the afternoon workshops.