Morning comes early in the British Isles summer, and came through our bedroom window at the Ammerdown Conference Centre, site of the Tarot Association of the British Isles Annual Conference, far earlier than seemed necessary to my jet-lagged mind and body. However, with an exciting day ahead, I leapt managed to fall out of bed and find my way down to breakfast.
Fortified with protein and coffee, the first delight of my day was the opportunity to interview Lon Milo DuQuette for the podcast. We had a great time (as always – Lon is a fabulous guest!) and finished just as the first session was starting.
Brian Stevenson began the conference with an excellent workshop on “Tarot as a Psychic Tool.” In addition to working with Tarot cards, Brian also gave us the opportunity to try psychometry. I had the pleasure of being paired with Phil Croft, TABI chairman, and trying my psychometric skills on his watch, with fairly good results. (A lovely timepiece, may I add!) Phil then did a reading on my wedding ring, which was amazingly accurate! Brian also showed us how to use a piece of yarn and a hard candy to make a pendulum (talk about kitchen magic!), and to use our pendulum to answer questions. (Many participants were happy to consume their pendulum at the end of the session.) We then had an hour break for lunch, and time to take a walk through the gardens on the Ammerdown estate.
The afternoon began with Mick Frankel enlightening us on the use of the I Ching in Tarot readings. Mick’s concise, elegant explanations made this ancient oracle acessible even to those who had never worked with it. Mick used traditional and modern texts of the I Ching, as well as the Oracle of Mi-Lo, which is the interpretation of the I Ching found in Lon Milo DuQuette’s Book of Ordinary Oracles. With Lon in the room to provide insight into his interpretations, the workshop took on a whole new level of meaning and immediacy! Mick’s in-depth knowledge of I Ching and Tarot, and his enthusiasm for both oracles, gave everyone a detailed and useful introduction to working with the two oracles together in a reading. After so much enlightenment, a tea and biscuits (cookies!) break was in order.
The afternoon program resumed with Rachel Pollack speaking on “Tarot Archeology.” As always, Rachel was inspiring and exciting, as she discussed her trip to Greece last summer, and spoke about the influence of the ancient empires and their mythologies on the development of Tarot. Rachel also led us through an excellent “Fool’s Reading”, based on her work on the Fool archetype and her teaching intensives, which provided both amusement and many points to consider. (Asking the cards “Where have I been a Fool?” is not always a question one wishes to have answered!)
After a short break, dinner was served, and everyone took a bit of time to relax after the day’s sessions. I was able to run away with Ania Marczyk for a short podcast interview, which was delightful. The green hills, the birdsong, the setting sun – it really was a perfect setting!
The evening was filled with socializing, wine drinking, a prize raffle, more wine drinking, and an auction to benefit TABI. The bidding was fast and frantic, and TABI Chairman Phil Croft did a star turn as the lovely assistant, parading the items around the assembled bidders in what is now fondly referred to as “The Walk” (which in itself raised the level of bidding to a new frenzy – several items went for higher amounts because the bidder would add additional sums if Phil would do “The Walk” to present the item!). The bidding resulted in many happy owners of wonderful new Tarot books and decks.
I finally had to call it quits at midnight, but the party went on until 5:00 a.m.!