Friday at the Readers Studio 2008

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While I had no clear recollection of the wake up call actually arriving, the Darling Husband assured me it had, “more than a few minutes ago”. Looking at the clock display of 7:15 confirmed he was correct. (Some day, I look forward to writing a post about a conference that does not include the words “jet lag”.) We managed to find our way downstairs for food and coffee, and then back to the room for showers. (I’m a danger to myself and others if I attempt to deal with running water and/or sharp objects before I’ve dealt with my blood sugar and caffeine levels.)

DH was off to Manhattan for yet more business meetings, and I was looking forward to a day of Tarot adventures. After a brisk round of emails, phone calls, and quotidiana, I once again found myself racing down in the elevator with 15 minutes to spare before the first class, hoping this would not become a theme of the conference. (It did.)

Rosered, Andrew, and Artemis J had explored the vendor rooms, and then found us a table with a good view of the speaker’s platform and good proximity to the beverage service. Rounding out our table were four women, all from the East Coast, and all returning from prior visits to the event. I found myself sitting next to the talented and charming Gail Wood, which was a delightful surprise!

After a warm welcome and introductions by RuthAnn and Wald Amberstone, each of the presenters was brought onstage for a short interview and overview of their class. First up was Kevin Quigley, who talked about how his job as an underutilized web designer was a significant boost to his Tarot career. Next up was San Francisco’s very own Thalassa, interviewed by the fabulous Mary Collin, riffing on Tarot as a subversive activity. Last, and certainly not least, was the delightful James Wells, priming us for his class on the construction of the question as the key to doing a good reading.

Wald then led us through creation of a foundation reading, which we would revisit during and at the end of the conference with the same partner to see what new meanings we found in it based on what we had learned each day. Artemis and I paired up, and he read for me first. I then did his reading, and, not being sure of the layout I wanted to use, I made up this one on the spot:

2 1 4 3

1. Where you are.
2. What’s holding you back.
3. Where you want to go.
4. Obstacle(s) blocking your path.
5. Bridge over the obstacle(s).

Anticipating a lively session with Kevin in the afternoon, we adjourned for the lunch break. I raced back to the room to do a status check on the various things which had not quite been resolved the day prior, then back downstairs to eat before the next session.

Kevin’s approach to Tarot is delightfully eclectic and creative. He focuses his practice on becoming what he terms “The Empowered Person”, leading to an integrated, complete life.

With a fabulously colorful handout full of all kinds of information (who before Kevin had thought to create Luncheon Meat associations for each of the four Kabbalistic worlds?!), Kevin led us through several exercises. For me, the most interesting one involved a seven card semicircular spread based on Kevin’s “bathtub of life” to give us information about our style when reading for others. The first card represents Recognition – do you really see your client? The second card was about Welcome – do you truly welcome the client to your environment?

Card three is about interaction – how do you interact with the client during the session? Card four represents the Counsel phase of the reading – how (or if) you interpret the cards or advise the client.

Card five is about reflection – both yours and your client’s reflection on the session after it ends. Do you rite about your readings? Do you follow up with the client, especially if a difficult issue came up in the reading?

Card six represents the integration of the reading – for the client, into their life; for the reader, into their personal wisdom and their Tarot practice.

Card seven is completion; being able to take what you can from the reading, and achieve closure.

Kevin discussed the medieval concept of the Four Humors (or Four Temperaments) and how they relate to Tarot reading. Each table had a quiz, and by scoring one’s answers to the quiz, one could find out where one’s traits fell into the four groups. Our table discovered that none of us were any one thing – that most of us had two temperaments into which most of our answers fell, with a few outliers in one of the remaining two areas. Kevin thoughtfully provided stickers so we could add them to our nametags to let everyone know where we fell on the scale. (I’m predominantly choleric, with a touch of melancholic. I blame it on early exposure to Beethoven and Wagnerian opera as a child.)

After Kevin’s session, a bit of quiet time in the room to decompress and process the day was just the thing. Then dinner was *definitely* the thing – all that reading makes one hungry! After dinner was the cocktail party in the Atrium, and then a late night session with Elizabeth Genco on marketing your Tarot business. The workshop was great – everyone had so many ideas to share about what does (and doesn’t!) work, how to reach different types of clients, and how to present yourself ethically. Elizabeth really knows her stuff, and it was a pleasure to be in her workshop!

And then, it was 11:00, and as much fun as adjourning to the party sounded, being awake for Saturday’s sessions trumped the party, and I called it a night.

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