Review of the UK TAROT CONFERENCE 2011

Thistle City Barbican, London

The 8th UK Tarot Conference took place in London on the14th and 15th October.

Sasha Fenton

Friday evening’s subject was ‘Tarot and Astrology’ with Sasha Fenton, I knew Sasha would give a lively, entertaining and knowledgeable talk, as when I asked her if she was ok to speak for two hours, she assured me she could talk for two months without coming up for air! If you have ever had difficulty understanding the correlation of Tarot and astrology, then I recommend you buy one of Sasha’s books which explain this in easy to follow detail. We whizzed through astrological houses, meanings, symbols and put this together in an insightful reading in just two hours! Sasha is extremely funny and kept the talk lively, but at the same time shared valuable information to help us add depth to our readings. We finished Friday evening with talk and laughter over bottles of wine and nibbles, a chance for everyone to get to know each other before the main event on Saturday


Gaynor Thompson kicked off Saturday morning with an interactive and full on session. Gaynor has excellent knowledge of the cards and is also very intuitive which adds another level to the reading. Everyone pulled at random one major arcana and one minor card, and began a reading by taking special note of the numbers on the card, this did not relate necessarily to numerology but more on the lines of what does it mean to you. The session was very insightful and enjoyable.

Philip Carr-Gomm

After morning coffee break, Philip Carr Gomm introduced Adele Nozedar who has recently launched the Secret Language of the Birds Tarot. Adele told the story of how and why she created the deck, and during her session explained the meanings of the birds used and why they were chosen, also how they related to ancient society where their behaviour, characteristics and movement influenced the trend or decision of the day, in other words how the behaviour of certain birds was consulted for guidance. From time to time Philip would offer additional information from a Druid prospective which was fascinating.

John Matthews

During lunch break, John Matthews and Mark Ryan introduced the Wildwood Tarot deck with a full interactive session. They continued this theme with the first session after lunch. Mark gave us a little insight in to his childhood, where he had a fascination with Arthurian history and Robin Hood. Later in life he looked for decks which related to these subjects, during this time he became friends with Chesca Potter and together they designed the highly sought after Greenwood Tarot. He spoke a little about Chesca’s disappearance and dispelled rumours surrounding this, although to this day her disappearance is still a mystery. Together Mark and John showed a PowerPoint presentation of the Major arcana of the Wildwood Tarot, and explained how the deck was created and where the vision for some of the images were born, some of the stories behind certain cards were very personal and I am sure many like me felt privileged to be part of this.


Our final speaker of the day Richard Abbott shared an amazing reading ‘Discover your Four Roads’ how to discover four paths through numerology. Richard’s energetic and magnetic session had us all fully enthralled in what he had to share. The reading was truly enlightening and I will certainly share this with my groups (of course passing credit on to Richard).


This was a fascinating weekend with valuable opportunities for learning available to those who were starting out on their journey of discovery into the tarot and for those of us who after many years, just wanted to know more. Finally a huge a grateful thank you to Lo Scarabeo, Llewellyn and Kindred Spirit magazine for their support and generous ‘goodies’ for each of our attendees.

Mark Ryan

2012 is already in the diary, we will announce the line up, date and venue in January. I can’t wait! Kim Arnold

Kim Arnold


Review of the UK TAROT CONFERENCE  2010

Thistle City Barbican, London

The 7th UK Tarot Conference took  place over the weekend of the 8th and 9th October at the Thistle City Barbican,  this year had a true international appeal with Mary Greer from the USA, Hermann  Haindl – Germany, Laurent Langlais – France and Ina Cüsters-van Bergen from the  Netherlands.

Geraldine, Hermann Erika Haindl

Our event started on Friday afternoon  with Mary Greer hosting a ‘Tarot Council’ session, this was limited to just 20  people to maximise their interaction with the tarot.  I was not able to  attend this session as I was preparing for the evening event, but the feedback  was excellent.  At 6.30p.m. the Conference officially began. Mary Greer  hosted the opening session called ‘Prediction or Insight?’ we looked at how our  readings are perceived, are we ‘just’ fortune tellers, or do our readings go to  a deeper level. (Of course the latter was the main consensus)!  This was  followed by a wonderful hour with Hermann Haindl, although Hermann does speak  English he did his talk in German and we had a fabulous interpreter, Michael  Fuch’s on hand to keep us fully informed of Hermann’s words.  Hermann  talked about his life, from the day he was born, to his time as part of the  Hitler youth, and his years spent in the army, being captured by the Russians,  and being held as a prisoner of war.  His artistic gift saved his life many  times (too numerous to tell but although this was a sad period of his life,  Hermann’s animated talk had us laughing out loud, he is a wonderful story  teller). In 1986 he was inspired to paint the Haindl Tarot, this took him 2  years and was originally only meant to be a major arcana deck, however, with the  support of his wife Erika, a 78 card deck was completed and has gone around the  world in several languages.  Hermann’s talk was perfectly rounded off by a  film of the creation of the Haindl deck, this was moving and inspiring.   Following the end of this session complimentary wine and cheese was served so  that likeminded souls could mingle and chat.   Our auction rounded off  the evening perfectly with the sale of a deck of Greenwood tarot and a few of  Hermann’s signed prints (I have the Empress which is beautiful)!

Mary 21 ways to read a tarot card

Saturday opened with myself, Mind  Mapping and Tarot with Kim Arnold. We each created a mind map, then added a  Tarot card on to each section therefore adding layers which posed further  questions and guidance on our particular issue.  An interactive session  which created many unexpected scenarios too many questions.  

After our morning coffee break, our  next session was with Mary Greer and ’21 Ways to read a tarot card’.  Mary  talked about the process in her book by the same title.  We were encouraged  to look at the psychological and philosophical experience of the card we choose,  (mine was 7 pentacles). By combining new ways and techniques to read a card  enabled us to define a style of reading, therefore, developing new techniques,  we also did an ‘arm test’ similar to kinesiology to decide if an issue was more  or less important that we thought.

Our successful ‘Table Top Tarot’  sessions at lunch time, with Trudy Ashplant hosting “A Journey with the Masters”  and Tarot & Numerology” with Richard Abbot were well attended and loved.

Jonathan leading us through a spread of a million cards!

After lunch we began with Jonathan  Dee, a lovely man, both knowledgeable and entertaining, he went through a brief  history of tarot and he explained how the Italians read the major and minor  cards separately and do not acknowledge reverse meanings (sounds good to me)!     Our exercise was to separate our cards in to major, minor and the 4 Aces.   First, you shuffle the Aces and lay them vertically in a straight line, then you  shuffle the major arcana and lay 8 further cards, one each side of the aces, you  now have 4 lines of 3 cards with the aces in the centre.  The suit of the  Ace represented the influence, the card to the left – your hopes and fears, and  the car to the right, what is going to happen.  This was a brilliant  reading and kept everyone busy, the room was loud and bustling with laughter and  chatter.   We then moved on to an astrological spread using 27 cards,  which proved quite challenging on the tables as we were running out of space.   Some abandoned the table and moved to the floor for room.  As an  astrologer, Jonathan took us through the meanings of each house and how this  influenced the positioning of each card.   

Laurent Langlais and Feng shui and tarot

After a much needed afternoon coffee  break, we were immersed in the fusion of Feng Shui and Tarot with Laurent  Langlais.  Laurent explained that Tarot is a map of Chi (energy) and  through his very professional executed Power point and hand outs we were taken,  on a journey through tarot many of us were not familiar with.

Finally, a perfect end to a busy and  packed couple of days,  the conference closed with a meditation by Ina  Cüsters-van Bergen.

The Tarot Conference Contributors

The packed merchandise stand was  hosted by the fabulous Geraldine from Atlantis Book shop in Museum Street  London.  Atlantis have an extensive range of tarot, if you are in London do  go and visit.   

This was altogether a fascinating  weekend with the most interesting and valuable opportunities for learning  available to those who are already on their journey of discovery into the tarot  and wanted to know more.  2011 is already in the diary for 14th 15th  October,   I can’t wait!

Kim Arnold