Review of the UK TAROT CONFERENCE 2012
Thistle City Barbican, London
For the 3rd year running we hosted our 9th Conference at the Thistle City Barbican Hotel. Great conference rooms and an excellent location, slightly off the beaten track but a stone’s throw away from central London.
Our Friday afternoon session opened with Rachel Pollack, hosting her workshop entitled ‘What Tarot Is, What It Does and How It Does It’. An enlightening session in which amongst a host of other theories and ideas, we discuss how powerful just one card can be, and how a single card can be illuminating. We talked in detail the significance of the hands in the Ace cards, and how the grip or hold told a story in itself. Even as a experienced tarot reader and teacher, I personally had never put that much thought into this, but later the Ace of Swords came up in a reading and I was aware how the dynamics had became so much more powerful with this new found insight.
As many of us attending were professional readers, we discussed in length where our boundaries were when seeing something uncomfortable in the cards. Rachel’s opinion was to always say what you see, however, being responsible when giving the information.
All of Rachel’s workshops are weaved with fascinating storytelling. I love it when she goes slightly off track to talk about a personal issue relating to a reading or exercise.
Our Friday evening session, ‘Multi Dimensional Readings’ started with an in-depth discussion about the infinity sign which Rachel had explored in her book ’78 Degrees of Wisdom’. On the back of this discussion, the Rider Waite ‘2 of Pentacles’ was studied and the group shared their thoughts. A random grand announcement was then made by Rachel that herself and Robert Place were working together on a new Tarot/Oracle deck. (Can’t wait)!
We looked at how the number 5 card corresponded to the Tree of Life. We compared cards such as the Sun and Moon and looked at comparisons in the decks, but also turned the positives into negatives and vice versa i.e. what does the sun lack, what does the moon have? This became a very interesting discussion amongst the group. We discussed karma/cause and effect, past lives, sub conscious, ego and how our own history is so important. As you probably gather from this packed paragraph, far too much to mention in detail but a diverse and fascinating session.
Friday evening we had drinks and canapés and a chance for everyone to chat and relax. Our Auction in aid of ‘Centre point’ was very successful and every winner was delighted with the raffle prizes kindly donated by Llewellyn and The Tarot Media Company.
Saturday: I had not met Tiffany Crosara before, but to be honest I liked her energy before I knew her. Tiffany turned up in a Fool’s/Jester costume (very brave), and I thought she is a little bit nuts but an absolute darling! Tiffany drew the crowd in with play acting followed by a deep meditation where we discovered ‘our’ Fool within. After connecting with a partner we took a moment or so before allowing the following questions to be asked, “What major arcana, court card and minor arcana card do we associate with this person”? and just allowed the information to flow, which it did. I am not sure how others responded, but I ended up giving my partner a mini reading explaining why I felt the particular cards I had chosen fitted her at this time. She was amazed at how accurate the reading was.
After coffee and cookies, Juliet Sharman-Burke took the stage for her session ‘Exploring the Hermit’. With a PowerPoint presentation of the Fool and Hermit side by side, we discussed the Fool’s journey, and how by the time we got to number 9 in the major arcana, how the energy changed. The Hermit now older and wiser, armed with the lantern of experience it was time to look inward. We discussed our busy lives and how today we find it hard to be still. How we need to embrace the Hermit energy and meditate, or just be quiet whilst we refocus and regroup. This was followed by readings with a partner.
During lunch time we had two wonderful demonstrations, the first was by Alfred Douglas who showed us his figure of 8 spread, not so much a reading but more of a way to explore the cards in greater detail. Followed by Caitlin Matthews, and a PowerPoint demonstration of her and John’s new Steampunk Tarot due for release in November.
After lunch Cilla Conway took her session ‘Tarot and the Shadow’ which involved group interaction throwing ideas about which cards we felt had a ‘shadow’ such as The Devil, the Moon, many cards from the suit of swords and surprisingly The High Priestess. We each picked a card at random and read this looking for the shadow within. After this exercise Cilla led us through a meditation to meet our shadow. It had a profound effect on some.
Our grand finale was a two hour workshop with Rachel Pollack who has amazingly had four books published this year – Soul Forest, Tarot for Magical Times, Tyrant Oidipous and The New Tarot Handbook. Rachel talked with passion about each book and why and how they came about. What inspired her, what she discovered on her journey as an author of these books, how new spreads were created and even new findings within certain cards. We also did a 3 card reading. Card 1) Self Card 2) Others Card 3) Action. We were encouraged to look at the cards as we had never done before, even experienced readers were discovering things in the cards they had never seen before!
This was a wonderful conference. The energy, enthusiasm, friendship and laughter as well as serious learning and self discovery culminated in the fabulous 2 days! Finally I would like to thank Geraldine and Bali from Atlantis Bookshop for their continued support and heaving merchandise table, and our sponsors Llewellyn, Kindred Spirit and Horoscope magazine. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for contributing to a very successful Conference. Roll on our 10th Anniversary in 2013. If you think this was great, wait till you see what we have planned for next year!