In the morning I rose bright and early for the breakfast roundtable with Nancy Antenucci. I may be getting to the point of VIP stalker status with Nancy. As I sipped my coffee (aka lifeblood) I listened to people tell their “tarot stories”—stories that had an impact. Nancy said before she opened up the floor to other people that the stories of “That was a wonderful experience” or “I’ll never do THAT again” were the best kinds of stories to tell, because in them contained lessons. The stories that people shared ran the gamut of reading tarot in Italy with a translator and clients using their one phone call in lockup to call the reader to tell them they were right. Some stories were sad and some caused laughter to spread across the room, but each one of them made me think. Read more
How do I explain 2011 as a year, besides it being a very tarot-filled year? On March 14th of this year, I officially entered into a contest that changed my life, the Tarot Apprentice, and jumped through four tarot-y hoopsoffire to come out in the end the winner. Looking back on the experience, I was glad friends pushed and encouraged me into doing it. I would not have a thriving tarot business without it. Nor a kick-ass website. Nor a fantastic mentor. Nor another year plus worth of studies with Hekademia. But enough gush about 2011…
You know the saying “I left my heart in San Francisco”? Well, I think I left my brain there. The two-day madness of the Bay Area Tarot Symposium (BATS) + my flight back being cancelled the night I arrived left me feeling lost and confused most of the weekend (or at least it seems that way). I’ll let you know when my brain catches up with my body.
I attended wonderful classes at BATS this weekend. On Saturday morning, I ended up attending only a portion of Thalassa’s class “The Shadow Dance and the Crawl Space of the Soul,” due to having to rush upstairs to our hotel room to make arrangements for our trip home. For what I was present for, it was just what I needed, including a reminder of “If this is shadow, then what is throwing off the light?”
Next was Mary K. Greer’s class “Working with Your Tarot Birth and Year Cards.” I hate math, but working through this class was very necessary. Birth and year cards are extremely enlightening in giving you a head’s up with the year ahead of you, and clarity with what has come before in previous years. Mary’s book on this topic is Who Are You in the Tarot?, and if this interests you, you should definitely pick it up! 2012 is going to be a Strength year for me… whether I will need strength or I will have the strength is not certain yet!
After the lunch break, I high-tailed it over to Barbara Moore’s class “Giving a Voice to the Cards.” This was almost a backstage tour of making companion books corresponding to tarot decks, and sometimes even a Little White Book or two! Barbara is one of my favorite tarot people, as she is an extremely grounded and down-to-earth person. Her companion books are great and practical, and her writing seems to be effortless. I can’t wait to read the companion book for the Mystic Dreamer deck, and I eagerly await the arrival of Steampunk Tarot.
Next up was Corrine Kenner’s class “Tarot for Writers” (hmm, now why would THAT I appeal to me?). Corrine loves her handouts, and this class was no exception… all my notes were scribbled furiously on the handout she provided, using the Celtic Cross spread for both character creation, and again for plotting out a story based on the protagonist the group had just created!
Recommended Reading for a Writer with a Weakness for Tarot
The other day I had a lovely conversation with someone about art, writing, and the tarot. This girl was a writer that wanted to write more and was getting stuck. She also was new to tarot, and had no idea where to start with the cards. So I told her to combine the two. Her face absolutely lit up and she said she would try it. (If you’re reading this, I hope it worked for you!)
There is much to be learned from the whole “meanings of the individual cards” thing. But sometimes, you have to let those images speak to you in their own way, and that has very little to do with accepted meanings. It’s a private conversation of imagery between you and the cards. Keywords looked up in a little book tend to gum up the works if used for spurring the writing muses (but hey, if you’re a wordy person, don’t let me stop you). Let the card be a pretty picture. Let a story come out of it. Let your words describe what you are seeing. Let the words flow.
The cards lend themselves to writers very well, because through tarot cards we can see the story of our lives. Who’s to say we can’t see a story of a fictional life through them as well? We’ve got the beginning (The Fool), we’ve got the picking up of the pace (The Chariot), we’ve got the problem (Lovers, Devil, Hierophant; love story, boundaries and expectations, problem with authority), total destruction and climax or reversal of fortune (The Tower, The Wheel), and the resolution (Sun, Moon, World, etc). And by the by, even nonfiction writing can benefit from a shuffle and one-card pull.
I just did a shuffle and pull keeping writing in mind and got Death. You can use the imagery on the card (mine is very skull and scythe, Death as a mounted knight in shadows type) or you can use the interpreted meaning of the card (endings, letting go, loss, transformation, fear of unknown) to use this card to spark writing.
The writing/tarot combo is not new. In fact, there are quite a number of books on the subject.
Okay, I thought I knew at least a little something about Astrology. Turns out I know diddly squat, but through Corrine’s class, I’m beginning to understand it a little better and how it fits into tarot. Very beautiful handouts, too, which I keep rereading over and over again, each time absorbing a little more information. I also can kinda read a natal chart, which I couldn’t claim to do before!
Tarot Spreads: Make Your Readings Even More Fabulous by Barbara Moore Despite threats from Courtney, Theresa, and Barbara herself to have me teach her class, Barbara ended up doing the class, and it was extremely informative. Have you ever wondered why the Celtic Cross spread is so effective and is a wonderful foundation reading for those clients new to getting their cards read for them? Layout, layout, layout and how the human brain works when seeing cards laid out above, below, to the side, and crossing the significator. Truly an informative class, and Barbara makes anyone believe that they can create useful spreads for any occasion or client request.
This class would have been worth it just from hearing Caitlín sing in person (gorgeous!), which she did often to call her class to order and to bring us back after working in groups. This class made me want to do reading using significators, when I usually don’t. And by don’t, I mean I use a randomly selected significator and start my reading based on that. Which is valid, but could go deeper if I applied some of the techniques that were discussed during her class.
Taking Theresa’s class was a no-brainer. I’ve been using social media for a little while, specifically using twitter to pull cards for the day and give my interpretations of them. There is A LOT more that you can do with social media. Theresa also covered some pretty interesting ground about promoting yourself, taking the ickiness out of the word promoting. Less “used-car salesman” and more “I’m a good reader with this style, I’m here when you want a reading.” Using social media opens the entire world up to you as potential clients. The biggest lesson from this class? Just be you. The younger techno-savvy generation (am I part of that?) can spot bullshit from a mile away, and even more so if it’s bullshit on a computer screen. Don’t bullshit. Be yourself. And don’t write about yourself in the third person; that just makes you sound douchy.
More for fun than anything else! Did you know that there is a game of tarot? I sure didn’t. And no, you won’t be using your Rider-Waite Deck to play it, either. Alec was a very good teacher, and we were able to play quite a few hands with his supervision, because in my experience there’s no better way to learn something than by doing it.