BATS 2013 preview

I’ll admit: I’ve kinda lost my Tarot way lately. Life has been overwhelming, all-consuming and proceeding at trans-illuminal velocities and I haven’t had enough focus or will or inspiration to do much with the Tarot lately.

The 2013 Bay Area Tarot Symposium is coming up shortly and I will be there.

I’m hoping to reconnect and find my Tarot-mojo again.

Anyone else going?

Readers Studio 2012

Readers Studio 2012!

22 days of blogging, flying, driving and work has led to this year’s event. Year of the Heirophant and three renowned gentlemen of the Tarot world; James Wells, James Wanless and Shawn Nacol were all presenting!

James Wells led a deeply emotional but useful class on using the Tarot and dealing with loss and emotional trauma. It hit a lot of people hard, being forced to face old pains and reopen old wounds will do that, but beyond trauma lies resolution and peace. Some very useful techniques which I hope will be useful again when helping people deal with their emotional loss and pain. “Pain shared is pain lessened.

James Wanless was his usual awesome self, but I’ve also taken classes with him personally. Always a pleasure to see and talk to him again.

At the other end of the spectrum was Shawn Nacol’s presentation, which I am still trying to digest mentally: a exploration of the more elemental nature of the Tarot. An amazing bundle of brilliance and energy, that man. When I’ve chewed on the concepts a bit more and feel like I can attempt to explain it, I will try to post about the Hot v. Cold, Wet vs. Dry dynamic he introduced to us.

One of the bigger, personal lessons from this weekend is recognizing the needs of my own introvert nature. Social situations and crowds drain me, and there were times I desperately needed to run away and recharge. Thankfully Innowen was more than capable enough to take up my slack and help RoseRed run the Tarot Media Company table. I am eternally grateful to Innowen for being such awesome help and to Rose for letting me run away when I absolutely needed it. I chalk up my greater need for quiet away time this year to the fact there was no downtime between the visiting of family and then the convention. Next time? There will be a day off between events. My need for solitude cut me out of a lot of after-hours socialization and classes at this year’s Readers Studio, which is a pity because there were plenty of amazing people I wish I could have interacted with more.

Sunday was the closing ceremonies and we had some wild and woolly adventures involving shipping which I won’t go into details at this time. Needless to say, driving in New York is an adventure and I can proudly say I have survived it multiple times. Now, how much XP do I get for that?

In retrospect, this 22day countdown blogging challenge was indeed a challenge. Having friends and fellow bloggers, RoseRed and Innowen join in was a plus since we could inspire and support each other when needing it. We’ll have to take on such challenges again in the future. Later this year I plan to take part in the National Novel Writing Month challenge, and daily writing is really the best way to get in shape for that marathon!

All in all, a good event. Fitting for the High Priestess.

Tarot Blog Hop: Ostara

It’s blog hop time again! If you’ve come here from Matt’s blog, WELCOME! If you’re a regular reader of my blog, the Tarot Hop Blog is a round-robin style of writing, where each writer links to the blog before and to the blog that follows.

This Tarot Blog Hop is about Ostara, representing the Spring equinox and the renewal of life. So… what? Are we supposed to go out and get knocked up? (“Rabbits are for shagging and eggs are for fertility” says Eddie Izzard.) While nature and Earth may have that in mind, us homo sapiens have a bit more choice in the matter. I choose to view Ostara, or ‘Eostre’ as it was known in the Teutonic faiths, as an opportunity for personal renewal and reawakening.

Winter is a time of respite. Nature turns inward and slows down. There is still challenge to be had, but mostly it’s a time of slow growth and metered out resources. We dream of warm days to come. We reflect and recount our experiences from the year before, judge our performances and expectations and make vows for the days to come.

Spring is the end of hibernation and awakening of appetites. It’s been raining like mad where I live this week, and one of the benefits of it is that everything here has become green. Now I don’t mean that grass is suddenly growing and the trees and blooming. I mean everything glows with a vibrance that has been missing for the last few months. Even through the dampness and the cold air, life is returning and it’s an infectious feeling.

Or maybe it’s the allergies from everything blooming…

So how do we make the most of this opportunity? As much as new years is seen as the time to make resolutions, Ostara’s the point of actually commencing on them if you haven’t already. It’s a time to put way the winter gear and break out the galoshes, literally and metaphorically.  Embrace the enthusiasms that nature is showing. Let it energize you, inspire you and guide you. And that’s really the key, isn’t it? Ostara represents coming out of the cave; awakening from the coma and beginning anew. The long night is ending, the new day is dawning. How will you experience this year?

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please continue on to Arwen‘s excellent blog!

PanTheCon 2012: or “Where the heck did my weekend go?”

SO! Home again after Pantheacon 2012 and boy am I tired. I know that sounds like a pun, and it kinda is, but it’s also true.

This year I worked at the Tarot Media Company vendor table, showing such awesome products like Kooch Daniels’ new Tarot-themed novel, Theater of Karma, Rachel Pollack’s Soul Forest,  The Ultimate Oracle by Sue Wilhite & Michael Bisbiglia and not the least The Rock and Roll Oracle, Classic Rock Edition. Most of my weekend was taken up by attending TMC’s table and talking to customers and friends who came by.

I got to attend the latter half of TMC’s meet-the-authors party and met Suzanne Strisower who read for me with her Runes of the Four Realms. I need to get a set now! I also got to talk with Jane Rades about her book, Two Years in the Tarot, which really ought be made into a tarot deck soon. Kooch Daniels and I also got to talk about her new novel and the inspiration behind it. I have a copy now, and look forward to reading it. Sadly, there wasn’t enough time to socialize much with Rachel Pollack, James Wanless who were also at the event.

Sunday evening was Innowen’s Imbibe and Divine class, which was a fun introduction both to the art of tasting wines as well as exploring the possibilities of ritual wine and tarot reading. I got to be the sommelier for her class, pouring the wine samples and otherwise helping out. I’m not much of a wine drinker myself (too acidic for my reflux), but it was a fun class.

And last but not least, closing Monday I attended James Wanless’ discussion class about his Sustain Yourself oracle. It was a fun discussion about the origins of the Sustain Yourself cards, as well as a fun group reading using them. My own first experiment with them was… challenging to interpret, so I need to spend more time with this new oracle.

On the way home, RoseRed and I celebrated a successful convention with steak and the company of dear friends. Then it was home and blessed unconsciousness.

~Andrew

How can I be a better candle? A TarotBlogHop post

So this month I signed up for the Tarot Blog Hop, a collaborative Facebook group made up of several tarot bloggers who have come together to write their thoughts on a given topic. In proper round-robin style, check out fellow TarotHopBlogger Andrew’s blog for his take on our inaugural blog -in time for Imbolc– the topic is: “How can I be a better Candle?

 

Come follow my logic train, down the rabbit hole

When I consider the candle in my mind -that vehicle for flame and light and heat- I see no difference between the flame of the candle and the warmth of the sun. It’s just a matter of scale. Both can warm you and illuminate your way. As a Tarot reader, I see the candle as representing how I affect those I work with and share with; the heat is my empathy and the light the wisdom I channel. Being the candle, therefore, reminds me of my role and purpose as a Tarot reader.

Consider the Sun card: the fundamental example of an invigorating energy source. The candle and the Sun are only different in their scale. When I am the Candle and the Sun: I provide illumination and radiant motivation to those I read for.

Consider the Moon card: the Moon is reflective of the Sun’s light. It brings light to the areas that don’t face the Sun. As a Candle and the Moon, I must consider how I indirectly affect those I don’t read for.

Consider the Star card: each Star in the heavens is its’ own distant Sun. We navigate by the constellation of stars in the heavens; the patterns of location and association from our perspective on earth. As the Candle and the Star, I must consider my role along with all the others who share the empyrean space with me. I am not the only source of light for those who see; I am part of a whole sky and a piece of the larger picture.

 

Being a better candle: Nurturing the flame

Of course, the original question is: “How can I be a better Candle?” How do I keep this flame within going? How do I avoid a literal burnout? Well for me, being a 50/50 introvert/extrovert, I invoke the Hermit when I need to respect my need for seclusion and self-time: Time to recharge, refocus, re-align and re-integrate into the person I am and whom I wish to be. When the Hermit comes up in readings, I am often drawn to the lantern the Hermit is seen carrying. His self-imposed solitude is the opportunity for him to rekindle the light of wisdom that he brings back to civilization when it is time. And so, like the Hermit, sometimes I have to withdraw to revitalize my inner light.

Fire also needs fuel and for that I need to keep exploring the Tarot and my own metaphysical world. My own horizons end when I stop walking the path, so I need to keep adding to my knowledge and experiences. I can only grow brighter and reach farther the more I know.

 

Shine on you crazy diamond!

For me, the Tarot is about helping others with their questions as well as finding my own answers. To that end the inner candle of wisdom is essential. The flame of inspiration, intuition and wisdom must be nurtured, fed and allowed to grow in order to make the most of this gift for myself and others. Hopefully you too can find your own inner candle, and learn to tend it well.

 

And really, that all I can say about that! But don’t just take my impressions on it! Check out Arwen’s blog and follow the chain for this month!

~Andrew

The Revised Lovers Spread

The following spread was inspired by Barbara Moore’s class on creating tarot spreads at Reader’s Studio 2011.

RoseRed and I decided to pick a card at random and base a spread on it, and my pure luck (or was it luck?) we drew The Lovers.

Looking at the Lovers card from the Rider Waite Smith deck, we chose card locations and meaning based on major features of the card

 

The RWS Lovers

What we chose as significant elements were the male and female figures, the trees behind the figures, the angel above, and the obstacle (mountain) between the figures. We also discussed how to divide up the deck for specific drawing for specific locations.

When performing this spread, divide the deck into Majors, Courts and minors.

Cards 1 & 6 are from the Majors-only stack.

Cards 2 & 3 are Court cards stack.

Cards 5 & 6 are from the Minor Arcana stack.

 

The revised Lovers-inspired spread

So feel free to give this a try and any suggestions are welcome!

~Andrew

 

Reader’s Studio 2011

I draft this post from my airline seat, while at 30,000’ and somewhere over middle-America, on my way home from Readers Studio 2011 and I’m still decompressing and processing the experience. It really all began long before Wednesday evening, when RoseRed and I boarded our red-eye flight from SFO to JFK, but that’s when it really felt like at real thing. I hardly ever sleep when flying so a long day at work, followed by an entire evening and night traveling is a really draining experience (my Chariot had run its course). Even after arriving at JFK early Thursday morning, we had one more journey: a taxi cab ride to the hotel. I missed the last two years of Reader’s Studio due to work issues. Plus, this year Tarot Media Company was an official vendor at the event as well, so there was much setup to be performed.

A LOT of stuff happened at Reader’s Studio this year and I’ll try to recap what I can remember:

Corrine Kenner taught a class on Astrology and the Tarot. Now I confess, I’m not very much into astrology and this class was a little too deep for me. I don’t really get it when someone says: “Oh, that’s because they’re a Virgo,” or “he was a Scorpio, so it’d never work out.” For a long time I personally found it insulting when someone acted like they knew all about be when they learned that I’m a Gemini. Corinne’s class required bringing your birth chart, and frankly when I looked at mine, I first impression was that Cylon raiders were about to sink my BattleStar Galactica (yeah, I’m a geek). Sadly, even after her class, I still don’t get Astrology and certainly not astrology birth charts. Maybe I’ll have to learn a bit more about Astrology. After all, Corinne has a new book on Astrology and Tarot coming out soon…

I did, however, pick up a copy of Dan Horn and Corrine Kenner’s Tarot of Physics, and got him to sign it. I’ll post a review of it soon (I promise!)

The fantastic Barbara Moore taught a class on creating new spreads. Creating custom spreads for my querent’s questions is something I already enjoy doing so I was looking forward to learning new techniques. Above all else, I learned about using a moving Significant card in a reading, which I’ll have to play with more in the future. She’s also working on a Steampunk themed tarot!

I also got to catch a glimpse of Ciro Marchetti’s new Oracle cards and I can’t wait to order mine by the end of the month. He also had lots of other nifty merchandise, so check out his website here.

Caítlin (pronounced Kash-lin) Matthews ‘s presentation was a more complicated affair of sorting and divining cards when performing a reading. Personally, I just shuffle and draw enough cards for the number of places in the reading, but Caítlin presented methods of shuffling and dividing the cards into as many piles as places needed in the reading, with any remaining cards serving as an ‘ally’ set for use in enhancing  existing cards. Alternatively: pick a Significant card, reshuffle it back into the deck, then dividing the deck as before and choosing the pile that contained the Significant card to perform the reading with. I also must say, Caítlin has a lovely voice when she sang for us!

Saturday night was a costume ball where everyone dressed up, often as their favorite Tarot card characters. While RoseRed and I didn’t have specific characters in mind we did try on some new duds and got plenty of pictures taken with friends and hobnob with celebs.

During the final day, Shindig software showed off their virtual tabletop reading space, allowing querent and reader to not only see the same cards being laid out, but also see each other via webcams as well. They go live sometime in the next few months, so we’ll have to see how that works out for them.

This resulted in a conversation between Susa, Beth any I later that evening on the future of digital communication and divination. There was much concern about removing the physical metaphysical connection between reader and querent. How can one intuit or cold-read someone over a webcam?  Then again, who’s to say that we can’t adapt and learn new techniques for divination in the future? Tarot cards are just a tool, just like oracles, runes, stones, bones and the entrails of birds. In the 22nd century, will we divine with the hologramatic entrails of virtual goats?

So that’s about all I can recall at this moment. We’re coming in for landing and I have to shut my laptop down. Next week I’ll get back to my Zero cards for the minor Arcana and review some decks.

~Andrew

 

Folsom Renaissance Faire

So this last weekend was Folsom Renaissance Faire, and Tarot-To-Go was there. Saturday was hot and muggy. Sunday started cold and overcast and ended drenched with badly needed rain. Overall a good weekend, for RoseRed and Artemis were there with me.

There are two significant things that happened this year that I wish to share:

Bigot should be a four-letter word

Sometimes at public events you encounter people who have Faith, by which I mean those people who don’t use their beliefs as their sword and shield, but rather their fence and garlic. To explain requires a bit of scene framing: My primary role at the TTG booth events is front desk manager and general hawker for our services. I engage patrons and fellow actors in greetings, (“Lovely English weather we are having, no?” being especially appropriate for this last Sunday). To those that display some interest I inquire if they’d like a reading, even a free one-card reading as a kind of metaphysical aperitif.

It was early in the morning when a family walked by and the father pushing the stroller growled at us: “What you’re doing is on the wrong side of God!

I was stunned and while I sought response they hastened away into the crowd. Everyone on the street had heard him. In their wake fellow actors and vendors looked to each other and I saw shrugs of confusion and condolences. If it was an attempt at play acting by a patron, it was terrible. The spectacle of debate depends on engagement, or argument and this was instead simple evasion. It was like when someone shouts at a homeless person: “Get a job!” or mutter: “Slut!” at a woman who they don’t think is dressed properly.

This kind of Faith bothers me a great deal. This kind of Faith is about false superiority. This kind of Faith is utterly indifferent to reason; You cannot debate or discuss with someone of this kind of Faith. Those with this kind of Faith tend to stick their fingers in their ears and scream LALALALALACAN’THEARYOULALALA when you try to talk to them. There isn’t even the defense of “I don’t know the answers, I have faith.” which I accept as a perfectly acceptable way to disengage from discussion and debate.

If you must debate, your  faith is your shield to wither temptation or blaspheme. The principles of your faith is the edge of your sword to press your point and cut the Gordian knots. If his faith truly disagreed with me and mine, he’d defend it. He’d debate it. He’d use his faith as sword and shield. I could disagree with him, but respect him for his faith. Instead he throws indefensible rhetoric and hightails it out of hearing range before I can respond. This was akin to throwing your hands in the air and shouting “CHRISTIAN!” the same way one might shout “NOT IN THE FACE!!” and throwing garlic and crucifix at the minions of hell before running for the hills.

It was especially ironic because by the end of the day we’d had other patrons who described themselves as Orthodox Jews and strict Roman Catholics come to us, get readings and ask deep questions. I expect that a person with Faith would have a terrible time at a Ren Faire.

Troublesome combinations

I did a reading for a client, whom I shall refer to as G, that gave me some trouble. Her spread spoke of challenges involving the Hermit (with Death as an addition), the King of Pentacles (along with the eight of Wands) and the four of Swords (coupled with the Empress). Her Foundation was the Page of Cups. The external actor was the seven of Wands (enhanced with the ten of Swords and the Queen of Pentacles). The Turn of the Wheel card was the two of Swords.

Anybody got some insight they’d like to share? Please feel free t post your interpretations!

~Andrew