Wednesday, 15 October 2014

11th UK Tarot Conference + Giveaway

Mary K. Greer
On Friday and Saturday, I attended the 11th Annual UK Tarot Conference.  Once again, there was a fabulous line-up of speakers, overflowing goodie bag, and lots of wonderful fellow tarotists to meet and get to know, as well as old friends to spend time with.

Things kicked off with a talk from Mary K. Greer, the keynote speaker, on Intuition and Neuroscience.  Mary drew on lots of scientific resources, as well as personal experiences, and brought in plenty of interactive elements, too, to make this a fascinating presentation.  She had us all fill out a form at the start to say how experienced a tarot reader we felt we were, what our "accuracy" was, and how we believed that we read.  She then did some exercises to show just how much we are influenced by what is happening around us, and what we see and hear, in how we respond to questions.  We also did a larger group exercise to look at how we are influenced by initial knowledge and how we deal with tricky ethical questions (a querent asking about abortion).

Our "querent"
Personally, I found it very hard to rate my "accuracy", given that I do not even aspire to do predictive readings.  In the group exercise, four people read for a querent, played by a fifth person.  Our querent said at the end that she had felt listened to, helped to consider different options, and supported to make the best choice possible for herself.  Coming from a counselling background, that is what I aspire to in my readings, rather than "accuracy".

I liked that Mary did still leave a space open for "mystery".  She said that in her experience there are a very few people (even from the pre-selected tarot community), who do better than the average 50-50 in their predictions.  While I don't count myself among them, I hope I do bring "educated intuition", that balance of experience and openness to the various messages from the cards and the querent, to provide helpful readings.

Krysten and I, so glad we got some time together!
There was an hour-long break, in which Baby and I took a walk with my dear friend Krysten, of Queen of Stars Tarot, who has been in the UK over the summer.  It was great to get to spend some time with her, which is always one of the great joys of the Conference for me.  Unfortunately, this year I got rather less of that, as Baby wasn't very impressed with the Conference room :(

Next thing up was Kim Arnold, the Conference organiser, leading us through some fun tarot activities.  She took these from The Tarot Activity Book by Andy Matzner, and it was a great way to break the ice and get into a more playful mindset.

Israel Ajose
After another break, Israel Ajose gave a talk titled Tarot + Astrology = Magick.  He gave a simple, practical approach to applying astrological houses to creating tarot spells.  It was definitely something anyone can do, all explained with great humour as well as knowledge.  At the end, people got to try it out, with Israel helping guide and explain: an excellent workshop.

Finally, Geraldine Beskin of The Atlantis Bookshop gave a talk on Lady Frieda Harris, who painted the Thoth Tarot.  This was a talk I was very much looking forward to, but unfortunately didn't get to attend, as the baby was thoroughly bored of sitting in the Conference by that point, as well as tired and teething.  So, an early night for me instead of drinks and nibbles with my co-attendees - the trials of motherhood...

Mary K. Greer
Saturday got off to a great start with another talk by Mary K. Greer.  This time, she explored the history of the High Priestess card, and her expression and symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.  As well as lots of fascinating historical and symbolic insights, she also had us work through a spread based on this card, which was definitely deep.  A wonderful mix of information and experience, again.

After a short break, which I once again spent breast-feeding rather than socialising, Richard Abbot was up with a talk about Tarot and the Tattvas.  Basically, this is the sanskrit take on the elements - earth, air, fire, water and spirit.  Despite disagreeing with Richard's comment that most people these days pooh-pooh elemental understandings (personally, I use them either implicitly or explicitly in all my readings), I loved this workshop.

Richard Abbot
Richard presented a subtly different take on the elements than is typical in pagan circles, had us do some powerful visualisation exercises (which I will certainly try again), and offered up a fascinating spread.  All this was put across with great humour, and an excellent balance of information and practice to keep it interactive.  I liked this presentation so much I will  write a post specifically on it for next week, so others can try the spread for themselves!

Dr. Maria Antoniou
During the lunch break, there were another two workshops.  First, Dr. Maria Antoniou presented on Soulful Enterprise.  Although I missed the first half of her workshop (baby and lunch called), I caught the second half, and saw the spread she presented.  From what I saw, there was an excellent mix of business savvy, focus on being true to yourself, and drawing on the cards to support both of these.

Dr. Les Cross
Second was Dr. Les Cross, talking about an updated version of geomancy, Astrogem Geomancy.  Although I was interested to hear about this, I thought "I don't have time to learn a whole new system of divination right now".  Once again, I'm glad to say my prejudices were wrong.  I found the workshop fascinating, bought his cards, and found the first reading I tried for myself very useful.  I'll write in more detail about this one, too, next Friday (24th October).

David Wells
After the lunch break, David Wells spoke about the Tree of Life, and led us on a guided meditation to travel the Sun card's path between the Sephiroth Yesod and Hod.  It wasn't as technical as it might sound, starting in a forest, going into a temple, and being guided by Archangels.

The reading circle run by Mary Greer after this was a fascinating experience.  Everyone got to have some mini-readings, and we also experimented as readers with ideas like just describing cards literally, describing the "feeling/ambience" of the card, creating a fairy tale from it, and relating all of these back to the querent and their cards.

To close, Kim led another beautiful meditation (though I had to skip out on that as Baby was no longer feeling patient).  Altogether, it was another amazing Conference, full of deep learnings, humour, history, insight and a lot of experimentation.

As I mentioned, the goodie bag we received was once again very generously endowed.  So, I'd like to share a little of the Tarot Conference love by giving away the Numerology Guidance Cards (Hay House, 2013) from my bag.  To enter, just comment on this post, and I'll annouce the winner next Friday, 24th October, in the post on Astrogem Geomancy.

28 comments:

  1. Sounds like you had fun. I'd like a chance at winning those numerology cards; it's something I'm interested in. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was even better than I expected :D You're in, Carla!

      Delete
  2. Great post. I love reading about these events. I think I will make a definite effort to attend this next year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Steve. I really hope you do make it next year! You're in ;)

      Delete
  3. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with numerology. In its basic form it can be quite useful, but I suspect that, as with statistics, it can be annoyingly corrupted into all sorts of irrelevancies LOL That said, I'm intrigued by this deck :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true, Ania! Well, perhaps you'll get to see what you make of these cards... :D

      Delete
    2. Lovely write-up chock full of information and images.

      I agree about numerology. Numbers are malleable, one person's system doesn't make it true, you can twist it up, make it fit another way, the plasticity of numbers is well known. Whether that's corruption or just fluidity, I don't know!

      Delete
    3. I'll go with fluidity rather than corruption - I think there is always something helpful to be gleaned from any method of divination :) You're in the giveaway, JJ!

      Delete
  4. Wonderful write-up, Chloe! It was almost like being there :) I'm looking forward to the other posts too - especially the one on Richard's talk. He is incredibly knowledgeable! Pleased to hear Baby 'let' you attend as much as you did, especially with teething going on. Lovely picture of you and Krysten too. Gutted that I didn't get to meet her this time around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa. All the workshops and presentations were good, so it was tough deciding what to write about in more detail. And Krysten was disappointed, too, that she didn't get to meet you this time round, but said she'll try to come for another Tarot Conference :D

      Delete
  5. Thanks for the review Chloe and it's a shame we didn't get a chance to meet properly, even though I was sitting behind you for most of the time! Maria x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true, Maria. I was disappointed to have missed the first half of your talk, based on how interesting the second half was. Maybe next time I'll be a little less encumbered :D Cx

      Delete
  6. Thanks for the review, ill be there next year :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear it, Harpa! We had a strong German contingent this year, but less Scandinavians :)

      Delete
  7. no cards, thanks, just wanted to comment on the generosity of Les Cross to offer a free option to buying his cards...you don't see that often! Thanks for sharing your conference. I'm on the fence about going to my first one, the cost is a bit overwhelming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Les' stated aim is to get 1600 people using geomancy, to revive it as a discipline. So, I guess he wants to encourage people any way he can :) If you can make it happen, Sharyn, I've really loved every Conference I've ever attended. Still, it's easier when you live in the capital, so it's just the cost of the Conference itself... :)

      Delete
  8. Hi Chloe! How interesting topics! And such enriching experience! Thank you for sharing! Muchas Estrellas!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was very inspiring, LM! Do you have any conferences close to you? And you're in the draw :)

      Delete
    2. Unfortunately not here. It would be great but I think people here is still with some prejudice, because they aren´t enough informed about Tarot and the personal growth one can get, through meditations and cards, for example. Everybody goes to a Tarotist, but never tells...it's like super secret! :D Thank you for draw. A kiss Amiga y Muchas Estrellas!!!!

      Delete
    3. Funny and sad, that everyone gets readings, but treats it as a secret. As you say, so much to learn, so many ways to grow. Maybe one day you can get to a conference here or in the States... :) Besos!

      Delete
  9. Lovely post Chloe, you make the conference come alive! I wish I had been able to go, hopefully next time... I have limited knowledge of numerology but when it pops in, it really brings that *something* extra, the cards sound very interesting :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, it would be lovely if you could make it next time, Margo :) Will pop your name in the hat for the numerology cards, too!

      Delete
  10. Another fantastic conference experience and great to see you and Baby ;-) (who was extremely well behaved!)

    Loved the sessions, the stalls, the people in the room, the speakers and . . . well . . . everything about it. Kim always looks after us so well and I always come away much richer than I arrived. I echo your thoughts . . . get there if you can it is a wonderful experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As you say, everything about it was enriching. Well, the stalls might impoverish our purses, but enrich our minds ;) Great to see you there, Mary!

      Delete
  11. Really enjoyed this post Chloe :) sounds like you had an excellent weekend. If you could pop my name in the hat... I would be most grateful :) thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Replies
    1. Thanks, Jo. Have entered you in the draw :)

      Delete