The 12th annual UK Tarot Conference was once again a resounding success and a lot of fun. Sadly, I only got to attend the Saturday, though I did get to talk to one of my heroes who had spoken on Friday: Karen Mahony of Baba Studios (purveyors of beautiful materials in the form of bags, clothes and scarves) and Magic Realist Press (Bohemian Gothic Tarot, Tarot of Prague, Bohemian Cats Tarot etc.)
After arriving, I spent a bit of time greeting friends, some of whom I hadn’t realised were going. Kim Arnold then quickly introduced Caitlín Matthews. I was so busy with my cards that I forgot to take a photo of her speaking, but below you can see her excellent handout, with some of the cards I drew.
As a highly experienced cartomant, Caitlín talked about what it can add to a reading when you consider the direction that the characters on each card are facing. She didn’t stop there, however. She also shared some novel ideas about ways of laying the cards based on that directionality, expanding an original reading. As if that wasn’t enough, Caitlín also added an interesting technique for approaching reversed cards. Altogether, a useful and rather different set of techniques.
Next up, Richard Abbott stood in for another speaker who had to bow out due to health issues. His talk, titled Heresy, was laugh-out-loud funny as well as thought-provoking. Much of it was philosophical, exploring different approaches to understanding life and the cards. He suggested the most relevant way to see life is as multi-valent (with multiple possible meanings), rather than monovalent (only one possibility) or omnivalent (anything goes). I’ve always said that the cards are multi-valent – or overdetermined, which is the psychological jargon equivalent, thank you Mr Freud – which I hold equally true for Lenormand cards. Anyhow, we also pulled cards with some simple but very powerful questions: Who am I? And, what am I for?
I had taken my still-cellophane-wrapped Raven’s Prophecy Tarot (Llewellyn, 2015) to the Conference with me, and fell totally in love! Beautiful, simple, intense images and they read fabulously!
Despite being non-scenic, the Minors were still deemed ‘too illustrated’ for Sue Merlyn Farebrother‘s talk. Although it had been written up as being about the difference illustrated Minors make, it was actually about ways of reading non-illustrated pips. Had that been clearer, she wouldn’t have had to lend out so many decks as I, and several others, would have brought more/different decks with us. After all, it’s not like I’m short a deck or three (hundred) 😀 In fact, one thing I did on Sunday was to update my reviews pages (tarots, Lenormand’s, books, oracles, DVD’s and apps). There are nearly 80 tarot decks reviewed there…
Anyway, back to Sue’s talk. She illustrated it nicely, and had us practice with some unusual exercises, so that was a lot of fun. Amazing how much you can get from a reading using nothing more than the Fours through Sevens!
Then, it was lunch, and time for my quick session on Lenormand Magic. Despite having used my computer and projector earlier in the week (while filming for the soon-to-be-released Learn Lenormand online training), and despite having tested them that morning before leaving home, I couldn’t get them to work for my actual talk! The mic that Kim had provided also hated me (well, it didn’t work very well for several speakers, but I had to turn it off entirely because of weird feedback issues). Fortunately, I’m very comfortable with the material, and can project my voice reasonably well, so I carried on regardless, and feedback was good 🙂
After lunch, Susyn Blair-Hunt offered us her VAST perspective on Visual Awareness and Scrying with the Tarot. For the exercises, I worked with Sue Merlyn Farebrother, and perhaps because of our very different reading styles, I think we both got a lot out of it.
To round things out, we had a Tree of Life session with David Wells. He’s a consumate speaker, regaling us with “how many (name your astrological sign) people does it take to change a lightbulb” jokes, and then switching into a wonderful meditation/visualisation that started and ended his session. In between, there was a useful Tree of Life tarot reading (yep, plenty of time with the cards, which is always good), and some very interesting questions to think about in considering the different Sephirah. A great end to a fascinating Conference.
Throughout the day, there were brief opportunities to catch up with people, and it was lovely to meet some folks in person who I had only known online up til now. Though the time always seems too short! All told, I can’t wait for next year to roll around!