Our weekend kicked off with a workshop from TABI’s own Mick Frankel on the subject of astrology, the court cards and the four elements. After learning about the attributes of the astrological signs and their corresponding royals, twelve lucky participants got to perform a short ritual together, illustrating the thematic connections between cards of each suit and status and their relative elements.
Best of all, Mick carried out a couple of sample readings. In a very airy reading (in the elemental sense, that is) Mary learned that she’s on the right track with her current business venture, but would benefit from bringing in a little King of Swords ruthlessness, whilst Susan drew a trio of Queens and found that it may be a good time to rein in the fiery tempers she’s working with and bring things down to earth for a time.
After lunch and only a mild panic (Louise’s face was a picture) about whether Anne-Marie Kell would arrive on time for her talk, we were treated to a journey through the unique Faulkner deck, created by Rhiannon Faulkner – a new tarot which aims to break with traditions and instead use modern images so that querents might relate more closely to their readings. Anne-Marie explained how the simple black and white photographs on each card featured members of the creator’s family, and was dedicated to the memory of her late husband, who features in many of the cups cards. As we worked through the deck, Anne-Marie offered additional insights into the cards’ meanings which Faulkner felt had come to her via a spirit guide.
Our last Saturday session came from TABI veteran Ania Marczyk, who took us ‘Trumping through Time’ as we learned about the history of cards and card playing, beginning with the invention of paper in China and following a train of ornate and beautiful decks as card-playing’s popularity spread through Turkey and into Europe. New games and variants were being created all the time, but it wasn’t until the 1400s when a Milanese deck was created which would form the basis of what we now recognize as tarot. Ania treated us to some stunning images of centuries-old cards, hand-painted and intricately made, showing the four suits (coins, swords, cups and, er, polo sticks!) Other cards, clearly created for a hunting family, had suits represented by ducks, hawks, hounds and stags, and there was even an early circular deck.
Equally fascinating were lists of Major Arcana cards showing variations across the different nations. So we rediscovered long-forgotten international trumps such as The Ship, The House of God, The Traitor, and good old ‘Misery’.
|In the seminar room|
Ania’s trumps game was a fun and laid-back way to end our first busy day – I’m not sure quite how Mojo got her new ‘Cardshark’ nickname but over on my table a good time was had by all ;)
I wasn’t around for the evening socialising, but I know that our hard-grafting chair Louise was thanked for all the work in putting together this year’s conference – along with everyone else who’s worked away behind the scenes – and given a lovely bunch of flowers.
On Sunday morning I decided that I should try to be professional about my blogging duties and conducted a little interview with our diligent New Member Reading Co-ordinator Alison. She told me she’d really enjoyed unwinding with Ania’s card game yesterday, as well as putting new faces to names throughout the day, getting to know the personalities behind our web personae. Alison was particularly interested in Theresa Reed’s upcoming business website workshop, since she’s been trying to build her own website for a number of years and can’t quite seem to hit on the right approach.
The Sunday sessions began with Richard Abbot’s numerology workshop. This dynamic session acknowledged that for many tarotists, numbers are felt to be difficult to work with, too clearly defined, too ‘factual’, and sought to illustrate how numbers are in fact an extension of tarot’s energy, and at the same time give root to the system and meaning of tarot.
|Astrological Court Cards|
Richard busted the myth that the ‘monkey mind’ – one that constantly darts about connecting things together – is the one best suited to tapping in to our intuition, and politely informed us that we were going to get our heads stuffed full of numbers in order to quiet those monkey minds and create space for true intuitive knowledge to spring up.
We looked at cards through different lenses – firstly through the lens of our numerological birth numbers and their relative attributes, and then through four separate sets of eyes – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. And in reading for ourselves, we were each able to draw the four major cards which formed the pattern of roads we would follow throughout our lives. Armed with this knowledge, Richard’s belief is that we may then be able to master these energies and work with them better, in order to live more fulfilling/less frustrated lives. The workshop was very interactive and we each carried out a personal reading on our own lives as we learned about the correspondences between numbers and cards, and our own birthdates – for many of us I think the results were extraordinary.
Lunch was laid-back and chatty, and Moti (I mean Cardshark!) and Louise pretty much cleaned up at the raffle, leaving poor old Mick and Richard looking crestfallen. As for me, I won a very sweet deck of cards showing cats up to all manner of cheeky tricks – with cats being a bit of a big theme in my life right now, I was pretty darn chuffed.
|In the bar|
Alas, it was confirmed today that tarot superstar Theresa Reed would not be joining us in person – extreme storms in the US had kept her plane well and truly grounded, so instead she was beamed in to us via Skype. Ah, the wonders of modern technology. She gave a lively and informative presentation on getting the most out of websites, social media and the internet in general to improve a tarot business. Fortunately she was very complimentary about TABI’s new website (!) but there were also some tips for TABI members who shared their own websites as part of the session. The session was full of useful tricks, dos and don’ts, and I think we all went away with some food for thought – certainly judging by the pens repeatedly grabbed around me as people scribbled down ideas. In fact, only a day later over on the forum, Watersigner is sending round a link to his new and improved website, tweaked in the light of Theresa’s interesting and experienced advice!
TABI’s 2012 conference was a great weekend. From a personal perspective I’ve met a lovely bunch of people and put faces and voices to names I previously only known on a web forum. Weird but lovely! I’ve learned a hell of a lot about tarot, and am buzzing with things I want to head home and try out. I’m so impressed with all the effort that’s been put in by members of our hard-working conference team, and it really showed in the whole friendly, relaxed atmosphere of the event. I’m pretty sure I’m speaking for everyone who attended when I say a big big big thank you to Louise and the whole Conference team for everything they’ve done – and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again in 2013.