On Saturday, March 20, twenty-one of us gathered in an events room in downtown Toronto to explore and celebrate tarot together. Five of us were presenters, each of whom enjoyed taking part in the others’ presentations. Here’s a spiffy photo of us — Monica Bodirsky, Bev Haskins, Marilyn Shannon, me, and Andrew McGregor. Thanks to Peter LeBlanc for taking the picture on Marilyn’s camera.
We gathered in — what else? — a circle. A central cloth contained the World card in the centre and the four Aces in the four directions accompanied by a feather, a stick, a chalice, and a stone.
Bev’s three-card layout for being more compassionate with another person was very useful. It made me reflect on what I don’t know about someone that would help me see them in a kinder light, even when it’s difficult to do so. Bev also had us think of one quality we would like to express with ALL people and pick a card from our face-up tarot deck that most looked/felt like that quality. The Motherpeace 9 of Wands I chose reminds me to be rooted in my centre.
Monica offered us a thought-provoking talk on tarot ethics and the perceptions of our profession “out there”. People got fired up about ways that we might reframe or repair common misconceptions about the practice of tarot reading. I’m amazed that there are still incredibly archaic laws on the books rooted in superstition and a lack of separation of church and government. The discussion made me happy that I call myself a tarot consultant rather than a reader, because of my more interactive approach.
My own presentation consisted of remembering that all beings, human and more-than-human, possess innate intelligence of some form and that we can dialogue with that intelligence through the cards. The first activity is to draw a card from your deck to represent a being(s) who wants to communicate with you. Any subsequent cards are questions that the being(s) wants to pose and that you must answer honestly, creating a dialogue towards how you can be a more life-affirming presence on this planet. The second activity is to do the Gaian Layout that’s printed in Joanna Powell Colbert’s book that accompanies her Gaian Tarot.
Andrew offered us ways to use unseen cards in a reading. The activity we did was a wonderful way to read tarot interactively and to take the client out of hir usual responses. The client draws a card from the deck that only s/he looks at throughout the session. The reader/consultant doesn’t ever see it. The reader interprets each card in the layout, finishing each card with one or two questions that the client responds to from the perspective of hir private tarot image. Very cool! Andrew also said we can lay out an unturned card for the Mystery, one that only the reader sees to guide hir through the session, and much more.
Marilyn’s session was about court cards and was a great deal of fun. After brief role-played declarations in the group about whatever court card we received, we got to make our own collaged cards from cut-out pictures glued onto colourful backing. Then Marilyn laminated them for us and we got into pairs to read our partner’s new card. My reading partner, Gerald, said something about mine that delighted me: “This is a man who is at home where he is.” Very true.
We kept the events moving on time and people really enjoyed the prizes. Peter LeBlanc recorded the presentations, so who knows…there may be a CD or other audio form of the symposium in the near future. A huge bow of gratitude to Tatjana for providing the space for us. Another huge bow of gratitude to my fellow presenters. Yet another deep grateful bow to all who attended. Please come again!