This is the third and final installment on the Tarosophy conference I attended almost two weeks ago. It focuses on Day Two of the gathering created by Tali Goodwin and Marcus Katz.
In addition to antique tarot decks coming back into our community’s awareness, a non-tarot oracle deck is making a comeback in certain quarters. The 36-card Petit Lenormand pack seems to be hot right now, too. One of its great advocates and practitioners is Rana George whose workshop we attended on Sunday morning. Rana took us on a whirlwind tour of reading pairs, trios, and a traditional spread called the Grand Tableau that employs all 36 cards. She recommended learning one system of Lenormand really well (use a journal), then do what we want with it. Rana said that reading Lenormand cards is primarily about combinations and context. Questions should be as specific as possible, including those about time frames. She suggested to keep things simple; don’t try to make more of the cards than is there. Rana’s use of well-known novels/stories as reading examples brought the method to life. I came away with a fresh appreciation for this deck and the ways in which it can be used.
The next session was offered by Carrie Paris. It was a profound experience of what tarot counselling can be. Carrie showed slides of pieces of art and of tarot cards from the Thoth deck and invited us to relate to them on four levels: literal, allegorical, inner reflective, and mystical. In pairs, we described images, found pieces of our own story in them, and contemplated the insights. Some of us performed what Carrie calls the sacred gaze, a moment of simply being with the other person in a way that is beyond words and allows the tarot-inspired insights to really take us to a spiritual level. This experience of the Strength card’s energy was very moving. It was fascinating to see and hear that Carrie often has clients create mandalas and altars based on their tarot consultations. She also created audio-video pieces that she sends to clients. These involve tarot images, other visual art, and music and poetry being read aloud. She invites people to listen to the poetry as if an aspect of themselves is reciting it to them.
During the breakout sessions, I attended Ellen Lorenzi-Prince‘s “finding your tarot genius” workshop. Ellen based this on ancient ideas of what one’s genius is. For some, it was a spirit that remained with you for life. For others, a capricious being who could come and go at will, sometimes inspiring you, sometimes not. The guided journeys through which Ellen led us were beautiful. We got to meet our original selves, the selves we were at the very beginning of time, the selves who are also our geniuses. For all of these aspects of genius, we alternatively drew cards from the face-down deck and consciously selected cards that we held dear. I narrowed all my cards down to XXIV, The Ring (Wholeness) from the Tarot of the Nine Paths. To conclude, Ellen asked us to gather in a circle, hold hands, and state our name and what our tarot genius is. Based on the card I worked with most, I stated, “My name is James and my genius is commitment to wholeness!”
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The conclusion of the conference, with Marcus Katz at the helm, was enjoyable. We took part in a simple ritual involving the Rose and Key theme that had been playing out all weekend (and for two years prior), then Marcus revealed a couple of wonderful upcoming projects. The Tarot of Everlasting Day, a deck to be released in three stages, will be completed over the next eight years. And a book on the Golden Dawn and the tarot, illustrated with many original manuscripts, will be published in the not-too-distant future.
Our “survivors’ dinner” at Razzoo’s Cajun Café was great fun as was the night-time conversation at the hotel. Then it was off to bed to make the plane ride home next morning. Such a satisfying tarot immersion. Here’s to the next one!
Image: XXIV, The Ring from the Tarot of the Nine Paths by Dr. Art Rosengarten.