Fun at BATS!

I had such a wonderful time at the Bay Area Tarot Symposium on Saturday, and I’m kicking myself for not having taken photos to post here.

If you haven’t been, imagine walking into a huge room filled with tarot enthusiasts and vendors selling baubles and all kinds of tarot goodies. You pick a random tarot card from a cauldron—a personal theme to touch upon throughout the day, you reach into another cauldron and pick a random deck—a generous gift from Lo Scarabeo, and you pour over the program trying to decide which of the two to four workshops you will attend each hour.

Below are the workshops I settled on. They were all fabulous.

First there was Joseph Martin, creator of The Quest Tarot. Joseph started by passing around various psychology/self-help books he was reading. He encouraged readers to assign their clients good, relevant books as homework. He then taught us The Lovers Weave Spread that he created. The cards are literally woven so that they lock together. Check out the photo below—No tape! I swear!


Next I attended Mary Greer’s fascinating talk on Waite and the Secret Tradition. (Mary’s talks are one of the things I most look forward to at BATS each year.)

Then I attended Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s workshop, “Full Moon Fire Magic,” which gave me a chance to use the cards to reflect on my inner demons. There was a healing exercise followed by a guided meditation. She also gave us new, thought-provoking correspondences for each of the suits:

  • Swords—Fear
  • Wands—Anger
  • Cups—Grief
  • Pentacles—Shame

Next I went to deck collector Holly Voley’s presentation. She started by giving tips on what to look for in early editions of the Aquarian Tarot and the Morgan-Greer Tarot. The heart of her presentation  focused on Rider Waite Smith clones. She put out a call to deck creators to come up with new interpretations that challenge us. She cited Wheel of Change Tarot, Shining Tribe Tarot, Tarot of the Crone and Voyager Tarot as examples of original decks.

Next I attended a workshop by my dear friend, Carole Pierce, who took us on a wonderfully literary exploration of  W.B.  Yeats’ poems of the tarot. Carole was worried that her attendance might be low, but the room was packed and the discussion was inspired! Someone commented at the end, “We need another hour!” Indeed!

Carole and I both were disappointed that her workshop was being offered at the same time as Leisa ReFalo’s workshop on Tarot Florigraphy. We drooled over the description, and I’m hoping she’ll do a Tarot Connection podcast on it. I did, at least, get a chance to say hello to Leisa and ask her about The Tarot Connection, which seemed to have been on hiatus. I was delighted to hear that she had posted a new episode that very morning. Be sure to tune in here.

Carole and I had to flee to a party for the staff at the school where we teach and missed Thalassa’s closing remarks and raffle prizes. BATS continued all day on Sunday with a panel which focused on the work of Pamela Colman Smith, in honor of the Rider Waite Smith deck’s centennial. Was sorry to have missed it.

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