Monday, October 25, 2004

SFBATS in my Belfry...

Hermworld Industries regrets not producing a Friday Night Tarot Hoedown this past week, as we wanted to make sure we got to bed early enough to be sure to get to the San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium on time. The Hoedown will return this week.

I arrived on time on a rainy, windy, morning, the dreariness of the weather a counterpoint to all the fun that was about to be had. I noticed the people attending the event were a mix of ages and dress styles, and while being mostly women, there were quite a few men mixed in.

Pretty much the first thing I did when I got ther was get my shopping nailed down at all the vendors, so as to have plenty of time for schmoozing. They handed out lots of freebies, and what was purchased was gotten a good deal on, so the bank was not broken. Lady Nuit's admonishments were gladly heeded, as we do all things unto Her, and greatly is the Queen of the Night Sky to be praised.

The decks and books I got were these:
  • The Visconti-Sforza deck (won at a raffle)

  • Dorothy Simpson Krause's Millennium Tarot (a generous gift)

  • J. Philip Thomas' Tarot de Paris (classically beautiful)

  • Liber T (sort of a "Thoth clone" with strange "sci-fi" sort of pictures on the pips)

  • The Universal Tarot (A Waite clone)

  • Tarot and Astrology by Muriel Bruce Hasbrouck

  • Llewellyn's 2005 Tarot Reader (which I got autographed by Mary K. Greer and Thalassa)

  • The Book of Formation, or Sephir Yetzirah, translated by Knut Stenring

  • Tarot and the Magus, by Paul Hughes-Barlow

  • New Dimensions for the Cube of Space, by David Allen Hulse (which I got at a Bookmarket I saw on the way back to BART)

I was then greeted by Joseph Earnest Martin, creator of the Quest Tarot (and apparently, in some circles known of as "Lord of the Margarita Salt Flats", whatever that means.<%P) I schmoozed with him, Thalassa, and some other symposium goers, and then was happy to connect with a friend.

Then it was time for the speakers. Joseph Martin kicked off the conference, speaking on "Tarot Taboo--Breaking Tradition with the Cards" and of course, almost the first words out of his mouth were about love: "The more you feel love and compassion and having fun, the better!" This is a guy who oozes love and warmth from every pore. Anytime you mention compassion, my ears prick up, for some reason I really love that word.

His talk revolved around breaking out of the box of tradition that some have attached to the Tarot, which he illustrated with some acts of "scientific" prestidigitation, as well as donning an apparatus that had digitized text that moved from right to left (sort of like those messages on buildings in NYC)that said, "Everybody loves a Psychic BOY!!!"

Then Mary K Greer gave a talk. Being a person who loves fabric--I worked for three years in a fabric store--I couldn't help but admire the beautiful orange and green chiffon dress she wore. She spoke on the theme running through the Minor Arcana of the Rider Waite Smith deck, which, as she explained, were based upon the grail legends.

Her in-depth research of the complete works of A.E. Waite was evident as she waxed eloquent, punctuating her scholarly discourse with mystical wisdom, giving me to understand that Waite was not as stodgy and unspiritual as I had previously come to believe.

Then it was lunchtime, and I hung out with my friend. She very generously presented me with a Tarot deck. I'm going to have to think of a way of reciprocating.

Anywho, we barely had enough time to grab some fries at Mel's Diner and rush back to the Unitarian Church. Where it was time for a slide show given by
Holly Voley, who presented "A Field Guide to the Rider Waite Smith Tarot Deck." This was a deck collector's dream, showing the many different editions of the Waite deck. This could have given Stuart R. Kaplan a run for his money.

Then my friend and I helped J.P. Thomas set up a labyrinth in one of the rooms for a presentation called "Tarota" in which the querent is shuffled and the cards are drawn from a bucket. I walked the labyrinth and found it quite interesting. For helping, he gave me a beautiful art print which I later discovered was "Alchemy" a Tarot de Paris card that corresponds to Temperance.

Thalassa, the Mistress of Ceremonies, gave a talk entitled "Tarot: All Terrain Vehicle of the Soul" in which we learned that it's a metaphysical floor wax AND dessert topping! In her weird and wonderful way, she talked about how Tarot figured in the timeline of history, and about how the Universe is always communicating with us, and the Tarot is a great tool to help us listen.

Then the proceedings were almost over, but not before Thalassa re-emerged garbed in purple--purple wig, purple robe, etc. There was much hurling of Mardi Gras beads, and a raffle, a special bat dance, some more schmoozing, and then it was over. There were a lot more speakers and presenters, but many were running concurrently in different rooms, so I only got to comment on the ones I saw.

Much fun was had, some things were learned and discussed, goodies were gotten, friendships cemented, and my relationship with the Tarot as a tool was revivified. I really enjoyed being with this group of people.

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