There are those who claim that the virtual environment of the Internet is separating
us from personal interaction, but I disagree. In 1998 I got Internet access, and it did
not take long for me to do a search on “Tarot,” wondering if perhaps there might
be a website or two on this subject. I found (to my amazement and delight)
thousands of them instead. Actually, it was a bit overwhelming, but the door was
cracked open, and with only slight trepidation I poked my virtual head inside to find
a vast Internet party going on. Now mind you, sifting through that many websites is
no small task, so it was several months before I discovered that there are Tarot
conventions and symposiums out there -- real Tarot parties, by gosh! -- and I even
found one here in the Los Angeles area.
I immediately contacted Barbara Rapp (who, by the way, outdid herself this year
putting together a terrific LATS), but unfortunately, I was a few weeks late for the
Fall 1998 Los Angeles Tarot Symposium. But now I knew it existed, so I made plans
to attend the next LATS (luckily it was still a semi-annual event back then, so I did
not have too long to wait), and I have gone to every one since then.
When someone who has never gone to a Tarot event asks me what one is like, I
find it hard to give him or her a description that does it justice. But I know that “the
more, the merrier,” so in hopes of tantalizing them, I start by explaining what they
would find and do there.
First of all, there is a dazzling array of Tarot-related items for sale in the bazaar,
such as Tarot decks, books, calendars, and bags, as well as sundry items like
jewelry and incense. Luckily, this year at LATS I was able to restrain myself, buying
only one thing: the beautiful Robin Wood Tarot book, which I had been intending to
buy for some time anyway.
Of course, a more compelling feature of any Tarot event is the assortment of
workshops. At this year’s LATS some of the workshops were presented by
illustrious Tarot authors. For example, Isabel Kleigman talked about “Magical
Correspondences and Internal Confirmations”, Dr. Art Rosengarten discussed
“Tarot and Sand Play”, Ed Buryn demonstrated a “Blake Tarot Meditation”, Lon
DuQuette showed us “How to Magically Charge Your New Deck of Tarot Cards”,
and Tarot High Priestess Mary Greer presented her thoughts on two of the
thorniest Tarot topics in a discussion of reversed Court Cards.
Other workshops were presented by Tarot savants who may not have such easy
name recognition, but whose presentations were insightful and informative as well.
And as usual, the ever-vibrant Thalassa put on flashy shoes and a lively
presentation (“The Tarot Rumba Lounge”).
I realize, of course, that giving you a list of presenters and presentations is about
as enticing as giving you a menu from my favorite restaurant instead of taking you
there to taste the food for yourself. So to try to illustrate what I am raving about, let
me give you an example.
Melanie Oelerich’s “Tarot Fairy Tales and Myths” was a particularly delightful
presentation wherein she deconstructed a myth (the story of Persephone and
Demeter) into constituent parts, drew a card for each part, and worked with us to
use that card to gain insights into what that component of the myth meant for us.
But even that description fails to convey the sumptuous flavor of this presentation.
Between LATS and BATS I have attended several of Melanie’s workshops now,
and invariably she is amazingly creative with them. Using props, visual aids, and a
bit of theatrics, she puts on a delightful show as well as presenting her material in a
clear and interesting manner. But don’t take my word for it -- go to a Tarot
symposium and see for yourself!
However, while these aspects alone are worth the price of admission, there is
another, more valuable aspect of Tarot events such as LATS 2000: community.
There was a time when names like “Mary Greer” were just words on book spines
that I read with my head tilted to one side while I stood in the Tarot aisle in occult
bookstores. Such names were the distant stuff of legends, and little did I dream
back then that I would eventually meet Mary Greer at a Tarot symposium, let alone
get to know her personally.
Of course, I cannot promise everyone such illustrious personal contacts, but I can
promise people the opportunity to meet some wonderful Tarot-philes and to have
fun discussing with them something about which you feel passionate. After all, how
many of the people that you see in your everyday life will understand what you
mean if you tell them, “I had a real Tower experience yesterday”?
Tarot-philes share a common interest, speak a common language, and travel a
common path. Thus, Tarot events in general can be an extraordinary opportunity
to experience that common bond in person, and at LATS 2000 in particular, with
about 60 participants, there was a special synergy to the exchange of information,
ideas, and enthusiasm.
Once in a while someone asks me how I got interested in the Tarot. I explain that I
did not “get interested” in the Tarot; I fell in love with it, for truly that is how it felt
when I first encountered the cards. For me, going to Tarot events like LATS
expresses, celebrates, and reinvigorates that love, and it might for you too.
Note that for information about the next LATS, email Barbara Rapp.
Tarot Symposium Reports -- LATS 2000
James Ricklef -- Tarot and more ...