Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Field notes Denver Tarot Con 2015

Welcome to the highlights of the notes that I wrote down during the 2015 Denver Tarot Convention (put together by the Tarosophy Tarot Association, the Denver Tarot Meetup, Isis Books & Gifts, and the Althea Center for Engaged Spirituality).

When I first heard about the Tarot Con from Joy Vernon, a lady member of the Tarot Blog Hop circle, I debated whether or not I should go. On one hand, my business is bleeding red ink all over the floor at the moment (it is what happens when you put your business on hold for a couple of years to deal with your own personal problems); on the other hand, part of my business had drifted into Tarot when I started to create a Tarot deck all of my own. In the end, the decision boiled down to Lon Milo DuQuette and how much room I had on my credit cards.

(If my field notes make no sense, remember that none of my notes ever make any sense...because they were done by me. I am more of a clown than a reliable source of information.)

The keynote speech (Tarot comes out of the closet!) was by James Wanless, who describes himself as a Tarot missionary. My notes include "Hero's journey as a business plan" and "Four aces equal [the] tools of success." One of the points of the keynote address was that Tarot is due for a breaking out, probably as some business person decides to use Tarot as one of their major business tools for increasing creativity and team building.

(One of the points that he made was that the current generation is not really into the Tarot--this point was disagreed with by some of the people I talked to afterwards. And in fact, I disagree with it because my experience is that younger people are very much into the Tarot; it is just that the older generation tends not to be on the same social media platforms as the younger students.)

Renna Shesso, in her lecture Review, Refresh, and Re-Inspire, noted that learning symbolism of the Rider/Waite/Smith Tarot deck is like learning "Latin of the Tarot," thanks to the number of Tarot decks that are based on the artwork of the RWS deck. Her lecture was full of hints for what to look for when examining a Tarot deck, and key themes for the various Major Arcana. (I am too lazy to share the majority of my notes--I have several pages worth.)

I skipped Games Night with Sherry Shone...because it was the same night that I performed my Open Full Moon ritual for Hearthstone Community Church. The OFM ritual is part of my ongoing Golden Dawn inspired Wiccan rituals project.

Mary K. Greer talked about the art history of the Fool card in her lecture, The Fool's Progress. My notes from this lecture are simply a shambles. But my readers might be interested to know that A. E. Waite had an eidetic (photographic) memory, and wrote over fifty books about the Secret Tradition.

And oh yes, I attended Lon Milo DuQuette's lecture, The Lesser Arcana--Keys to Specific Dates...just so I could say that I shook the hand of the man. I do not need to share most of my notes--the majority of the technique can be put together using his published books--most people are not like me (I sometimes need someone to point out the perfectly obvious). But there are three statements that I would like to share: "A Kabbalistically ordered Tarot deck [trumps 0 to 21, suits in order, etc.] reflects the divine consciousness and a perfectly ordered universe." and "A shuffled Tarot deck represents the imperfect perception of the perfect universe." and "A good Tarot reading is a snapshot of an issue, complete with time and place."

On Saturday, I did the Gypsy Tea Party with Shaheen Miro...because I am the lad that can't get any divination system to work if I don't have a real living human being talk me though the first steps of the system. The teacup reading I got (the symbols leaping out at me) might be a message that the work project that I was giving the least priority to might actually be the one that I need to slip into the first slot (the novel with Harmic Burrows, my ogre taxi driver).

I also attended Beth Seilonen's workshop, Make Your Own Lenormand....again, this is because I, for some reason that I have never figured out, need to have the presence of a live teacher to buy my way into a new divination system. I will share some of my artwork from that workshop in a later post after I scan a couple of the cards I made...because I like to brag about my artwork (I am a petty little man--what of it?).

My notes from Austin Coppack's lecture, A Deck of Faces: The Hidden History of the Pip Cards, ironically are a shambles despite the fact that I was thinking about doing an article for the Winter issue of the Hermetic Tablet on the decans and the 36 small cards. One thing of note that I did not know was that at various times, it was illegal to have a copy of the Pictatrix. Coppack also mentioned that the Tarot plus the decans equals the RWS Tarot deck, providing several examples to prove his point. He also mentioned that the decans are the situations that we struggle with. (He also mentioned a project that he considered doing that I am attempted to do myself--hey! I know that I am a stealing artist; it is one of my strong suits.)

Had a good time at the Saturday night banquet.

Sunday started off with the Tarot mini-field trip. Each one of us had pulled a Tarot card, and we were sent forth to try to take the perfect photograph to represent the card we pulled.

This is what a Tarot hunting party looks like.
This is the picture that I took for the Tower card. 
The backside of the church...being eaten by modern progress.

In my case, I had pulled the Tower card. I went with the group that went downtown to the Sixteenth Street Mall. I actually knew exactly what building I was taking a picture of, thanks to the fact that I used to work downtown on the Mall. There is this one little church which is surrounded (literally) by a modern skyscraper.

After lunch on Sunday, I attended the Deck Creators Panel. (I am claiming this convention as a business expense for a good reason.) Besides learning some very useful information about the business side of Tarot deck creation, I also learned a delightful drinking game called Miraculous Sentence (a Tarot based Mad-Lib)...which I have used to create some odd-ball statuses for Facebook.

Marcus Katz mentioned at some point around this time that A. E. Waite didn't believe in fortune telling, and called his five months of work with Pamela Colman Smith "a delightful experiment"; furthermore, there is no evidence that PCS ever did a single Tarot reading, yet their Tarot deck became our baseline.

(At various times during the convention, there were shown pictures of places that PCS based her cards on---interesting stuff...must buy book, Secrets of the RWS Deck, someday.)

The final lecture that I attended was Brand New! Practical and Profound Tarot Reading, given by Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin. They talked about how to use the Tarot to study the Kabbalah, and introduced us to a Tarot spread that I can't wait to find an opportunity to use.

The closing address included a wonderful poem, The Pocket, written by the founder of the Denver Tarot Meetup, Scott Womack.

Overall, I had a great time, and the convention was well worth the time and money. Picked up some valuable techniques and made a few new friends.

1 comment:

Joy Vernon said...

Hi Morgan! Thanks for the great write-up. You attended a lot of the things I missed, so your notes filled in some gaps. It makes me wish it wasn't all over so fast!