Monday, April 23, 2007

2007 Readers Studio Recap

Getting there was the hard part, but that was my fault. One act of stupidity set off a chain reaction that left me stranded at Reagan National Airport for almost six hours. I could have driven to New York in that time and probably should have in hindsight. I haven’t flown since before 9-11, so all the new security measures had me a little bewildered, but that wasn’t the problem. I went to the wrong airport. I thought I was to fly out of Dulles International Airport but my flight was departing from National. Oh well, I thought, no big deal. It’s a commuter shuttle and I’ll just catch the next one. No such luck. The next flight was full. At that point I knew I would miss the entire first day’s session of The Reader’s Studio. I wanted to get in my car and go home, but my bag had traveled ahead of me and was sitting in LaGuardia Airport. Nothing to do but make sure I got on one of the next two flights out. I made it on the next one, but by the time I arrived at the conference, the last session had just ended. I was in no mood for it anyway, so I went to my room, chilled and became human again, then went down to the lounge to see who I could find.

Corrine Kenner’s was the first familiar face I saw. I said, “I believe a Cosmopolitan is in order.” She jumped out of her seat and hugged me, “Soooo glad you made it!” she said and invited me to sit down with the others. Joanna Colbert, James Wells, and Ferol Humphrey among others were noshing and introductions were made. Too embarrassed to admit I had gone to the wrong airport, I simply said, “I missed my flight.” Oh, I 'fessed up later that weekend, and we all got a good laugh from it. I so appreciated that warm welcome. It helped ease me out of my aggravation and tension and brought me safely into the embrace of the tarot community. And what a wonderful group of people it truly is.

I checked in with Ruth Ann Amberstone and was greeted with, “We missed you!” You’d think we were old friends, but this was the first time I’ve met any of these wonderful people in person. Her husband and partner of The Tarot School, Wald, greeted me in the hallway as I left the conference room and again I felt welcomed by a familiar friend. That’s how the weekend went, time after time, people I had only communicated with online materialized before my eyes as faces and smiles and hugs.

By the way, the gig is up for you lurkers here. I met several people who are regular readers of 78 Notes to Self but who do not comment or participate. I want to see your names in the comments section, you hear me? It was so wonderful to know there are lots of you out there who feel you know me and I want to get to know you, too. For me, meeting other tarot readers, both professional and non, was the highlight of the weekend. Though the sessions were both informative and full of incredible insight and gave me lots to chew on over the coming weeks, connecting with so many of you in the tarot world was so very rewarding. It’s so easy to communicate with your own peeps, you know?

Getting up in time to make the 7:30 am Breakfast Roundtable with James Wells was a bit of a challenge for this night owl. Mornings? What are those? But I didn’t want to miss a single minute more than I’d already missed of this event. Some of my friends from Aeclectic Tarot were fantastic, prodding me to ask Dr. Elinor Greenberg for her notes from her session on Tarot Counseling I had missed the day before. They filled me in on what I missed. Marcia Masino was conducting the first session on Saturday and Mary Greer was scheduled for the afternoon. Robert Place was there selling his new Buddah deck as well as his prints. I came home with The High Priestess from his yet unfinished The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery. I really, really want a copy of his Alchemical Tarot, but it is out of print and if I can locate a copy the price is a bit too steep for my cheapness. Jeannette Roth was there from The Tarot Garden, too, with many hard to find gems. And I won a prize! Door prize drawings were held all weekend long generously donated by the vendors as well as others. The schwag from this event was amazing. I came home with two free tarot decks, the Cleopatra and the Witches Tarot, plus the 2007 Llewellen Tarot Reader, lots of helpful handouts on various subjects from publishing your own book to techniques of reading. After hours, you could sign up for private readings with the likes of Rachel Pollack, Mary Greer, Corinne Kenner, James Wells, Julie Cuccia-Watts. The sign up sheets were already full by the time I got there, but Corinne did a short read for me anyway. Being surrounded by over a hundred tarot readers, I wasn’t really worried about whether or not I’d get a reading that weekend.

We’d get into deep discussions late into the night. Being among others who more or less share my own quirky, eclectic, mish-mashed spiritual ideas brought a sense of comfortableness. I didn’t feel like I had to watch my P’s and Q’s, not that I would have anyway, but still, it's nice to not only be accepted but welcomed into a community. At one point, folks were sharing about how tarot had contributed to their personal evolution, a question prompted by James Wells. While it was an excellent open-ended question, the kind he is known for, I found myself disgruntled by the common response: that while predictive readings were “okay” most people who answered spoke about “moving beyond that” and primarily using tarot for personal growth. Ok, fine, and that’s all well and good, but let’s be honest, brutally honest, here. You’ve got the cards, you have the skills, you’re gonna ask the mundane questions, too. I didn’t answer the question because I was getting the itch to be an ass, so I went out for a smoke instead. My answer would likely have been, “Tarot hasn’t done a thing for me except contribute to the manifestation of my out of control Obsessive Compulsive Disorder."

I guess it kinda tweaks me that there's this distancing going on in the tarot world from divination and fortune telling. I get it, cranks and charlatans have given tarot a bad rap, but the tradition of fortunetelling tarot is valid as well. Rather than distance myself from it, I embrace it as part and parcel of the whole thing. Because I do want to know what might happen next week and if tarot can give me a glimpse into that, I'm all for it. It is a tremendous tool for personal growth, so it is certainly proper to focus on that, write, teach, and talk about that. But please. While there may be a few of you who seriously do not use the tarot for divination, most of us do and we shouldn't have to feel like we're scumming up the cards to do it. It's not immature tarot reading. It's just another facet of tarot reading.

Corrine took notes the entire time and has put them up on her blog, so I'm not going to repeat them here. Suffice it to say I was incredibly inspired and enjoyed every minute. I would recommend The Readers Studio to anyone interested at all in tarot. The Amberstones don't distinguish between beginner readers and more advanced, we're all put in the same classes, the same pool, and we all swim together. I recognize the cost of the event might be prohibitive for some, but as conferences go it's not that high. I didn't share a hotel room this year because it was my first time, but next year I will. I might drive up next time as well. Some folks wrapped the trip around other activities such as visiting family and friends in the northeast, too, so that helps. If it is even remotely affordable, do it next year. I'll see you there, and next time I'll be sure to go to the right airport so I don't miss a thing.

24 comments:

Corrine said...

You just didn't know how famous you already were in the tarot community!

Ginny said...

Well, I dunno about THAT, but on the way to the airport w/ Mary Greer, she asked me about myself so I shared about 78 Notes and she said she had just recently come across this site on a Google search for some research she had been doing. So I guess it's fairly visible. :)

lisa said...

I certainly understand your comments about using Tarot to answer 'the mundane questions'. When I first started to read Tarot I tried to follow the trend that Tarot 'does not tell the future' and it was a struggle for me. Once I accepted that it is perfectly fine to use the cards for divination when the needs arises, my experiences improved dramatically. As you say, it is one of the many facets of Tarot reading and study. And what a lovely faceted gem is Tarot.

Allen Garrow said...

Wow, it sounds like you had an incredible time! My wife and I need to attend something like that. I need to find something like that here in Nashville.
As always, I love reading your stories and adventures.
Blessings of light!
~A

Joanna said...

Ginny, it was great to meet you after following your blog and podcast. And I think there's room for every style of Tarot reading . . . sorry you felt marginalized. At Sunday's breakfast roundtable, the emphasis seemed to be on psychic flashes and predictions instead of personal growth. I missed about half of it, but I was struck by the contrast from the day before.

Brad said...

That's cool that you met my pal, Ferol Humphrey. She sometimes participates on my podcast, Texas Tarot. Available on iTunes...shameless plug! We record that in my dining room.

I own an Alchemical Tarot deck. It's probably my favorite deck. You know, you can get a new deck directly from Robert Place that is printed on art stock. HIs price is comparable to anything you get on eBay or wherever.

Ginny said...

It was fantastic meeting you,too, Joanna. No, I didn't feel marginalized at all, honest. The accepting atmosphere of the tarot community is exceptional. My comments probably reflect my grouchiness in the early morning rather than any condemnation of any form of tarot reading. And I missed Sunday's breakfast, so I wasn't aware of Rachel's topic.

Brad, Robert had his art decks for sale there at the conference, but the cost is prohibitive for me. I am not a deck collector, I would want to use the deck to death and would feel very skittish about paying hundreds of dollars for a deck. Ferol is a delightful woman and I felt like I'd only scratched the surface with so many wonderful people there. So many gifted folks in one room, it's really just a banquet for the soul to be able to talk to some.

Allen, I don't know of any conferences in the South, but if you go to meetup.com you may be able to find a tarot meetup in your area and if not, you and/or your wife could maybe start one!

Lisa, as Joanna said, there's room for all manner of reading, so you're right: tarot is a lovely faceted gem.

Anonymous said...

BrianKeegan aka coyoteblack

to lazy to make an account
it was great meeting you

I enjoyed all the classes most important the people rocked

Ginny said...

Hey Brian! It was GREAT to meet you, too! And yes, the people were the BOMB! :D

Anonymous said...

Ginny, Sorry I didn't meet you during the "2007 Readers Studio" Have listened to you on the podcasts from Tarot Connection with great interest. Have used your insights in my readings and classes, as well. Maybe next year we will connect. Thanks for you website.

David

Ginny said...

You would think three days is enough time, but it isn't! Not to meet everyone you want to meet anyway. I do want to be there next year, so hopefully we will then.

BillJV said...

Hiya Ginny,

Wow, sorry you had such trouble getting there, but I'm glad you had a great time! I really wanted to attend. I thought it might happen because of a business trip to NY, but it got postponed until next week so that didn't work out.

Hopefully next time I might be able to get there! :)

Bill V.

Anonymous said...

Ginny...You are so right on about the "evolution" of tarot. It's evolution is all well and good as the tarot has numerous facets. But in the real world of reading the cards, which I have done for many years, what do people really want to know? The future, of course. Ginny, you've got the best blog on the net!

Anonymous said...

Ginny,
I just wanted to say I love your website! You've got such a funny, light hearted but deeply spiritual way of the understanding the tarot. I myself am still learning and i've learned so much from reading your articles. Keep up the awesome work!
Sincerely,
Melissa

Ginny said...

The Reader's Studio is growing every year, so next year is bound to be even more wonderful, so yes, Bill, do try to make it. You will not regret it.

Re: tarot and evolution -- you're right about what clients want to know! There are readers who don't read that way and who develop a clientèle that go to them for counseling using the cards and that's fine. As a friend of mine used to say, "All God's chillun got a place in the choir." What I was primarily disconcerted about was that it seems that within the tarot community it's not politically correct to say, "Tarot is a tremendous fortunetelling tool!" It's as if that's passe and the assumption seems to be that we will, as we mature as a reader, move beyond that. I don't agree. I had a reading recently with a pro reader who commented, "I've moved beyond the Rider Waite" implying the RWS is a "beginner" deck. Hello? The RWS deck is incredibly rich and I doubt anyone can truly "move beyond it." They certainly may find another deck that resonates better with them, but I guess I just don't agree with a stepladder or hierarchical view of growth. I, too, began with the RWS and then moved to other decks, and reading with other decks very much expanded my ability to see various things in the cards, but I still use the RWS a LOT. Evolution, I believe, is not a one way or stair step path. It's a bit more convoluted, spiral-y, and fluid.

Anonymous said...

The thing I like about the Reader's Studio is that these things can be discussed - empowerment readings vs. predictive readings - RWS vs. others. Last year we had a frank discussion about whether tarot has gotten TOO psychological in nature and gone way past its roots. This is one of the few places I feel we can have those discussions frankly and openly - so if you ever feel like challenging something someone says - go right ahead (respectfully of course).

I think that's what we all go to this event for, is to get pushed out of our normal reading comfort zones :) I mean, how many times have you heard people say - you shouldn't do counseling with tarot reading! Well, people can and they do - trained and untrained alike. Just having a session on it was ground-breaking.

I'm really sorry I missed it this year - budget problems. Hope to make it out next year! - Teresa

Mimers said...

Well Ginny, this means I am not a lurker here anymore. It was really great meeting you at the Reader's Studio. I have been enjoying your blog for months now and particularly enjoyed your series on the numbers. It was very helpful for me because my reading style is primarily intuitive. Your posts on the numbers gives me a lot more to work with in a reading.

~Amy

Brian said...

I thought the RWS to shalow for a bit untill the readers studion when someone pointed out like 5 things from the 10of Swords card that I missed that pretty much changed the meaning from stabbed in the back to facing ones own emotions and surrendering.

seems nothing in the RWS is what it appears like at first glance.

also the gypsey fortun teller verse the deep spirtual debate( ok I am exeratteing a bit) thing was going a bit far

you can do DIVINation with out the DIVINE I think they are related
I do get agraveted when outsiders view the tarot as ONLY a fortunetelling device .

Ginny said...

I agree, Brian, that tarot is so useful for different things, so while it by no means is only useful for fortunetelling and I agree that it is very limiting to ascribe only one use for the cards. Which really was my point, that it is valuable for a variety of uses.

As for divining without the Divine, absolutely. Many readers do not invoke any sort of deity when reading and rely on their own subconscious and/or collective unconscious for divining.

Hey Amy! Yeah, I would say that my reading style is a mixture of intuitive and "book learnin'" I tend to draw on all of what is available to me, as I think all readers do. Sometimes it feels appropriate to apply number symbolism, while other times the card is just clearly speaking intuitively. It was SO great to meet you finally, hanging out on AT for a couple years and now putting a name and face to a screenname is really the best.

It would be great to meet you Teresa, and I agree about the openness and acceptance at the Reader's Studio and in the tarot community as a whole, but particularly there as such a wide range of approaches are represented and discussed.

Mary Collin said...

Hi Ginny,

The 3 days flew past and I can't believe I'm back here in Birmingham, England!!

Sorry we didn't get more time to catch up but hopefully we will catch up on one of the teleconference calls in May.

I now have your site in my favourites. I need to go update my livejournal.com site - I'm on as tarotacademy :-)

Great event and I'm definitely booking for next year and bringing more Brits with me!!!

Mary Collin

Ginny said...

Hi Mary! So glad you stopped by! Yes, I too wished we had more time to get to know one another better at the Readers Studio, but I do intend to get on the teleconference calls. Looking forward to next year. :)

Carolyn said...

Greetings, Ginny!

Well, your admonishment for us to stop lurking really worked. There is quite a lively exchange going on here.

It is the "difference" between fortune telling and reading for self-knowledge/empowerment or spiritual development that I am still reflecting on days after the Studio. I guess by putting differnce in quotes, I am showing how this dichotomy doesn't feel right or neccessary, to me at least. The structure and history of the Tarot has have rich streams of both ways of using the cards along with lots of varations in the middle and being a game played just for fun (I like to remember that when I get too serious about the tarot!).

I've been teaching Tarot at a local shop and using the 4 suits with their elemental energies as the organizing structure for the class. I weave the Major Arcana in, but it is these "minor" cards that have been inspiring me. The every day events of life as suggested by the pictures on the minors seem to be the real testing ground for us human creatures. We are tested and respond and grow and slide back and try again. There is no difference between this work and the spiritual work. So is there a difference between fortune telling and empowerment/spiritual readings? Perhaps only if we make one and might we not want to live an integrated life instead? So these are some of my musings. Thanks to you for prompting the dialogue here!

It was good to meet you in person even if only briefly as you arrived. I'm looknig forward to exploring more of 78 Notes to Self.

Be well,
Carolyn Cushing

kat said...

Is it ever held on the West Coast???

Paul Nagy said...

well it's well past a week and I still feel the good vibes from my time at the Reader's Studio. My notes to the event are at the Tarot.Meetup.com Message board for Living Tarot
http://tarot.meetup.com/94/messages/boards/view/viewthread?thread=2375189&pager.offset=60

Good meeting you.

Paul Nagy

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