October was a big month for me: or, at least, it was the culmination of a year of anticipation, since I finally spoke at the U.K. Tarot Conference on the 14th, organised and hosted by Kim Arnold.
For U.K. based enthusiasts, the conference is the highlight of the tarot calendar. For fourteen years, Kim has assembled some of the best names in tarot. The two-day event, which I attended for the first time last year, has been graced by Rachel Pollack, Mary Greer and many acclaimed tarot authors, teachers, creators and readers. With this in mind, I was both flattered and nervous about treading the conference boards. I’d seen John and Caitlin Mathews, Ciro Marchetti and Juliet Sharman-Burke last year, so knew how high the bar had been set before I agreed.
I chose to speak about the Celtic Cross (the tarot equivalent of Marmite, a spread that is both loved and hated in equal measure). Knowing that many people find it either stuffy or complicated (or both), I set to change the general perception of the spread and shook it up with a new approach. My aim was for readers to make it a tool that worked for them and their personal reading needs.
I won’t lie: I was pretty scared before I took to the stage but, once I was handed the microphone, all of my planning and practice took over and my hour went by smoothly. The crowd was enthusiastic and welcomed me, which I am very thankful for. Afterwards, I signed Spirit Within postcards (since my decks had not made it to England from the printers) and met with some great tarot minds and voices.
The conference was a wonderful experience. Held at the Barbican Thistle in London, we were treated to many great workshops – from my friends, Kim Arnold, Andrea Aste, Chloe McCracken, Sasha Graham, Carrie Paris, Kirsten Buchholzer, Wicca Meier-Spring, Tero Hynynen and Joanne Watkins. It was a treat to mingle with wonderful tarot-people from all over the world – some known within the community and some not – and to read for private clients in a designated area of the conference centre. When my partner picked me up at the end of the Saturday, I was buzzing from the weekend I’d just experienced. There are too many people to thank, so I won’t mention names through fear of leaving anyone out. However, I can’t tell you how appreciative I am for all of the warm words and encouragement I received. I am not new to public speaking but I have never spoken to that many people for that length of time so, on a personal level, I overcame a big hurdle.
As many of you are aware, the release date of Spirit Within Tarot was put back – not just once, but twice. This was something I really didn’t want to happen. Of course, it has been frustrating for me but I realised that there was very little I could do about it. I chose to let things happen in their own time, rather than get stressed, and I am glad to know that people are now beginning to receive their decks. It seems [to me] that people in the U.S. are receiving theirs first and that customers in Canada are next. I can only imagine that Europe will start to get their preorders sometime after that.
The process for Spirit Within has been a long one and it is kind of surreal to see something that existed solely on my computer for so long now spread on tarot tables in the east of America. Every time I hear that someone has ordered or bought a copy, I am extremely touched and it is exciting to know that people are now enjoying my set.
Home from Home
Most of my work is online. I guess this is true for many businesses these days. I do the bulk of my readings and mentoring over Skype and FaceTime but, on occasion, I do receive clients in person. Sharing my home with family doesn’t always make it easy to accept bookings here, so I have invested in having a Summer House built in the garden. While this will enable clients to comfortably visit me for a session, undisturbed, it will also provide a new workspace for me to record videos and conduct my online calls in peace and quiet.
Building this office has taken time and it is not yet finished. To begin with, the old greenhouse that once stood there had to be dismantled and disposed of. I had to then find an electrician and builders. A concrete floor was laid and left to set before the house was delivered and put together. I now have to wait for the electricity to be connected and the whole thing needs to be insulated, so it will be warmer in the Winter and cooler in the Summer. Once that is all done, I can get involved in the fun stuff – painting the inside and filling it with all of my spiritual knickknacks.
I can’t wait to finally have it completed. Having a separate place to work, away from where I relax and the people I relax with, has been a longtime dream. When it’s all finished, you’ll be the first to know so watch this space!
Deck of the Month
My deck of the month isn’t a new one. Actually, this is not strictly true, since it has recently been released as a second edition by Shambhala, a mass market publisher. My copy, however, was a gift from a friend over a year or so ago.
The Fountain Tarot – a collaboration between Jonathan Saiz, Jason Gruhl and Andi Todaro – is a slick piece of kit. It houses, what I believe to be, some of the most haunting and evocative tarot paintings I’ve seen. Jonathan has brought traditional tarot to a modern audience respectfully but the deck is far from being just a clone, painted in a more refined style than its predecessors. It’s palette and characters are draped in emotion, joy and, in some cases, pain.
Having said all of this, The Fountain Tarot and I didn’t hit it off straight away. As with many of my most-loved decks, it took time and persistence. Take The High Priestess (above) as an example. In my experience of the card, I’d say that Jonathan’s version is one of the darkest and most intense I’ve seen. At first, I felt intimidated by her but, through using the set a lot for the last month, I can now see how she is the perfect version of the card for me. Getting in touch with our deepest emotions and contacting our subconscious is not an easy process. We must prepare our self, be patient and invest effort. The High Priestess sits at the gateway of our soul and reminds us of how sacred our true inner voice is. She’s a spiritual bouncer, only allowing us to gain entry if we take what we find within its depths seriously. In this sense, she is very much like The Fountain Tarot, which might appear tight-lipped to begin with but provides so much to the reader who invests time and consistent effort into their work with the seventy-eight images.
I have read with this deck professionally a number of times and it allows me to really walk within the landscape of my own inner emotions and dreams. It’s not a carbon-copy of the Waite Smith. It has its very own distinctive voice, which can work very closely with your intuitive and instinctual side if you allow it. If you try to simply read it as you would one of its traditional parents, the veil will come down and access will be denied. This is not to say that it is difficult to read with: it simply means that listening to its other-worldly whispers is key within reading. This is what makes it my deck of the month.
Card of Reflection
Of course, with the spotlight on The Fountain Tarot this month, it makes sense to reflect on a card from within its pages.
As we move nearer to the end of the year, we find the delicate Page of Cups before us. This gentle and quiet youngster examines his cup. It contains a raindrop, rather than a full rainstorm.
While this young man may be recognisable to you, his childlike curiosity and hunger for love and experience could well be the more curious and hungry aspects of yourself. As we begin to prepare for Christmas, social opportunities begin to arise and you may have your heart gently aroused. For the single amongst us, the fluttering of new romance may be in order. However, the start of friendship and connection are likely for us all. If you are wanting to share your emotions and joy with others, its time to open up your heart and let people know!
Spirit Within the Selfie
Now that Spirit Within Tarot is making its way across the world, I have begun to see posts about it pop up across social media. At the weekend it was in Brooklyn and, today, in The Netherlands. Of course, I am extremely interested in knowing who is supporting me, so if you’re on Instagram or Facebook, why not take a picture of yourself with your cards and tag me in it! I’d love to be able to thank you and would enjoy reposting some of your selfies with Spirit Within Tarot on my own feed.
Until next time, I wish you all a great month!
Card images from The Fountain Tarot by Jonathan Saiz, Jason Gruhl and Andi Todaro, published by Shambhala Publications.
If you are interested in a private reading or mentoring session with me on Skype or FaceTime, please contact me through my site at tiferettarot.com
Spirit Within Tarot can be purchased through Amazon or Schiffer Publishing