Blog, Conferences

Readers Studio Day One

Note: The hotel didn’t offer wifi in the rooms and I didn’t want to pay the cost of having it there. Therefore these reports are being post dated.

In this installment, we learn about the first day’s activities at the Readers Studio, find out what my only purchase was, and just how many adjectives I try to use to describe this event.

I set my alarm for 6am, thinking that 3 hours of sleep would be alright and still give me enough time to get ready for a full day’s worth of learning. My body, of course, had other plans, for it woke me up around 7am. Ah, well, it still gave me time to shower, relax, enjoy some silence and eat a lovely breakfast with two other attendees. Meals at the Readers Studio remind me of being back at college where you just order what you want and sit where ever and with whoever. It was a nice change of pace from thinking I’d be eating alone for most meals.

Once I finished eating, I wandered around the lobby until I found the ballroom where we’d be spending most of the three days in. I checked in and received my badge, goodie bag and info packets, one of which had the words: “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL THE FIRST TIMERS CEREMONY” package. It was slim but contained something that was clearly not just paper. Thoughts of high school hazing ran through my head as I wondered what was in store for us first timers. I then entered the ballroom and selected a close spot so that I could be able to hear.

Then I meandered around the room and looked at all the wonderful vending items. My friend Aaron Rathbun was selling his wonderfully hand-crafted leather tarot cases, Beth Seilon was selling her hand made majors decks, Dan from the Tarot Garden was pushing decks, and there were tarot books galore from Schiffer and Llewellyn. The one thing that I had to see, however, was Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot. She had a few of the large sized decks with her and they were going for a special price. I looked over at the numbers each deck had and laid my eyes on #688.

That’s when I knew I was in trouble. Anyone who knows me well, knows that one of my lucky numbers is 88. Decks that have this number are special to my heart. Knowing that I was “in trouble” I gave into the hyper energy and purchased the deck. I have plans for this deck and as it was designed with the PacificNorthwest culture, people and energies in mind, it will become the focus of my tarot-based magical system. I squeed and ran off to sit back down and admire my new toy.

Opening Session & Foundation Reading
Wald and Ruth Ann greeted everyone and laid out the plan for the three days. They did a wonderful opening ceremony that called forth the elements and the spirits of tarot. Then they interviewed the three tarot teachers for the big classes, Corrine Kenner, Barbara Moore, and Caitlin Matthews who discussed what they were going to teach us and how this will help us grow as readers. I was particularly interested in what Caitlin had to say. She spoke about how we, as tarot readers, are in the edge of society and what this means. “We’re on the edge for a reason,” she said, “We’re there for when people run to the edge, we can help them.” We are keepers of the oracle and the spirits of the oracle are with us. It was a very potent thing to say and it solidified many of my life-long feelings about how I identify more as a being “on the edge” of everything and not really feeling apart of society in or out.

We then partnered up with someone and did the famous foundation readings. My partner was the awesome Paul Nagy who gave me a lovely reading about what this weekend held in store for me. In turn, I gave him a reading on a similar question. We took photos of the cards we used so that when we got back together on Sunday, we’d be able to quickly revisit the reading.

First Timers Ceremony
We were instructed to open our packets and remove the item inside. Inside my packet, was a stick with a small yellow bag attached. They had us stand up and put the “satchel” over our right shoulders. We were the fool, they said. We were just starting out on the Readers Studio adventures. We were then instructed to open the bag and pull out the tools. Inside each bundle were each Ace from the minor arcana. We then laid it out in circle, and were instructed to point to each Ace with our “wands” and repeat “tarot, tarot, tarot.” Then we were instructed to raise our wands high into the air, and point to the ground with our other hand and repeat, “tarot, tarot, tarot.” Once finished, we were deemed initiated magicians and ready to accept the wisdom of the readers studio. It was a lovely ceremony and left me feeling invigorated and ready for whatever was next. We had a lovely luncheon and I chatted with more and more people from all over the world.

Corrine Kenner–Astrology Masterclass
Astrology is one of the few areas of the occult that I have not really delved into yet. I know bits and pieces of astrology, enough to know what my friends say about things here and there. I know my sun sign, moon sign, and ascendant, but still really can’t fully interpret my chart. I haven’t gotten to The Tarot School’s lesson on astrology. So being introduced to astrology by Corrine Kenner was a treat. She broke the parts down in an easy to understand format and then had us fill out what each house meant on her worksheets. She then taught us some techniques to bring astrology and tarot together. I had a wonderful table for this session. An actual astrologer on my left, who not only answered some of the questions I had but also read bits and pieces of my chart which left me feeling amazed and in awe of how the universe’s energies play out. My partner and I found we work rather well as a leo-libra pair. And this reminded me of how I felt around my best friend Keli (who is a libra). I left this class feeling like I could interject bits and pieces of astrology lore into my readings and it made me want to work on what Corrine taught us a bit more.

Shawn Nacol–Finding Fortune
After dinner with friends, I headed downstairs to find my first Break out session. I decided, after hearing rave reviews from others, that Shawn Nacol’s Finding Fortune was the course to take. He taught us a wonderful method that could help find specificity in our readings. Being specific and helping my clients set goals and have a plan is one thing I strive to do in my own practice so having Shawn’s process and techniques will help focus my readings, and steer my clients to their success. One of the women at my table had brought a small deck of tourist cards that she found in the hotel’s lobby. After we did the homework that Shawn presented, she pulled the cards out and asked me to draw one. I pulled the Lion King card which she then read to me as if it were a card from a “real” tarot deck.
I’ve always loved collecting free cards like this and loved the idea that tarot can work even if it’s something that has been found. I’ll be adding a section on Found Tarot into my book, Experimental Tarot Techniques based off this idea.

Nightly Affairs
After the class, I met up with fellow West coasters Rose, Andrew, and Jude (who is the creator of The Tarot Game) in the lounge. We spent a few more hours chatting about tarot, life, and other random topics. Andrew and I had a rousing discussion on tv shows, zombies (and zombie plans). Around 1am I retired to my room to chat with kender, and hopefully find the sleep that was eluding me. Stay tuned to the next post in which I answer that question and tell you more!