Blog, Conferences

SF BATS 2010 Saturday Wrap-up

Okay, so the hotel didn’t have free wifi like I was hoping. So I’m playing a bit of catch up on my BATS thoughts. I stayed at The Hotel Majestic, which has been known to be haunted. The place was very quaint. Very Victorian in style and the room was small and cozy. We even had a claw-foot tub in our bathroom. This was a surprise for me because I had never gotten to use one. After a light slumber on Friday (alas, no ghosts visited us), I woke refreshed and ready to dazzle BATS.

My roomie, Katrina, and I trekked down two blocks to the First Unitarian Universalist Centre to set up her booth and introduce ourselves to Thalassa and the other wonderful Daughters of Divination hosts. Things were a bit crazy that morning but we settled in between James Wanless and Thena MacArthur, the creator of the Shamanka Oracle. James kept us entertained with stories and we also had fun watching Joseph Ernest Martin put up his fabulous tarot “Bordello” booth. I was also able to spend some time chatting with Leisa RaFalo and a few other tarot peeps who set up shop around the main room.

The gates opened at exactly 10 a.m. and a steady stream of tarot enthusiasts streamed in. I’m constantly amazed by the sheer numbers and variety of personalities that tarot draws. Many people wandered to our booths and I was able to hook a few people into coming to my Inspiring the Muse with Tarot class that had been scheduled in the late afternoon.

Thalassa greeted the hordes with her usual panache. She’s so fun to watch and I love her flair. Once announcements were over, the real fun began with the breakout sessions. I stayed in the Main Hall and listened to Joseph talk about how to protect ourselves from the crazies and how to deal with energies that aren’t in sync with our own worlds. I received a few handouts that included a great Protection spread and a spell to help protect our lives.

Diane Wilkes, of Tarot Passages fame, was up next and she gave a lovely presentation on how to select decks that you will love and treasure for years to come based off a small questionnaire that she handed out in the beginning. She also helped people understand the basics of writing reviews of tarot decks and guided participants on crafting a review of their own.

Lunch consisted of a few pieces of cheese, a hard boiled egg, and a pasta salad sandwhich. During the break I watched our booth for a bit and talked to various people who came up with an interest in both Katrina and I. I also got to chat quite a bit with Thena about her oracle deck.

When the festivities started back up, I went to watch Marcus Katz speak. He came all the way from London and I was curious to see what information he had up his sleeve. I was very impressed with his presentation on being a living oracle. Thanks to him I’ve spent a few dollars more on some new books, as well as have many new tricks to try out with my deck.

Katrina’s workshop on Transformative Tarot Counseling was up next and while I’ve heard much of this talk before, I stayed to assist her with the presentation and take some photos. Since her workshop was before mine I spent most of the hour trying to calm myself down. I got very nervous and focused on breathing exercises to keep me calm. I skipped out of her room 5 minutes early so I could gather my thoughts, review my notes and get out all the fun items I brought to my workshop.

And then… at 3:45… it was my turn. I had an almost full classroom of 20+ people who were captivated by what I wanted to share. According to many people who came up to me, they loved my presentation. I was entertaining, highly energetic, and well organized. I took my students through creating a quick plot idea for a story, crafting characters, and then showing them how the tarot can help them figure out the next step of their writing career. I answered questions, helped out those who got stuck on some of the exercises, and got blown away at the creativity that room generated. I left my session feeling more confident than anything.

The learning sessions done for Saturday, the day’s activities ended with the Raffle of Wonderous Prizes. Katrina ended up winning a tarot deck; while I spent some time chatting with Marcus and Tali. Then we broke everything down and prepared for the Mixer event later that evening. During the downtime, I spent more time connecting with people and chatting about tarot topics. I spoke to “the world’s greatest Oracle”, Mike from Seattle no less, and he reminded me that if I wasn’t worried about speaking before an event that it might mean that I’d slip up and make more mistakes. What a great oracle indeed!

My Tarot and Vino talk went alright. As it was in the same room as the Mixer, the volume of noise made it hard to really present my ideas as clearly and loudly as I could. I had a small gathering of about 10 interested people and they all seemed keen on what I had to say. I know now that I need to flesh out this class a bit more and present it in a smaller, noise controlled setting.

Other than that, I spent the rest of the mixer chatting with two wonderful ladies about writing, tarot and life. I also got to talk more with Leisa, and Stephanie Pui-Mun Law who was selling her artwork that day. With the mixer wrapping down, I moved over to another table to chat more with Marcus and Tali and Katrina.

Then our little group meandered through the streets of San Francisco towards The Holiday Inn and Thalassa’s room where she held an after party of sorts which was a blast. I chatted writing, RPG games and iPhone apps with Andrew, website design and editing withRoseRed, and even got introduced to a fun new way of playing Go Fish with tarot (I’ll be writing up a separate post about this soon). Saturday night wrapped up around 11ish and I made my way back to the hotel feeling accomplished and well-fed with taroty goodness.