Blog, Conferences

SF BATS 2010 Sunday Wrap-up

The conference didn’t start until 11a.m. on Sunday which gave me and Katrina a bit of time to laze around, pack, and find a coffee haus with wireless. We wandered around our neighborhood until we found a Tully’s Coffee shop. I had a lovely smoothie and a marble pound cake for breakfast. I also enjoyed having some wireless to catch up with my emails and random other postings.

Then we headed back to the First Unitarian Universalist Centre for the day’s proceedings. Unlike Saturday’s numerous sessions which are done in blocks, Sunday’s sessions were all done in one big room so we could all stay together. I think having the days varied in this way is great, so conference attendees don’t feel like they lose out on all the fun for both days.

Mike Hernandez, the “greatest oracle in the world”, gave a fun presentation on various ways of seeing the cards and figuring out what they mean. He compared tarot to any other language, like French. And gave pros and cons of having beginners start with books or start with intuition. I loved that he included the idea of using a thesaurus to find similar meanings from pre-existing keywords. Very innovative.

Mary Greer, of 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card (and other books) fame, spoke next about tarot and our birthcards and how the personalities fit in our daily lives. we were given many homework assignments to try out and she also gave us ways of using the idea of birth cards in with relating to others and the world around me. This got me thinking and I will expand upon this in future posts.

After a small break, Thalassa introduced the crowd to the panelists who would be doing a round robin talk on Tarot Mythbusting. This included Marcus Katz, Leisa RaFalo, Rachael Pollack, Dan Pelletier, and Emily Carding. Each one took on a myth and proceeded to bust the myth, allowing audience input to help bust or discuss the topic. Dan offered up a great magic show that left many of us laughing and dazzled by the brilliance. It left others, like Emily, asking “WTF just happened.” Finally, Emily Carding ended the panel presentation, and BATS, with a wonderful interpretive dance of tarot’s beginnings from Atlantis to Egypt.

I then spent the remaining time I had connecting with many other people, swapping business cards and wishing travelers well wishes for their trips back home. We had dinner at Tommy’s Joynt where Katrina treated me to beef BBQ, green beans, and Raspberry Cider. More lovely discussions ensued and we felt more grounded after the good earthly food. I spent some time thinking about how much I love Temporary Autonomous Zones where time flows differently and the world just seems to change for whatever event. The bonds I made with the people at BATS felt like we had always been friends and knew each other for a lot longer than just the two days.

I left San Francisco, and California, looking forward to reconnecting with my new friends, and building up new classes and ideas for the tarot community. I’m looking forward to what next year’s BATS will bring. Long live BATS!

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.

Blog, Conferences

One Week Till BATS

SFBATS LogoThe San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium (SF BATS for short) starts in just one week. This two-day event gathers tarot professionals, authors, and deck collectors from all over the world and gives us the freedom to learn new techniques, view new decks, and swap taroty goodness. I’m excited and nervous and have started running around gathering books, notebooks, and planning my outfits for next weekend. By this time next week I’ll be packed and awaiting kender to drop me off to the airport for my two day solo excursion.

I’m looking forward to networking with other tarot enthusiasts and sharing our love of tarot and the deck art. I’ll also be presenting two classes, so if you’re planning on attending BATS drop by one or the following:

Inspiring the Muse with Tarot, using a tarot deck to tell stories
2010 San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium (BATS)
Saturday, Time and Room Location TBD

Class Description: Inspiring the Muse takes writers through a whirlwind tour of the many ways they can use their decks to brainstorm stories, characters and settings using the pictures, symbolism, and structure of a tarot deck. Interested in writing short stories or books? Want to combine your passion for words with your love of tarot? Let author Jaymi Elford show you how you can put spark into your writing life. Bring your imagination, paper and pen, and your favorite illustrated tarot deck.

Wine Inspired Tarot
Saturday evening, exact time TBA, in the mixers event room
Class Description:This off-the-cuff presentation discusses the ways wine and tarot are alike. Learn the secret to drinking wine and reading for others at the same time (responsibly of course). I’ll also share with you the secrets to engaging your senses with both wine and tarot. Wine will be provided by the lovely Thalassa.

I plan on bringing my computer with me so I can blog about each day of the event when I get back to my hotel. I also plan on using the Twitter hashtag #SFBATS during the event occasionally to keep the fun going.

Blog, Classes, Conferences

Speaking at SF BATS

SFBATS LogoI’m excited to announced that I am a confirmed speaker for the 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium (BATS). This a two-day tarot event, hosted by Thalassa and the Daughters of Divination, is dedicated solely to the love of tarot. There’ll be workshops, a tarot bazaar, raffles, and of course, readers and tarot enthusiasts from all over the world. I attended last year and had an absolute blast!

Speakers this year include: Mary Greer, James Wanless, Teressena Bakens, Joseph Ernest Martin, Marcus Katz, Diane Wilkes, Ellen Lorenzi Prince, myself, Ms Rabbitt McMatthews, and many more who have not been announced.

My workshop teaches attendees how to use their tarot decks to inspire the storytelling muses in all of us. I’ll give attendants some ideas on how to craft characters, settings, and plot for their own stories. You can discover what I teach by visiting my class offerings page.

If you love tarot and live on the West Coast, you do not want to miss this annual event!