Blog, Conferences

Lessons Learned from The Readers Studio 2012

I’m home and finally had a few minutes to spare between tarot readings and putting the house on the market to post my lessons learned. When I go to a conference, I try and keep a running list of things I have learned. This post represents some thoughts on what I learned over the past 5 days in New York with 180 other tarot enthusiasts at the Readers Studio.

  1. Boundaries are important. Normally when I arrive to a conference or go to a festival, I stay within the area that the event happens in. This year, I had to leave the hotel to head into the city and it broke the Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ) and my mind. It sucked my energies and sorta threw me for a loop that I wasn’t ready for.
  2. James Wells presented a class on how to handle grief and do grief readings. A lot has happened to me and my PDX community over the past six months, and while I thought I dealt with the grief, this reading taught me otherwise. James gave us a system to deal with grief and not only can I implement it in myself, but I can share it with clients.
  3. There are no silly questions. During a Curveball Spread reading, I learned that the cards will answer to even the silliest of situations. I did a reading on my lost water bottle AND my two broken necklaces and got really silly but straight forward answers. As Thalassa says, “TWS. This stuff works!”
  4. Kindred spirits are awesome. Usually I’m the only bright flame in a room; the energizer bunny; the one who never sleeps. Well this year, I found two kindred spirits in Shari and Shawn. I no longer need to fear my power and feel like i’m the only fiery wacko out there.
  5. Speaking of Shawn Nacol, I learned a lot from his class on The Roots of Tarot. Part elemental working, part alchemy, his class crystallized a lot of the things I’ve been exploring on my own with my alchemy element working over the past year.
  6. James Wanless taught us a whole person profile reading that shows how we can manifest our best lives by examining the parts of our body as a whole. This reading will help me spot what I am missing to bring things into balance, while utilizing my strengths. I look forward to playing with this technique more.
  7. Upon hearing three presentations from three powerful male tarot readers, I was pleasantly surprised at the depth they took us in. Many of my peers engaged in conversations about the differences between an all-male panel, and an all-female panel (which was last year). My insight to this was that last year the women presented topics that we could go home and dive deeply in. But this year, the guys took us deep and sort of bombarded us with awesome info.
  8. Finally, I learned that Shari and I cannot share the same space for longer than a few minutes. Chaotic things happen. Good things. Silly things. It’s a energetic rush, but our crazy is just a bit too much for others. Even the infamous Wald Amberstone feared our combine powers (sorry Wald!).

Thanks for sticking out with all these long posts. I hope you enjoyed attending The Readers Studio vicariously through my writings. In 2013, the Amberstones promise to push the boundaries of tarot and the conference in new and exciting ways. Save your monies now and grab your seat for RS2013. You won’t regret it.

Blog, Conferences

Readers Studio Day Four

The last day of The Readers Studio is filled with interesting tarot-filled news, a revisit of the Foundation Reading and tearful good byes. Woke up and had a wonderful breakfast with my roomies (Drew and RoseRed). Dan Pelltier joined us and it was fun geeking out about video games and punk rock music of the 70s. My roommate for this evening, Theresa Reed, texted me and I moved my stuff into her luxurious accommodations for this evening. Can’t wait for our pajama party. (Thanks Theresa, you ROCK)

Normally, the first bit of the day is to revisit the Foundation Reading and see it with all the new information that you have learned through the past two or three days. Unfortunately, RoseRed, Drew, and I had a booth to pack up so the revisit to our readings are postponed for a later Skype video time. Sold some more things as we packed everything up so our loads were a lot lighter.

The next session was a cool Tarot Incubation session where 6 stations got set up. And at each table there was a different topic to discuss from Growing a Tarot Business to Tarot as a Performing art. I’m low on energy, feeling sad for the end (as it usually happens to me), so I didn’t participate. As my friend Shari says, “I did my own thing and was a rebel.”

We broke for lunch and hotel check-outs. I watched all our gear while Rose and Drew braved the streets of NYC once again to mail boxes back to the West Coast. During this brief period of quietude I took the time to blog and work on my projects. They returned and treated me out to a spot of lunch before the final events of the day which they didn’t join for due to their flight. Bidding them a tearful good bye I rejoined the rest of the participants in the ballroom for the final few hours of the day. Needing a boost of energy, I opted to sit next to Shari who didn’t disappoint.

We were treated to the first 10 minutes of the new movie Tarology, an indie flick that discuss Tarot as seen through the eyes of Enrique Enriquez. The film includes interviews with many of our tribe, and every time someone’s name and face appeared on scree, we all cheered. Once our preview completed, we were treated to a special Q&A session with Enrique and the film’s creators.

Ending the convention was the annual certificates and announcements for speakers next year. Due to all the clapping and cheering I almost didn’t receive my certificate. Time to start brainstorming ideas on how to boost the signal for hearing my name at future conferences and festivals. Congrats to Ferol Humphrey, Nancy Antenucci, and Major Tom Schick for being chosen to give the 3 master classes at RS2013! Thursday’s pre-class has been turned into a one day tarot and counseling mini-conference.

Round two of the hugathon happened as those who remained said goodbyes. Theresa and I went to our room to rest and rejuvenate before heading back down to the lobby for a special dinner. I got to be her date as we double dated, then triple dated with Barbara, Lisa, and Mike Hernandez. Once dinner finished, we headed back to the hotel to end the night with a wine nightcap, and cupcake cutting ceremony that mimicked our last year’s big win during Barbara’s class. (mmm cuppycake awesomeness). Theresa made sure I was in bed by 10:30 and I slept peacefully until my 4am wake up call to return to normality.

I had such a good time this year, it was an epic experience. I cannot wait to tell everyone about my experiences with the classes, stories, and people I am so utterly in love with. Thank you Ruth Ann, Wald, and all the volunteers who make this event as special and wonderful as it is. Looking forward to seeing what next year offers!

Blog, Conferences

Readers Studio Day Three

Saturday at The Readers Studio is usually the fullest day. I was up at 7a.m. and didn’t sleep until 3 a.m.. I learned some amazing new alchemical techniques, a new spread, discovered a kindred spirit, and chatted my way to a hoarse throat. Click on the read more to find out all the details.

I realized this morning when I woke up that the bum feelings were due to the sudden shock my system took when the three of us went into NYC. This broke the illusion of the Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ) that groups create when they come together for an intense, short time. Festivals have this energy and this year’s Readers Studio had it in spades.

Thankfully, everyone here was so accommodating and they gave me hugs, space, time and energy to recharge and refuel my batteries so that by the time Shawn Nacol took the stage i was hungry for knowledge. His class, The Roots of Tarot, was an amazing, energetic look at how the four elements and processes of alchemy relate to the tarot. Talk about perfect timing and a great end to my year long Alchemy element working. We learned how to read the cards in a way that allows us to transform our base materials into something better.

The afternoon’s session, done by James Wanless, proved to be both enlightening and zany. He showed us a new spread called the Whole Body spread that allows us to understand where we’re at in terms of the different aspects of our bodies. I partnered up with Shari Smith and we had a grand old time applying what the cards said to immediate events in our lives. We also discovered something else…

At one point James was talking about our foundations, in the form of genes. At the sound of this word, we heard the word JEANS… and at the same time, we both looked down at the pants we were wearing. We had a horribly confused look on our faces that read, “what does what we wear have to do with our foundations?” James then mentions that these jeans, are our DNA. With this new bit of information, we stared at one another, and broke out in fits of giggles. This incited Drew to say, “Do we have to separate you two?” And it’s with that and the other various giggle fits that we decided that it’s a “bad idea” tm to have the two of us in the same space… because we incite the forces of chaos and giggles. I’ve decided that Shari is a kindred soul twin and we need to be silly more often together.

After James finished his class, we got a flurry of activity once again around the booth. More things were sold (buy ALL the things!) and we were able to leave in time to get ready for the main evening attraction, the banquet.

I was so excited to wear my new blinking lite bustle and belt system that I got at PantheaCon. Rose braided my hair and fitted my blue dreads into it. We decided that I looked like a night sky with my black pants and tunic on. Drew and Rose made the perfect 2 of cups couple with their-almost matching blue corsets. Our dinner table featured wonderful conversation companions of Jude Alexander, Donnaleigh de la Rose (who was an 8ball gypsy, totally awesome) and Theresa. we shared stories about what we’ve learned; compared the energies from last year to this year; and took tons of photos of all our outfits.

I hobnobbed until midnight. Barbara graced me with a reading from her fabulous Pronosticator. The image it gave me was “the hanged man,” and it was a wonderful way to celebrate the gala that is the last night here. Shari and I showed off our quarter-playing prowess (after being dared to do it). And I fluttered around talking to Angelo and lots of others about their tarot styles, life stories, and just bonding in happiness with the wonderful, loving and supportive community I’m involved in. Oh, and Shari and I scared Wald Amberstone with our dynamic duo energies. I’m not sure he’ll ever be able to look at me, or listen to what I have to say on our coaching sessions without thinking about the craziness that the two of us do when our powers combined. Donnaleigh paid me one of the ultimate compliments in that she wanted to take me home. I just about cried cos I wanted to take her, and many of my other tarot family home with me!

All in all, my cup was filled to the brim (and more) with love and light and laughter and amazing stories. I’ll fly hope early Monday morning happy and content and with a huge smile on my face.

Blog, Conferences

Readers Studio Day Two

Day Two started out with a rush and ended mellow, like my Shiraz which I am enjoying quite a lot. Woke up to the soothing sounds of someone’s cell phone and had a wonderful shower. Dressed in my zombie cupcake skirt finest, we headed down to open our booth and get the goodies that come with registration. The hordes were hungry again, and we sold schloads of product again all day long.
In this post, you’ll learn about what I learned today at the first master class with James Wells, what good eats we had, and how the city’s energy seems to affect me. Click the read more button to read all about today’s installment.

WE snagged a table for the day with Joanna Powell Colbert, James Wells, and a few first time attendees. We finally got to learn what the 3 master classes were from the lovely gentlemen leading them and I was very happy with this years offerings. Every class proposal seemed relevant to an aspect of my life as it currently stands in flux. Lots of good things to come the next couple of days. And I can’t wait to see how I can integrate all this new, juicy info into my tarot bag when I get home.

It seems like I have been sniffies crazy this year. There’s a lot of great tarot and divination oils being produced this year. I snagged an Oracle-themed oil to try and use in my tarot practice, and a Breakthrough oil that I’m hoping will help spur my book projects to creative and publication success. I’m lucky in that I haven’t really found any decks or books to purchase this year. And the ones I picked up were due to trades and/or convention gifts.

Our first task of the conference was to perform the Foundation Reading. This is a two-part reading that helps gauge your learnings from this weekends. Today’s reading shows you where you are at in reading for others. On Sunday, you re-partner up and using the same cards, see where you have progressed from the classes attended. Drew got to partner with Joanna (we were so jealous), and Rose and I grouped together because of the nature of my obscure question, to which she knows the backstory for. She managed to do a 9-card reading in 15 minutes that was rather deep. Why 9 cards? Well, that’s the amount of cards that fell out as I shuffled her Steampunk Tarot. Apparently the Universe had a brick to tell me and I was willing to listen. In return, I gave her a lovely 3 card reading and some action items regarding her question.

Standing in line for lunch, I got to engage in many good discussions with Nancy Antenucci about reading cards and situations. I sat next to James Wanless for lunch and we got to continue our zany, madcap tarot and business discussions. He’s so fun.

Our first master class with James Wells was astounding. His class taught several personal and group techniques to deal with various grieving processes in one’s lives. From the work done inside that class, I got a depth of perspective that I really needed regarding several recent events. We cried, we learned, and we healed a lot in our own lives. And I know that these techniques will help me deal with myself and the changes coming up in my life. And I look forward to journal with them and get their advice when I feel like I can’t deal with the world.

Broke for dinner and ran into “the city” to grab food (which wasn’t as cheap as the hotel food and wasn’t nearly as good, but it DID provide a new experience) and to print out some handouts for one of tomorrow’s classes. Seeing the area of town we were in really makes me appreciate living in Cascadia. People are saner, the streets are wider, and the energy is just nice. We finally arrived back to the hotel, missing the breakout classes for this evening but finding a quiet table in the lounge where we could eat cake (again, we earned that puppy), have a glass of Shiraz, and write.

And this small break in the rather fulfilled but busycrazy schedule, is heaven. Tomorrow will be even more busy as we have two master classes, more evening fun, and lots of plotting to do! What will I learn tomorrow, guess you’ll have to keep reading to find out?

Blog, Conferences

Readers Studio Day One

Greetings from The Readers Studio Day One. Today’s activities mostly included setting up the Tarot Media Company booth. We scored a great corner space and had a blast selling all sorts of fun divination toys to the pre-registered pre-convention pre-class pre-participants (see what i did there?). Throughout the day, I also flitted about, delivering hugs and snugs to friends in what I have dubbed the all night Hug-a-thon that happens when you see the friends and people that you care about. I am so happy to be here, been running around all day with a grin plastered on my face, squeeing like a crazy beast, and skipping instead of walking.

I arrived early this year, which was a nice switch from last year where my plane landed late. But I did lose my new Powell’s insulated water bottle, and I’m really missing it. Boo! This meant I got to participate in the Readers Studio Tarot Train swap, which was a calm and fun way to trade decks and products with one another. I ended up swapping my Tao Oracle deck with Mary Greer for one of her wonderful knitted plant fiber tarot cases; got some cash for my copy of The Goddess Tarot deck; and I gave my copy of the Tarot of the Cat People to a friend. I also scored a copy of the sold out Steampunk Tarot for someone special back in PDX.

Conversations with RoseRed, Drew, and Jude about new tarot game ideas (board and RPGs). Scored a bed for Sunday night with the wonderful Theresa Reed, who is just such a wonderful person. Also got to chat with the Bat Queen, Thalassa, who I am so glad we’re developing a friendship with. And also got to converse with Barbara Moore a bit about all things steampunk and cupcakes and zombies.
I even made some monies today by selling tarot cases (one of those orders from my ETSY site), and got gifted with sniffies (in the form of special The Fool body oil and incense) by a friend Bill Tarot.

Tomorrow kicks off early so I’m heading to bed now. Stay tuned for part two of my daily report and continuing lovefest of Readers Studio.