Tarot Tour 2013 was a huge success! In five weeks I visited four European countries and spent the last week in Dallas, Texas. Here are some of the highlights from this fabulous journey.
I kicked off my adventure with two days of reading at New Renaissance Bookshop in Portland, Oregon. My first client graciously allowed me to photograph her amazing tattoos. Why would I be interested in tattoos? I have discover an uncanny synchronicity between many clients’ life cards (also known as birth card in Tarot Numerology) and primary tattoos they have chosen to adorn upon their bodies. More to this story, so stay tuned.
Afterwards, I flew overseas to England as I was a guest speaker at TarotCon-UK. It took three flights, a train, and a lovely private shuttle ride from Marcus Katz to arrive at Keswick in the Lake District. I immediately felt right at home with rolling green fields and mountains all around. This is an enchanting part of northwest England, so much like the Pacific Northwest of the US where I live. Only we have many more trees who are much taller.
Our gracious hosts, Tali Goodwin and Marcus, set up us teachers at a classic B & B named Greta Hall. The breakfast faeries would quietly deliver a beautiful and healthy feast each morning. This little Taurus gal was in heaven with my special needs being met with luscious soy yogurt and gluten-free bread.
Corrine Kenner and I were the two US teachers and enjoyed our free-time exploring the quaint village of Keswick with its typical British pubs and sweet little shops. Everyone was friendly and helpful and I could understand most of what was said. We found a hilarious, typically British thank you card for Tali and Marcus. Wish I could post the photo. There was a second choice, something to do with an invisibility cloak, that kept us laughing for days. The image is indelibly etched in my brain.
TarotCon-UK is held in the Theater by the Lake, a wonderful community theater within a short walk of the lake. We filled the meeting room with delightful Tarot students from the US to Portugal and Italy. UK was well represented.
It was so much fun meeting Facebook Tarot friends in person, a theme throughout my trip. Such an honor teaching on the same roster as Corrine, Kim Huggens, Camelia Elias, Bent Sorensen, Janine Worthington, and of course, Marcus and Tali. Every presentation was top notch with exciting discoveries. My classic “Tarot, Magic, and Transformation” class (now on DVD) concluded the conference.
Our evenings were filled with great opportunities to mingle and share. I highly recommend this event and suggest you add a few days to your visit to enjoy Keswick, especially the sacred stone circle, Castlerigg, a short walk from town.
Next on my itinerary was a day in London with Richard Abbot, a fine Numerologist who I met at SF-BATS just a few weeks before. We gathered on an unusually humid and bright day in London at King’s Cross/St Pancras. He showed me the ropes for getting around this bustling city and navigating the trains. Big thanks, Richard!
Our day included a little research at the British Museum, including the Dr. John Dee magical tools on exhibit, and perusing several metaphysical book stores, including Atlantis and Watkins. Those who know me will understand how exciting this was for me and that I did not leave without a bagful of books.
Next, I flew to Paris where I had planned to meet with dear ol’friends to travel to the countryside and do some hiking. Alas, those Parisians!!! Suffice it to say, I spent all six days in Paris, yet had a wonderful time walking the streets filled with history, statues, fountains, charm, and great food.
The Paris Metro was easy to navigate and quite enchanting as strolling musicians entertained us. I took this photo of the Concorde station for Enrique Enriquez of Tarology. Now I have come to realize the significance of these letters as they are the written Declaration of Human Rights from the French Revolution of 1789.
On my first day in Paris I made a beeline for the Saint-Lazare district looking for La Coraline, a fabulous metaphysical bookstore with a huge collection of decks. Thank you Gina Jean for recommending this resource. There I selected unique decks for myself and a few friends on my shopping list.
This was followed by two days filled of research at the Musee du Louvre. I had not been in this historic palace since 1982. It has changed significantly and was much more crowded, yet well managed and easy to navigate. Suffice it to say, by the end of the Tarot Tour I had taken 3000 photos and a few videos with my dear iPad. Many details from European history have contributed to the development of Tarot and other oracle images. In addition to the massive collection of art, the building itself, as a former palace, is decorated with the symbols of its time, as seen from the wood carvings, ironworks, adornments and painted walls.
The Tuileries Gardens are so much more colorful now than when I first walked these grounds—as if a scene from of a Renaissance painting. I was happy to rest my feet in this park after exploring the entire Lourve and walking around the delightful Parisian boulevards. By the way….off topic….I was a bit overwhelmed with the fact that at least half the population smokes cigarettes. Everywhere I would walk there were people smoking.
By now I had been posting photos on Facebook and connecting with Tarot friends everywhere I went. Two very special Tarot friends contacted me from the Parisian area. First was Bertrand Saint-Guillain, from whom I learned more about the energy and flow of the Marseille Tarot deck, and purchased his sweet mini-Lenormand as we enjoyed our hot beverages in the St. Michel area. Bertrand was so kind to gift me with his unique mini-Marseille deck. Merci beaucoup!
…and Laurent Langlais, who I had connected with years earlier via our mutual interest in Taoism, I Ching, and Tarot, graced me with his time. Laurent is also known for his Feng Shui skills. We exchanged powerful readings over a delightful Parisian meal. He displayed his special Oswald Wirth Tarot deck. I truly enjoyed these meetings as we shared our passion for our art.
Finally made it out to the French countryside as I rode the train from Paris to Torino, Italy (Turin). Sunshine, vineyards, and the French Alps passed by my window as I moved through a part of Europe I have never seen before. It amazes me how my little iPad can capture scenes from a moving train.
Torino, as with many of Italy’s cities, has at it’s heart the remnants of its Medieval and Renaissance past with beautifully maintained buildings, squares and narrow streets. Many Tarot people know that northern Italy is the birthplace of the first Tarot decks as this area is rich with history, culture, and symbols that influenced these early creations.
The modern city of Torino is filled with universities and an international population of students. I familiarized myself with the public transportation system, which I always enjoy, being side-by-side with everyday people. The Torino Information office sells a wonderful 2-day pass that includes most of their museums, sites, and public transportation. This certainly kept me busy as I continued my research and photographs, especially in the Museo delle Antichità Egizie (Museum of Ancient Egypt) where I was able to video the many 5-6 meter papyrus scrolls of the Book of the Dead displayed in glass cases. I apologize for the poor lighting, but I noticed throughout my European trip that light and reflection were obstacles to getting decent photographs in the museums.
Torino is also known for its chocolate. I rarely indulge, but allowed myself a taste of history by drinking this classic hot chocolate from Baratti & Milano (since 1858). It was like hot pudding that has not been placed in the refrigerator to set. If I had placed my spoon in the cup, it would stand upright for a long time.
My last day was reserved for finding a metaphysical bookstore or two and visiting the office of Lo Scarabeo. I had stumbled upon a sweet little store near where I stayed and spent the lunch hours in typical Italian fashion, enjoying a hot beverage and lovely company at Shakty….got a great Italian Tarot deck too.
Roberto gave me the complete tour as I discovered he is a creative catalyst for many of the decks produced through LS. Here is a photo of him with a golden sheet from the first Russian version of the Visconti Tarot deck. He shared several of his secrets that are captured in decks and specific cards he has designed.
On to Switzerland and my visit with friend and neighbor, Gabrielle. She is Swiss and grew up in Luzern (Lucerne). I have always loved the view of Lake Lugano, the most picturesque train ride in all of Europe. I have wanted to stop and spend a little time there and my wish finally came true. She met me there and we drove to Beredino, a typical Swiss-Italian village in the Alps, where we stayed in her family retreat.
My favorite thing about Switzerland is the well established footpaths that crisscross the country. We roamed local paths while picking freshly dropped chestnuts for roasting and visited a local art community/village.
Our drive north to Luzern in the heart of Switzerland crossed over Sankt (Saint) Gotthard pass and along river valleys flanked with majestic mountains, villages, cows, ski areas, and train tracks.
Luzern is another European city rich with Medieval and Renaissance roots. It retains it’s original market squares, some still in use today, and old buildings, many with their original murals. We came across a window display from this ancient apothecary, clearly the lab of an alchemist.
Besides being a lakeside establishment, the signature feature of Luzern is the two wooden bridges that cross the river that divides the city. What I discovered is the second, less traveled Spreuer Bridge houses a series of Totentanz,”Dance of Death” paintings, dating from 1626 to 1635. For you Tarot history buffs, this concept was a powerful influence in the development of the first Italian Tarot decks, according to Robert O’Neill in his preeminent book, Tarot Symbolism.
My last European stop was back in London to finish my research at the British Museum (BM) and to attend the UK Tarot Conference. Woke up early and planned to get several hours of work done with the BM archives. The helpful library staff brought the three books and two decks I requested. Just sitting in this room full of beautiful wood cabinets, desks, and tables was amazing. While waiting for my items I observed other researchers handling materials wearing clean gloves, while an artist was viewing an original art print as she created a detailed sketch (only pencils are allowed).
I had the thrill of holding a large red leather bound album, Great Symbols of the Path; illustrations to the Ritual of the most Holy Order of the Rosy and Golden Cross. 1917-21, bequeathed (in 1973) by Arthur E. Waite. What a pleasure to view the original pen sketches and watercolor sheets drawn by Frater Donec Attingam and Wilfred Pippet. I was impressed by the size of the drawings accompanied by unique details on how each is placed on the “Tree of Life.” To view these pictures, follow this link to the BM archive site. Please respect their instructions about what, when and how the images may be copied or used. To have your own copy of these wonderful images, paperback copies of Abiding in the Sanctuary — The Waite-Trinck Tarot by Tali Goodwin and Marcus Katz will soon be available at this link. The hardback was a limited edition and is sold out. I also wish to send love and appreciation to Tali, researcher extraodinaire. Tali’s original research revealed the Waite-Trinick work in the BM and later highlighted the ‘Game of Hope’ as “The Original Lenormand” as posted on The Tarot Speakeasy , her weblog site.
This special item in the BM archives is a copy of an original Das Spiel der Hofnung, “Game of Hope” box, cards, and instructions. Many of you may know that these were the inspiration for the Petit Lenormand oracle. The card fronts and instructions are available for viewing on their website, but here is the box that contains them and the back of the cards. Note each card has its number, 1 through 36, stamped on the back of the card. Here is a link to their BM page. Marcus and Tali published, with permission, a copy of these original card fronts. You can read a thorough review of this deck on Donnaleigh’s blog. My exploration of the BM archives also put an original Albano-Waite box and deck in my hands, my favorite Waite version. Then, I began to explored two unique Tarot history books from their collections.
Around this time I became aware that I was feeling ill and wondered if I should leave. I actually used the Game of Hope cards to do a reading for myself and got a very clear message to go immediately and swiftly.
Fortunately, I was able to squeeze into Kim Arnold’s special Thursday “Wheel of Fortune” tour as the 22nd member, which started with the group meeting at THE Freemasons’ Hall for a tour. Unfortunately, my illness was becoming more painful and I’m sure I looked like “XIII Death” warmed over as I dragged along. I was able to take a few photos of the Grand Temple ceiling. The funny thing is the tour guide kept saying that the astrological art and symbols had “no significance.” Right…wink, wink.
Kim kindly whisked me and a few others away in a cab to our next activity, “The London Eye,” for a glorious view of this classic city in a private gondola. Due to my poor disposition, I chose not to take the risk of being stuck in this ferris wheel in case I grew more ill. I especially did not wish to spoil everyone else’s experience. By now I was certain I was suffering from food poisoning. Here is what I missed…
I also missed the party at Atlantis Books for I left the group to return to my room where I slept through the afternoon to the next morning in order to feel refreshed for the first day, my only day, at the UK Tarot Conference. I was back to my healthy self and enjoyed a wonderful day with many fantastic Tarot friends and great presentations, including Carrie Paris, Chloe McCracken, Lyn Olds, and Kim Arnold.
Just today I was reminiscing about the sweet little Clannad song that John Matthews and I sang together from the British TV series, Robin of Sherwood…”Robin, the Hooded Man.” Caitlin Matthews was a delight as well and had kindly reserved a copy of her new Enchanted Lenormand Oracle for me, a big reason for my attendance at the conference. Spending time with new and established friends was bitter sweet since I was to leave the next day and not enjoy the completion of the event. Special shout out to Kim, Robert, Lisa, Cathi, Judith, and especially, Tero.
My flight back to the states included a stop in Iceland, then flying over Greenland. What a rare opportunity for me. Most of my trip through Europe was covered with clouds, as was the flight back to the states. I was barely able to capture this view of the icy surface of Greenland. Here is an odd fact about me….I don’t get jet lag and land on my feet when traveling.
Arrived in Dallas, Texas, Saturday night and was so happy to see my friend, Mati, who graciously picked me up and had me as her guest a few days. She had organized the Tarot workshops for the next day at Barley’s art studio. We had a great gathering of students, some known, others new faces, on Sunday for my presentation, “Sacred Journey of the Soul – through the major arcana of the Tarot” (also on DVD) and a new twist on Tarot Alive™ where we created Soul Card collages.
Gina Thies and I had a few fun days together as we worked on our Oracle Soup podcast and made preparations for TarotCon-USA in Dallas. We were each presenting and supported each other as we added final touches to our work. We joined the early arrivals on a special trip to the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. YeeHaw! Thank you Margaret Letzkus for organizing this interesting sojourn into my past. Corrine Kenner and Doug Reuschel created a unique majors-only “Stockyards Tarot” album, posted on Facebook from photos they took on our field trip.
Lots of great presentations including Mary Greer, Sheilaa Hite, James Wells, as well as the sleuthing skills of Tali Goodwin and Marcus Katz as they revealed the probable location that inspired “Pixie” (Pamela Coleman Smith) in much of her artwork for the Waite Tarot deck minor arcana. Of course, they are working on a book. We can hardly wait! We rounded out the day with my evening presentation on “Sexual Symbolism and Meaning in Tarot,” which was well received by all. Thank you brother Paul for the photo! And thank you sista’ Gina for the makeup!
Last day of the Conference started with Lenormand oracle diva Rana George, then Gina Theis on “The Shadow”, ending with Andrew McGregor and Paul Nagy. James wrote a two-part review of this conference on his weblog, Circle Ways. Here is a group photo of most of our TarotCon-Dallas crew. What a wonderful time we all had together.
The “survivors” dinner was a blast as we celebrated together at a Cajun restaurant. Fried okra and fried pickles were very popular, as was fried gator and a few Hurricanes. In preparation, I was “Rana-fied” as needed color was added to my face. Thanks darlin’.
As a special gift to us, Carrie Paris created this unique spread with photos from our fabulous gathering. I took three of the photos. Can you guess how many photos I am in? Can you name other Tarot folks in these images?
It seemed like the perfect ending for my Tarot Tour as I sat with Corrine Kenner waiting for the shuttle to the airport. We were together in the beginning of this adventure and now had come full circle. What a blessed experience this was, filled with bright spirits, inspiring exchanges, and lasting memories, not to mention a few new books and decks!
Oh, and I returned to Portland for a few more days of reading and taught a Lenormand class. A fitting omega to the alpha of my adventure as I ended with yet another Soul Card reading that matched the tattoo upon my client. Guess which card?
Hope you enjoyed a little sample of my 2013 Tarot Tour adventure.
I may create a YouTube video so be sure to check back here for the link.
I wish to thank all my Tarot friends and clients who allowed me to post their images on this blogpost.
* Voyager Tarot card images used with permission.
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