Continuing this adventure from Tarot Tour 2019 – Part 1, the Atlantic Northeast – Part 2 takes me to the UK, specifically London and Glastonbury, before heading south to Italy in Part 3.
Flying TAP Portugal to Lisbon, then to London, England, the food was great, roomy seats, and a really low price. I must confirm that some airlines weigh every bag you bring, so be very careful about their weight and size limits. Fortunately, I was able to rearrange my stuff and so happy I shipped boxes of Tarot bootie and warm clothing back home to Oregon.
What I haven’t mentioned yet is how truly hot it was everywhere I went on this Tarot Tour. I kept my raincoat, which I seriously needed on three occasions, but the jackets and long sleeved shirts were just dead weight. I’ve been to many of these locations before and can say from experience that the weather was unusually warm for October…and I was miserably hot.
So…landed at Heathrow Airport, London and the customs system is so smooth and easy now compared to just five years ago. And, getting to the bus depot was a breeze as well. It was pouring rain that night as the bus traveled west to Bristol where I only had to walk a few blocks to catch the local bus going south to Glastonbury…which did not show up…yikes. I patiently waited for the last bus and fortunately it came through.
Another lovely thing I noticed about my trip is how truly friendly and helpful all the taxi, Uber, and bus drivers were. I appreciate their kindness, including carrying my bags sometimes.
I awoke to a beautiful morning in Glastonbury, cloudy skies with a hint of rain to come. I purposely did not study what other people have said about being in Glastonbury for I wanted to experience what I experience and reflect upon that. I had no agenda, other than wanting to climb the Glastonbury Tor and visit the Chalice Well, which I did as you will see.
Another guest at the Airbnb was an interesting fellow who had had a career in British corporations in the Middle East and proceeded to tell me the story of his awakening and realizing that he is a modern Knight Templar and was called to be in Glastonbury, giving up his old identity. This intimate revealing was inspired by my sharing with him why I was in England, teaching Tarot and doing research. He knew then that I am a kindred spirit and offered to show me around town. Such luck!
As a mostly solo traveler, it was nice to be shown around by another for a change. He first took me to a spot I may have missed and a location so connected to my own spirit…Saint Margaret’s Chapel and Magdalene Almshouse. I found my spot in this sweet, feminine, hidden sanctuary!!
Next we visited The Glastonbury Abbey, his spot, which has more significance than I can reveal here, but would like to at least introduce you to these sacred grounds and let you know that there are magical trees, plants, fish, and a special altar…
Walking through the village there were great places to eat, including my preference, natural foods. Many stores cater to the metaphysical and magical. We happened to stumble upon a gem and stone store, where Michael, The Crystal Man, was very knowledgeable about not only the types of stones, but the history of each, where they came from, how they were transformed into talismans and more.
A location that was recommended to visit was Stone Age where I met one of the owners, Lui Krieg, a wonderfully flamboyant Englishman, strait out of the 60s, who kissed my hand as he blessed the magical ring that he designed. I also purchased a little replica of the Chalice Well “vesica pisces” lid. I love this sacred symbol which for me not only represents the deep feminine of the well, of the birth canal of the universe, it also reminds us of the beautiful union of the feminine and masculine, the yin and yang.
As I started my solo walk up hill toward the Tor, I knew I would pass the Chalice Well center and brought my new talismans to be blessed by and with the well. It was another sweet, sacred, hidden, feminine garden where one can wander through the trees along the paths knowing many spirits have passed this way before, and will continue through eternity. Quiet and meditation are encouraged. It was beginning to sprinkle on and off and I felt right at home, being that I live in a Northwest rain forest.
Some of the traditions and opportunities of being in this sacred space is partaking of the iron water…only a few sips, and wading barefoot through the foot pond, meant to be a healing experience. Like the Fool, I took the plunge…cold, and yet soothing.
On my way out I asked about the heart at the top of the Chalice Well lid and was told that originally it was the other side of the latch, but had been bent over and happened to take the shape of a heart.
Rachel Pollack warned me that Glastonbury Tor can be a long and challenging trek, especially in the rain and wind. I decided to time my assent, mostly due to the fact that I wanted to find the natural food store before dark on my way home, so was timing my visit. It took me 20 minutes, including stopping for photos and videos, to reach the top, and once there the wind passing through the arch of the Tor was incredibly strong, what a surprise. Sheep covered the green hillside and the view stretched on for miles/kilometers. Clearly the Glastonbury Tor is the masculine energy that compliments the feminine of the Chalice Well at its base.
I was so fortunate to meet up with Betty Jane Ware who was also visiting Glastonbury and driving to the UK Tarot Conference. So thankful for this ride and traveling the public transportation together to reach the UK Tarot Conference location, quite a feat!
UK Tarot Conference – London
The theme for the 16th annual UK Tarot Conference in London was “The Tower”…one of my Soul Cards and the topic of several of the presentations. When you have a business card with yourself on fire, it sends a message…just sayin…
As you may imagine, every presentation was absolutely fabulous, deep, informative, inspiring, and/or useful. The tone of the event was like a big family, so warm and sociable. Kim Arnold, the organizer, is a little powerhouse and truly set this sweet tone.
Particularly exciting was Davide De Angelis’ presentation on his newly released Starman Tarot, created with his wife, Esther De Angelis, inspired by the artworks he created for David Bowie. I had already purchased this deck/book set and brought my copy of the book with me on this 5-week trip, just to have him sign it. Remember that weight limit for my bag?
Davide’s slides were so artistic and colorful and his sharing was deeply personal, spiritual and inspiring as well. We laughed as he described the patience that his publisher, Lo Scarabeo, must have exercised as they worked on this production together. A few days later, Mary and I were visiting Riccardo Minetti, the very person Davide was referring to and shared this little story of appreciation for his professional support.
For a sample of the atmosphere and details of this event, please view this YouTube video created by Andy Smith, a very talented videographer…
As mentioned in Part 1 of this weblog series, I was so excited about presenting my topic in London, “Shadow Work – an Exploration of Psychological Challenges & Spiritual Opportunities”, with special emphasis on the Tower card. In fact, those brave souls who selected the Tower card for the exercise were gifted with a version of this card from Carol Herzer‘s illuminated hand-painted Waite/Smith Tarot…so beautiful. For a view of some of this work, please check out my Global Spiritual Studies recorded online class, “Psychological Challenges in the Tarot’s Major Trumps.”
A complete and delightful surprise was the launch of a new Tarot and oracle magazine, The Esotoracle, published by Kim Arnold and Steven Bright. This is a beautiful, full color magazine with articles, news, and reviews on Tarot, oracles, spirituality, business and more… Extra credit if you can find the image of moi in one of the photos as they unveiled their zine.
My favorite Tarot deck and book offering at this event is the gorgeous Splendor Solis Tarot by Marie Angelo. Deborah Bacci, artistic director of Alchimia, the publisher of this colorful and brilliantly designed book and deck, was vending and graciously signed my copies. They have taken a classic alchemical text that I have loved for years, Splendor Solis, and added Tree of Life-Kabbalistic symbolism, converting the Tarot cards into what I like to call “Spiritual Technology”…a term folks have been hearing me say these days about the high art of Tarot.
Here is a video link to their 2015 online fundraiser…
Now for the fun part!! There were familiar faces, new acquaintances, and dear friends and students gathered at the UK Tarot Conference. As you may know, Gina Thies is my Oracle Soup podcast co-producer and sista. It was so wonderful to be with her throughout this event. Besides being a bedazzled beauty, this woman is smart and sassy….Haha.
It was extra special to be able to connect in-person with a couple of my delightful and dedicated online students from the Professional Tarot Consulting Certificate Course who traveled from Scotland and Switzerland, respectively, to join together in celebration of our love of Tarot.
Jacqui Diamond & Rashunda Tramble
photo by Katrina Wynne
Then there are those fabulous Tarot spirits I have connected with over time and it felt so wonderful to be reunited.
William Blake Exhibit – Tate Britain Museum
The William Blake exhibit was showing at the Tate Britain Museum during our stay in London so Mary, Gina, Chris McClure and I decided to spend the day together viewing this amazing collection of his art. Mary Greer helped Ed Buryn create The William Blake Tarot of the Creative Imagination, published around 1995, so this was extra special and close to her heart.
Walking through the Blake exhibit was a love/dislike experience for me as paying patrons were crowded into this stuffy, warm museum like a can of sardines. The pay off for my suffering was being able to view Blake’s art up close as well as having time to visit the Pre-Raphaelite wing with pieces such as John Singer Sargent’s “Ellen Terry as Lady MacBeth” 1889.
So, as you can see, visiting London and Glastonbury were heart-filling experiences that I would recommend to anyone. The 2020 UK Tarot Conference will be highlighting “XVII The Star”, and I can only wish I could be there to commune with light spirits again.
Tarot Tour 2019, Part 3, the next weblog posting, takes us to “Tarot Tour Italy with Mary K. Greer”…or as I like to call it, “Two Wild and Crazy Tarot Devas return to the home of Tarot.”
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