American Tarot Association Southwest Conference - An Article by Happy
The atmosphere of the American Tarot Association Southwest conference in Tuscon, Arizona, was permeated with a nearly palpable sense of agape created and nurtured by Dr. John Gilbert. Dr. Gilbert, John, taught his mystical system of card interpretation and reading beginning at 9 A.M., Friday, October 19th of 2001. This is an intensive workshop designed to have all the attendees giving dynamic one-to-three-card readings by the end of the day; and we did!
John's teaching style is straightforward and encompassing. The excitement he generates over the cards is not only motivating it is intoxicating. John is wholly approachable and immediately shares both his knowledge and himself.
Friday evening saw Donald Michael Kraig entertaining the crowd in his inimitable style. Don is a Magician from Los Angeles and his knowledge is readily apparent. He spoke of the tarot images as if they were intimate friends, which immediately endeared him to me. Don's "Dance of the Cards" provided a physical representation (and not a few laughs!) of the cards that I accepted as a personal gift. His suggestion, "...give each client something practical, something magical, and something ritual to DO" in conjunction with each reading struck a responsive cord with the audience at large, and created a proprietary resonance for me.
Saturday was filled to capacity with camaraderie and the exchanging of information and energy. The first presenter was Christopher Gibson, who spoke to The Two Keys as Hermetician and Minister of the Church of Light. His focus was on developing a personal dialogue with the tarot and its twin key, astrology. His fluid presentation was exciting and informative and his handouts exceptional. I look forward to referring to them time and again.
The afternoon was the province of Norma Cowie. I do not have the vocabulary to find a superlative to describe this dynamo. Norma IS the embodiment of
tarot. Her insights into the Court Cards gives new definition and meaning to these sixteen cards. Her method of
reading the cards is exciting and provocative. I was thrilled to learn that she has a new book coming out in
the spring of 2002.
Dawn Falbe addressed the issue of professionalism and business related to tarot. This young woman is a joy to watch. Her exuberance is contagious, her strength of character admirable, her acumen enviable.
Saturday evening's banquet was a joyous celebratory feast for family, tarot family. The conversations were animated and wide-ranging. Llewellyn added to the festive occasion by providing gifts for all of us! What wondrous surprises awaited us as we removed the items from the tote bags! A deck of twenty-two delightful art cards, a full deck, postcards...
The next morning brought all of us another gift, deTraci Regula. Her presence was embracing, her persona steeped in calmness and love. She gave us a look at the tarot through the eyes of a Priestess of Isis. Or as she put it, "...through Isis-coloured glasses." I am anxious to familiarize myself with deTraci's Lotus pattern for tarot card reading. As deTraci's presentation came to an end, she gave us another gift: an embossed scarab, complete with divinatory design and interpretation.
The afternoon was devoted to the art and science of creating decks, both for personal use and for publication. I have heard Arnell Ando referred to as "The Queen of Collage." I have to agree. She placed years of experience on the table for us to take...another gift. The pleasure she receives from sharing her expertise is apparent in the warmth of her eyes. Arnell presented another gift to her audience; her special friend Sue, who afforded us a look at her recently created tarot deck. A deck replete with the symbology of tarot captured in snapshots of her family.
Norma Cowie captured the agape of the weekend in a poem she wrote to celebrate the weekend. A fitting tribute.
Happy Hardy's kinship with the tarot is an extended one. However, it was in September of 1999 that her life evolved to the degree that she was able to devote her physical, intellectual, and emotional resources to the study of tarot. Since that time she has been immersed in the study of various tarot decks and systems. Her web site contains information on her affair with the cards, her tarot journey and a few images of the deck she is working on, plus a glimpse into her personal system of relating to the cards.
Article © 2001 Happy Hardy
Page © 2001 Diane Wilkes