Closing Ceremony and Ritual with Phyllis Curott
Report by Diane Wilkes

I have come to look forward to this traditional ending of the ITS World Tarot Congress, even though it's always a bittersweet time, since the ritual predates my immediate return to the real world.

Phyllis Curott (The Book of Shadows, Witchcrafting) led the ritual. Her casual and charming manner did not conceal her focused intent, but it did create a relaxed atmosphere where people of all religious denominations felt comfortable and open to the experience.

People were divided into the quarter elements by their astrological signs.  Mary Greer, Circe, Jamie (sp?) Witch, and Isabel Radow Kliegman respectively called the quarters for East, South, West, and North. They held the Aces of the correlating suits (using Golden Dawn correspondences). Someone from each direction pulled a card as divination for the coming year and interpretations were spontaneously yelled out by various participants. Finally, Phyllis pulled a card for Spirit. After a chant of "Earth my body, Water, my blood, Air, my breath and Fire, my spirit," we invoked the energy of the cards we wished to bring into our lives.

As participants chanted card titles, I couldn't help but notice the bemused look on Frank Jensen's face. I'll turn in my tarot reader's badge if he wasn't thinking, "These crazy Americans!" (Note: I won't stop reading cards, I'll just turn in my tarot reader's badge.)

As we said the words, "Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again," I was struck by the poignancy of a phrase I've said so often that it has taken on the quality of an automatic gesundheit. I usually say these words to people I'm going to see in the next week, not beloved members of my tribe whom I might not ever see again, most of whom I'm unlikely to see anytime soon. The words mean much more when you're saying them to far-flung friends of the soul. Hugs, tears, and goodbyes were exchanged as people ran off to catch their shuttles or drive homeward.

Report and page 2002 Diane Wilkes