World Tarot Congress 2002 - Page Four
Final Thoughts on the 2002 World Tarot Congress
This event, delayed by the September 11th tragedy involving another WTC, was a success despite the many drawbacks and increased work involved in the wake of rescheduling. It was interesting to me to see the event from various perspectives. One of them was from the aperture of two tarot lists, Tarot-l and Comparative Tarot. There was a plethora of workshops involving the history of tarot, whereas in the past "Bunny" Bob O'Neill and Brian Williams were the only ones holding that flame aloft at the first WTC. This seemed to me to be a direct result of the depth and breadth of tarot discussion found on Tarot-l. However, in the past, Tarot-l was also the place where personal dialogue and conference-centered exchanges were prominent, and this is now mainly the domain of Comparative Tarot (though Exoteric-l has its exoteric offshoots, as befits its role in the online tarot community). This is not a judgment on any of the lists mentioned, simply an observation.
I missed the physical presence of Brian Williams at this WTC very deeply. His wit and charm and beauty were all qualities uniquely Brian, and those who had the good fortune to know him understand my words all too well. There were also friends who've always attended this conference along with me whom I missed as well. Geraldine Amaral was scheduled to present at this conference, but due to the conference scheduling change, was unable to attend. D.T. King was another person I missed getting to hug repeatedly. I missed my friend and spiritual counselor, Asrianna, whom I met at the last Chicago conference. Most of all, I missed Michele Jackson, though she was with me in spirit at all times throughout the weekend.
It was wonderful, however, to spend time with old tarot compadres and make new ones. It was wonderful meeting Giordano Berti, and his evil twin, Riccardo Minetti, from Lo Scarabeo. Debbie Lake, my last-minute roommate, is a woman of strong opinions (I can relate!) and strong mind, and I enjoyed all our talks. I hesitate to name names, because I'm bound to miss fifteen or more, but getting to finally meet Valerie Sim-Behi and Ellen Lorenzi-Prince was truly a long-awaited experience that exceeded my already-quite-high expectations. Hanging out again with Sally Anne Stephen, Ron Decker, Holly Voley (!), Paula Gibby, Mike McAteer, Tom Tadfor Little, James Wells, Lola Lucas (!), Rachel Pollack, Mary Greer, Mark McElroy, Bob O'Neill, Elizabeth Genco, Ruth Ann Brauser and Wald Amberstone, Lon Milo Duquette, and of course, my spirit sister Arnell Ando was balm for my spirit. I was disappointed not to spend more time with Kim Danbert and attend her workshop, but I know there will be another time to do both. I apologize in advance to anyone I've omitted.
Janet Berres announced on the Comparative Tarot e-list that this would be the final ITS World Tarot Congress. Peppered with pleas and requests to continue holding the event, and witness to its success and magic, she may be vacillating. Whichever decision she reaches, I'll always honor and support her as the driving light that has led to three glorious tarot conferences.
Each of these events holds a special place in my heart, both as a member of the tarot community and for personal reasons. I met Arnell Ando at the first WTC (though we had long corresponded via email). In fact, Arnell offered to do the art for Storyteller Tarot, which has changed/improved my life in so many ways, at that time. At the second conference, Arnell and I gave a workshop together on collaborating on a tarot project. At this conference, I signed a contract with Lo Scarabeo to create the Jane Austen Tarot and author the companion book (NOTE: I will NOT be creating the art. Let's all collectively breathe a sigh of relief!)
All of these are important events in my life. Yet what I hold dearest in my heart is the cathartic realization I had at the very first WTC. I looked around at the wonderful tarot enthusiasts and scholars, teachers and readers, and I realized I had finally found my tribe. I tend to be group-averse, but that's just because most groups contain people I'd rather not be around. Not so the tarot tribe. Finding it, and sharing the camaraderie and the insights, the humor and the deck lust, gives me the first feeling of community I've ever had. These events are opportunities for inner and outer transformation, and I more than relish them. I hold them sacred.
The last time I attended this conference, Tom Tadfor Little was in Philadelphia, and in my write up of the 1999 WTC, I talk about how we met and then ended up on the same plane to the event. It was his first tarot conference--and this year, he spoke (brilliantly) at the event. His life has also been changed by his tarot work and spiritual beliefs to the point where his physical being reflects his inner transformation. I saw him as a corporeal reminder of the magic of the tarot and how it can truly transform us all, and the conference itself was filled with magical tarot moments that will serve as reminders until the next gathering of the tribe.
Even my final thoughts have final thoughts. The Comparative Tarot website will be publishing a section on the conference soon; be sure to check it out.
Elizabeth Hazel and Mary K. Greer both sent posts to Tarot-l and Comparative Tarot about the ITS WTC 2002 event and have given me permission to reproduce them here.
The International Tarot Society website has 22 pages of photographs from the conference. And soon there will be tapes from this conference (along with the first two!) available from this site, too.
Report and page © 2002 Diane Wilkes