The London Tarot Festival is one of the highlights of my summer. I've been for the past 3 years since it started and every year is more packed with Tarot goodness than the previous. This great little day out is hosted by Kim Arnold who also runs the UK Tarot Conference and Geraldine and Bali Beskin of the Atlantis Book shop. There are always lots of free talks, paid workshops and Tarot shopping to be had. Here's my little round up of this years event.
The husband and I were up bright and early to tackle the trains to the venue. We live out in the sticks on the Kent/Surrey borders. Its always a little longer travelling into central London with a wheelchair too. Despite leaving home with dawn's crack still firmly in view, we managed to arrive at the Islington Ecology Centre after the first paid workshop had already started.
Avril Price was speaking on using mediumship and channelling with Tarot. I really didn't want to disrupt the class half way through though so we had a look at the stalls and grabbed something to eat. The cakes on sale were really good. I managed to resist having more than one though, barely!
The Atlantis book ladies host a Tombola stall every year as well as run their always well stocked stall of decks, books and accessories. For those who've never seen one, a Tombola is a kind of raffle game but the prizes are pre allocated to tickets in a hat or drum and you win instantly. I have had extraordinary luck at previous years games to the point the ladies probably see me coming and cross themselves.. well not quite ;) This year I was not quite as lucky but it is always great to give back and I did other players a favour by removing so may losing tickets. I was blessed to win the Chrysalis Tarot Book and the beautiful Soul Trees Oracle however.
The next workshop to start was on reading for yourself with Anton Rossi of the London Tarot study group. It was much busier than previous years with space near a table really limited so we didn't do a practical exercise, but a lot of interesting questions were asked and answered. Anton talked about objectivity when reading for yourself, the importance of the question asked and yes/no type readings as well answering our questions raised on everything from timing to reading reversals and whether we should read daily. She says she was nervous but you'd really never tell.
Lunch was next on the menu. There was a meditation on the Wheel of Fortune going on in the main hall but my rumbly belly led me out to the garden to eat , have a bit of a natter with other festival goers and pull faces through the conservatory window at Cathi Bew.
2pm came around fast and we headed back inside for a 30 minute free talk by Geraldine Beskin on how she connects certain Tarot landmarks to the Majors. I will never look at St Paul's Cathedral the same way again now I've heard it pointed out that the dome looks like a big boob! Lots of folklore, history and a few laughs with a great speaker. There was a little bit of practical activity as Geraldine used the landmarks and their stories to answer peoples questions for the cards.
The afternoon workshops kicked off with Isreal Ajose talking about Tarot + sex + ritual = Magic. I even managed to snag some table space although that would not come in handy until the final workshop of the day. In this talk we learned how sex and the natural, primal, drive to create can be used to raise and release power towards manifesting our goals. We discussed group rituals, couples and solo. It appears sex has always had ritualistic aspects right back to the large group orgies of ancient history. We were warned the room might get a little warm during the talk though no one fainted. A window did have to be cracked open however.
Tarot was tied in with creating ritual space and we touched on how the cards can be used as talismans or focus objects to bring desired energies and events into our lives. I will be sharing a little article on some of my ideas on cards that would make good talismans for various issues soon.
The final talk of the afternoon was the one I was most looking forward to. Maria Antoniou from the Brighton Tarot School took us through her personal story of meeting the High Priestess followed by a meditation to connect with her energy ourselves and finally, a spread. The meditation was lovely. It affirmed the importance of just sitting and being. The High Priestess does not try to receive Divine guidance, she does not struggle or strive to tune in to hear. She simply asks and waits, open and receptive to what may come and trusts that it will. It was quite a different experience for me as I've always found it quite difficult to switch off with meditation, but I really enjoyed this one and the energy of that quiet, open space.
After we all came back to the room, Maria passed around some sheets with her High Priestess spread on. The spread looks at what we are here to achieve , our gift to the world and how we can best listen to that inner voice among the 6 positions. As I laid my cards I had to laugh to myself. The cards had me very much told what was what again. I want to do a full post on my reading from the spread but suffice to say I was one of only two people in the room who actually pulled the High Priestess herself in their spread. In fact my spread was almost all Majors, with Strength, Temperance, The Hierophant and The Empress also making an appearance for me.
5pm came far too soon for my liking. A little more shopping ( decks, books and crystals, oh my!), goodbyes and thank yous and it was time to head home. First to the pub for some dinner though! I had a fantastic day and can't wait to see everyone again in October. I hope if you were there you enjoyed the day as much and if not, we'll see you next year.