I was able to attend day one of SF BATS in San Jose. I contributed to the Indiegogo campaign and received a copy of the now out of print Gilded Reverie Lenormand by Ciro Macchetti which I had been meaning to get when Ciro fist shared this on Facebook and then his site as I was at the Tarot School‘s Reader’s Studio where he first chatted with Rana George about Lenormand Oracles and the spark that started in him for it. (It really is awesome watching two people inspire each other. She is coming out with her book in 2014 from Llewellyn! But more on Rana in a little bit!)
I am a Daughter of Divination and I love doing SF BATS every year. I get to reconnect with fellow Tarot people, see new decks, learn new techniques and get reading from people who come out just for this event produced by the lovely Thalassa. It was the 22nd year of SF BATS and we were in a new hotel than in the previous 2 years of this being a two day event. This was cool because it is was in the hotel that holds PantheaCon so I was very familiar with it and felt at home. The only weird part of being there was that it was JUST Tarot people verses every flavor of Pagan one could think of in one place. But this just made this event that much more special.
I also had one more layer to awesome to this event which was I got to have Jaymi Elford visiting too. I first “met” Jaymi in a book collection, Ravens in the Library, that was written for one of my favorite performers SJ Tucker. Then Jaymi was at SF BATS to do a presentation on writing & Tarot in 2009. My husband Andrew had taken her class and we all chatted during the breaks and found we had other connections like her story in the Ravens in the Library as well as having read other things she had written in Witches and Pagan Magazine. We have been friends ever since and she has shared many adventures with me from more SF BATS and trips in New York to attend The Tarot School’s Reader’s Studio. She is a cheerful ball of amazing to be around and always makes my BATS experience that much better.
So even before it started, SF BATS was already wonderful. However the roaster of Speakers made it even better for me. I was looking forward to hearing Rana George‘s talk on Lenormond as she was how I found out about it, Carrie Paris whose blog posts have inspired me to look at divination in other objects, and Gina Jean who I only get to see at Reader’s Studio. I was fortunate to meet Tiffany Davis who wrote the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot book. Unfortunately I was not able to spend as much time as I would have liked with some of the other terrific guests such as Valentina Burton, Major Tom Schick, David Alexandre and Ferol Humphery from Texas, Marcia McCord, Mark Ryan or Julia Cuccia-Watts but I was told their presentations were terrific. (You just can’t be in 3 places at once as each session time has 3 choices of things to see!)
I did attend Rana’s 2 part presentation on the Lenormand. She got me on board when at Reader’s Studio we traded her Pixie’s Astounding Lenormand for my Hello Tarot deck. Then she showed a bunch of us during the lunch break how to use Lenormand which was when it seems to take off to what we Oracle lovers know today. (Some of us had blinders on to this wonderful oracle. Tarot was our main love back then.)
She shared how one looks at each card, and gave us samples of the many decks that are out in the world as well as the deck her son Ryder created! One reads the cards as a sentence and the question and context is the most important. This is a very literal oracle. The First card sets the theme of the reading and the other cards add flavor and explanations to the reading. Another key to Lenormand readings is NOT to ask open-ended questions. This is very different than Tarot Readings. So I am still learning how to use these cards.
I then went back to the main room and enjoyed helped people at the Tarot Media Company table and the Speaker’s Table. Next I watched Bill Haigwood,creator of the Counterculture Tarot, presentation being done in the main room as that is where the TMC merchandise table was. It was very informative but I was not giving it my full attention because I was still swimming in information from Rana’s presentation but the people who were in the audience of his presentation were really involved and many purchased his book and deck after the workshop.
Next I took Carrie Paris’ Magpie Oracle workshop. She had us break into small groups then shared her oracle and hand outs with each group. She shared her study on different forms of divinations that she had studied that were not cards like the I Ching, the casting of lots, stones and shells as well as even using the Hustle to divine. We did 3 readings with her MagPie oracle: One was picking 1 word for each of the Major Arcana cards then tossing the oracle on the sheet and seeing where the symbols landed. We read each symbol and how they related to the card or cards they landed on. Next we did the same with the August Calendar and looked at what those symbols could mean on the days they landed on. Lastly we picked a single charm at random for the Full Moon. It gave me a new way to look at the Lenormand in this non-traditional form and expand how to just look at symbols in general.
After this I was ready for some quite and foods so I was off to dinner and to decompress. Unfortunately I was not able to part take in Day 2 of SF BATS as I was needed to officiate the wedding of some dear friends in Mendocino. And Honestly I don’t know if my brain could have handled more after all the amazing things I saw and the wonderful people I chatted with and I am looking forward to SF BATS 2014. And Yes I have my pre-reservations already!