Journey To The Readers Studio 2011 – Part II

(The image above is the Magician, from Joanna Powell-Colbert’s “Gaian Tarot”.)

As you saw in Journey To The Readers Studio – Part I, my literal journey to the Readers Studio was not that great. Something that I did neglect to mention was coming into La Guardia at night. I love the lights! Lights at night, and coming in over water during the day (this would be for Sea-Tac, my home airport) are breathtaking! Today I am going to talk about the things that went well – and there were many of them!

The first person that I saw as I approached the desk at the Marriott was Canadian Tarotist James Wells. How nice to talk to such an upbeat, loving person at the end of such a horrendous journey! This was very fortunate, as I soon found out that my roommate, Anna Burroughs Cook, had not signed in! I had left her a message to go ahead and sign in, that I would be there late Friday night, but she never got the message. I flip flopped all Friday night between hoping that she was just rooming with another person upon finding out that I was not there yet, and worry that she had taken sick and was unable to come. At this time I was not aware that she had not gotten my message.

I signed in, got my room key, and went up to my room. Quickly turned around and went back down, as the keys (both of them) would not work. The gentleman at the desk reset two new keys, and went up to my room with me to make sure that they worked. They did – yes! Showered, washed my hair, and crashed.

I went down to the ballroom where they were holding the event, and immediately felt right at home. I met Beth in the hallway, and she introduced me to the lady (I do apologise – I have forgotten her name!) who located my registration packet for me, and advised me not to lose the little icons for dinner and desert for the banquet that night. I set my stuff down at a table, placed a book that I had brought with me on the exchange table, and my flyers for my upcoming book on Birth Cards on the table outside designated for that, and then went to look at a few of the vendors. They had such great stuff!

I spoke to several people, and had several people come over and introduce themselves to me, including Theresa Reed (who told me that Anna had been there the day before, and had left when she found out I was not there yet) and Kate Chapman. Lovely ladies! I am so happy that Kate decided to come – she is an incredible person (as is Theresa!). Koneta Bailey came over to introduce herself, and we talked for a few minutes. Fortunately for me, she came over to my table, and became my partner for Saturday’s presentations. She is way nice, very, very smart, and shuffles like nobodies business!

Before I forget – thank you Llewellyn for the miniature decks in my welcome packet ( the “Das Feen Tarot” and the “Dragons Tarot”)!

The first presenter on Saturday was Barbara Moore (who is indeed a fashionista!). Barbara took us through the process of creating a Tarot spread, from the focus (on the question), to defining positions and developing a layout. She discussed the dynamics of a single card spread, pairs, lines, circles, and the cross. I loved her discussion of cards moving within a layout. Koneta and I developed a spread that we termed the Ribbon of Time Spread. I say “we”, but the credit goes to Koneta on this one! I hope that I can find a way to present this spread that shows how beautiful it can be!

BTW – Barbara is not above bribing people! She searched NYC for the best bakery, and brought cupcakes with her to give to those individuals that were willing to share the process of creating their spreads! At the end of her class those who wished to share gave Barbara a copy of the spread that they had created, with the knowledge that she will be creating a PDF of them, and sharing with all participants. This will be incredible! Bravo Barbara!

Before the class began I had the good fortune to meet Tarotist/author Paul Quinn. If you ever get a chance to meet Paul, please do so! He is a wonderful gentleman! At the break I got to meet Gina Thies (hopefully I have spelled Gina’s name correctly!). She is a lovely lady, and had one of the most creative costumes going at the banquet Saturday night!

Koneta and I lunched with Joanna Powell-Colbert and the Gaian Tarot Circle people. They are a wonderful group of individuals, and the lunch was really very good! I did not go exotic – I had a hamburger, which is something I had not had in a long time. The food and the conversation were magickal!

The afternoon session was lead by the esteemed Caitlin Matthews. One cannot help but be absolutely in awe of this lady! Aside from her incredible warmth and wisdom, she has an excellent singing voice! She used song to get the group to quiet down after each exercise, so that she could continue speaking. I have only seen this done in ritual before, and it was absolutely amazing! Her presentation was on Hunting the Lady – Using the Significator Skillfully. She discussed choosing the significator in a random fashion, working with a spread entitled the Web of Life, using two chosen significators as map references (When Significators Meet), using a chosen significator in a spread entitled the Tarot Council (from Rachel Pollack), using Ancestral Resources (from the new Celtic Wisdom Oracle by Caitlin Matthews), and using a random significator in a spread entitled Supporting Our Priorities. There was also a Royal Wedding Present spread, and a spread entitled the Wheel of Souls (from the work of Daan van Kampenhout).

Caitlin used the Wheel of Souls spread in a very memorable manner – she asked for a volunteer from the audience that was willing to work on a personal issue publicly, and then brought her up on the stage. (The volunteer was a lovely lady whose name I have forgotten!). Audience members were then chosen, on at a time, by the lady getting the reading, to come up on stage and act as one of four Souls (Universal Soul, Family Soul, Tribal Soul and Individual Soul). The whole performance was mesmerizing! Thank you to everyone who participated – you were truly gifted with the Sight!

Tomorrow, in Part III, I am going to chat about the banquet, the vendors, and whatever else comes to mind! Please join me!

(c) May 2011 Bonnie Cehovet

Tarot For Life

Tarot for Life –
Reading the Cards for Everyday Guidance and Growth

Author: Paul Quinn
Quest Books
ISBN #978-0-8356-0879-4

“… Paul Quinn transforms the Tarot from fortune-telling into the ultimate self-help tool for intuitive guidance, empowerment and well-being. Discover how you can use the Tarot as a vibrant way to access inner wisdom and gain meaningful, practical nsights into your relationships, career, family and personal development. … No one better shows how to use Tarot as it was designed to be used – for conversation with your Higher Self. This book is a delightful way to grow to your fullest potential. …” Sonia Choquette, Ph.D.

In her foreword, Rachel Pollack notes that Quinn’s approach to the Tarot involves the esoteric and the mystical, along with Jungian psychological theory. She also notes that he never uses any of this to impress – rather, he uses it to help the reader see who they are, and how they can cope with their life. I love the mystical and the esoteric – and the archetypes certainly exemplify Jungian psychological theory. The manner in which the cards were presented was something that impressed me, and something that I wish I had had available when I was beginning to study the Tarot.

I was especially excited to see Quinn base his presentation of the Major Arcana on the Tarot septenary (also known as the 3X7 theory), and his nod to one of my favorite people – Christine Payne-Towler – for her historical research into this subject. Nods also go to Rachel Pollack for her concepts on the trump number reductions, and to Mary Greer for giving her permission to share many of her collaborative card reading techniques. You know right from the start that this is going to be one great book!

Quinn sees the use of the Tarot as one way of letting both our inner and outer universes know that we are listening. He also talks about that guiding force that leads us to communicating with Life through the symbolic language of dreams, images, and coincidence. As Quinn puts it, the cards tell us what we are otherwise too distracted to hear. (Been there, done that, designed the tee shirt!)

From the book: “Know Thyself “ is not a private indulgence, it is a global imperative. Our world is in need of radical awakening and transformation, a process that accelerates as we look honestly at the beliefs and motives that drive our actions, observe how those actions play out on the personal as well as collective levels, and learn to make more loving choices. Until we recognize our creative purpose and power – with or without the aid of the Tarot – we weaken under the limitations of conditioned responses, the manipulation of an anxiety-driven media, the bullying of dogmas, and the mind-numbing complacency of escapist lifestyles.”

Before you even begin to read the book Quinn suggests that one card be drawn, to represent why you were led to pick the book up n the first place. Well, I skim books from back to front before I read them, so I had to go back and draw this card. From the Alchemical Tarot Renewed (by Robert Place) I drew Knight of Swords. Place talks about this Knight slaying evil and righting wrongs, but he also talks about the quality of being judgmental. In reality I felt that this book gave me power – a deeper understanding of the septenary, and a better understanding of the vertical as well as horizontal relationships between the cards using this theory.

In the beginning of the book Quinn talks about taking the Tarot beyond fortune telling. In his “treasure box” he lists the following:

* a lifelong key to unlock your Inner Wisdom
* a catalyst for your creativity and inspiration
* flashcards for your intuitive development
* a set of visual affirmations
* a meditation focuser
* a decision-making aid
* a dream interpreter
* a perspective enhancer
* an emotional compass
* a metaphysics teacher
* a spiritual advisor
* a tool for self-understanding

Quinn also lists six principles that underlie the Tarot:

1. As Above, So Below
2. The Law of Attraction
3. Synchronicity
4. The Self and Individuation
5. Integration of Opposites
6. Masculine and Feminine

In his chapter on the structure of the Tarot, Quinn introduces the concept of the septenary – three rows of seven cards each (I – VII, VIII – XIV, XV – XXI), with the Fool centered above them. Quinn has entitled these rows The Essentials for the Journey (I – VII), The Inward Path (VIII – XIV), and The Heat Is On (XV – XXI).

The Minor Arcana are defined traditionally:

Wands/Fire – desire, vision, ambition, challenge
Cups/Water – feeling, merging, imagination, depth
Swords/Air – intellect, clarity, conflict, judgment
Pentacles/Earth – physicality, stability, security, money

The Court Cards are defined as sixteen different types and personalities. Pages are the parts of us that are curious, Knights embody the warrior archetype. Queens represent the soul of their particular element, while Kings carry an external focus of doing.

In discussing how to use this book, Quinn addresses reversed cards, shadow aspects, and just when the cards are there to give advice. In his presentation of the cards, the deck used is the Rider-Waite. The card presentation begins with a short quote and a black and white scan. There is a discussion of the quality of the card, of where it lies on its line of seven cards, how it relates to the cards around it, the mystical symbols on the card (I wish I had access to this information much earlier in my studies!), a small story (from Quinn’s life experience, or from the life experience of one of his students or clients), a list of card attributes, and a list of question for rflection.

From the book – The Fool:

Quote: “First you jump off the cliff and you build your wings on the way down.” Ray Bradbury.


* Keywords: Innocence, Lightness, Trust
* Being: Curious, open, childlike, spontaneous, lighthearted, adventurous, innocent, naïve, playful, arbitrary, unencumbered, noncommittal
* Doing: Simplifying, taking a leap of faith, acting on a whim, improvising, traveling, taking life as it comes, enjoying the moment, just passing through, asking “Why not?”
* Shadow: Delayed maturation, irresponsibility, gullibility, absent-mindedness, recklessness, defenselessness, intolerance for detail or complexity.
* Reversed: Cautious, risk averse, denying the Inner Child, taking yourself or a situation seriously.
* Possible Advice (Reversed): “Look before you leap, or you may go off the deep end.” “Stop wandering. It’s time to commit.”

Questions For Reflection:

* What risks have you taken without a safety net?
* Where would you leap if you took a leap of faith?
* When have others discouraged your Fool qualities?
* What would you like to experience for the first time?
* When do you express Fool playfulness and spontaneity?
* Where in your life could you use some Fool energy?

At the end of the book there is a chapter entitled “Intimate Conversations: Reading For Yourself”. There are some very good insights here, including when “not” to read for yourself. (When you are feeling spacey, when you are feeling down on yourself, and when you become obsessed.)

A sample interpretation is given using the Celtic Cross spread, with templates given for a seven card Chakra spread, a three card Solution spread, a one card Yes/No spread, a seven card Exploring Options spread, a three card Life Journey spread, two card spreads for Let Go/Grow and Gift, as well as a three card Past Life spread. Tips are also given for creating your own spread.

Quinn also goes into phrasing questions in the best possible manner, reading for others, and when “not” to read for others (or for yourself).

There are appendices at the back of the book for Major Arcana attributions for Soul Task, Shadow/Excess and Deficiency/Blockage (reversed), and number meanings, Astrolgoical and Planetary Correspondences, and the Chakras.

I found this book to be easy to follow, containing an enormous wealth of information, and well enhanced with Quinn’s own life experiences, as well as those of his students and clients. I feel that this is an essential book for any Tarot library, for any level of Tarot student.

© May 2009