Order a Reading

Monday, 27 July 2015

TABI Conference 25 Jul 2015

Tarot Association of the British Isles Conference
Birmingham, UK
25 July 2015 

Seeing all my online tarot pals is great, and it's even better when the workshops at a conference bring me new tools for my cartomantic magic bag. If I had to describe the 2015 TABI Conference in one word, it would be 'meaty'. There was a lot of really useful content and learning going on all day long, and my Aquarius/Queen of Swords self was loving it. Hooray for generous, knowledgeable presenters and a room full of enthusiastic readers to practice with.

Check-in and Goody Bags
Okay, it is a little disconcerting to me to be greeted by name by people I may or may not recognise (well, let's be honest, it's a little disconcerting to me to be greeted) -- and  I often can't remember names even when I recognise a face! Caroline Blackler greeted me nearly as soon as I walked in the building, and I am sure I gave her a look that said 'I know you but I can't remember your name, please pretend you don't realise this.' I think she knew, but she didn't let on. :)

photo by Vivianne Kacal 
There was a fabulous raffle, but I didn't take part because I either currently own or once owned every deck on offer -- and there were some really good ones, including a signed copy of Cilla Conway's Byzantine Tarot, which I noticed the winner then asked John Matthews to sign as well. Lucky girl! Our goody bags were pretty amazing: a TABI mug, a TABI bumper sticker, a Llewellyn tarot bag, and two decks, a heart-shaped deck (which I gave to a tarot colleague to use as a giveaway at her meetup) The Lost Tarot of Nostradamus (a John Matthews deck that really doesn't do it for me at all and will be given away at some point), and a book of our choice. I didn't take all this stuff because I didn't need it, but there was a lot of good stuff there.

How to Read with Reversed Court Cards - Alison Cross 
But here's where the REAL good stuff started. Alison is far too humble about her tarot knowledge and teaching gifts. A little less of that, please! She managed to cram a lot of content and hands-on work into this short session, the main crux of which was to teach us two techniques for reading tarot reversals.

photo by Vivianne Kacal
Method 1: Interpret as elemental rank and suit opposite. For example, the Queen of Swords is Water of Air. The opposite of Water is Fire, the opposite of Air is Earth, so the reversed Queen of Swords would be King of Pentacles, Fire of Earth.

Method 2: Switch the elements in the card title. For example, Queens are Water and Swords are Air. Change Water of Air to Air of Water. That would be Knight of Cups.

I've been testing out this skill on Steven Bright's Tarot Thoughts posts on Facebook. :)

Tarot and Love - Jane Struthers

I tend to shy away from 'Love' readings, and so I wasn't sure what I was going to be learning in this workshop! But then Jane starts talking and she's this amazingly knowledgeable astrologer and tarot card reader, and taught us three fantastic tarot spreads. Alas, I was too slow to buy her book (greedy witches!) but was able to order it online as soon as I got home, which of course I did! My favourite one was the Personal History spread, which uses 6 cards:

1. Your attitude two months/years ago (or whatever time frame you pick)
2. Their attitude two months/years ago
3. Your attitude one month/year ago
4. Theirs one month/year ago
5. Your attitude now
6. Their attitude now

I really enjoyed working this spread with my partner, who was using an unusual and hard to find oracle deck that clearly is meant for her.

 Lenormand - Andy Boroveshengra
I was so happy to finally meet Andy Boroveshengra, Lenormand expert, card and palm reader, and writer! He is just the nicest fella you'd ever want to meet and I got a lot out of his presentation.

I bought Andy's book, Lenormand: Thirty-Six Cards, and was very pleased to get it signed! The content of the book is much like we have seen in Andy's online courses 2013-2015. It's great to have all that valuable information gathered in one place. I am chuffed to own this book.

In his presentation, Andy shared some of the information from the book. Just when it seemed like we were about to get our cards out and start digging in, it was over! That was a quick 90 minutes -- which means I was thoroughly absorbed the whole time. I would love to attend a full day workshop with Andy.

Reading the Marseille Pips: Skills from Previous Centuries - Caitlin Matthews
Photo by Vivianne Kacal
(Can I just go totally fan girl here and say this...Caitlin Matthews greeted me at my table! She recognized me! How tickled was this little girl from Arkansas?? Very!)

I came to this conference specifically to hear Caitlin speak about Marseille pips. She gave us a handout packed with information, and then explained it and guided us in a few old-fashioned spreads that were just great fun to play around with. I love this traditional stuff and would love to immerse myself in it for a while, and leave behind contemporary counselling style readings and churned out LoScarabeo and Llewellyn decks that add nothing to the tarot world and in fact may even harm it. Controversial? Shrug.

(If you're wondering what's going on in the photo, that's Caitlin's demonstration of the typical RWS reader's reaction when faced with a table full of pips-only cards. Gaaaaah!)

What a great day it was. It just made me sad to think it's another YEAR before we can do it again. A year is long...too long. This is all just too good to happen only once a year.

Photos by kind (and patient) permission of Vivianne Kacal. Thank you, Vivianne! :) 


  1. It sounds like you had an amazing time! Thanks for sharing it with us. :)

  2. I think you have a type in Andy's last name?
    Thanks for sharing. We had our first conference here last spring, I'm really looking forward to the next one.

    1. Yes, it's a hard name for me. I will go and fix it. :)

  3. Glad you had such a great time! As for having to wait a year, there is also the UK Tarot Conference in October to look forward to :)

    1. Yes, but somehow TABI events feel different. :)