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BATS 2013 – The Bay Area Tarot Symposium


BATS 2013, in its new venue at the Doubletree Inn near the San Jose airport, was one of the biggest and best ever. With a choice of three workshops in each time slot (a total of 27 workshops over the weekend) decision-making could be agonizing. Rana George gave a two-part workshop on the basics of the Lenormand oracle. Rabbit, Pamela Steele, Arisa Victor, Martin Azevedo, and Nancy Antenucci, among others, presented techniques for going deeper into the cards and into one’s connection with the people we read for. 

Several deck creators were on hand to share their creative process. Bill Haigwood’s Counterculture Tarot gave this aging hippie a flashback to her lost youth in 1960s San Francisco. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for the Wildwood Tarot, the historic Oracle Belline, or Carrie Paris’s Magpie Oracle. For the historian, Major Tom Schick gave some background on the Minchiate deck with slides of trump cards from three different decks.

Ferol Humphrey and Sherryl at BATS 2013The highlight of my weekend was meeting Ferol Humphrey in person after taking her “Living Tarot Method” via telephone seminar a few years ago. Doing her “blurt drills” in person was a whole different experience. And who knew that when you sit on a card, images will shoot up your spine and into your third eye! 

My conference strategy includes eating a huge breakfast so I can spend the lunch hour in the vendors’ room. My favorite purchase was Beth Seilonen’s Kilted Rubber Chicken Tarot de Marseilles. (Read the review here). Tarot Garden had a very large table piled with decks of every type. Two historic decks really tempted me: a Belline Oracle published by Grimaud in the 1950s or earlier, and a very rare Payen TdM. But I’m glad I withstood the temptation and purchased a collaborative deck from some artists living in the redwoods of Humboldt County.

The serious business of learning new techniques and meeting deck creators was interspersed with skits, magic shows, and raffle prizes. My favorite was when Nancy Antenucci as the Tower, Dan Pelletier as the Devil, and Rhonda Lund as Death showed us what happens when the three scary cards of the deck strike out on their own to live their private fantasies. 

The weekend was packed with fun, creativity, networking, enrichment, new reading techniques, oodles of decks, many glasses of wine, and the incomparable Thalassa presiding over it all. Start planning now to be in San Jose August 2014 for a glorious Tarot experience.

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