Monday, November 16, 2009

BATS Trip Report October 3-4 2009 San Francisco CA

Of course I had to shop before classes started. It was the only thing to do. But I also had to meet new people because this was my very first BATS! Thalassa and all the DOD (Daughers of Divination), what a wonderful event! Limited edition decks, rare decks, Baba Studios bags, the Millard Fillmore yard sale, jewelry, books, books, books (did I mention the books?) and striped socks…what a world, what a world! My buddy Kristine Gorman (Visionary Woman, excellent reader in Sonoma) and I were blown away by the excellence of this symposium.

The first program was Joseph Martin’s fun spread that wove cards together, back sides up. When you pick it up gently by the corner, you pick up all the cards at once. The new spread was bit of flash for parties and a fun way to start the 2 days. But my favorite part wasn’t the spread at all. It was a statement of how to distinguish between “good psychics” and “bad psychics”. “Bad psychics” try to take the sitter’s power away with statements like, “You have a curse on [you, your money, your family, etc] and you are unable to resolve this without my help.” This help includes often large fees for curse removal services, be it magic candle or ceremony. “Good psychics” just charge their reading fee and may assist the sitter but the sitter makes his or her own choices, under their own power.

Mary Greer’s The Secret Tradition focused on the Major Arcana. Mary talked about the distinction between secret tradition and secret doctrine, what’s been passed down to us as opposed to the principles themselves. It was full of information and shed just a little more light on the Golden Dawn tradition.

Holley Voley gave a very informative slide show that I hope she will turn into published work, not only on the many variations of the RWS and their timelines, but also a great little segment on the various editions of the Aquarian (orange backs, oroborus, plain blue, blue and white). Thanks to Holley, I’m a little poorer but the happy owner of most but not all of these variations now.

Rachel Pollack’s moving discourse on the nature of The Hanged Man described its being the initiation card of direct experience, that moment of direct life truth instead of acceptance of the status quo. It reminded me of one of my own heart-wrenching experiences when, as a manager in a major corporation, I was pressured to fire a good employee as part of a political move. Rather than fire that person, whose performance did not deserve this action, I put myself in jeopardy. Luckily I “landed on my feet” at another company. The Hanged Man is a sacrifice either way: You take the consequences of following your conscience or forfeit your values to fit in with the mob. Rachel made The Hanged Man come alive and kept his halo on straight, too. Percival, whom does the Grail serve?

The small room was packed for the William Butler Yeats lecture. From his topsy turvy love life, to his friendship with Pamela Colman Smith, we got a glimpse of the man and his life as a “lightning struck tower.” It definitely made me want to go back to Ireland!

My husband joined me for the cocktail hour where we were entertained by LILAC. The players were well dressed, well spoken and well into character for our pleasure.

Sunday brought more of RWS expert Holly Voley’s knowledge of the small but important differences that distinguish the Roses & Lillies from Dried Mud and Pam A, Pam B, Pam C from each other. I don’t think I will ever be able to look at The Sun without looking for a crack in the printing plate now.

Mary Greer’s more in depth discussion of the Secret Tradition regarding the Minor Arcana brought us into the heart of the RWS deck and why we commemorate its 100th anniversary this year. Masonic influences and the pageant of each suit in order were laid out using Swords as the “story line.” Check out Mary’s blog and wonderful books for more terrific and scholarly information. Nothing minor about these Minors!

Melinda Boyd Parsons made “Pixie” or Pamela Colman Smith come alive for us with information about her family, her friends, her artistic career and the mysteries in all of those. Was she high society or from more exotic origins? What was the extent of her use of feminist implicit coding? What was the influence of Roman Catholicism on her mysticism and music influenced trance art? Her friendships with famous names of the time like Edith Craig, Ellen Terry and Rosa Bonheur and their influences on her art, especially the RWS were a revelation, comparing photos to her work. There is still so much to know about her.

We dissolved into Q&A, photo ops and last minute purchases, like the totally cool decks I found at Tarot Garden and my lovely flying owl necklace. Yes, another bird. And then, we were done. This is absolutely a MUST for next year! To all of you tempted to attend BATS next year, be aware that this fun event will not be in October in 2010 due to scheduling conflicts with other events in San Francisco. Check for more information about the 2010 BATS.

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