As I sit here fully caught up on sleep and feeling the magic still encapsulating me… I am swept back into the smiles, waves of chatter, laughs and whispers of family reunion that only a tarot conference can offer.
I use the term “reunion” because that’s what it is and family, because like it our not— it is who we are, and I mean it from all aspects of that word. There’s everything you would expect, from the recalling tales of yesteryear from the elders to the bright eyed newbies and everything in between. People pairing off into groups, meeting for the first time even though it feels like they’ve known each other for ever. Our souls reflect in recognition as if to say “what took you so long to get here?” Some groups get along, while others may choose to steer clear, and that’s ok, because it’s all part of the magic. I only bring this up briefly to show that all families have these feelings, these interactions, it’s really what helps us to grow. The world is so vast and also so tiny, yet there’s room for us all.
It’s also amazing to see how a tarot event can absolutely mirror the 78 cards that bring us together. Each and every lesson is present if we dare to look. I just loved being in that shared space so damn much. All of it is part of that weaving magic.
This was my 3rd time at the Northwest Tarot Symposium, and the best yet.
I arrived to the Monarch hotel on Wednesday morning around 11:00am pst. However the fun began even earlier than that, as Kristine Gorman and I carpooled to the airport where we ultimately met up with Rose/Juno of REDFeather Publishing. We started chatting about creativity and cards, it wasn’t even 7:00am est. I can only imagine that the other waiting passengers were trying to stretch their ears just a bit further to hear the threads of the tapestry being woven. I love looking at life’s adventures as a tapestry, it’s never ending, but this panel is the thread that begins the weaves for the NWTS weekend.
The flight was uneventful, just my speed. Listening to the 3rd act of Sandman by Neil Gaiman, I managed to finish coloring the Pumpkin Night casting sticker while the kid sitting next to me played their game and kept stealing glances. I thought it was endearing and even smiled once, however with my masked face I hope they knew it was a smile and not a weird stare… such is life. We met Jenna of Moonlit Faye at the baggage claim and all got on the shuttle together.
When we arrived to the hotel, it was familiar, however much had changed. (It has been 2 years after all and there was/is still a pandemic going on…) We were greeted with an amazing welcome, the staff at the hotel was stellar through out the conference— I can not sing their praises enough. It was the first time back in that capacity for a lot of us and they handled it well.
Jenna and I searched for our room (following a number written on the BACK of the card only to realize there was no 4th floor, nor room 448 🙊) it’s amazing when you actually look INSIDE the card that holds your room keys, to reveal the room number…soooo back to the 1st floor we went. What adventure would be complete with out a hilarious detour in the beginning? We laughed so hard and new it was going to be an amazing weekend.
Wednesday was an early night for us, jet lag takes hold of me hardcore and really doesn’t let go… we ate an early dinner and were in bed before 8pm. I knew I wanted to get some sleep before presenting on Thursday.
I had been asked to be part of the Co-Creator panel that the ever creative Carrie Paris organized… when I say I was honored and felt unworthy to be there, it’s not an understatement. Who do I think I am to be sitting there with Carrie, Benebell Wen and Chris-Anne, and not to exclude Matt Stoker who is a force in the world of podcasting/news/ journalism and the like. Who am I? Well it’s silly to write that but I wanted you to know the imposter syndrome was real, yet as we started to talk from the heart about our experiences in deck creation, I realized… to paraphrase Tyrion Lannister: “I create and know things”.
I loved the day so much. The attendees were so eager to get into it, asking such good questions and offering ideas that at one point the panelists just stood up and bowed down to their creative excellence. There was even an impromptu brain storming session led by James Divine that helped to get us out of our heads and into the hive mind of creativity. It was all perfectly organic and brilliant. I’m becoming a firm believer in trusting the process, and knowing that what needs to happen will happen. Co-Creator day was exactly what it needed to be and the smiling faces and lightbulbs going off was proof of that.
Friday through Sunday was a whirlwind in the vending hall for Jenna and I. I went from thinking “how many boxes is too many to ship to Jaymi Elford…I sent too much stuff” to realizing… “oops I didn’t have enough.” (Again it was just right, and a HUGE shoutout to Jaymi for EVERYTHING you did for all of us!)
We didn’t get the chance to attend any classes, and we knew that would be the case going into the weekend. So my experience is a bit different than most and that’s ok. What I love about being a vendor at these events, is during the day I get to have one on one conversations with all of you. To me that is worth the price of admission and hanging out with Zoltar for 3 days on end… (oddly enough, we didn’t notice his words til someone pointed it out)
I was so interested in hearing about the classes and how the teachers sparked ideas into the hearts and minds of the attendees. I could see on your faces that there were so many paradigm shifts, your brains were scrambling to make sense of it all, and perhaps even playing “catch-up”. I got to meet so many of you who have supported my art for years and to be able to put faces to the instagram/FB/Patreon/Newsletter names… well it just fills my heart with joy. We are family after all. Without your excitement and desire to use what we creators make…it would render the path useless, it would be lonely in our caves of creation. Yet to be able to hear about what decks you were using, which cards were your favorite or harder ones, how the speaker helped lead you through— just sharing in those epiphanies, all I can say is WOW and thank you for telling me… I am so glad I got to see that side of the magic.
My presentation was Sunday at 2:30pm, I can honestly say I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be… I’m an introvert who hates being the center of attention, stage fright is real. I feel like Co-Creator day helped to alleviate that fear, as well as meeting so many of you before hand. When I stood up there in the front of the room, it was one of familiarity. I saw your faces and knowing that I had already spent at least a few moments with most of you. It was relaxing… just me up there speaking about something I love with family. My only hope was that there was at least a spark of inspiration through the demonstration. My practice is rooted in play—as many of you who have been in my world for a while know— So even if only a handful of you decide to try it out, then that warms my heart.
After the class I rushed back to our booth and was greeted by a little crowd waiting for our return. Jenna and I didn’t have a lot of downtime through the weekend, the interactions and engagements were truly the embellishments on the tapestry we were weaving. I love vending because of the chance to have a place for meet & greet all weekend long. Do I miss not being able to learn in the hive mind of the classroom? Sure… But I also know that I will have access to the zoom replays. (Thank you to Michelle and Roger for having that access for post-conference this year!)
What I do know about myself, is that I long for the personal connections, the skipping of small talk and diving deep into our hearts and minds. Most of the conferences I have attended in the past, while I love the classes, I find that the true gems for me come from being able to sit and have conversations with people. The art and stories of the cards are our connections, but we all live life outside of them. I love that we can get together and share our experiences.
One last thing before I end this long recap… I have to admit before NWTS, I was in some sort of way. Even questioning if I should follow through with it… Having only existed in an online space for the last couple years due to the “Panny Panorama” battling the the unending social media minefields… I was questioning my relevancy… where I stood on this path. The word sustainability has been coming up a lot. A scattered Gemini mind can become a tornado in a hurricane… I was losing my way. Things have been dark here in the corners of my mind for a little while… so much that I had pondered walking away and just going back to comforts I knew my whole heart wasn’t into… NWTS relit my pilot light, it stoked my internal blaze and reminded me why I show up, what I’m here to do, it helped build the fire to show me that not only am I on the right path… but I actually get to dance along the way!
So to all who I had the chance to engage with at the Northwest Tarot Symposium, from small moments to long, I thank you from all that is me. I truly feel that the universe brought us all together to reconnect not only to each other but back to ourselves. For that I adore you and can not wait until next time.
Jamie - October 17, 2022
Brandy, I think so many of us were in that “should I stay or go” mindset, and I agree it was so important to connect in person. I didn’t realize how much I needed it til I got home.
Brandy - October 17, 2022
This is GREAT! I too doubted going, I struggled a lot. I’m so happy that I did and that I was able to connect with you and so many others. Cheers to reignited passions and excitement for what’s to come!