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Conferring in 2016


I’ve just got back from another hugely enjoyable TABI Conference in Birmingham. Everyone is always very friendly and inclusive, so the social aspect is great fun, as you can probably see from the pic of Friday night’s dinner.

As something of a veteran – I’ve been to almost all of them, and helped organise several in my time – it was lovely to see old friends, put voices to online faces and to meet newcomers to the event. This year, we had something of an international gathering with attendees from Germany, Switzerland and even Australia!

Some only come for the Conference itself, but I think it is well worth attending the group dinner, since there isn’t much time to catch up and socialise beyond your immediate workshop neighbours otherwise. Needless to say, there were some sore heads on Saturday, including mine, after a rather late night of imbibing and geek-baiting*.

*Some of us descended on a bunch of youngsters who were attending some flight simulation thing and attempted to enlighten them on the joys of Tarot 😀

So, what of the Conference itself?

We kicked off with Karen Mahony, who gave us some fascinating insights into Baba Studio’s creative process and shared with us a spread that she herself had learnt recently, involving splitting the Majors and Minors in a reading. There wasn’t quite enough time to do it justice – my partner and I only managed to get through my reading, but not hers – but I think everyone understood the technique so that it can be practised later.

Karen Mahony

Karen Mahony’s Spread

On a personal note, it was a real thrill for me when Karen told me that she loved my work 😀 I’m a great admirer of Baba Studio’s output – I have several of her beautiful decks and bags (of many sizes), and I’m rather kicking myself that I neglected to bring them along to be signed.

Next up, was Chloë McCracken who enlightened us on the subject of Tarot and Pendulum Magic for Wellness, in other words, using pendulums and tarot in magic spells. We assessed our chakras with the pendulum – oh no, my Crown chakra and Solar Plexus (stomach) were not happy, and my Third Eye wasn’t speaking to me at all. (Hardly surprising given the late night, the hangover and complete lack of preparation in the Ibuprofen/Paracetamol department.)  She also took us through some restful guided meditations, which I admit to finding quite challenging (even without a hangover) as I am naturally mentally restless, so my mind tends to wander off at tangents and I need to concentrate quite hard to maintain focus. I did enjoy decapitating the troll under my bridge with my 5 of Swords card though ;D

Chloë explains Chakras

Chloë explains Chakras

After a very nice lunch from the self-service hot and cold buffet, we resumed with Emily Carding’s workshop on Tarot and Sigils, creating our own sigils. First we created our own sigils using the words of our own personal affirmations we had written in Chloë’s session, and then we worked in groups to distill the key elements of Tarot cards to create a sigil representing the three cards we had chosen. This offered a great insight into her own creative process for The Transparent Tarot, the concept of which I absolutely love. Emily then combined the sigils from all the groups into a single one, which we released, or perhaps that should be unleashed, into the world. Watch out world! It was tremendous creative fun 😀

Emily Carding on Sigils

Emily Carding on Sigils

The final session of the day was an insight into Julia Jeffrey’s Tarot of the Hidden Realm, which is based on the concept of fairy folk, but not in a twee way. The artwork is stunning and I was most pleased to draw this handsome Devil:



He can lead me astray any time 😉 (You can just see our group’s sigil from Emily’s session on the paper below). We worked through another two spreads using Julia’s deck. The first suggested that I was moving away from the wanton hussy I once was:

Wanton to Earthy, via Goth

Wanton to Earthy, via Goth

I was a little perplexed by the cards that came out in my “What is Hidden” spread. It seems that I have a hidden beardy bloke:



or possibly two. As you can see, the cards are very beautiful, but I find cards that are essentially portraits, like the court cards, can take a while to get to grips with compared with those showing broader scenes. I have been musing on this spread and it has now begun to coalesce into something that makes sense. I think that part of the problem was that I quickly drew the cards and passed on the deck, so was working from a photo. I may have to accidentally let this deck fall into my shopping basket at some point, so that I can work with it properly ;D

Julia did spend plenty of time wandering about helping people with their interpretations:

Julia walking the floor

Julia walking the floor

And then, all of a sudden, the day had flown by and all that was left was a smidgen of envy at the person who won the lovely Tarot of Prague scarf that Karen donated to the raffle, the goodbyes until the next time and a twinge of sadness that it was all over for another year. As always, plenty to think about from the workshops. Oh, and another incredibly generous goody bag that I have yet to fully explore 🙂


1 August 2016

4 Comments to “Conferring in 2016”

  1. I got hidden beardy bloke AND the Shadowdancer. See if you look closely to beardy bloke’s cup – there are moon phases on it. I took it in my reading that I was turning away from my monthly cycles … so menopause me 😀

    great review – thanks Ania! <3

  2. Sad to have missed the geek-baiting, but my head thanked me for an early night without too much intemperance 🙂 And I loved hearing about the weird and wonderful ways some of you came up with to move that troll along 😀 As you say, a lovely day full of interesting stuff, and fab to socialise on Friday, too. Even so, didn’t get that much time to chat with lots of folks I would have liked to, but that’s always the way…

  3. Ania, thank you so much for sharing what went on. I’m not well enough to get out and about much so I was very keen for someone to report back on proceedings, and you have. Sorry not sorry you had such a good time that you (temporarily?) disabled three of your chakras 🙂
    Great read. Thank you again.

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