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I am thrilled to announce publication of my latest book, Pamela Colman Smith: The Untold Story. The journey to publication was an extraordinary one, first, because I was able to work with an amazing group of collaborators: Stuart Kaplan, president of USGames Systems Inc., Elizabeth Foley O’Connor and Melinda Boyd Parsons; and second, because of what was involved in researching Pixie’s accomplishments, walking in her footsteps, and working with my collaborators. Stuart has long wanted to gift the world with a beautiful art book featuring his extensive collection of the works of Pamela Colman Smith. We all wanted the world to know about this extraordinary woman, set the record straight on what is known about her, and give others the opportunity enjoy her many gifts as we have.

During our research we discovered many hundreds of articles written about Smith, appearing around the world over a mostly fifteen year period, plus there are letters giving insights into some periods of her life. All works by and about her, as well as a list of all known communications and artworks, are available in the extensive bibliographies.

In the summer of 2017 I took a tour group to Pixie’s final home in Bude, Cornwall. We dowsed for her lost grave in the local cemetery. We had dinner with Nikki Saunders whose grandparents had been good friends with Pixie and our tour group stayed at the then-King Arthur’s Castle Hotel (now Camelot Castle Hotel) in Tintagel where she stayed with her father in 1899, and where she met theatre impresario Henry Irving for the first time. (The hotel has hardly changed at all!)

castle-hotel old postcard

Rather than me telling you all about the book, I’ll direct you to four reviews and an informative interview with Elizabeth Foley O’Connor:

Interview with Elizabeth O’Connor by Lakshmi Ramgopal

Review by Benebell Wen.

Kirkus Review.

Publishers Weekly Review.

Video review by Arwen Lynch (with a look through the book itself)

I also recommend this earlier blog post where I speculate about Pixie’s design for the Tarot deck based on an article she wrote in 1910 (the year after she completed the Tarot deck) concerning what’s most important in stage decoration.

Everyone interested in Pamela Colman Smith will want to get this book in which her life and works are so well presented. Serious collectors may want the signed and luxurious Limited Edition, that’s only available here.

Join us August 3-5, 2018 for the Masters of the Tarot conference at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck New York. This year Rachel Pollack and I join with three outstanding Tarot teachers for a weekend of fun and deep learning: Melissa Cynova, Liz Dean and George Koury. Watch for our interviews with everyone over the next two weeks.

Melissa CynovaI am pleased to begin with Melissa Cynova. She is the author of a recent book that has made quite a splash, Kitchen Table Tarotand has a popular website and blog at Little Fox Tarot. We are so excited to have her as one of our presenters.

Mary: What is it about Tarot that most intrigued you and first got you hooked?

Melissa:​ ​When I was little, I always felt like a weirdo. I would wander around in the woods by myself, looking for fairies (like you do). I was constantly reading fantasy books about witches and wizards and magic. When tarot came along at 14, it felt like an active, alive piece of magic that I could hold in my hands. I was still weird! But this was a weird that I could learn and make choices with. It gave me a way to connect to people, and still be myself. Also, it was really cool!

Mary: Weirdly cool!—I agree. Your website and blog at LittleFoxTarot.com is very popular and earned you a loyal following even before your book Kitchen Table Tarot came out. It seems to me that Tarot has been going through some pretty radical shifts over the recent 10-20 years. What shifts have you noticed and what do you think is most important for both newbies and experienced readers to know and learn in order to take advantage of what’s happening now?

Melissa: ​I’ve been playing with the cards for almost 30 years, and the thing that I’ve noticed the most is that it used to be shrouded in some kind of secrecy. “Don’t buy your first deck, it has to be gifted. You have to put the cards under your pillow to absorb their full meaning. You have to shuffle three times into your left hand!” There were all of these whispered rules that followed it around. Since I didn’t know better, I followed them. I thought that you had to achieve a certain level of woo-woo mysticism to read cards, and follow the “old traditions”. I think that the advent of the internet showed us that most of those whispered secrets are complete nonsense. I know tarot readers who shoplifted their first deck back in the day, rather than risk buying it. Most of my clients today buy them online and look for decks that appeal to them.

​I love that level of freedom and accessibility. Anyone can pick up any deck of cards and get started on this path. You can shuffle into whatever hand you want (or not at all) and your readings are still valid. I think it lends confidence to the new reader, which will then translate into their readings. Fantastic.

Mary: Just before my mother died she mentioned her grandmother read playing cards for visitors at their kitchen table in New Orleans. I love that you wrote a book about your kitchen table experiences teaching and reading tarot. No fuss, perhaps a bit of muss – of the best kind! What would you like to bring from your kitchen table into the Masters of Tarot Omega weekend to turn it into a similarly welcoming and supportive environment?

Melissa: It’s so funny that you asked that! I was talking about the book with my friend, Terry Iacuzzo, and she told me that her mother used to read playing cards at their kitchen table in New York! She said that I reminded her of her mom—making tarot accessible and easy to understand—just like we were sitting at the table and talking. It was the best compliment I think I’ve ever received, professionally, and inspired the title of the book.

​At Omega, I’m going to be talking about ways to simplify the questions that people bring to the cards, and teach some simple spreads to help them interpret the answers. I want folks to come out of our class confident that they—and they alone—can hit a reset button on any part of their life that needs it. ​

Mary: Thank you so much, Melissa. It’s been an honor talking with you. I can hardly wait for your common sense and de-mystifying presentation and exercises at Omega in August. I know they’ll be a hit.


Follow up with a 5-day intensive workshop with just Rachel and Mary: The Neverending Tarot. Discount available when you sign up for both. Info here.

Read a recent interview with another one of our presenters, Liz Dean, at The Wild Hunt Pagan News featuring a discussion of her new Game of Thrones Tarot.

This spring I am again involved in Magical Tarot tours of the British Isles. But I want to speak here about communing with the land, which we will focus on even more on this year’s journeys to “Sacred Scotland” and “Merlin’s Britain.” These are things you can do in your own community as well as sacred sites—a city park can be as good as a meadow or forest. Even buildings have their energies and stories. Your intention may be to gain knowledge about nature, the land or the place: past, present or future. Or you may be on a quest for personal insight. I’ll mention just a few of my favorite methods that can be used separately or together.

FINDING A POWER SPOT

Go to your place of engagement. 

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With or without shoes, move slowly, with your intention in mind, using your breath to enter a meditative state of open awareness. 

Open all your senses and try to determine a flow or confluence of energies. This energy focus may be found in trees and plants or landmarks or even sounds or air flow. Some people use kinesiology, a pendulum or dowsing rods to assist them.

One time I was walking by a forest stream with many little waterfalls and found myself going back and forth until I came to the exact spot where all the ambient sounds seemed to join together equally in perfect balance and harmony. O Ecstasy of the spirit!

Step Pyramid

A second example was following a nighttime ritual inside the Egyptian Step Pyramid at Saqqara. Standing in the outer temple complex I walked around until I found myself triangulating a position at the juncture of the energies of the pyramid and two other structures. Once I found it, I looked up and the full moon was, just at that moment, cresting the top of the pyramid, resting on its point. When this kind of magic happens I quietly express my gratitude and try to enter into oneness with the place.

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Dowsing for Pamela Colman Smith’s grave in Cornwall

YOUR TAROT GUIDE

Take the Major Arcana from your favorite Tarot deck to a place that intrigues you. You’ll probably want an intention in mind. For instance, you may ask to be guided to a power spot or to receive information about the place or its history, or to get insight regarding a personal concern. Get comfortable. Select a Major Arcana card as your guide either randomly or by conscious choice. If in doubt, select the Hermit.

Gaze at your card until you can recreate it in your mind’s eye while speaking your intention. Close your eyes and breathe in the place while asking your guide to come to you. What appears in your mind’s eye may or may not look like a figure on the card. If it doesn’t, then ask if it is your Tarot guide or sent by your guide. Once a figure is affirmed, ask for guidance regarding this place or the knowledge you seek. Be sure to thank and release this guide and return fully from the parallel astral world in which you met.

NATURE AS ORACLE

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Communing with the central Boscowen-un Stone

Select a special rock, piece of plant or wood, or other object (I’ve done this with trash found on my walks!). If possible, hold or touch this “other” and speak aloud. Describe it as thoroughly and objectively as you can—no metaphors or symbols—but rather colors, shape, texture, smell, even taste—all the concrete and subtle details. Next, describe its energy affect and attitude. Is it distant or welcoming? Open and yielding or harsh and inflexible? Whimsical or practical? Or some combination of things? Ask if you can enter into it (the “it” is now a “thou”) and, if you receive an affirmation, then become this other being, stretching or compressing yourself into all it’s nooks and crannies. Let your human self ask this nature-being your question and let it speak what it has to convey. Express your gratitude and remain a few moments in that place of emptiness that follows purpose, for the greatest gifts often reside there.

 

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Diving deep into the roots of Avebury

Check out this video by Martin Shaw. Although a promo for his new book it is really an inspiration for walking the hills with consciousness. https://youtu.be/d0T7UP1U1Ts. Thank you, Carrie Paris.

I invite you to join me, Linda Marson of GlobalSpiritualStudies and Jamie George of Glastonbury’s Gothic Image Books and Tours on our special journeys this coming May. Register now to get special rates, information and view fabulous videos in the links below.

us at stonehenge

Tarot Magic in Sacred Scotland – 14 May to 23 May, 2018
Tarot Magic in Merlin’s Britain – 23 May to 1 June, 2018
London Workshops with Mary Greer and Linda Marson – 12 & 13 May, 2018
Linda Marson’s Tarot Nav: GPS for Life, courses
Interview with tour leader extraordinaire, Jamie George

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Announcing two Tarot Tours this coming summer in the British Isles. Last year’s trip, Tarot Magic in Merlin’s Britain, sold out early. We are doing it again, with a Tarot trip to Sacred Scotland preceeding it, and a discount if you go on both. Don’t let these journeys pass you by! Sign up before the November 30th deadline. Above is a photo of our private full moon sunrise ceremony in the circle at Stonehenge.

Just two weeks ago I discovered that the hotel where we stayed while searching for Tarot artist Pamela Colman Smith’s burial place, was a hotel she actually stayed at as a young woman. It was in 1897, the year King Arthur’s Castle Hotel opened, with its magnificent roundtable at which we did readings, that Pamela met Henry Irving of the Lyceum Theatre fame. Subsequently she toured with the Lyceum Theatre and designed costumes and sets, getting her nickname, Pixie, from her foster mother, the actress Ellen Terry. Here is what is now called the Camelot Castle Hotel in Tintagel, with Merlin’s Cave in the far bottom right.

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I can’t begin to tell you all the amazing things we encountered on our journey: sacred wells in out of the way locations; stone circles, several of which we had to ourselves; the special fairy glen; a ritual on a hilltop labyrinth; Glastonbury Tor and Chalice Well where Dion Fortune made her home. IMG_2104One of the most magical moments was our using dowsing rods to find what we believed was Pixie Smith’s unmarked grave. Linda dropped her pendulum, hearing it fall. We searched for it in vain, only to have the bus driver when we returned ask who had dropped a pendulum on the bus. It was Linda’s. That night at the Camelot Castle Hotel we used the pendulum to ask Pixie questions about her life – and it was months later that I discovered from one of her letters that she had probably drunk her favorite “Opal Hush” drink in that same bar 120 years before.

The Tarot Magic in Sacred Scotland Tour is

14-23 May 2018

and will feature Tarot readings in sacred sites for gaining insight into your own spiritual journey…readings whose messages will continue to unfold for years to come. Experience:

  • Inverness and surrounding area – Prehistoric Clava Cairns and standing stones, Rosemarkie Fairy Glen, Loch Ness
  • Orkney – Skara Brae, Maes Howe, Stones of Stennes, Ring of Brodgar, archaeological dig on the Ness of Brodgar
  • Iona – Abbey, Nunnery, St Columba’s Chapel
  • Standing stones at Kilmartin.

More information: https://globalspiritualstudies.com/travel/sacred-scotland/

The Tarot Magic in Merlin’s Britain Tour immediately follows on

23 May – 1 June 2018

and takes us to:

  • Stonehenge
  • Avebury and West Kennet long barrow
  • Glastonbury and surrounding area – Chalice Well, the Tor, Glastonbury Abbey, Cadbury/Camelot
  • Tintagel and surrounding area – Tintagel Castle, Merlin’s Cave, St Nectan’s Glen
  • Boscastle – Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
  • South Cornwall – Boscowen-un stone circle, Merry Maidens stone circle, holy wells of Madron and Sancreed.

More information: https://globalspiritualstudies.com/travel/avalon-to-camelot/

Watch this video of our trip, created by Linda Marson, to catch just a little of the magic: 

 

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What, you might ask, does the Cornwall of Merlin’s Britain have to do with the Tarot? And why am I leading a tour there? To join this unique tour, sign up by January 31, 2017 at Global Spiritual Studies.

Pamela Colman Smith, artist of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck died in Bude Cornwall, just north of Merlin’s Tintagel, in 1951. Smith owed a considerable sum of money so that all her possessions, including her artwork, was sold at auction to pay the bills. Prior to living in Bude she lived at the far end of Cornwall in a place called The Lizard, where she ran a vacation home for Catholic priests. Waite, Smith, Merlin and even King Arthur all share a major part of Britain’s magical past, with their stories converging in Cornwall and Glastonbury, which we will explore on this tour.

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H. J. Ford

We will visit Tintagel Castle, the birthplace of Arthur that came about through Merlin’s magic, and the supposed burial place of Merlin. We even hope to find the lost burial place of Smith herself.

‘Marvellous Merlin is wasted away
With a wicked woman:–woe might she be!
For she hath closed him in a crag
On Cornwall coast.’

The Death of Merlin by Ernest Rhys (1898)

The Minor Arcana of the Tarot by Pixie (her small stature and dark coloring led her to declare herself of fairy blood) is in a style quite different from that of the Major Arcana. A look at the late 19th and early 20th century Arthurian and Grail artists depicted in the University of Rochester’s Camelot Project, demonstrate that the Minor Arcana is of this artistic tradition. Could there be a reason for this? I believe so, as stated by Waite himself when he wrote that the Ace of Cups (the Grail) “is an intimation of that which may lie behind the Lesser Arcana.” Waite also named the Knight of Swords Galahad. This should not be surprising as the same year the deck was published also saw publication of Waite’s book, The Hidden Church of the Holy Grail. This work features a chapter titled, “The Hallows of the Graal Mystery: Rediscovered in the Talismans of the Tarot,” specifically on the Minor Arcana of the Tarot (each suit is one of the four Grail “Hallows”) with no mention of the Majors! On the tour I will reveal how Waite envisioned the Minor Arcana as rough outlines for a quaternity of ritual pageants depicting a great Spiritual Loss, while the Major Arcana represent the path of Mystical Attainment that’s at the heart of the story of Glastonbury and Cornwall. Come join me, Linda Marson of Global Spiritual Studies, and tour guide and author extraordinare, Jamie George, of Glastonbury’s Gothic Image Bookshop and publishing house, on a tour you’ll never forget.

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Florence Harrison

 

 

Written by Lyn Howarth-Olds (New Zealand)
Friend and honoured to be assisting in the management of the K. Frank Jensen Collection

 It is with great sadness that the Tarot world said goodbye this week to a wonderfully unique human-being, K. Frank Jensen (Denmark). He was 83.

Frank’s interest in Tarot began in the early ‘70s. He was not a Tarot Reader. But, among other things, he was a Tarot collector, Tarot author, Tarot researcher and archivist.

In 1975 he established Spilkammeret (literally ‘The Chamber of Games’). Spilkammeret’s purpose was to collect, preserve, register and document divinatory and symbolic systems (mainly tarot and cartomancy decks) manufactured and used during the 20th century. At the turn of the Millennium the aim was fulfilled and his collection contained approximately 95% of all tarot and cartomantic decks published during the 20th century along with a number of earlier decks. The collection was unique inasmuch as it was considered the most complete in existence.

It was to my great delight that Frank took time in 2011 to contribute to my Letters to the Past Tarot Project. Letters to the Past was an international collaboration featuring 22 well known tarot contemporaries. Each contributor wrote a letter to an historical figure posing a tarot related question. Every letter – completely unique – provided fascinating insight into the world of tarot, its past, its present and its future. Frank’s contribution was a letter penned to Monseigneur Antoine Court de Gébelin. The final paragraph of this letter reads as follows:

Mon Cher Monsieur Gébelin, life is short and death lasts so long. We leave traces of whom we were; we sort of exist, as long as we are remembered. It is, however, only the very few who can leave an imprint that lasts over centuries. You did, but not by your linguistic studies nor by your studies of ancient myths. You lived on through your intuitive and unsubstantiated contention in volume 8 of Monde Primitif, that a deck of 78 playing cards was a secret book by the Egyptian god, Thoth. You would be amazed to see what the seed you sowed, 225 years later, has developed into. It’s likely that you would also be shocked to learn that tarot is no longer solely an esoteric system, but has become mass media, a vehicle for dreams and frustrations, and an industry run by commercial interests.

Fortunately for us all, Frank has also left ‘an imprint’. Something he will be remembered by. He too has ‘sown seeds’.

On December 21, 2012, Frank signed an agreement to generously donate his very large – one-of-a-kind – collection to the Roskilde University Library, Denmark. Much of the collection is already in the hands of the Library. The remaining items that were still in Frank’s possession will be transferred in the coming weeks/months.

It was Frank’s desire that his collection remained whole. Completely intact. In his view, ‘the real value of a collection is its degree of completeness’. Interested parties had contacted him over the years offering their services to act as custodians, care for the collection or to set up Trusts. But in the end Frank was adamant that his collection of around 1500 tarot decks, 600 cartomancy/fortune telling decks, along with some 3000 books and his archive of correspondence, should be kept together in an official institution.

And so it is. Roskilde University Library, only a short distance from where Spilkammeret was originally housed, will care for the K. Frank Jensen Collection. The Collection will not be broken-up, sold, or squirreled away behind closed doors in private collections. It will forever remain accessible to researchers and interested parties. The K. Frank Jensen Collection is managed by a Board of Directors.

So in closing I will add, Frank Jensen, you too will be ‘one of the few who have left an imprint that lasts over centuries’, and for that we are truly grateful.

More information about the Collection can be found:

https://rub.ruc.dk/en/about-library/k-frank-jensen-collection/
http://www.manteia-online.dk

Thank you, Lyn Howarth-Olds, for this detailed information about Frank and for befriending him in such a wonderful way. I corresponded with Frank many times over the years and appreciated greatly his generosity with all his knowledge about Tarot. –mkg

JungTarotJoin me for a two-part Webinar featuring a Jungian approach to Tarot on April 7 & 21, 2016.

I am very proud to present the most complete version yet of material I’ve been developing for nearly fifty years on Carl Jung’s theories of the psyche and personal development as applied to reading Tarot. I’ve taught related workshops at the Jung Institute of San Francisco and at several Tarot conferences. This two-part course will be an expanded exploration of Jung’s concepts with the 2nd part being entirely new, to demonstrate exactly how to use these concepts in readings for one’s self and others. I’ll focus on the Rider-Waite-Smith deck as one example of how perfectly the Tarot depicts archetypal images from the collective unconscious. To register, visit globalspiritualstudies.com.

Class one: Symbolism in the RWS Deck

Jung wrote about Tarot on several occasions, seeing it as depicting archetypes of transformation like those he found in myths, dreams and alchemy. He described its divinatory abilities as similar to the I-Ching and astrology, and late in life established a group who attempted to integrate insights about a person based on multiple divination systems including Tarot.

In this informational class Mary:

  • presents some of Jung’s own ideas about Tarot
  • shows how his map of the psyche is reflected in the cards
  • demonstrates how the “Fool’s Journey” parallels Jung’s all-important “individuation process.”

Class two: Methods and Spreads

In this workshop, Mary demonstrates how Jung’s psycho-therapeutic approach applies to actual readings and “inner work.”

  • Learn how to apply Jung’s technique of “active imagination” to Tarot.
  • Explore a couple of spreads that serve as mirrors of the psyche and show challenges and breakthroughs in the individuation process.
  • Bring a Tarot deck as you’ll also draw cards for at least one Jungian spread for yourself.
  • Discover how a Jungian approach can deepen your personal insights into the cards.
  • Learn how to assist another with their inner work.

Mary also discusses the pitfalls and the boundaries required when a Tarot reader utilizes this material.

This course is open to all levels of Tarot experience, although some knowledge of the cards is suggested.

I’ll be teaching a basic Tarot class for the four Wedesdays nights in Nevada City CA – with a free intro on September 30th. Information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1897546913804642/

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WANT TO LEARN LENORMAND? I will be available daily at a special forum from November 17 to December 8 for all who sign up for my five-session course (available online or via DVD). I will go through the materials with you, answer questions, and generally be available to help with your readings. There will also be a FREE live Q-and-A session via Skype on 4 December (space limited!). 

Register NOW. This is a chance to share your homework assignments and to practice readings, as well as explore topics beyond the scope of the lessons. I encourage you to use this winter holiday season (I know, I know – summer for a few of you) to explore a new divination tool or, if you’ve already begun, improve your understanding of the Lenormand system.

I favor a traditional approach with emphasis on the Grand Tableau – viewing short spreads as “training wheels” to get you familiar with all the elements of the “big picture.” Also, my approach to learning the individual cards is entirely different than you’ll find elsewhere as we focus on topics and all the cards related to each.

Information at: http://globalspiritualstudies.com/petit-lenormand/mary-k-greer/reading-the-petit-lenormand-cards/

PLEASE SHARE this opportunity with friends and Lenormand groups.

Try out this video sample from the course:

Natural Grand Tableau Taught by Mary K. Greer
Curious about what everyone finds so intriguing in the 36 card Lenormand deck? Join me in this five-week online course from 1 October to 5 November (no class on Oct. 22). On-line make-up sessions and getting the course in DVD form for later study are also available.

Right from the first week you’ll be working with the traditional Grand Tableau (“Big Picture”) that uses all the cards. You’ll explore the 36 cards via subject groups that help you understand the cards and fix their meanings in your mind. You’ll discover the secret of interpreting Lenormand through pairs and combinations, the kinds of questions that work best, and how to use the playing card inserts. Mary will help de-mystify the Tableau by discussing its basic components and breaking it down into easy-to-understand shorter layouts. Lenormand is an international language whose vocabulary is understood everywhere that the Petit Lenormand deck is found. We’ll be focusing on learning that standard language. Yet, your intuition will be given a huge boost as you start reading these cards immediately! Click here for more information. Join me for a fun-filled course. 

Facebook Support Group (optional) will be available to the live class members for review of “homework.”. An optional certificate of “Competency in Lenormand Level One” is available by taking and passing a test at the end of the course.

Session 1:

  • A brief overview of the origins and history of the Lenormand deck, including recent discoveries by Mary K. Greer
  • Approaching the cards by subject groups—the first subject group
  • The importance of interpretative nouns and adjectives and their use in card combinations
  • An introduction to the Grand Tableau and establishing the theme of the reading
  • Interpreting the four corners by working with pairs
  • Starting your Lenormand Notebook

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Mary K. Greer has made tarot her life work. Check here for reports of goings-on in the world of tarot and cartomancy, articles on the history and practice of tarot, and materials on other cartomancy decks. Sorry, I no longer write reviews. Contact me HERE.

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