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  • Writer's pictureTero Goldenhill

UK Tarot Conference 2018

UK Tarot Conference 2018 was almost a month ago, I was supposed to write this immediately afterwards but.. oh well. Tempus fugit and all that.

This was the first time at the new venue; Holiday Inn Kensington turned out to be a smart move. Easier location (at least personally speaking), and the conference room is definitely better - space, acoustics, lights, screens - compared to the previous one. Not that the old one was bad, but the new one is clearly even better. Already looking forward to next year's conference!

Apparently there had been a Christian convention at the same time we were there. I didn't witness any incidents, but Martin (Kim's husband) had been told "Do you know you're going to Hell?" when he was about to enter our conference room. Martin had replied, "Yes, I'm aware of it, thank you." Bless him. Just FYI: I've got absolutely nothing against any religion, Christianity or other, as long as no-one tries to pour anything down my throat without asking me first. It's a bit like with sex; don't force it on anyone, ok?

The room was absolutely packed. I have no idea how many of us there were, but it was certainly full. This will give some idea:

That's yours truly taking the stage, right at the start of my talk. My knees were water and I was sure I didn't make any sense whatsoever, but apparently it didn't go too bad. I had given permission to Kim to drag me off stage, in case I would suck. No-one wants to hear a load of crap at the UK Tarot Con. Can't speak for myself, but other speakers were absolutely brilliant. Benebell Wen - talk about a tour de force. My mind is still buzzing just thinking about her presentation. It was like Tarot meets Kubrick's Space Odyssey meets Tag Heuer Swiss precision. At one point there was a wrong slide, to which Benebell said "Fuck." - definitely a highlight. Btw, if you've never been to UK Tarot Con, well, you've been warned...

Yours truly, looking a bit sheepish (or goatish?)

I'm just glad none of my secondary school teachers were there to witness it; throughout my teenage years I kept preaching everyone, "Tarot has got absolutely nothing to do with the Devil!" - cut to this presentation.. christ. Teaching tarot is great fun, that's for sure. I do enjoy talking about tarot, but I have to say once we got to Part 2, the spread based on the Devil card, I was feeling even more energetic. When it comes to tarot it's the doing bit that counts. We can study and learn the theory as much and as long as we like, but if we don't put it into practice.. well.

From left to right: Rachel Pollack, Kim Arnold, Linda MacLean, Jo Watkins, Geraldine Beskin, and myself

It was great to meet Rachel Pollack again. Her mind is such an amazing treasure trove of tarot; she keeps constantly reinventing herself and creating new things. She is also incredibly funny - most tarot people are. Rachel also has an uncanny way of catching you off guard. You might be chatting with her about something completely trivial, and all of a sudden you realise you're on your way down the rabbit hole. It's the "tarot wisdom" in action.

Cards, cards, more cards... will this never end? (No.)

Cilla Conway always brings something fresh to the table, and she didn't disappoint this time, either. All of a sudden our group went for a little trip.. round the galaxy and back to Kensington, just like that. Geraldine Beskin of the Atlantis Bookshop was wonderful, as always. I got to learn loads new stuff about Pamela Colman Smith - and I thought I knew her well, after nearly 30 years! María Luisa Salazar, Jo Watkins & Linda MacLean - great to meet all of you for the first time!

I love how different all the talks and workshops were - truly a brilliant medley of what the tarot can be and is; history, mythology, meditation, art, past-present-future, limitless, storytelling, universal, personal, writing, unconscious-conscious, spirituality, images, theory, practice, and more.

Thank you everyone, old friends and new friends, for making the UK Tarot Conference 2018 so memorable and special! Hope to see you all next year!

And to Kim Arnold, if you're reading this: keep on rocking, lady.

From left to right: María Luisa Salazar, Rachel Pollack, myself, Kim Arnold, Benebell Wen


Anastasia Haysler has written about her Friday experience here (with a kind word or two about my presentation - thank you!)

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