I just returned from my second adventure headlining at Florida Pagan Gathering. As with most festivals, retreats and conventions, some of the most profound things that happen aren’t what’s on the schedule.
Marcus Katz spoke to me about this when we were choosing a venue for TarotCon Florida 2015. He wanted to make sure the hotel had a bar because, as he put it, the most important parts of a tarot convention weren’t the workshops and teachers everyone came to see. The most important parts were the personal interactions attendees had with each other, late at night, with their cards in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.
I saw a lot of those sorts of moments at FPG Samhain 2017. Everywhere I looked I saw small groups of folks spontaneously gathered to read cards, play music and talk.
I was part of such a spontaneous group one evening after a delicious turkey dinner when one of my dining mates pulled out a deck of Doreen Virtue Goddess cards.
In deference to the fact that I was the only professional reader at the table, she gave the deck to me.
The recent kerfuffle around Doreen Virtue’s disingenuous dismissal of anything outside the narrow spectrum of traditional Christian thought (the majority of her published work thus far) hadn’t spread to this group of passionate Goddess-worshipping festival staff.
And, you know what? Neither Doreen’s renunciation, nor the ire of the cartomancy community, had any impact on the way those beautiful cards read that evening.
I suggested we spread the cards around the middle of the table, and each take one as a message from the Universe.
Like many oracle decks, the Virtue Goddess cards have clear words and phrases- no memorization is needed to read these sorts of cards. All the diviner must do is extrapolate the ways the message makes sense in their current situation.
Believe it or not, I was surprised by the uncanny way a few of the cards pinpointed mundane occurrences of the day. I don’t remember the actual Goddesses our cards evoked, but one woman’s card told her that her family was safe and protected. Just that day, she had had a scare regarding the well-being of her children that turned out to be a false alarm. The card she pulled gave her additional reassurance.
Mine was hilarious. It told me that my household was improving. I had just received a text from my husband saying that he was taking advantage of my absence to do some deep cleaning of our condo. Improvement, indeed!
As with tarot, the images of the cards spoke as well, through their colors and symbols.
We went around the table with a second card pull – this time each of us asking a specific question of the cards. The answers were poignant, humorous, and on-point.
As a full-time card reader, I love the depth and process of a professional-level reading, and I love tarot as a complex and nuanced tool with which to perform such a process.
Sharing a Goddess-themed card oracle with new friends around the dining table reminded me that the power of divination belongs to each of us, that all oracles can speak to us, and that the power of the oracle is not diminished by the behavior of its creator.
I was reminded, too, of something I often preach to my tarot meetup groups, which is the power divination has to help us make new friends.