After Sunday’s final workshop/presentation session block, I promenaded myself over to the vending and art display hall, where closing ceremonies and final raffle draws were to take place. I didn’t enter any of the raffles, so wasn’t anticipating any surprises. But was interested to maybe hear an official wrap-up and benediction during the “closing ceremonies.”
Oddly, I didn’t note any specific closing ceremony, per say, or ritual benediction, or closing statements (other than that the vending area was closing up shop and that vendors should make sure to retrieve all their unsold merchandise).
It could entirely have been that I was too absorbed in the present company I was keeping, sitting at a table with old and new friends—including Mary K. Greer, Katrina Wynne, Melissa of Little Fox Tarot, and her husband Joe,…and a very interesting young lady with whom I had a rapturous conversation about money.
Well, yeah. Megan Potter made a presentation earlier in the day on Sunday called “Thriving: Money & Tarot.” And Megan has a lot to say about money and being on the “path of right relationship”… Hey, wait!!! That’s MY phrase! That’s right, but Imma gonna let her borrow it, ’cause she sounds like she’s on completely the right track with it…
“I tend not to use the term ‘happiness’ in relation to money, because money shouldn’t be the ‘thing’ that equates to happiness. It’s more of having a relationship with money that should create a satisfying standard of life. Achieving right relationship is a holistic endeavor, and becoming comfortable with money—since we’re forced to live with it—is one facet we can work on to attain that balance in our right here and now, it’s in learning to be malleable, objective, and it leaves room for expansion and evolution.” (I’m paraphrasing here since I was not tape recording our conversation.)
I explained how part of my chosen vocation had to do with the distain and discomfort I felt—and experienced—with capitalist-consumerist-meritocracy, noting that the “meritocracy”-part in American culture had so much to do with a theoretical (albeit often unreasonable and unattainable) economic mobility between classes and an assumed obtainment and hoarding of money, even if that obtainment was through discriminatory or unethical means. I expressed my dissapointment that this American philosophy promoted inequitable stratification, and broadening expansion between classes.
…And she completely understood. Megan doesn’t come from an economist background; she comes from the perspective of being a trained life coach and intuitive, from making observations about her own relationship with money as it has changed and progressed in her own life. She referenced a recent blog post she had put on her website in which she socially-consciously created a list of all her privileges:
I am white.
I come from an educated family.
I live an upper middle class lifestyle.
I have my own car. (Also, I can drive in the first place.)
My husband’s income is more than enough to support us.
I own my own time and owe none of it to anyone (that I don’t want to).
I live in a large home.
My child and his family are (mostly) self-supporting.
Our parents are all self-supporting (as are our siblings).
I have control over my own money.
I have disposable income.
When I want more money I can make it.
All of my primary needs are met (and exceeded) on a daily basis. I never have to wonder how I’ll make something (essential to living) happen.
I can easily access medical care as well as alternative health care.
I have my own space in which to do my work.
I can easily access education and resources to further my business training.
To Megan, defining her privilege was important to be able to point out the social class discrimination that she did not face. In doing so she acknowledged those discriminatory barriers that others face. This made complete sense to me as an act of humility. To me, that showed one of the healthiest aspects that a person could have with money. It made me sorry that I had missed her presentation…but tremendously grateful for the time that I’d had to spend with her personally and hear about her great work and mission in life.
Megan’s business card also indicated that she is a Chinese Face Reader… also fascinating; but you’ll have to check out Megan’s website or meet her yourself to find out more…
As Megan and I were having our absorbing conversation, a bag of chocolate bark from one of the vendors—Chocolate Fandango— was being passed around the table. And by the looks of ecstacy on their faces, it appeared that there were some chocolate lovers at the table…
Just before I went to go pack up my own vending merchandise, I caught the eye of Katrina Wynne—one of my tarot idols—and thanked her for her role in the successful weekend (Katrina was part of the Symposium committee in charge of registration, and she also presented one of the workshop sessions on Saturday.) She asked me to sit right down and tell her a little about what I thought about her Saturday presentation. And like a good student I regurgitated some of the things I had found particularly enlightening—like her description of the “I” and the “not I” and how it was those things with which we didn’t relate (the “not I”) that were often the things that frustrated people and were brought to the forum of a tarot reading.
Then I told her a little about my background and my interest in visual pedagogy from a historical perspective (Middle Ages and Renaissance periods), and she proceeded to tell me about her trip abroad last year, and showed me some pictures she took in an old European Masonic Temple in which the Allegories—the Cardinal Virtues— could be seen in the plaster and stone carving work.
Katrina will always be one of my favorite tarot enthusiasts—so open to people and such a soothing presence. And I know we have a connection now, because a day later, while out to dinner with my Portland relatives, Katrina happened to be in the same restaurant…and came over to meet everybody! What a gal!
Last, but not least, during the NWTS weekend was a special movie presentation at 5:30 pm. I had spoken with the artist, creator, and producer of the movie on Friday, and after a very interesting and intriguing conversation, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see this fellow’s masterpiece!
Andrea Aste is from Italy, and has experience as a trained painter and artist. He was unsatisfied, however, in the corporate work to which he was exercising his skills, and had larger ambitions and desires. Andrea also has a background in linguistics and languages…and he really enjoys talking about his passions. I’m not sure I have ever met anyone who was so fluid with his speaking and trying to convey his passion for creativity. It is almost mesmerizing to listen to Andrea’s voice as he expressively tells you the context of his project…
Inspired by the card readings of his mother in Italy when he was a young boy, Andrea created a multi-media art project involving a parallel world revolving around a mysterious book of alchemy. The aim of the project was to challenge perceptions of reality connecting philosophy, art, and science by creating a fictional world rooted in the rich philosophical, symbolical, and historical world of the Renaissance period. To describe and support this parallel universe, Andrea created, among other things, a full tarot deck, and a mockumentary called The Book of Shadows: The Lost Code of the Tarot. Undaunted by budgeting concerns, Andrea made all kinds of connections with friends around the globe who helped with the project free-of-charge, and eventually made a proposal with the CCB network which wanted to help produce and air the project.
Here are some stills from the film:
Several character actors as well as real-life personalities make appearances in the film. And Andrea makes his own appearances as a fictitious historian making commentary on the “discovery.” The REAL star of the production, however, is Andrea’s artwork and illustration animation…all of which was done without a budget of any sort, and created using a self-designed green screen in his own tiny Italian apartment. I can’t describe how magical the result really was. Many of his creations are reminiscent of earthly animals and beings and things…but take on phantasmagorical, otherworldly attributes. Watching the stories unfold onscreen, it is hard to believe that it was created outside of a professional animation studio. It’s also evident that Andrea is a prolific artist—he would have to be to create everything that an animated movie entails! His prolific and inventive art drawings admittedly made me a bit jealous. If only I had that kind of creative output! It makes me think of Andrea as the master Magician of the tarot…which stupefyingly creates a sense of déja vu when you consider that he is the creator of his very own tarot!
I was at first disappointed to think that Andrea didn’t have copies of his tarot with him so his fans could purchase their own copies. But the American release of the deck is still forthcoming in April. Obtaining a copy, however, is easily remedied by visiting Amazon.com to pre-order the deck and book. I’ve placed my order already!
And that was the extent of the 2016 Northwest Tarot Symposium… Next year’s event is already scheduled though, so mark your calendars…