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Readers Studio 2018 Wrap-Up

For the first time, but not the last, I attended Readers Studio. In my mind, this was always THE Tarot conference to attend. But I never did. I came up with all sorts of excuses as to why not. I didn't have the vacation. I couldn't afford it. But the underlying reason for every excuse and variation of excuse was this. I wasn't Tarot enough.

I'm not even sure what that means now after having been there. It has threads of inadequacy, low self-esteem, comparison monsters, and so many other negative self-thoughts. I began to unravel those at the NorthWest Tarot Symposium which was my first Tarot conference (and first time to present at a conference of my peers.) This year I went to NWTS for the second time and RS for the first. 

Readers Studio intimidated the POOP out of me, y'all. I mean the idea of it, not the actual event. I've been reading professionally since 1985. I am the past-president of the American Tarot Association. I've written a book on Tarot and writing. I've authored decks. You would think I'd be able to step into my own Tarot authority, right? 

Sure! It's easy until I let the comparison monsters out. Then I begin to spin out crazy stories where all the other readers smile at me sympathetically with a "bless your heart" look. "Oh, bless your heart, Arwen, you thought you would fit in." That sort of nonsense. Of course, I was full of my own #fakenews. 

This was a mind-blowing experience on so many levels. From the photo-button with Mitchell to the "don't do it" from Theresa, I began to apply my own advice to others to myself. The education piece aside, what I learned for myself about myself was immense. I dove deeper into Tarot and soul in four days than any other time--barring my Gaian Soul Retreats which take me on a different journey.

So, let me take you through my own Readers Studio experience. I will forget things. I will misname people. I will leave amazing things out. That's how my brain works. If I left you out, I am sorry. You are in my heart tucked away.

Travel started on Wednesday at 7am. That's when I woke up, kissed the husband unit, then started in on getting ready. I cleaned house a tiny bit. I packed. I packed some more. I unpacked a bit. Then I packed more. I got the suitcase and me on the scale. OOPS! Over 50 pounds. Okay, so I moved some things from the checked bag to the carry-on. ASIDE: Those of you who go on weekends with just a backpack, terrify me. HA!

I packed the car. I washed the car (drive-thru, y'all!). I got my paws and claws done. Then I was off to the airport.

The airport is four and a half hours away. I turned on my current audiobook Tigana (I know. I’m the last of my generation to read it. SO GOOD). Got to the airport about three and a half hours early. Wandered the airport a bit then sat in the waiting area. This is where my mind began to tell me "You don't have to go", "you can drive home", etc. I have a panic/anxiety disorder. I manage it without drugs so it's not the most awful thing in the world. But I also manage it by hiding behind the computer screen. The me you see on YouTube and Facebook Live? That's done in safety. I can turn y'all off with the push of a button to be safely back in my own little sanctuary.

But I get on that plane thinking I'll sleep. But that is not to be. I was in the very front row with the attendants were in the gallery banging around (NOT their fault! They had to do things.) I get to the airport where I meet up with RoseRed Robinson and Jaymi Elford. RoseRed's dad (so kind! He had water for all of us) takes us to the airport. I kind of say goodbye then head up to my room. I wake up my roomie, Joanna Powell, then plant face down on my bed for 55 minutes.

Now on to Thursday which is already here. I get up to shower after that power nap (Remember I've not had any sleep since Wednesday morning). Joanna, Rome, and I are off on an adventure. US Games invited us to come visit their office since we all work with them. Rome has his own adventure by missing the train to the hotel to meet up with us. He figured out how to get to Connecticut all on his own. That amazed me. We tour the offices meeting all the staff. Stuart Kaplan is an incredibly gracious man. I got my picture taken with him (we all did) and with others too. Lynn is the one I am closest too at US Games so meeting her for the first time was a HUGE THING in my world. 

Back to the hotel after lunch and more pictures! I went up to the room for a bit but came back down to meet with Nathan (YouTuber Chaotic This and That) who brought me incense, tea, wine, and some of his own lavender tincture! We visited. I was so happy he made the trip in to see me. Then he got to meet a few of his own Tarot heroes (like Benebell Wen). I had three sips of a glass of wine. THREE SIPS! Knew I was on my very last legs (remember...55 minutes...I used it like a mantra telling everyone I saw) so I snuck off to bed. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday is here. Breakfast buffet then I'm off to snag a seat. But first I hit the meditation room. I had a tiny meltdown (normal for me in a high-energy area.) Felt better so off to the tables I went. There's a bit of territorialism over seats, I discovered. LOL, I was going to sit at a table where I'd been invited but realized we had more butts than chairs so I wandered off to a half-empty one. I'm so glad that I did. Who sits beside me but THE Tom Benjamin of Tarot on Earth and a fellow YouTuber. Aka Ben Jolivet was a delight! Sadly, I'd already been tagged to do a foundation reading with someone, so I didn't get to do that with Tom. Not so sadly, my foundation reading partner was THE Diane Wilkes. She's the very first Tarot blogger I can remember reading. Her reviews were a fundamental part of my Tarot education. The foundation reading was interesting. I may talk about that later but for now? It's mine. OH, you are going to want to look for the Pholarchos Tarot. Trust me.

Next, all the new folks are asked to stand in front of the stage. SOMEONE quipped, "Are there going to be guns?" Shaddup, Arwen's inner voice. You know you are supposed to be only inside. Sadly, that was my outside voice. Okay, so it felt a bit like a line-up for a firing squad in my anxiety-driven mind. Liz Westwater led a welcoming ritual that included pledges from the seasoned folk to us and from us to them. We also got pinecones. Mine is on my altar now. Then we broke for the lunch buffet. Here was the first real snafu of the conference. This was a new hotel. They thought it would be great to shove the buffet tables against the wall. This creating a logjam of hungry divination folk like you wouldn't believe. I went up to my room to drop stuff off (this is a common theme for me at any conference as it lets me unload not only the physical but also the energetic.) When I came back down, the line was as long as it had been. I was just behind different people. Luckily most of us were laughing about the silliness of it all. 

After food, we found our seats again. I returned to the same table. This was the Mary K. Greer master class. Readers Studio is different in this. Unlike any other conference I've been too, everyone (including vendors) is in the main room for the main class. You don't have to pick something/miss something. Brilliant, right? Well, there were a few minor issues in that if you weren't facing the main stage, you couldn't see the presentation well. I also had some hearing issues because my hearing aid battery ran out. AND I LEFT MY EXTRAS IN MY CAR...in Albuquerque. Monte Ferber saved the day (Saturday) for me.

Anywho, back to Mary K. Greer. She did a class that had us revisiting symbols. She gave us steps to do where we drilled down on the symbol in a very interesting way. I will be using that technique for myself and my clients a lot. The gift of her knowledge really met every criteria and expectation I had set up in my head. That alone would have been enough for me. Seriously, the price of the conference was paid in full just to sit in the room gaining knowledge from that one person. Little did I know I would be getting so much more!

After Mary, there was a three-hour break for dinner. We needed that as the restaurant at the hotel was just not set up to handle a convention crowd. The staff tried but we overwhelmed them. They would seat two at a booth, then turn around to find five of us. Sneaky Tarotists! They should have known we liked to shuffle things. The food was decent if priced for an NYC hotel. I ate appetizers mostly. :D 

b2ap3_thumbnail_ReadersStudio_ArwenandV.jpgOn to the night where they had study groups (these were also on Thursday night, but I didn't think anyone really wanted to hear me snoring my way through.) It was hard to choose which one. I finally decided I needed some tea, so I chose the Tea with V study group. V was awesome. I got to meet some fellow conference folk on a smaller level which was very nice. We paired up to do readings using V's Tea reading. I read for my partner, Charlynn, then she read for me. WHOA, did she ever read for me. Stellar reading. Which is why my chin hit the floor when she told me she wasn't a professional reader. Woman! Once she goes pro, y'all need to look out. She's quite insightful and direct. My kinda reader! The study group was too much fun. No really! We got shushed by the group next door. LOL within the first ten minutes! OOOPS! What did they expect putting our sassy, loud group next to a group working with crystals? :D But after this, I went to bed. I waved at folks in the bar area, but teh Arwen had to sleep.

So, Saturday rolls around and I roll out of bed. Not willingly. Not happily. My body urged me to sleep more but my stomach said, "Bitch, please! Coffee and food NOW or someone is going to get hurt." So off to breakfast I went. I have no clue what I ate. HA! Proof of how tired I was. I did get coffee though. At every meal, I sat with the most interesting people. It was divination all the damned time. So fabulous. I think this is the morning I got to meet Ellen O'Brien (I'm keeping her. SO FUNNY!) Honestly it all runs together so I'll probably forget meeting some people. My brain doesn't hold on to things like it used to. 

Saturday morning, we have Benebell Wen to blow our minds wide open. Accessing genetic memory is her offering. For the two of you who don't know who she is, please go look her up. She is hands-down one of the most generous people in the Tarot world. You may have heard me her Metaphysicians Day Planner. It goes with me everywhere. Back to her talk! Benebell gave us this massive download on how we can access our own genetic memory. Then she led us in a reading session that not only included the genetic memory piece but also a way to visit past lives. Y'all, I cannot express how this two-and-a-half-hour class changed my entire reading perspective. I will be using this in my professional readings. ASIDE: Thanks to an astrology chat from the Tarot Lady, Theresa Reed, I will also NOT be stopping my professional readings. I went to Readers Studio to get confirmation on stopping those readings. Instead, I got a big fat NO from the Universe and Theresa as well. Back to Bell! Her teaching method is very good. She hits you with information, then examples, then practical how-to's. She talked fast but even then she ran over a bit with all the information she gave us. Here was another class that I would have gladly paid the conference fee for. I think I owe Ruthann and Wald money. LOL

That afternoon there were two offerings but I made neither. I was in my room texting Melissa of Little Fox Tarot inappropriate messages. snicker. But I did come down for the last master class of the conference. WHAT? Is it almost over? NOOOO! This was Rachel Pollack, Herself! Her class was on how to dive back into Tarot in different ways. I'm paraphrasing because this was the class my hearing aids went out on. sigh. Really, Universe? Rachel Pollack is talking, and you do this? I did not get as much from her talk as I might have liked. BUT, I do have the handout. Even with my hearing being on the fritz, another class I would have paid the conference fee to see. 

Now we have a dinner break, so we can all get dressed up. The elevators were a HOOT because we swarmed them. I got into what would pass for my fancy dress (black lace jumpsuit) then put on makeup. I know, right? I did the full thing from foundation on up. The only time I had on makeup the whole weekend. Down we went where the costumes were AMAZING. We had three queens, a Tower (my personal favorite), the Hermit, a Fool, and so many others. The costume parade was fun. We also had some entertainment with Dan Pelletier showing off his magic AND his humor, then someone told us a story, followed by the incredible voice of Jen Cintron. She promised us an album for 2019. Be on the lookout! After dinner, there was a dance party, but I went upstairs to change into comfy clothes. I did hang out in the lobby where I got to chat with folks including the very adorable Abraham Bae. OH! At dinner, I sat with an amazing group including Theresa Reed, Ethony, Joanna Powell Colbert and right beside me Angelo Nasios and Shaheen Miro. We had hilarity at that table! I also took a lot of selfies and did some photobombing. 

After the bar, I went to bed to sleep the sleep of the I'm DONE! Which brings us to Sunday. A breakfast buffet and look! They created two lines for us. YAY! The morning roundtable was efficiently run by Jaymi Elford. I even spoke up during it. Then we regrouped with our foundation reading partner to use what we'd learned during the classes. That was good to anchor some of my new knowledge. Of course, reading with Diane was insightful. We both are fast readers too! Then everyone split up into Tarot Incubators. I skipped them all. I couldn't decide, then the tables all looked kind of crowded. Back to my room, I went to journal a bit. Lunch came and went (yes, I ate) then we regrouped for the closing ceremony. OH, there were prize drawings throughout the conference. Amazing prizes. I didn't win any of them, but I won in so many other ways. Okay, so I REALLY wanted a few of them. LOL. We got to hear who would be speaking next year--Sasha Graham, George Koury, and Ethony Dawn. Then we all got our certificates of completion. I felt like I'd earned mine. I also felt like I had truly gotten valuable information that will help me tweak my own professional reading.

And I immediately signed up for next year. As of May 12, I heard there are only 55 seats left. If you don’t make it, sign up for the waiting list. Divination Day replaces Tarot & Psychology Day in 2019. That will feature Carrie Paris (who thinks I live in New Zealand—inside joke), Heatherleigh Navarre (I’ve seen her in her pj’s!), and Rana George (who is a funny, gorgeous woman.)

If you want to see what I brought back from Readers  Studio, here’s my Facebook video (it’s public.)

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Professional Tarot conversationalist, Arwen Lynch has worked with Tarot as a vehicle for personal transformation since 1980. Her personal philosophy is that Tarot is best used to correct your life course. She is a published author (in romance, as Marilu Mann) as well as past president of the American Tarot Association (4/1/2007-4/1/2014). She specializes in helping people who are determined find their joy and writers who want to finish their book. She's an initiate of Wicca.


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