Updated: May 22
I recently got back from teaching “Tarot for Criminal Investigation” at The International Divination Event (TIDE) in Dallas, TX May 20-22, 2022, and I thought this would be a good time to share my experience for those wondering what it was like or if TIDE is something they might be interested in attending next year.
Nothing formal, nothing fancy, just putting it out there like friends having a conversation over a cup of coffee.
I arrived the day before at the evening check in, and enjoyed the slower pace that gives you time to go through your welcome stuff and the program. That first evening while everyone started to roll in, I took the time to go through the program and read, there is a ton of detail and it’s easy to overlook something. I plotted out the speakers I wanted to see which can be really hard because so many great classes are being taught at the same time. TIDE had three rooms going at once. Check-in was when I met the amazing and multi-talented Jaymi Elford; she’s an absolute sweetheart, but also one tough cookie that handles business like a pro.
Our lanyards with name badges had a tarot card on the backside, and we were tasked with trying to find our matching “Tarot Buddy”. I was the 4 of Wands (significant for a few reasons) and my “Tarot Buddy” was Mitchell Osborn. Not only was this a great way to get people talking and putting names to faces, I made a new friend who I adore and had good conversation with over lunch two days in a row.
We received raffle tickets in our welcome pack, as well as for each speaker we attended, and I won two of the raffle boxes full of goodies! My favorite has to be my Tarot Tervis from Al! Tip: Write your name clearly in print on the back of the raffle tickets you turn in, it makes it much easier rather than trying to speed read tiny numbers on a dozen+ tickets at once.
I didn’t buy the meal ticket because of my strict diet and it just wasn’t cost effective knowing I wouldn’t be able to eat most of what was served (though it smelled good). It really wasn’t a big deal for lunch, we had plenty of time in that hour and a half to go across the street to Salt Grass. Now that I’m typing this, I don’t think I had a mini-fridge nor microwave in my room, something to note if you like to bring your own food or take leftovers.
Let’s talk coffee! I am THAT person, I brought my own coffee beans and grinder, but the coffee maker in the room was a pod style so I spent way too much at Starbucks in the lobby. The barista, Randy, was a really cool man that I enjoyed chatting with early in the morning about hotel life after my workout. So check this. The Starbucks on the property was open from 6-11am with only Randy because they haven’t been able to get anyone to apply for a position in a year. No coffee past 11am was a bummer, but we adapted and got coffee to go from Saltgrass.
There was a great lineup of diverse speakers, and I did attend all 4 Keynote Speakers on Friday.
Andrea Furtick put on a great class walking us through the 12 personality types and their relation to specific tarot cards. As someone with a background in psych, I thought the information and presentation was spot on. Andrea used one of the best methods for ingraining information, association through movie characters. I highly recommend you check out her personality, tarot card and character associations. If you don’t follow Andrea’s work, I strongly encourage it, she has even bigger things on the horizon.
Sasha Graham did a really cool channeling exercise where several of us picked up on the same, or similar, information. For example, one participant picked up on a dog, Mat Auryn picked up on a white dog, and I picked up on a white dog with black spots that wasn’t a Dalmatian and was smaller. As I was asking Sasha if she ever had red hair along with a few other questions, a red headed woman who had slipped in quietly and was sitting on the floor behind us spoke up, the dog was related to her and recently passed. Learning to channel or interested in learning more? Check out Sasha!
If you like my no nonsense and calling it like it is approach, then you’ll like Ethony Dawn. She is a genuine human that keeps it real regardless of her audience, is comedic, and has an infectious personality that you enjoy being around. She had a great class on tarot and love/relationships, and that's coming from someone who tries really hard not to dread love/relationship readings. If you read cards, I highly recommend you check out Ethony’s approach to and free resources for relationship and compatibility readings.
Mat Auryn had a great presentation including details from his book Psychic Witch, and I got a glimpse into Mat’s personality off of social media. He is very well spoken and reserved with what seems like a rather centered approach to magick, the type of practitioner you want to check out. Random side note, his partner, Storm, also an absolute doll, was rocking the smoothest blue and black suit that had Kenny Wayne Shepherd “Blue on Black” vibes for those of you who know how the song came to be.
Callie French did a really cool altar crafting workshop where we built our own altars with random enveloped supplies intuitively selected. Despite being a Diviner, it never ceases to amaze me when something “randomly” pulled is perfect for you. Callie did a really cool guided meditation that took us through the artwork for TIDE as if we were walking the maze. Can you figure out what the maze walks you through?
James Divine of Divine Hand Jim slayed it with his “Learning Palmistry in One Hour”. If you want to learn palmistry, are interested in having your palm read, or had a crappy fatalistic palm reading by someone else, Jim is your person! Jim also put on the Studio 78 Disco, where a song was played for each card of the tarot. Jim designed the custom "The Dance" card shirts, and the disco raised over $1000 for Resource Center, a safe haven for those in the LGBTQIA+ community in the Dallas area.
I wish I had more classes to talk about, but my trip was cut short a day early.
Here are a few of my favorite things!
First of all, TIDE was a reunion for so many people. It was my first time getting to meet people face to face including friends that I have made over the last two and a half years during the pandemic. To be able to give James (Jim) Divine, Nancy Hendrickson, Jillian and Nathan Ricks a real hug was wonderful. PS. Jim is super tall and I am not.
All of the speakers including keynote speakers came from different walks of life, practices and viewpoints. If anything didn’t resonate with someone, then there were two other wildly different classes being offered at the same time to choose from.
There was also a good mix of traditional speaking, panel discussions and hands-on workshops. There was a lot of practical interaction and application like the The Panel Discussion on Pitching to Publishers. Not only did Nancy Hendrickson serve as the prompter, it was also jam packed with first hand knowledge of what it takes to get published from different experiences, as well as the the do’s and the don’ts. This was the prime opportunity to ask questions and get real answers of value.
No one was made to feel like they were less important than anyone else. Everyone, keynote speaker, speaker, guest, vendor and newbie alike were made to feel welcome. Even during the Meet the Speaker, it was very social and welcoming rather than divisive. I had a wonderful time meeting and talking to Madame Pamita and her partner, both are really cool down-to-earth people.
TIDE offered more than an academic or scholastic setting, it offered an experience, and that’s not something that happens all the time. At first I was not digging going to the disco because disco just really is not my thing, but I had a good time just standing there chatting with people while watching others dance the night away. I realize that social mixers aren’t for everyone, but having the opportunity for icebreakers and just socializing after the last two and half years of only knowing someone through a screen really did make a difference.
The raffle tickets and prize baskets were great. Not only did we get excited pulling out our tickets (at least Mitch and I did) and feeling like being a kid at Christmas, you got to see new items, vendors, artists, authors, etc that you may not be familiar with. Whether you won or not, you got the chance to then connect with the contributor and meet someone new.
TIDE was whatever you made it, however big or small. If you didn’t want to be in the social mix, you weren’t obligated, if you wanted to do everything plus some, then you had the free range and were welcome.
What I learned & need to remember for next time!
Be open to changes. The speaker schedule did change with an unexpected late arrival from a flight cancellation and an equally unexpected departure, but the owners/directors pivoted and it went rather seamlessly.
Don’t be afraid to approach and talk to people including your favorite authors, they are people too.
Expect to spend more than you anticipated in the vendor section. This is especially true if you’re like me and have been eyeing something over time, only to have it there in your face where the ability to deny yourself any longer just goes out the window.
Bring snacks and bottled water. The bottles of plain Nestle water were $3 in the hotel lobby marketplace, and you can buy an entire case of water for roughly that from the grocery store. Water is your friend and you want to stay hydrated.
Be nice to the hotel staff and tip well, they are often bombarded with people and tasks while likely shorthanded. Even though we don’t tip the conference staff, the same applies to manners, don’t be a jerk and/or act entitled no matter who you are.
Take Breaks! I am an extrovert and even I got exhausted. It is tiring work to constantly be on the move. There is no shame in giving yourself a break and taking an extended lunch, skipping a class, or taking an afternoon nap.
Come with an open mind and trust your gut. On the first day I walked in and instead of sitting next to Jim, I felt compelled to sit next to a woman I did not know on the other side of the room. I trusted it. Not only did I meet someone new, but I learned that Amy is the Strategic Marketer for Red Feather, an imprint of Schiffer Publishing. I have been finding red cardinal feathers lately, nothing happens by coincidence so we shall see.
Overall, I felt like the conference was very well put together and executed. I was not sure what to expect since it was the first out of the gate post pandemic, it’s a new conference as a whole, and I did not know the owners/directors, Michelle and Roger Welch of Soultopia. However, the Welch’s brought their A-game, adjusted and recovered well when adjustments needed to be made, and really did an outstanding job making sure people had a good time. I have full faith that their conferences (TIDE and NWTS) will only get better and better as we get into the new post pandemic groove and they breathe life into the academic and social aspect of gatherings so many crave.
Was it a hit? You bet!
Is it worth it? Absolutely!
I will be at the Northwest Tarot Symposium (NWTS) in October teaching another round of "Tarot for Criminal investigation", and I can’t encourage you enough to attend not only the education, but the experience as well.
© Brandy Rachelle
Uncredited images from my personal collection or within the public domain