Updated: Sep 11
I just got back from The International Divination Event (TIDE) and wanted to share some of my favorite moments…there were a few big ones! For those of you who are not familiar with TIDE, it is a conference dedicated to all things divination and magic that takes place in Dallas, TX. This year was the second annual TIDE and boy did it deliver!
After days of community and pure magic, where does one even begin to break it all down without fumbling over their words?
Knowing that the weekend would be jam packed with classes and activities, I came in two days earlier so that I could spend time with my new found best friend and podcast partner Jennifer Steidley of Ferocious Ink. Reese Marren, creator of the Pensive Path Tarot and Hilda Tarot, joined Jenn and I on Thursday for breakfast at The Original Pancake House (5 Stars) and a trip to the Dallas Museum of Art for the Saints, Sinners, Lovers, and Fools: 300 Years of Flemish Masterworks exhibit, it was absolutely incredible. Something that I don’t put out there is that once upon a time, I was an artist that had every intention of going to the Art Institute of Houston. Anyhow, that’s a post for another day along with the unpacking of all of the photos I took at this incredible art exhibit and its hidden secrets, especially those of which tarot cards directly derived their inspiration from.
After our museum rendezvous we made it to the SoulTopia Carrollton location where I finally brought myself to buy the prasiolite ring that I fell in love with at the Northwest Tarot Symposium (NWTS) in fall of 2022. It was like Spirit gave a resounding “YES”, this one was not only the right size (I have long skinny fingers, size 5/6), it was also my favorite shape, marquise! If you find yourself in or around Dallas, two pieces of advice…
1: Drive like it’s the autobahn and you just might survive
2: stop into a SoulTopia location, they have incredible quality inventory for reasonable prices!
I am incredibly happy to report that my class, Profiling the Court Cards: When Good Cards Go Bad, was a huge success! Being a Keynote Speaker brings extra pressure. Not only do you need to have something fresh and new that will hook your audience, you have to be able to make your presentation flow. I was less concerned with the material I was presenting and more about trying to cram it into the hour and half stage time that I had. I only went three minutes over so I shall call it a win! I can’t wait to teach this class again in the program I am building, I just have to remember that it’s definitely going to need a solid three hours to really take a deep dive in. Not yet having a book or deck, I had these custom Divine Detective cups made by NTX Laser Works as my donations to the raffle boxes, and everyone got a Divine Detective holographic sticker because who doesn’t love stickers! Jennifer put together the amazing image of course.
In other exciting news, Jennifer Steidley and I have officially launched Keepin’ It Symbol (KIS) Podcast, and KIS was a sponsor of TIDE! Check out these amazing custom KIS cups we also had made from NTX Laser Works as donations to the raffle boxes! My Tarot Buddy, the one whose lanyard tarot card matched mine, won the black KIS cup; the black cup is mine and the white is Jennifer's. Horus, our KIS mascot, had a great time at the conference meeting everyone. Make sure to check out our short into episode and subscribe on Podcast or Youtube!
Instead of boring you with a day by day guide to the conference, I’m going to hit you with some of my favorite highlights!
If you have been around my world or the tarot world for any amount of time, it should be no surprise that the number one highlight for TIDE 2023 for me was sharing the Keynote Speaker stage with Mary K Greer. There are not many people that I look up to in the Tarot community, but Mary is one of those people. For those of you who are not familiar with her, she is a scholar, writer, teacher and professional tarot consultant whose work is recognized around the world. As someone that appreciates thorough research and deep contemplation, meeting her was profound in more than one way. To be honest, I was rather nervous about teaching a class where Mary would be in attendance. What I was not expecting was for her to tell me that my class was absolutely fabulous and that her mind had been opened to a whole new level after her 55 years of tarot study. I was completely stunned and my mouth was probably hanging open. To receive that kind of feedback from an icon and pillar that knows her craft probably better than anyone else I’ve seen or studied their work, it was a feeling I cannot even begin to describe. I am very grateful to have had her sign my copy of Pamela Coleman Smith, the Untold Story, and two new copies of Women of the Golden Dawn and Tarot Court Cards. We had a nice chat while she signed the books followed by several others chats throughout the remainder of the conference as I picked her expert brain on things I’ve heard but been unable to validate in the land of Golden Dawn myths and legends. I hope that there are many more conversations to come, that we share more speaker stages to in the future, and that perhaps one day we teach a class together! Who knows, maybe Mary will do me the honor of writing the forward to my Profiling the Court Cards book.
Mary is a huge BTS fan. Not only was her presentation on BTS and symbolism, particularly that seen in the tarot, her tarot deck is BTS!
It’s no secret that I like hands-on workshop style classes, I tend to zone out in lectures unless the topic is really something deep that I am into. Of the classes that I went to, my favorites hands down were Jennifer Steidley’s “Tarot Saves the Day! Discovering the Hidden Superpowers in Tarot”, Catiara Marie’s “Forbidden Fortune Telling, is predictive tarot still taboo?”, Rose & Juno’s “Using Fiction for Divination”, and Kristine Gorman’s “Automatic Drawing for Divination”. Yes it is true that one could argue that I’m just promoting those that I know, BUT I am speaking strictly from the perspective of classes presented as workshops that brought a WOW factor I was not expecting.
Jennifer being my friend, I knew the topic she was going to talk about, but I had no idea how intriguing and applicable it would be until we started using divination to explore our own superpowers. If Jenn offers this class again, I HIGHLY recommend it for tarot newbies to masters.
Cat’s class really caught me off guard because we had to read in reverse in a way that allowed us to predict future events. Admittedly this is something my brain struggled with at first, but when it hit, it hit hard. Check out me, my partner Pamela Steele, Jennifer Steidley and Allison Sasso having a blast and cracking up!
I was absolutely blown away by Rose & Juno’s class where we used our favorite fiction book to analyze ourselves through tarot. I rarely read fiction, but as you might imagine when I do… it involves murder. My favorite author as a young teenager was Mary Higgins Clark, but my favorite book of all time has always been Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Looking at my life through the lens of Rebecca has definitely opened my eyes to many things and I still have a lot to sort out including rereading it with a new set of eyes. This class was so profound that I will be writing an entire blog post on it, specifically my revelations and how to do it for yourself as a form of introspection like you’ve never seen before.
Kristine's class on automatic drawing for divination also really took me by surprise, at one point I reflexively gasped when I realized that my scribbled piece of paper turned into the Eight of Cups tarot card….a card that has been stalking me recently. Kristine shared that before her class she did an automatic drawing and in the drawing she saw an angel standing to the side of the class as it was being taught. If you aren’t aware, the tarot community recently lost tarot legend Rachel Pollack who made a huge impact on Kristine, she even created a masterpiece of Rachel in her not yet released tarot deck. There is no doubt that Rachel was the angel seen in the drawing and that she with us in that room.
There were so many great classes and unfortunately that meant that two great classes were often being taught at the same time and a tough decision had to be made. I don’t usually go back and watch classes that I missed simply because I am crammed on time, but I definitely want to watch the ZOOM replay of Chris Onareo’s, “Acting the Fool”, Connie Kick’s “Be the Image, Have a Tarot Revolution”, and Nicholas Pearson’s “Crystal Energies: from Spirit to Science”. I also missed the Panel on “Magick is for Everyone”, and with Mary K Greer and Dan Pelletier of the Tarot Garden as panelists, it’s a must rewatch!
I also really enjoyed the panel on professionalism! As I said in my NWTS 2022 Review, I would like to see more professional development opportunities being presented because we are in such a unique niche. One of the things that was discussed on the professionalism panel was the need to be mindful in what you put out and considering having an accountability partner. This is something that I very much support. I have a blog post that I wrote a few years ago that I slid to Theresa Reed, V (RedLight Readings), and Chris Onareo beforehand because I was concerned it may cause controversy and be offensive. All three of them told me to reconsider because while it was not intended to be offensive, it could be perceived that way and I listened; that blog post has never been released.
The biggest difference in attending a conference is there is something magical in and of itself in connecting in person with the people in this community. You don’t have to know everyone, and you don’t even necessarily have to like everyone, but yet there is this atmosphere of magic being afoot. There are so many names and faces that I have seen, but never imagined meeting in person, and others that are completely new to me. It was great getting to finally meet Pamela Steele, the creator of the Steele Wizard Tarot! Pamela is my kind of person, very down to earth, smart witted and kind. We share a deep passion for dragons! I have been wanting Pam’s original Steele Wizard deck that she self published, and much to my surprise, she gifted me HER deck. Yes, as in the deck that she brought to use at the conference! She also gave me these really cool ear jewelry pieces to satisfy my playful inner elf.
I loved being able to catchup with those I’ve met through conferences in the past like Jennifer Stiedley (the BFF that’s made it into the Circle of Trust), Reece Marren, Dan Pelletier, Amy Fisher (Rose and Juno), Christine Cunningham Ashworth, Mat Auryn, Jamie Sawyer, Chris Onareo, Kristine Gorman, Catiara Marie, Connie Kick, Al Juarez, Carrie Parris, Dennis McGuire, Mitchell Osborn, Beverly Frable, Lezlee Sydlowski, and many more! I was able to finally meet Allison Sasso and V of Red Light Readings in person, and make new connections with Susan Chang, Mellissae Lucia, Nicholas Pearson, Devin Hunter, and Dina Berrin to name a few. There is nowhere else in the world that you can come together with all of these vastly different practitioners in a single setting and have your mind opened up to a whole new world of understanding and possibilities.
Jamie Sawyer was the TIDE 2023 Featured Artist, and shortly before the conference she started sharing her creative genius in crafting these journals featuring the custom TIDE 2023 art. If you don’t know who Jamie is, make sure to check out the Divinely Inspired Feature Interview with Jamie Sawyer 336. As soon as I saw them, I immediately knew that I had to have one (seriously, go check out her creative masterpieces on her website). After Jamie and V with Red Light Readings did their class in which we got these amazing custom MASH fortune tellers, I beelined to Jamie’s table to buy a TIDE journal. What I didn’t count on was Jamie only having two of six journals left…I found myself in a tough spot. I really wanted a journal, but I also suspected that my bestie secretly wanted one too, and I was not going to be the jerk that took both of the last journals. When it came down to it, I bought the journal for Jenn. Lucky for me, Jenn won a raffle box the next day that included one of Jamie’s TIDE journals and she gifted it to me!
They brought back a favorite of mine…BINGO! Roger has these ultimate BINGO rules where you have to bingo on two cards at the same time, and despite how easy that sounds, it’s not. Cat and I knew from NWTS 2022 that you can sit one spot away on both of your boards for a while and then BAM someone else who had not been having any luck suddenly sweeps the board and wins. I want to point out that it was during BINGO, the event right before the 80s dance that Allison made a proper prom-posal and stole my prom date. Under normal circumstances I would never be able to face BINGO again after this devastating event, but I won the Between the Worlds Shadowcasting with Bone and Curio Oracle Cards by Monica Bodirsky so the world is right again.
As I mentioned above in my devastating heartbreak at the loss of my date, the Studio 78 dance theme this year was 80s prom and we had a blast dressing the part! Checkout these amazing prom pictures!
A really cool suggestion in the program this year was to have speakers sign your program book like a yearbook. I caught a few speakers when I could remember to, but this is definitely something I want to do for conferences in the future!
For the Keynote Speaker Meet and Greet, each of us received a bouquet of flowers. I left my flowers in my hotel room, but removed the roses and am actively pressing the petals to make something commemorative for this milestone in my Professional Tarot Reader career. I imagine I’ll make bookmarks because you can never have enough of those!
This year the lunch was included in your ticket price and while it looked yummy, I couldn’t eat it because of allergen concerns. If you have a gluten or grain intolerance, expect to make alternative food arrangements unless the hotel can certify food allergen safety. Luckily Salt Grass was across the street and Jennifer Doordashes like a pro, yay for caprese salad!
I missed the pick a card of the day cauldron we had at the NWTS 2022. I don’t know why, but there is something extra special about pulling a card for the day while surrounded by magic and steeped in divination. As I mentioned above, I am always in need of bookmarks and I love to uses these random cards!
Opportunity is knocking, will you open the door?
Conferences are not cheap, but they are so worth it if you can make it happen, especially for tarot readers where they are business tax write-off. These are memories that will last a lifetime and then some. All you have to do is look through the numerous photos and memories of Rachel Pollack from conferences through the years that have been being shared since her passing, and you realize the potential of these events. As Jen pointed out, “if you have been on the fence about attending one of these events, just do it. In addition to the deep learning that takes place, the potential for truly profound soul-connections is nothing short of magical”. I can’t agree more.
The Northwest Tarot Symposium which is scheduled for Sept 29 - Oct 1, 2023 in Portland, Oregon. NWTS 2022 was the first year that Michelle and Roger owned it and they inherited several complications with the hotel, this year it is being held at a new hotel. My hotel and flight are already booked, hope to see you there!
Readers Studio (RS) - website under construction
If you haven’t heard yet, the former owners, Ruthann and Wald Amberstone, of the Tarot School who are close friends with Michelle and Roger sold the Reader’s Studio conference in New York to them! After a 4 year hiatus following the pandemic, Reader’s Studio is coming back Apr 26 - 28, 2024 and will be held at it’s historical place, the New York LaGuardia Airport Marriott. I have always wanted to attend Reader’s Studio so I immediately signed up and booked the hotel. I’m coming in a few days early so I can spend the entire week there and explore all the things, especially the libraries, museums and back ally magic shops! Beware that a good portion of why I never attended was because this conference draws and international crowd and always sells out leaving you waitlisted. You can buy your Reader’s Studio ticket here or email Roger at Roger@Soultopia.guru to set up a payment plan.
Before I leave you, I want to say a special thank you to Michelle and Roger Welch for putting on these amazing conferences and for giving me the opportunity to take the main stage, to the SoulTopia team for selecting me as a Keynote; to Catiara Marie, Andrew Furtick, Kristine Gorman and everyone else who recommended me as a Keynote speaker; to my business mentor Theresa Reed the Tarot Lady for encouraging me to pitch TIDE last year and helping me rewrite my dry pitch; and to everyone that came to my class!
© Brandy Rachelle 2020
Uncredited images from my personal collection or stock images