What I Learned on my Trip to MARS* by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince

The subject was Tarot: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (and the Beautiful). On Friday night, Rachel did wisdom readings with the Shining Tribe deck, asking What is Goodness, How do we recognize it, and What action does it call for? And so also for Badness, Ugliness and Beauty.
An interesting response from the cards - demonstrating that they do like to play with your mind and get you to play with it too - was pulling the Ace of Rivers (Cups) for What is Badness. One of the possibilities discussed was that this could indicate what we feel as emotional pain could actually be Divine Presence that is too overwhelming for us. So the next time I feel depressed, I'm going to see if instead of despair, I can feel it as a flood of energy coming to me from my goddess, and see what that might do with the situation.

When I did this reading for myself later with my own deck, Tarot of the Crone, I got the Hermit for What is Goodness. So for me, what is good is the knowledge of my self gained in my time alone and questing; what is good is what I know to be true, no matter if all society may disagree.

In the last reading I did for the weekend, Mary's Daimon Lover Spread, I saw the Hermit again, in the position of What is my Daimon Lover. That my loneliness is noble, exalted, and necessary for the suffering artist that I am. Ouch... that hurt. Because I do have this belief in me. And my solitude can be good or evil, and I need to understand just how and when it can be either.

That was just one of the mindbenders the cards gifted me with. But what else can I expect when the answer to What is Beautiful in me was the Devil? I may wallow in the Shadow, but at least I'm fearless about it. And I can write poetry about it afterwards.

But going back again to the first night, Mary had another exercise for us, from her new book on the court cards. First I selected one court card to stand for my nemesis, for that energy which causes me to fail where I might otherwise succeed. She then asked us to think of a specific person in our lives that embodied this energy. Ack! I saw aspects of my mother, my father and my job in my chosen card. Shuffling the rest of the court cards, and ensuring that some of them were reversed, I randomly selected two more cards to stand by the first. The first upright card represented how I should act around this person, and the first reversed card how I should not act around this person. Again, I was using my own deck, the Tarot of the Crone, and got the Grandmother of Disks, a smiling, baking, giving character, for the latter card. Which gave me a new motto to live by: Don't bake a fabulous chocolate cake only to give it away to your enemy.

The weekend was packed with teachings from Jewish, Buddhist, Christian and Pagan traditions. I finally understood three out of the Four Noble Truths. And I found out if I followed those, I wouldn't need that 4th one. The weekend was packed as well with profound and inventive spreads, along with the energy and insight of dozens of readers. I swear attending one of these events will blow your mind better than any drug, plus it lasts longer. I've been home a week and I'm still spinning.

I also learned that I lived in four worlds simultaneously (for more on this see Rachel's latest book, The Kabbalah_Tree), and that my task in the World of Emanation was to grow from a speck of dust into a goddess. Okay fine, I said, but what do I do next week?

What I Already Knew but Rediscovered at MARS:

I love tarot and tarot people. Mary's grace will smooth your path. Rachel's laugh will strengthen your heart. Both of these women are very very good at what they do. And the gods speak through every one of us.

And something else I learned from William, a fellow attendee: Deep in the earth are worms longer than I am tall.

You've just got to love a weekend like that.

* Mary and Rachel Seminar, presented by the Crystal Cave.

Ellen Lorenzi-Prince has been a reader and teacher of Tarot for over 15 years. She is the artist and designer of the Tarot of the Crone, a sold-out, limited-edition deck. She writes tarot-related articles, poetry, short stories and meditations for herself and for several online study groups, as well as for printed newsletters. She is presently working on Pandora's Tarot, which can also be seen on her site.

Article 2004 Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
Page 2004 Diane Wilkes