Most people dread having to attend work-related conferences. Usually, this is something that you have to endure, just a part of your job.
Imagine being able to say that you are attending a work conference that involves crystal balls, Tarot cards and other various mystical pursuits. It is pretty awesome.
I got back from the Readers Studio Tarot conference in New York City a few days ago, and as usual I am in a combined state of inspiration, exhaustion, euphoria, anticipation and nervousness. For an introvert and empathic person like me, Readers Studio is both beautiful and terrible. During the course of the conference I spent three and a half days in a hotel with a couple hundred other diviners, breathing in hotel air, barely having time to eat properly or see the light of the sun. The energy is amazingly high, it feeds my soul and charges my batteries and also takes its toll.
So, I’ll give you a quick run down of what went down, and see what else percolates over the days ahead.
As an aside, if you’re thinking of attending Readers Studio in 2020, just do it. It is a serious commitment, time and finances-wise, but for me it has been life changing. There is nothing like it, it will take your Tarot practice to another level, not to mention it is inspiring, fun, and gives you the chance to get to know the most divine diviners on the planet.
My husband Matthew and I arrived in New York on Wednesday around high noon (we decided to avoid the punishment of the red eye flight this year), checked into our hotel and then made our way into the big city. The weather was amazing, blue sky and unseasonably hot, so we decided to be real tourists and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (highly recommended by the way).
I didn’t have a lot of time for sightseeing, so I had a list of some New York things I wanted to achieve, and I achieved almost all of them on this day. Ate a pretzel, Brooklyn pizza, gazed upon of the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, had a Happy Hour drink in the East Village, many missions accomplished.
On Thursday, it was time to get down to business. This was the first ever Divination Day at the Readers Studio, an intensive day of exploring three methods of divination, alternatives or complements to Tarot.
The first session featured the glamorous and wise Rana George, and her presentation entitled Psychic Lenormand. Rana taught us that everyone has psychic abilities, but you have to practice, to use them, to build them up like a muscle. Also, she emphasized that you have to learn to trust your gut, overthinking things will take you off the path (I know all about that!). I loved working with Rana’s beautiful deck, the Rana George Lenormand, and her approach made Lenormand speak to me in a way that it never has before.
Next was Heatherleigh Navarre‘s presentation, Divining into the the Depths: Crystal Ball Scrying for Modern Mystics. I adore Heatherleigh’s no-nonsense approach to divination, and well, to everything! She gave us a fascinating look into the history of crystal balls, and led us through how to receive messages for ourselves and others. Heatherleigh advised us that crystal ball gazing is a meditative, slow and introspective process, one that requires patience and the ability to tune out internal and external distractions. With the energy of all of the other diviners in the room supporting me, I saw faces and scenes in my crystal ball, as clear as day. And, of course, I bought that crystal ball from Heatherleigh, and I’m eager to get to know it better.
The final presentation of the day came from Carrie Paris, The Art of Casting Miracles. Carrie is one of the most magical people I have ever had the pleasure to know. Her creations are all so unique, surprising and illuminating, and this was certainly the case with her new Milagro Oracle, the charm casting kit we used throughout her workshop. Carrie took us beyond divination and fortune-telling, she taught us how to set intention, petition the divine, and bring in miraculous results.
That evening, we enjoyed a little down time at a cocktail reception, and those who had energy left to spare attended optional evening workshops. In the past I have pushed myself to do that, and they are always worthwhile, but this year I decided to pace myself, and honor my introvert side, and call it a night.
On Friday, the Readers Studio Tarot Conference officially began. Even just writing those words gave me a little shiver of excitement right now. That morning I was still flying high from the Divination Day, plus all the feelings of being a teenager, going to summer camp alone, wondering where you’re going to sit in the cafeteria, resurfaced. Of course, all was well.
Readers Studio starts with the three main speakers finally revealing the topics of their presentations, a Foundation reading with a partner, and a ritual for RS First-timers. I don’t want to reveal too much about that process, come to Readers Studio and discover it yourself.
Friday’s presenter was the vivacious, irreverent and wildly talented Ethony, who introduced us to her 13 Tarot Muses. We got to know these Goddesses who preside over different kinds of Tarot readings, from love to prophecy to healing to manifesting and more, and explored how to invoke their support and inspiration when we consult the cards.
Ethony’s presentation was so original, engaging and inspiring, and she even managed to sneak a totally relevant photo of Jason Momoa as Aquaman on the big screen (something that was appreciated by all in attendance).
That evening, after dinner, I had the chance to hear Joanna Powell Colbert talk about her beautiful new deck, the Herbcrafter’s Tarot, can’t wait to get my copy when they are available. After that, it was time to retreat to my Hermit’s cave (aka hotel room) and make space in my fevered introvert brain for more Tarot study tomorrow.
Saturday is always a particularly intense day at Readers Studio. It is FULL ON, two main stage speakers, followed by the Dinner Banquet and Dance Party.
The first presentation of the day was by Tarot expert and world renowned medium, George Koury, entitled The Peter Pan Reading.
George taught us a powerful meditation technique that allowed us to send our logical mind away on a nice vacation, so that we could truly open up to our psychic and intuitive powers without fear.
George then took us through his Peter Pan Tarot spread, a deceptively simple reading that helps you to discover your life purpose, and how to live that purpose with joy. A powerful tool to use yourself, and with clients.
At lunch time, I was so happy to hear Amy Zerner and Monte Farber talk about their luscious new deck, the Enchanted Love Tarot. You can use this deck by simply asking a question about a relationship, romantic or otherwise, pulling one card, and receiving your answer. Or, you can combine it with other decks. The book includes beautiful and clear explanations of the cards written by Monte, and spells created by Amy. Stay tuned for my un-boxing video soon.
I was also so happy to meet the lovely Tori Hartman, she told me all about her new Chakra Wisdom Tarot, and I just had to get a copy for myself! Stay tuned for a video on this deck as well.
Another highlight was finally getting my hands on Lisa de St. Croix‘s stunning new deck, Invoking the Goddess – Oracle and Action. I love all of Lisa’s work, and this deck surpassed my wildest dreams about it. Stay tuned for a post and video featuring this magical creation.
Ok, so we are no where near finished yet, are you still with me?
Next on the main stage was the elegant and enchanting Sasha Graham, speaking about the Seven Sacred Cornerstones of Constant Magic. Sasha focused on the Seven of Cups card, showing us how each one of those cups relates to a Major Arcana card, and giving us techniques to work with the energy of each.
One of the exercises involved the cup that represented the Devil, and the Devil’s magic is ego awareness. The Devil is the big boss who needs to be defeated, the shadow self, the ego that separates you from the world. The goal of this exercise was not to defeat the ego, but to become aware of it. Sasha asked us to write down five or more dark, negative, recurring thoughts that we have. We then had to share them with a partner, and draw a Tarot card to help us turn these thoughts around to something supportive and positive.
Can you imagine how much I wanted to do this exercise, especially in the state of conference buzz I was in? NOT AT ALL. I have to admit, I got grumpy about it, who wants to bring their petty, snide and dark thoughts out and share them with a partner? Well, I did it, and it was a powerful and healing experience. It was pretty amazing how almost everyone had the same dark thoughts, it really put things into perspective.
After a quick break to regroup, refresh and glam up, the Dinner Banquet began. Some people came in amazing Tarot costumes, but this year I decided to come as MYSELF, just me, Lori Lytle. I love wearing costumes, but this time I felt strongly I needed to put myself out into the world, mask free. Literally, and metaphorically.
After the banquet I had some great conversations with readers who I really admire in the hotel lobby bar, I was so happy to have the chance to bounce business ideas off of them, and they shared their experience with a level of honesty that I was really grateful for.
And then, I found the energy to pop into the dance party, all I can say is that Robert Place has got some moves on the dance floor.
Now we reach Sunday, the final day of the conference. At this point my heart and mind were beyond full, I was longing for fresh air and sunshine and exercise, and yet I was filled with sadness that the conference was about to come to an end.
Sunday starts with revisiting the Foundation readings that we did on the first day, with the same partner and same cards, applying our new wisdom and insights. This is such a lovely way to bring things full circle, and to help us to integrate everything that we discovered and experienced.
This practice is followed by the Tarot Incubators, a series of round table discussions on a wide range of Tarot topics. This is a great chance to present new ideas, and share our experiences of what works and what doesn’t. I was delighted to lead a discussion entitled Amulets, Talismans and Tarot, a topic that I’ve been exploring extensively. My group was great, it was a joy to make some magic with them.
After the incubators, there is a general scramble to get checked out of the hotel, followed by the final wrap up, the presentation of our certificates, and announcements concerning Readers Studio 2020.
Quite honestly, this drawn out farewell is just too much for me. Emotionally, I can’t take it. My introvert self is done, drained, cracked open, needing some space for reflection. So, I usually say my own private farewells, take a last deep breath of Readers Studio air, and then let my husband Matthew whisk me away to Manhattan for some sightseeing and decompressing.
I love New York. I couldn’t live there, the energy is too high, but I love to visit and soak in all the excitement and possibility (and pizza, it really is the best in the world).
Matthew and I marvelled at Rockefeller Center, and then did a ramble through Central Park, visiting some good friends there.
Finally, we ended up in the East Village, in enchanted territory, at the nexus of the universe. Plus, we had the best home style Japanese food that we’ve ever had, outside of Japan.
Tuesday was our last day, but before we left the city I paid a visit to the Morgan Library, to see some of their Visconti-Sforza Tarot cards on display. They are breathtaking, and also the building is gorgeous and filled with hidden staircases and secret rooms. The current Tolkien exhibit was crowded, but fantastic.
We ended our time in New York with some more sightseeing, including the Flatiron building, Times Square, and yes, one more slice of pizza. This was followed by a delayed flight back to Toronto, and as a result, some very overpriced drinks at the airport. And then, joyfully home to Willow (my cat), and figuring out how I am going to return to normal life.
So now I pause, and take a breath. What can I say about Readers Studio? For me, it is a terror and a joy. I look forward to it all year, I overthink and get nervous about it, I have a great time, and leave filled with longing and higher expectations of myself and what I want to achieve in this life.
If you’re an introvert like me, work with that energy. Don’t let it deter you from coming to Readers Studio. Push yourself to talk to people, to say yes to invitations, to have those meaningful conversations. And, honor yourself, retreat when you need to, don’t feel that you have to do absolutely everything. Drink lots of water, remember to eat and move around, and be open to surprising opportunities and magical signs and synchronicities.
A deep thanks to everyone who made this such a soul shaking and heart filling experience for me. And much gratitude to Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone for making it happen each year.