We probably fall uniquely somewhere between a scholarly convention, a psychic fair, and a Comic-Con convention,” said Marcus Katz, one of the organizers of TarotCon, a gathering of Tarot-card readers, designers, artists, authors, and vendors that happens seven times a year in destinations around the world. “We’ve had many people attend for whom this is their first ‘coming out’ as a reader, so we are delighted to support their first experience as a professional, rather than being considered the family oddball.”
Indeed, TarotCon was created in 2009 by the U.K.-based Tarot Association — and early on came face-to-face with the stigma surrounding the colorful 78-card deck. “There were a couple of initial challenges with one event that had strange and unspoken expectations about what a ‘bunch of tarot card readers’ might look like,” Katz said. “[Those at the venue] were so surprised that we were just as professional and ‘normal’ as any other meeting they had hosted that they bent over backwards thereafter to ensure we booked with them again.”
STACKED DECK Whether they happen in the U.K., Germany, Australia, Singapore, Brazil, or the United States (where there are five per year), each TarotCon turns over certain cards, including a mix of well-known presenters and new speaking talent. “We aim to make our events wildly informative and utterly engaging, with skills and methods being shared to be taken back in people’s actual practice,” Katz said. “We often ask during the event if delivery is too slow, too fast, or just right, and tweak the event as we go along.”
TAROT TWEETS In between TarotCons, Tarot enthusiasts are a social-media-friendly group. The Tarot Association moderates daily conversations between its 49,000 Facebook followers, and during TarotCon events, attendees populate the #tarotcon hashtag with photos and sound bites.
DEFINITELY DIVINATION Katz expects attendance to grow “exponentially” next year. The Tarot Association’s efforts to maintain a restrained attendee-vendor ratio at TarotCon have led to the creation of a vendor-only event, DivinaCon, scheduled for October 2017 in Las Vegas. Katz said: “DivinaCon will be a larger trade convention for all things in divination.”
Sept. 19–20, 2015
Theatre by the Lake
Card Party: Participants at TarotCon can choose from sessions on interpretation, card design, developing a Tarot-based business, and divination.
In some ways, the party really gets going after the program has ended. “We have a fantastic ‘Survivors Club’ tradition for the Sunday night following a TarotCon,” said organizer Marcus Katz, “where those staying over make arrangements to meet up at a local venue. We love to support local and unique restaurants.”