November 14th through November 23rd, 2007
"The Alchemical Tapestry of Astrological Tarot"
Juliet Sharman-Burke and Tad Mann
Bali is a stunningly beautiful tropical island where everyday life is steeped in magic and mysticism. Every day is marked by ceremony and deep respect for the gods and goddesses of Hinduism, and their relevance to 'ordinary' life. The Balinese woman spends on average one third of her waking life creating and making offerings to these deities. What better place to have a workshop integrating the ancient and profound languages of the tarot and astrology?
This was an opportunity for those either proficient in either, both, or completely new to astrology and tarot, to immerse themselves for 9 days in the imagery, history and meaning of these ancient arts, which carry at the heart of them the key to connecting the psychological, emotional and divine energies and potentials that can so enrich and enlighten our earthly existence.
Juliet Sharman-Burke and Tad Mann are experts in tarot and astrology, having studied, written and taught extensively on the subjects for many years. They have each created and produced their own unique tarot decks, as well as being published authors of astrology and tarot books. They are highly respected amongst their peers and students.
There was a wonderful depth and richness from having two very different, yet complementary perspectives available to the group. They taught individually and at times together. The workshops included mythological and historical studies, meditations, guided imagery and other psychological work, astrological referencing and background, and work with various techniques for using the tarot as well as creating your own tarot deck by the authors who have created theirs.
A tapestry of knowledge and understanding was woven creating a spiritually charged alchemical process with the potential for changing the lives of the participants... in a land of unsurpassable spiritual and physical beauty.
Juliet worked with the Sharman-Caselli and Mythic Tarot decks she has created. The Sharman-Caselli deck being drawn from the imagery and history of the European Renaissance while The Mythic Tarot deck and book, created with Liz Greene, reflects the myths of ancient Greece through the gods and goddesses. Juliet believes that holding the workshop in a land steeped in the magic of the east was a perfect complement to the magic of the west. In times gone by, people were less interested in splitting things into categories thus astrology and alchemy were seen as interlinked and not as separate entities : the images on the tarot incorporate both. The workshop helped us to return to this worldview, and we experienced how the astrological and alchemical elements exist in the tarot. Jung’s four functions of consciousness, intuition, feeling, thinking and sensation also correlate with the four astrological elements of fire, water, air and earth, and the four suits of the Minor Arcana. This workshop offered an opportunity to explore these through guided imagery, myth, story, colour and music.
Tad worked with his Mandala Astrological Tarot deck. The MAT is unique because he first designed and painted it after returning from living in Morocco and India, and it reflects his interest in melding the tarot, astrology, symbolism and alchemy. Each card has astrological correlations joined with other rich ancient signs and symbols. The origin of the tarot was discussed, the various languages of imagery, the mythic origins of the iconography, and primarily, the symbolism of the cards. It is this symbolic vocabulary that is essential to learn and understand. Once the symbolic structure of tarot is understood, any deck or even a deck of playing cards can be used to work the mantic magic. Tad's vision of the tarot is also conditioned by his "life time" astrology ideas in that he uses "process work" to understand how life works in time, therefore we learned how to create timings for readings, how to look at such events as sequences, much as alchemy uses many different ways of describing transformation. Even the orientation of the square cards allowed us to work with the elements, Jungian functions and the angles to make readings more concise.