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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. November Theme: "Unique Perspective"
Volume 2 Issue 1 ISSN# 1708-3265

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Tarot Café
by Kirsty Norton

Imagine a globe of the Earth, perfectly round with blue oceans. Between the oceans you see images of land, continents and islands. Imagine yourself holding the globe in your hands with your arms held high, looking upwards at the lower portion of the Earth.

The Southern hemisphere would now be completely in your vision. The first piece of land you observe is Antarctica. As you keep looking and studying this globe, you will see a huge island. The island you are looking at is Australia, and if you look really, really closely at Australia on the bottom right hand side of the mainland you see the city of Melbourne. Melbourne consists of many suburbs, and one of the suburbs found in the inner city is Fitzroy.

My initiation to Fitzroy was in the late 1980's. Live music oozed out of bars, people stood in the street and read their poetry and underground galleries were exploding with the work of local artists. Colours, passion and creativity filled the streets with a beautiful and vibrant energy. Fitzroy was the place where people expressed the essence of their soul, their individuality. That same individual and vibrant energy still fills Fitzroy, and I find myself drawn to it.

The Tarot Café is in the back room of Dante's (a local café). Upon entering you can't help feeling entranced by the magic and eccentricity of the venue. On the back wall is a huge 1950's advertisement for an Australian airline, which no longer exists, called TAA. One of the 'in jokes' of the Tarot Café is that it stands for the Tarot Associations of Australia.

Jean-Michel David, is the Tarot Café's initiator and facilitator. He wanted to bring people together who share the universal language of Tarot in an environment where people could learn and share their knowledge and experience with others. Jean-Michel is also co-coordinating the International Tarot Conference in Melbourne in July in 2005 and thought the Tarot Café would be a wonderful way to help prepare for the Conference.

When I first heard about the café in 2003, I was a little hesitant and apprehensive about going, as I had no idea what to expect. Would I find myself feeling uncomfortable? Were people going to be open and friendly or stick to their own groups? The only thing I knew about the café was each month had a different theme and presenter.

The first thing I noticed when I ventured into a meeting was the amount of people there. An eclectic group of around 30 people filled the room - males, females, young and old, from different countries and religious backgrounds. Everyone appeared to be old friends. Was I going to fit in? Sharing a common interest such as Tarot doesn't automatically mean there is going to be an instant bond with people. I was soon to have all my fears dispelled.

The Tarot Café provides a unique and nurturing environment. From professional readers to beginners, tarot students and teachers, all people with a general interest in the tarot frequent the café. People travel from as far away as two hours to share in the experience. The knowledge gained and shared is worth the trip. I love the non-competitive environment where everyone's thoughts, ideas, experience and knowledge are respected and treated equally.

The presentation usually lasts for an hour or two. A range of topics has been covered; individual cards, specific decks, Court Cards, spreads, the gender of the Major Arcana, and Meditation with the tarot are just a few. Sometimes the presentation is interactive where everyone goes into groups to discuss a featured topic, other times people are guided to write their thoughts on a particular tarot card. Other times we just sit back - listening and enjoying.

After the presentation is over everyone has the opportunity to ask questions. Then it's time for the raffle for a tarot related prize ranging from calendars to books. Rumour has it the last person who arrives at the café wins the raffle prize, but I think I broke the tradition. Last month I arrived last and didn't win. Oh well, there's always next month!

The next (and last) ingredient of the afternoon is my favourite! It's time for socializing. Often people start giving and receiving readings, sharing tips and discussing the afternoon's presentation - all among friends. Every month I meet someone new and amazing with a great story to tell.

Whenever I leave the Tarot Café, I feel extremely blessed and enlightened because each meeting brings new insight and perspective into the tarot. But it's not just about the tarot; it's also about the people I meet at the Café. For example last month a woman asked me to do a reading for her. I didn't bring my cards that day, as I didn't plan to read. So when she offered me her own cards to read with - how could I say no? To my surprise I was given a gift in exchange for the reading. Photo reproductions of paintings she had exhibited depicting the Hebrew together with an exegesis. I felt truly honoured.

My hope is, in writing this article I will inspire others around the world to set up similar Cafés, so people can share their knowledge and experience in the universal language of tarot with others; and maybe even make a few new wonderful friends in the process.

A professional Tarot reader, Kirsty Norton also runs Tarot and Psychic Development workshops, is a Flower Essence and Spiritual Healing Practitioner, and is currently in her second year of a Bachelor of Science (Naturopathy) Degree.

Although born in Australia, she feels deeply connected to her family's Scottish roots, and in 2001 in Edinburgh married her Scottish childhood sweetheart. With her husband and his two gorgeous teenaged children, Kirsty now lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.

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