TAROT SALON: COLLECTIVE MAGICAL LEARNING
HausWitch's Tarot Salon event series is Melissa Nierman and Zhana Levitsky’s way of gathering magical folks from all walks of life, talents, and experience to help them hone their skills in tarot. You’ll never leave Tarot Salon without learning at least one new thing about the cards—or about yourself. I sat down with the duo to get a little more insight into the workings of our monthly event. Join them on the last Tuesday of every month!
Let’s start with a little about Tarot Salon for the newbies. How did it start? What’s it all about?
Basically, Zhana and I met at one of Lindsay Mack’s Tarot Workshops last spring and Zhana mentioned “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a Tarot Salon, and I didn’t know what that was but I literally just like mouthed to nobody ‘TAROT SALON!’ and it just stuck in my mind. We got together and started it with the intention that people who are from any level of tarot can come together, feel empowered, like they’re able to do readings for others and get in touch with their intuition. And obviously connect with other magical witchy people.
Everything that Melissa said, and I would add that Tarot Salon (for me) has been huge in my own tarot practice. Because even though I’ve been doing tarot for a long time and off and on professionally it also has been hard to stay in the flow without a container Tarot Salon is my container and it keeps me in a practice while allowing me to interface with more than just myself and my own psychologies. It’s continually evolving. It’s not set in stone what Tarot Salon is and what it isn’t—it’s a freeform thing that’s still defining itself anew each time we have one. We make it a super friendly, welcoming, community for all levels. When you come in we’re in safe space.
On that note, what happens at your average Tarot Salon?
We do try to keep it in a theme. The theme we’re working on now is the Major Arcana. This month is going to be The Hierophant, and what Melissa and I do is meet up ahead of time and write unique tarot spreads and themes. These fit not only the astrological moment that we’re in during the evening of the Tarot Salon, like where the moon is at or what’s going on significantly in the skies, but also to fit in with the card we’re exploring that night. All of that is flexible. We stay loose while having a program to move through during the course of the two hours, so it stays a super friendly, welcoming, community for all levels.
When you come in we’re in safe space. There’s no wrong interpretation, there’s just the ability to practice the art of tarot with other people, living and breathing in the room next to you to keep it fresh. To get outside your own head and pull some cards.
We’re both educators so we’re pretty good at making curriculums. The salon begins with introductions, we’ll go around the room, people show off their tarot decks. I lead us in a grounding meditation and Zhana will give a talk about the card that we’re exploring and anything astrologically significant. Then we’ll start with a couple of smaller partner spreads. At the end, we do something that came out of the first Tarot Salon we ever had and was sort of completely unplanned which is what we call a community read. This is my favorite part.
The community read is where everybody gets together and we read for one person at a time. The person in the middle of the circle will pull cards based on the spread we created for the salon (usually a three card spread) and people very spontaneously say what comes up for them in the reading and we just, form a reading with this collective mind. This is the part that I learn the most, because when you’re reading for yourself you always have similar interpretations, so this is where I learn all of these new interpretations. People see things, like symbols that I never would have connected.
Like, “there’s a bird in every one of these cards” and you’re like I didn’t even notice that! At Tarot Salon I see things that I don’t usually pay attention to through other people’s eyes. I call it ‘collective magical learning.’
Could you explain a little more about what ‘collective magical learning’ is?
I mean, collective magical learning is just something I made up! It’s based on this idea that we all have something to offer each other, right? There is no one teacher. Even though Zhana and I are facilitating and we come up with the spreads, keep the time, and hold space, everybody is teaching each other. The person who just started to learn tarot that day and the person that’s been practicing for 20 years each has something different to add.
Would you say that’s your favorite reading or spread that you’ve done?
Z: The community readings are the favorite, favorite. But for the Emperor card we had a closing one that was fairly deep that worked on issues with fathers and was pretty intense. I like to explore beneath the surface, but sometimes it’s fun to keep it light, so it’s hard to say which I prefer, but it’s really the ability to, in one night, explore something on the surface level, and then dive deep, come back again, all in a sacred space, with a community of shared minds and aligned hearts. I think it’s the way it happens that’s my favorite—not specifically a spread.
M: And it’s really cool because you see people. We have a lot of people come in who have never read tarot before, and I’m like 1) you are super brave, and 2) it’s amazing to see over the course of the night how much confidence they build. Because we’ll say ‘just look at the cards and see what comes up—nothing is wrong.’ And we’ll explain that the readings are co-created. I love to watch people feel really empowered, and be the channel for this universal wisdom. And that’s the hope—that people come away from Tarot Salon feeling like they have just as much access to magic as anyone else, like a professional tarot card reader or a psychic or anyone else.
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