SF BATS Report: Nature Divination

I’m a huge fan of Joanna Powell Colbert, the creatrix of The Gaian Tarot. I greedily followed her blog as she created the deck and posted on the progress. I snapped up a mass market copy as soon as I could. It is what I consider to be a ‘desert island deck’ in that there is so much there that it could easily be the only deck I ever use.

When I saw that she was presenting during the first time slot on the first day of BATS I went straight to the room to make sure I got a seat. I didn’t even really look at the topic of the presentation. I didn’t care – I just wanted to hear a woman I deeply respected and admired talk for an hour.

Sometimes foolish choices are the best choices. SF BATS pushed me out of my comfort zone from the very first session.

Joanna’s session was not on tarot. In fact she admitted to getting to a point in her process with The Gaian Tarot where she needed a real break from the deck and tarot in general. (This was so comforting. We all go through times like this! It’s not just me!) In the session titled “Reading the Book of Nature” she spoke in detail about how she takes divinatory cues from the world around her, how that’s informed her practice, the work she does for clients, and even how she’s integrated it into a deeper understanding of tarot. It was fascinating. I also appreciated that, as a presenter, she is calm and never seemed rushed, giving me time to process what she was saying. It was a great way to start the conference.

She was also kind enough to let me interview her for this blog. I only asked one question, as she was a busy person during the weekend. I asked her to do a little predicting, and to imagine herself at BATS 2025. What did the future of the program look like? Here’s what she had to say:

At BATS 2025, we old-timers are all ten years older, which means that some of us are deep into Elderhood. Sadly, some elders are gone, and the rest toast them with cherished memories. Those of us still around are spry and ready to raise a little ruckus. Happily, many young and midlife people have discovered tarot and BATS over the last ten years, and they are helping BATS continue to thrive. There is more diversity in the tarot community — more people of color. Many more independent artists have created decks of stunning beauty. The Tarot Renaissance goes on and on and on . . .

I certainly hope that Joanna Powell Colbert is “still spry and ready to raise a little ruckus” at BATS 2025. Her contribution to the BATS 2015 program certainly made it well worth the trip.

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