The Magical ‘Living Tarot Oracle’ in Durango, Colorado

Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin from England
Tarot experts Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin from England

What a magical trip I was on. I returned to my beloved New Mexico after a two-year absence, being gifted with enough Southwest mojo to carry me for some time. Another Blog post is coming on the New Mexico sojourn, but now I want to share a powerful weekend I had in Durango, Colorado with the 4th Annual Living Tarot Oracle event. The weekend was also a reunion of some beloved companions from my time in Santa Fe, and meeting British friends and colleagues I have only known through the internet ethers.

Lisa de St. Croix sharing her nearly finished Tarot deck
Lisa de St. Croix sharing her Tarot deck

In 2010 I met Julia Hesse, Tami Graham and Leah Ilanah at Carrie Paris’s Santa Fe Tarot event LETS- Land of Enchantment Tarot Symposium. During LETS the Colorado posse spoke of this juicy gathering they had begun where people embodied the different archetypes of the Major Aracana in the Tarot and offered experiential readings to willing participants. It sounded fascinating, and I finally got to attend last weekend.

The Empress
The Empress

The Major Arcana is a portion/potion of the divinatory system known as Tarot, which classically begins with a twenty-two card romp through the fulness of human potential. It is the challenges and the gifts, the shadows and the light we all experience through our evolution into wholeness. It deals with major archetypal issues such as death and empowerment, sensuality and ambition, innocent faith and cloaked mysteries. It is a mirror of our multidimensional selves, reflecting both the parts we freely embrace, and the pieces we hide under the floorboards. When we have claimed all the energies present in this developmental pathway, we are truly integrated, which is our life’s work.

The High Priestess
The Tower

The Living Tarot Oracle is a large-scale production offering full-sensory engagement with these Major Arcana entities. A troupe of dedicated Oracles created a two-day event where the participants were able to step into the worlds of these Arcana archetypes and receive wisdom about a questions at hand. One entered the event through the sunny lobby of the Durango Arts Center, deciding on one, two, or three cards for the night to shed light on your chosen question. When the time came, you were beckoned into the chamber of the Oracles. It was a shrouded carnival of sights and sounds; medicine woman huts and hidden doorways, regal thrones and free roaming fools, all infused with the presence of that Major Arcana card’s energy.

The Emperor
The Emperor

I was totally captivated by the mix of hushed mystery and sparkling enchantment that was swirling throughout the room. After meeting with your first guide to choose the number of cards you decided upon and narrowing down your question, another guardian {thanks Anna} lead you to the first card you chose to receive your unique message. I had met Miss Anna earlier in the evening, and both she and her mother were escorting folks through the process. Part of the magic of the event is what draws your attention, and what you don’t even notice. That is always interesting information in life, who sparkles like a Christmas tree, and who do you not even see in a room. The first thing that really pulled my attention was the Devil back in the corner. He was painted black, writhing and bucking against the chains that trapped him, and I immediately loved him. Odd I know, but my works is about finding Rainbows in the Dark through my own Oracle of Initiation deck, so the Devil and I have quite a thang going on.

The Hermit
The Hermit

As the world will have it, Miss Anna my guide led me straight to the Devil, where I really wanted to go. The funny thing is, I actually had pulled one of the other most intimidating cards in the deck excluding the Tower, Death. I had to grin at Anna’s instinctual wisdom, she took me where I really wanted to go, and I gently pointed out I was to actually go dance with Death at this point. Oh well, they are all transformers, and I have been at this long enough to welcome the liberation they offer. So off to Death’s darkened doorway to receive its wise counsel. I will keep to myself what the Devil offered, but I did thank her/him/it for giving me some of the most precious gifts I have ever received.

The Wheel I believe...
The Wheel of Fortune

I returned from Death’s door, and was led by Miss Anna to my next cards, the Emperor and then the Lovers. The Emperor was a lovely man who really embodied the presence of the divine masculine. I saw him flow between focused, wise intent and radiant smiling grace. He rocked. Finally for this first round into the Temple of Tarot Oracles I got the Lovers. It was two folks, one willy woman and a shrouded faced man. They had a bowl of apples in front of them, and a playful, trickster energy. After my final reading I was led to the integration room and was further enlightened by the reader Leah Ilanah I had met in Santa Fe three years earlier.

The Star??

Being the sensation junkie I am, I went back in for another round, this time taking my sacred companion Spirit Bee to have her own process. Spirit Bee is the main guardian of a new project I am working on, and it shall see the light of internet day when it is time. Once again choosing three cards, I will let you guess what one of those cards was. The Devil of course. The universe is so good to all of us. The Moon was Spirit Bee’s first encounter, and it shed misty light on my friend’s powerful question.

The Devil
The Devil

Finally I got to encounter the Devil, and boy was he fun. He had tired of fighting his constrictions, and was curled up in the corner eating an apple the best he could with bound wrists. He tossed the gnarled apple aside and scooted his butt over my way as we walked up. We sat directly in front of him, beaming delighted anticipation as I held Spirit Bee up to his darkened face. I said my friend had a question, and he dismissively said, “its only a little wooden toy.” OH boy did my mama bear rear up in defense of my mighty little friend. I haughtily said, “haven’t you ever hear of the Velveteen Rabbit, ‘things’ can be alive.” I glared at the Devil, putting him in his place. He was clearly not reading this situation accurately. Spirit Bee is magic, alive, and BAD ASS.

The Lovers
The Lovers

After I had set the Devil straight, things went uphill from there. The Devil closed his eyes, gathering himself to meet Spirits Bee’s inquiry. Toward the end the Devil and Spirit Bee had a little photo shoot, and became fast friends. Spirit Bee and I rounded out the event with the Chariot, and life was so deliciously good. Once again Leah Ilanah wove the pieces of the readings together, and Spirit Bee and I went back to the Himalayan restaurant for another soulful meal.

The Chariot with Spirit Bee
The Chariot with Spirit Bee

As if that wasn’t enough fun, in the days before the Living Tarot event in both Santa Fe and Durango my colleagues presented their own Tarot wisdom to groups of oracular devotees. Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin came from England to host one of their international Tarot events, TarotCon in Dallas, and then with Carrie Paris brought their latest research and inspirations for keeping this mystical tradition alive and thriving to the four corners. Marcus and Tali created the organization Tarot Professionals for bringing credibility, research, and connections to a a career that historically has drawn mavericks and rebels, and they also host Tarot Town, an interactive, international online community for divination lovers.

Mellissae Lucia, Lisa de St. Croix, and Carrie Paris
Mellissae Lucia, Lisa de St. Croix, and Carrie Paris

Carrie Paris is also an international Tarot expert, most recently producing the Magpie Oracle and the Lenorman Revolution deck. She and I met some years ago at James Wanless’ (creator of the Voyager Tarot) event in Santa Fe and have adored each other since.  Lisa de St. Croix is another Santa Fe sister of my heart, and she is currently completing her own unique Tarot de St. Croix deck. (***see her Indiegogo campaign link below to receive one of the first edition decks out next spring. A fuller blog post on Lisa’s powerful process of creating her deck is on its way too.) Marcus, Carrie and Lisa also all contributed to my own Oracle of Initiation divination deck book, offering their insights on a number of the cards in the initiatory oracle. It is such a gift to be surrounded by such a vibrant community of dedicated magical ones. Julia Hesse plans on taking the Living Tarot Oracle on the road, and is seeking support across the country to do this. Go join her Living Tarot Meetup (link below) or find her on Facebook.  And apologizes for quoting the wrong cards with the images above. I was so drawn into taking the pictures before the event began that my linear brain may have missed what card was being embodied. If you message me and it is incorrect I will change it. Blessings! Mellissae

Lisa de St.Croix presenting her forthcoming Tarot deck.
Lisa de St.Croix presenting her forthcoming Tarot deck.

***Links to wonderful Tarot/Oracular resources mentioned above: 

Living Tarot Meetup:

Lisa de St. Croix Indiegogo campaign for her deck:

Lisa’s website:

Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin’s Tarot Professionals:

Carrie Paris:

My own Oracle of Initiation divination deck website:

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