Sunday, June 07, 2015

The loss of a friend

In August 2008 I wandered into the travelling Psychic Fair that rolls into town twice a year. I was curious about the tarot readers. Would they be phony, hocus-pocus, weird turban-wearing types? Regular folk? Which decks were on their tables? What did they charge? How did the whole thing work?

I paid my money, got a stamp on my hand, and entered a room ringed by readers and reiki-workers. The centre of the space held jewelry and crystal vendors, tables for buyers and querents to relax, eat the pizza wood-fired on site, and await their reading times. And one stall selling books and DECKS!

Being the deck-collecting nutcase that I am, I went there first. Bev Haskins sat surrounded by her tables of temptation. We exchanged greetings. I looked around her offerings while we chatted. I checked out the rest of the room. Came back to Bev's table and talked some more. I bought decks (no, I don't know which ones; that was 150 decks ago, for pete's sake!). Wandered around. Came back to Bev. She was so unpretentious, you just knew you could trust her.

Bev's brochure scarcely mentioned bookselling. She was a reader, teacher, reiki practioner, among other things. So why wasn't she reading tarot, I asked? Because she needed peace and quiet to read well. She needed her own home space at the lake, where she could clear off her wood dining table, light a candle, and plunk down a pot of tea. Where she could swivel around in her chair and open her sliding doors to the neighbour's dog if he paid a visit. Where visitors could look out and see the huge chunks of crystals lined up on the deck rail.

By the time 2009 arrived, I was pumped. Get into that Psychic Fair, get the stamp, and head for Bev's table. I needed a teacher; I was ready to take on tarot in a big way after decades of dabbling.
Did Bev teach? Yes.
Online? No.
Could I take part in her classes in Beamsville? Yes, if I could manage the weekly 4-hour drive (one way) on a night when I was teaching until 9:00pm.
Crap. Now what?

This is where is got serendipitous!
Bev had been thinking about offering weekend retreat/workshop/teaching/ packages and wasn't sure how to go about it. What would people like to learn about or develop in themselves? What to charge? How to structure it?
I offered to be her guinea pig, and we began negotiating dates, schedules, fees. I was in!

Two months later, on Thanksgiving weekend October 2009, I drove up to Bev's Lakeside Retreat on Lake Ontario, for a weekend of learning, discussing, listening to music, preparing food together, sharing copious pots of tea, sitting under her huge linden trees by the lake. There was another woman there that weekend - a psychic friend of Bev's - and meeting her was an interesting perk. The three of us went through the ins-and-outs of the whole deck that weekend. And by the time Sunday afternoon arrived, Bev declared that we would read for each other.

For my reading I chose to use the Maat and the Gaian tarots, side by side. It was powerful.

I spent one more weekend with Bev by the shore of Lake Ontario in August 2010. This time it was just the two of us, and we went a bit deeper. Less about card meanings and more about readings and how to build them, blend them, benefit from them.

In the fall of 2011, Bev assured me that I was ready to attend my first Readers Studio in New York, April 2012. Was I ready to read for someone? I asked her. Yes, you'll be fine, she said.

But Bev herself wasn't fine. She never made it to Readers Studio again, despite a valiant fight to regain her health. I planned to visit her this summer.
"Vicki you know you are welcome anytime you'd like to make the trek," she wrote.

This past Thursday, June 4, 2015, Bev passed away.
The world has lost a kind, hard-working, brave, optimistic, earth-loving, nurturing woman.

Goodbye, Beverly Anne Haskins. Thank you.