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February 2014

Tarot Card Combos - Knight of Cups + 10 of Pentacles + 10 of Swords

3 card combo cropped
Photo by Sue Cowie

In the spread above, Sue has drawn three Tarot cards:

Knight of Cups + 10 of Pentacles + 10 of Swords

What could they mean? Well, my initial take includes:

Sencario One: A boyfriend (Knight of Cups) goes to a family reunion with his girlfriend (10 of Pentalces) only to have her break up with him there (10 of Swords).

Scenario Two: A guy goes to propose to his girlfriend (Knight of Cups), asks her parents/family for her "hand in marriage" (10 of Pentacles) and one or more throws a fit, refusing to give the couple a blessing. Adding insult to injury, the girlfriend sides with her family, and breaks off the relationship (10 of Swords).

Some of you new to the cards may be wondering "why?". Here goes!

The Knight of Cups often indicates a "hopeless romantic", but also suggests someone who's head over heels in love OR about to "pop the question" (propose) to his girlfriend (or boyfriend).  Now, as I mention in my eBook Tarot Court Card Revealed, Knights are NOT necessarily males--just as Queens aren't necessarily females or Kings, males.  However, this archetype is usually portrayed by males pursuing (or deeply in love with) females (or an ideal, such as Don Quixote), which is why I deemed the Knight a male in both scenarios.

The 10 of Pentacles not only indicates "legacy", but also extended family. And where do extended family often congregate? Family reunions! (It could have just as easily been a holiday gathering, but I'd view that more as the 4 of Wands. But that's just me.) When I see the 10 of Pentacles, I think of grandparents, uncles, cousins--the ties that "bind" (in more ways than one!). In an online Tarot group, I saw someone glibly say "Oh, the 10 of Pentacles. That's a good card."

WRONG-O! As I mention in both my Tarot Detective eBook and my Snowland Deck Companion, all card in the Tarot are on spectrum. This continuum ranges from helpful to detrimental for each card in the Tarot. Yes, every one! The 10 of Pentacles is no exception. Below is a video I made talking about the "negative" spectrum of this card.

Now, the 10 of Swords in Rider-Waite-Smith style decks looks pretty bad, right? It, too, is on a continuum (and can have beneficial import given the question/surrounding cards) BUT, in this case, it doesn't look too good. Based on the visuals alone, it shows a man "stabbed in the back", or "gutted" or even "betrayed". This is why I ascribed a public humiliation and/or break up with the Knight of Cups in a familial surrounding (10 of Pentacles).

However, what if this spread was drawn to answer THIS question:

I'm drawn to a creative endeavor. How will it pan out?

Then, I'd interpret this 3-card spread something like this:

You start out enamored with the creative idea (Knight of Cups), and receive positive reinforcement from your family (or "substitute" family, e.g. writer's group or artist collective). In fact, you may even receive some financial assistance from them or a grant (10 of Pentacles). But something happens that causes you to feel betrayed or severely anxious (10 of Swords).

Now, I'd have to draw more cards to reveal the exact nature of the 10 of Swords because it could mean:

  • Debilating anxiety/panic attacks (10 is the full expression of a suit; coupled with the "mental" swords, this could mean anything connected to the mind or nervous system)
  • Migraines
  • Idea theft (Ideas are also in the realm of the Swords, but I'd ascribe "theft" to the 7 of Swords UNLESS the swiping occurred from a close friend, partner or lover)
  • Actual betrayal/"back stabbing" of an uknown nature
  • Back injury/pain

The 10s of any suit are saturated. As such, they're almost on the "tipping point" of something entirely different. Think of them as "ready to burst". This can be beneficial or determimental, but when it comes to the masculine suits of Wands and Swords--and, in some cases, the feminine suit of Pentacles--the result is ususally undesirable. 

So, dear readers, how would you interepret these three cards? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below! (And huge thanks to Sue Cowie for allowing me to use both her image and her example). 

-- Janet

8 of Coins + The Sun Snowland Deck Reading

The universality of Tarot never ceases to amaze me. Ron just did a quick reading for me using our Snowland Deck and drew these cards. I know exactly what it means (as did Ron)--and I'm grateful that our creation has not only blessed others, but also has encouraged, informed and illuminated our own lives.

Out of curiosity, how would YOU interpret these two cards? (By the way, 8 Material is equivalent to the 8 of Coins in the Snowland Deck.)

8 of Coins 400Sun 400

You can find out more about our Snowland Deck (including a snowglobe video, testimonials, card images, etc.) at

-- Janet


10 Questions for Tarotist Jen McConnel

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What’s your favorite breakfast food? I ADORE breakfast, so it’s hard to pick, but I’d have to say my favorite breakfast treat are crepes with strawberries.

Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)? I have to pick just one? :) The Farthest-Away Mountain by Lynne Reid Banks. It’s a sweet story with a strong heroine and a lot of fairy tale themes, and I love it.

What makes you laugh? My cat, Delphi, goes crazy on a regular basis, and she often shoots up the chimney. (Pause for a moment and try to picture that). I crack up every time.

Song that never gets old: “Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel.

Drink of choice: Tea. Black with cream and sugar, or rooibus with a bit of honey.

Would you rather be hot or cold? If it’s too hot or too cold, I’d say cold, since I can always bundle up. In general, though, I like to be warm.

Mountain, beach, desert or forest? Beach. Always.

Favorite color? It actually changes regularly, but right now I’m loving imperial purple.

Best movie line: “There are some things I know for certain: always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can.” (from Practical Magic).

Last thing you splurged on? New Year’s Eve, my hubby and I went to a charming local fondue place and had a feast to celebrate all that happened in 2013 and get ready for the new possibilities of 2014!

Bonus Q: Favorite writing tip: Write what you love, and let the story take you where it wants to go. (Can you tell I’m a bit of a pantser?)

Goddess spellsJen McConnel bought her first tarot deck at 17, and she never looked back. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. 

Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Her first nonfiction book, Goddess Spells for Busy Girls, just released February 2014 from Red Wheel/Weiser Books. Visit to learn more.



Business of Tarot TeleSummit Preview

We had a great show today talking about the upcoming Business of Tarot TeleSummit. Dax was there, as was Mary Brown (Tarot Dactyl) and TeleSummit hostess Heather Woodward. If you missed it, you can listen in below. So exciting!

To register for this free TeleSummit happening in March 2014, click here. Easy peasy!

-- Janet

Ways to Be a Pain in the Ass Tarot Client

Pain butt

1. Don't read the orders page (which includes descriptions of readings offered AND estimated wait time)...but plunk down your money anyway.

2. Don't read the Ethics page (yeah, go ahead and ask me questions on disease diagnosis, financial planning and legal advice...)

3. Bug the hell out of me via email (equivalent to "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?!"). Then apologize. Then do it again. 

4. Insult me when you get a reading you don't like. (What, you really think I can solve a problem you've spent 10 years creating in just 30 minutes?)

5. File a PayPal dispute saying you never received your email reading (without emailing ME to see if it landed in YOUR SPAM filter...or got lost in cyberspace).

6. Take advantage of a limited time special by ordering it THREE days (or weeks) after the expiration date.

7. Order a 3-card Quickie Reading, but have a complex issue (or set of issues) deserving of a Whole Enchilada. 

What about you, fellow Tarot readers? Any pain-in-the-ass antics from clients you'd like to see stop?

-- Janet

The Devil Made Me Do It


As most of you probably know by now, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died February 2, 2014 as the result of a drug overdose.

It’s reported that he was found with fifty bags of heroin.

On Facebook, I saw someone post “Philip Seymour Hoffman, I’m sorry that addiction took you away from your life, your family, your art and us.”

This is a beautiful sentiment. And I’m one of those who think Hoffman was an extraordinarily talented actor But let’s be clear: Addiction didn’t “take” Hoffman away from us. Addiction isn’t some conscious, evil entity that lurks in alleyways, hotel rooms, bars or dance clubs.

To think this way is akin to saying “The Devil made me do it”. You know, blaming some dark, malevolent, “out there” energy for temptation at best and possession at worst.

No, Hoffman was “taken away” from us by…Hoffman.

He chose to use drugs.

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In fact, unless a person is forcibly restrained and forced to snort, smoke or shoot up at gunpoint (or some other lethal threat) and becomes addicted—it’s a choice.

It all starts with one pivotal choice.

I am not judging Hoffman or his choices. And he is certainly deserving of our compassion, our sympathy for his loved ones and our grief that he will no longer entertain us with his acting brilliance.

But to ascribe his death to the consequence of his choices—in this case, addiction—as if it were an external, self-aware predator not only excuses dangerous behavior, but removes personal responsibility.

I mean, when Hoffman (or anyone) wins an Oscar, we place the accolades at the actor’s feet. When Hoffman (or anyone) is nominated for a Tony, we sing the praises of his talent.

If Woody Allen proves to be the child molester that most of us think he is, and ends up incarcerated (or perhaps commits suicide), would we say “He was taken away by his addiction (to underage sex)"?

Regardless of what precipitated the first injection, it all began with a choice. Hoffman’s choice.

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And with Oscar season fast approaching, you can bet that Hoffman will be celebrated in memoriam during the ceremony much like Cory Monteith was “honored” at the Emmys after his drug overdose.

Which sorta sends the message that if you go out via addiction, you’ve earned eternal rock star status—not for your accomplishments, but by the way you left this Earth.

Someone else posted on Facebook about Hoffman, “Unfortunately, if you have lots of money it’s easier for your demons to get you.”

I find this interesting, because The Devil in Tarot is often associated with materialism and consumerism, as well as addiction. It’s akin to “mammon”, aka “dirty money”.

But I disagree with this sentiment. It’s yet another excuse, or bogeyman by proxy: “Money made me do it”.

Then, a doctor was quoted on the AP as saying that Hoffman was the “epitome of addiction victims”. Which brings up another dynamic: the abuser and the victim.

Can a consequences of choice be an “abuser”? Or is the “abuser” and the “victim” one and the same

There is no prowling red devil named “Satan” ready to ensnare you (regardless of what fundies tell you), nor is there a big, black monster called “Addiction” lying in wait to trap hapless passerbys.

Devil Snowland 400No, The Devil begins with a choice—a human choice—which leads to bondage, torment, addiction and (possibly) death.

What do you think, dear readers, about symbols of “evil” (including “demons” and “the devil”) used in association with drugs and drug addiction?

Does wealth make individuals more susceptible to addiction or poor choices? What is a “victim”—and do those who OD qualify as such? Is addiction a part of the creative temperament? Or, a result of a weak mind…or self-contempt?

Would love to hear your thoughts on addiction, The Devil card, symbols of “evil”, the term “victim” in relation to street drugs, the influence of money (or lack thereof)—or all of the above.

The Devil from the Universal Waite Tarot. Chains from the Snowland Tarot.

10 Questions for Tarotist Robert Place


What’s your favorite breakfast food? Scrambled eggs with spinach in them and salsa on top.

Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)? The Symposium by Plato, I think it would help them to get beyond their misconceptions about love and sex.

What makes you laugh? Almost anything.

Song that never gets old: Anything by Mumford and Sons

Drink of choice: Cappuccino

Would you rather be hot or cold? Neither but I guess hot is better. I have enjoyed taking a sauna at times.

Mountain, beach, desert or forest? I live in a forest.

Favorite color? As an artist I find it impossible to pick a favorite color.

Best movie line: “My body tends to be hotter than normal, like a dog’s." (Marlin Brando in Fugitive Kind)

Last thing you splurged on? A new pillow for my desk chair. We also bought new cushions for the Art Deco love seat, and new fillings for all of the pillows on the couch. We seem to have a thing for pillows lately.

Bonus Q: What artist, living or dead, would you most like to visit with? I always think of Botticelli, but I am probably better off visiting Burne-Jones because we would both speak English. 

Robert M. Place is the designer of The Alchemical TarotThe Tarot of the Sevenfold MysteryThe Vampire TarotThe Buddha TarotThe Tarot of the SaintsThe Angels Tarot and upcoming Burning Serpent Oracle.

He is the author of The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and DivinationAlchemy and the Tarot, and nine other books on the Tarot and related subjects.

Robert has conducted lectures and workshops on the Tarot in education centers in the United States and Europe, including the Open Center, Omega Institute, The New York Tarot Festival and The Reader's Studio in New York, The World Tarot Congress in Chicago, The Southeastern Regional Tarot Festival in Florida, The Third International Conference of the Association for Esoteric Studies in Charleston, The Museo Dei Torocchi in Riola, Italy, and the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles. He is the curator of the Fool's Journey, a Tarot Exhibition at the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum.

He and his work have appeared on A&E, the Discovery Channel, and the Learning Channel, the TV series Moonlight and Monk and were included in a documentary on vampires on Animal Planet. He was honored with the privilege of cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of The Tarot Museum in Riola, Italy, in 2007 and his recreation of a historic 15th century woodcut Tarot is included in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

His website is

The “No Time” Whine

Catching Time

Ever see individuals on Facebook posting that they’d love to author a book “someday”—or perhaps create a chapbook of poems, write a play or pen a movie script—but then, in the next breath, lament they “have no time”?

These same people can be found posting (at all hours) about what they ate, what they bought, what their kids did, current weather conditions and the latest cat memes.

But that’s not all.

They also post about the dozens of shows they watch—the actors, the characters, the plot, who’s hot, who’s not.

Imagine how many hours are wasted on a daily basis just on watching TV…let alone time spent on social media babbling about it.

And you don’t have time to write a poem, a blog post or a book?

Give me a freaking break.

Note: If you’re one of those people, just consider this a gentle kick in the butt to write that novel, screenplay, poem or short story you’ve been dreaming about. Unplug from the gadgets and dance with the Muse; we need your Voice!

-- Janet

Gustav Holst - The Planets (and Tarot)


As part of Noah's homeschooling, we get lectures from The Great Courses (anyone else use them?). Right now, he's on Lecture 28 of The 30 Greatest Orchestral Works--Gustav Holst's "The Planets". (Prof. Robert Greenberg is our fave lecturer--he does all the music courses.)

Interestingly, Gustav Holst was a Theosphist and an "astrology junkie". Click here for more information about his musical piece, "The Planets". He called them:

  • Mars, the Bringer of War
  • Venus, the Bringer of Peace
  • Mercury, the Winged Messenger
  • Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
  • Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
  • Uranus, the Magician
  • Neptune, the Mystic

In Tarot, the card associations (based on planetary rulership) would be:

Mars = Aries = Emperor
Venus = Taurus = Empress
Mercury = Gemini = Lovers
Jupiter = Sagittarius = Wheel of Fortune
Saturn = Capricorn = Devil
Uranus = Aquarius = Star
Neptune = Pisces = Moon

So learning and understanding what the planets and houses mean can expand our interpretations of the corresponding Tarot card. 

Incidentally, Holst's favorite movement was that of Saturn.

I'm currently pondering the concept of time and the image of The Devil (Saturn/Capricorn). One of the meanings of The Devil could then be "bound to the constraints of time".  (Is it any wonder some people think the workplace is "hell on Earth"? Ha!)

So looking through the lens of either the planet orits ruler (or both), how might that influence or change the meaning of its corresponding Tarot card?

I'd be interesting in hearing your thoughts (especially about Mecury's connection to The Lovers and Saturn's connection to The Devil)!

-- Janet

Cosmic Flux Tarot

My husband, Ron (artist for our Snowland Deck) is working on a Majors-only deck titled Cosmic Flux Tarot. Below are the Fool and recently completed Magician card. Yon can like his Facebook page at this link.

Fool 500
The Start from Cosmic Flux Tarot


Magician 500
Shaman-Magician from Cosmic Flux Tarot


-- Janet

Philip Seymour Hoffman in Tarot in Reverse

I was a big fan of Philip Seymour Hoffman's acting.

So much so, I included two of his acting roles in my book on upside down Tarot cards, Tarot in Reverse. In his memory, here are the brief excerpts:

The Hierophant, reversed

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One of the most profound accounts of the The Hierophant reversed occurs in the memoir The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd. Living a conventionally religious life with a successful career as a Christian author, Kidd began to question what it meant to be a woman—in church, within her family, and among society. Her soul-searching found her clashing with patriarchy and awakening to the divine feminine, fundamentally changing her view of God and her place in the world. In darker expressions of The Hierophant reversed, we find examples of famous ministers who proclaimed the need for purity and righteousness behind their pounded pulpits, only to find out that these married men were sexually involved with prostitutes, secretaries and masseuses. A fascinating study of The Hierophant reversed occurs in the movie Doubt starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. This film examines religious obligation, propriety, tradition, progressiveness, the quest for truth and spiritual hubris—all themes that The Hierophant wrestles with whether right side up or upside down.

Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul. – Mark Twain

Advice: If you’re lost, my map can help you find your way. Once you’re familiar with the territory of your soul, toss my map and make your own.

Wheel of Fortune, reversed

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A consummate example of The Wheel of Fortune reversed occurs in the movie Owning Mahony. Another role superbly played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, a gambler desperately tries to control his addiction, going so far to tell a friend “do not lend me any money, no matter what I say”. But the heady high of risking and hoping to win overwhelms any common sense, turning him into a desperate, pathetic compulsive gambler. Poker, slots, blackjack, roulette, 21, lottery tickets and other games of chance lure millions to spend a little in the hopes of winning big. Astrologically, Jupiter—the planet of expansion, giddiness and luck—correlates with The Wheel of Fortune card. The Wheel reversed, however, pushes individuals to “press their luck” or tangle with the one-armed bandit “just one more time”—a cycle leading to full-blown addiction and its devastating effect on finances, career, family and health. On a lighter note, the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell highlights an extreme version of déjà vu when a weatherman (played by Murray) keeps reliving the same day—February 2. Sometimes, the proverbial wheel of time seems to play the same old scenarios in work, school or home—and we just want to “stop the world” so we can get off from a merry-go-round that begins to feel like a rut.

I can’t believe God plays dice with the universe. – Albert Einstein

Advice: Roll with the punches, roll the bones, where it all stops, no one knows. Hang on tight, but bend in the wind, change is inevitable, so put your bets in. 

-- Janet

10 Questions for Tarotist Avril Price

Avril 1

What’s your favorite breakfast food? Porridge! I like to make it with Almond milk, walnuts & bananas, yum!

Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)? Gosh, there are so many! I shall go with my latest acquisition, Alone with The Alone, by Henry Corbin. Creative imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi. I also think Tarot could be taught in schools, it is a bit like a picture book.

What makes you laugh? People & animals! I love the ridiculous & the absurd, people & animals are masters at both!

Song that never gets old:Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison. (Again, there are so many!!)

Drink of choice: Wine, wine & more wine, maybe interspersed with coconut water here & there!

Would you rather be hot or cold? I think I shall have to say cold; I have a tendency to overheat, so prefer things on the cool side. But love sunshine; Spring would be my best time of year.

Mountain, beach, desert or forest? Am dreaming of a beach holiday but do love walking in the Forest, especially when the berries are ripe & the mushrooms are plentiful. Actually, I love traveling to the Mountains too!

Favorite color? Red.

Best movie line:I see all this potential and I see squandering. Goddamn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collars, advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of the history man, no purpose or place, we have no Great war, no Great depression, our great war is a spiritual war, our great depression is our lives, we've been all raised by television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars, but we won't and we're slowly learning that fact and we're very very pissed off.”  ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club [The book, not the movie.]

Last thing you splurged on? I am just about to do that...I was gifted a shopping voucher for a rather nice department store I intend to spend the whole lot on a good perfume!

Bonus Q: Humanity's most perplexing trait: Now, where shall I start! Queues...we just love to queue, especially for things we don’t need or when we are challenged by time. Also I don’t understand the need to stand in the middle of the pavement & talk; why the middle? It’s a bit like steering the Titanic away from the iceberg; I always seem to walk straight into them.

About Avril Price:  I am a Senior tutor & consultant at the College of Psychic Studies in South Kensington, London. I lead courses & workshops  in Tarotstudies & Psychic development. I have been a tutor for 12 years & I specialise in group dynamics & personal growth. 

My aim is for the participant to gain insight & confidence into their own unique gifts & abilities & to engage with the Psychic faculty from a truly creative, passionate & intuitive perspective.

I use various disciplines in my work, especially, Tarot, Aura reading, Psychometry & Spirit communication &  include the practice of these skills in my classes. You can find more on my website

I have been walking with Tarot for 30 years. In those years I have come to believe Tarot to be an invaluable system for exploring one’s life path & Tarot offers an overview of how we can achieve healing & balance through self knowledge & awareness. Tarot also gives the querent a remarkable opportunity to investigate the influences & trends that operate in our lives on a past, present & future basis.

I also work as a platform medium & demonstrate Spirit communication in various churches & centres.

I  am also developing a programme for Creative Intuition in business.

My work has taken me all over the S.East & to many countries; Turkey, Finland, Morocco & Spain. In Germany I facilitate ongoing development courses & I have made several media appearances.

I am renowned for embodying a down to earth approach, honouring comfort, safety & well being.

My background is in Social Sciences & Community welfare.

Personal Ethos:

  • I am you, you are me, we all learn from each other.
  • An open heart is an open mind.
  • Courage & confidence are the key to challenges.
  • Make a friend of fear, it could be your best ally.
  • When we walk in accordance with the universe, the magic begins.
  • The greatest spiritual teachers we have in our lives are those that make us work hard!
  • Forgiveness is the great liberator.
  • Compassion is the highest form of intelligence.
  • We all have great potential.

Business of Tarot TeleSummit

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With Tarot exploding in popularity, the field is wide and ripe for creative, innovative and hip professionals using the cards. Are you an aspiring author? Deck creator? Think you can rock the mic with your unique personality? What about putting out your cyber-shingle to read the cards professionally? Or maybe you’re a storyteller, reviewer or interviewer ready to make your mark.

From technological savvy to setting up event tables, donning multiple hats as a reader to discouraging client co-dependency, we’ve got you covered in the Business of Tarot Telesummit!

Here's what I'll be presenting on:

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Stand Out! Writing a Stellar Tarot Book or Deck Proposal

Tarot is a competitive niche market, but there are ways to stand out to get your proposal accepted. We’ll cover:

  • Traditional Publication vs. Self Publishing
  • Anatomy of a Perfect Proposal
  • Where to Pitch Your Book
  • Why You Should Establish Your Platform Before the Book Deal

Thumbs Up! Writing a Great Tarot Review

 Ready to enter the exciting world of reviewing Tarot books, decks, apps, conferences or services? We’ll cover:

  • The Role of the Reviewer (hint: it’s not to further a publicity agenda)
  • Anatomy of a Great Review (that will make you a trusted reviewer)
  • Getting Your Reviews Published (online and in print)

Created by the hostess with the mostest Heather Woodward, the Business of Tarot TeleSummit is 100% free. My esteemed colleagues and I got together with Heather because we want to help you break into the professional world of Tarot. 

Ready to register (only an email address is required)? Visit this link to sign up to reserve your spot. 

Hope to see you there!  (P.S. Which seminar are you most looking forward to?)

-- Janet