The Omega Institute was founded in 1977 by Stephan Rechtschaffen and Elizabeth Lesser, originally housed at the Sufi center of Pir Vilayat Khan, Abode of the Message. By 1985 they had moved to a camp in Rhinebeck, New York that over its long existence has housed Jewish summer retreats, scout camps and other summer recreations. With the new focus being a gathering place for great thinkers, creatives, spiritual teachers, and social visionaries, they’ve hosted thousands of holistic and lifelong learning workshops, currently serving over 23,000 people each year.
Mary Greer met Elizabeth Lesser in 1985 when Mary gave a presentation, hosted by Elizabeth, at an up-state New York boarding school, the following year Mary was invited to teach a tarot workshop at the new Omega campus. At that point there was no air conditioning and facilities were definitely camp-like. But sitting on a wooden floor in a kind of tree-house with large screens all around, tarot and nature seemed to interpenetrate, inspiring us to gather items from the surrounding landscape for magic talisman bags for the four tarot suits. Even the food-hall got into the spirit, using tarot suits as signs for sorting dirty dishes.
Rachel Pollack visited the second year that Mary taught, from her home in Amsterdam, and by the third year, when Rachel moved to the area, she joined in co-teaching the yearly workshops, which expanded from a 5-day OR weekend to doing both.
Since then, the Omega campus has grown, with air conditioning in all the meeting rooms, ceiling fans in comfortable lodgings, and a beautiful hilltop meditation center. We now sit in chairs at tables (backjacks and cushions are available) and integrate media into our presentations. However, nature still abounds with rabbits, hedgehogs and other creatures feeling just at home in the Omega gardens, woods and lawns as we do.
Eight years ago, Omega asked Rachel and Mary to organize a conference to bring in the best tarot teachers for a weekend, followed by our more leisurely 5-day mid-week workshop. It has been a big success, with participants from around the world, and presenters from other countries as well as from across the U.S. With our focus on learning by doing, we stress experiential exercises that work for all levels of tarot knowledge including newbies. We strive for a range of approaches so that participants can find their own comfort zones yet be challenged by new methods and perspectives. And, we foster a community spirit, where participants contribute to the learning process and get to know each other, often forming lasting friendships.
We invite you to come to the Masters of Tarot and the following 5-day workshop with Rachel and Mary, and become part of the Omega Tarot experience.