Handling a brand new deck is strange. It looks different, it feels different, it *sounds* different. The edges feel different.. a little sharper, almost too new. The “woosh” sound is different as I shuffle them with my hands. I know that essentially it’s the same deck. It was made with the same love as before. But this feels so different to me.
I spent a lot of time working through these images to make them as awesome as possible.. “Animism 2.0” is just a little bit brighter, just a little bit warmer and though in reality, it’s just a very subtle change, it still feels like a brand new tarot. To me, it really is a brand new tarot.
It’s kind of funny, because while I’ve been working on improving this deck, I haven’t actually been using my own in a long time. Sometimes things happen and I find myself far away from using tarot. I didn’t feel like I was in the right mindset to come back to it. But now with this, this kind of new deck, I knew I wanted to start again. It’s like a new beginning.
I shuffled, and drew, and the Five of Wands is my very first card from my ‘new’ tarot. And while it was completely unexpected, it feels like it came when I needed it most. Talk about internal struggles. The tension, the fiery red, the feeling of urgency, it says a lot, and it forces you to think about what the next step needs to be. It’s a good wake-up call.
I’m as humble as they come, but damn it all, I love my ‘new’ deck. It’s back, and it’s beautiful, and I am in love.
The Animism Tarot is back and is now available @ Rainbowofcrazy.com.
Yes, yes, I can’t deny it. I’ve missed you, little blog. We’ll be separated for a while but we always seem to meet again.
This summer has been kind to me. I more recently was able to add The Animism Tarot to my Etsy shop and have since received some really uplifting feedback. It’s been just over a year now since this deck was born, and I swear it still boggles my mind that I actually managed to finish it. I’ve spent the year getting to know it more (yes, even though I made it, I still feel like I’m learning about it) and I’ve spent time pondering what I wanted to work on next. I’ve had a possible new tarot deck brewing in my mind for the longest time, but it’s taking a great amount of time and effort (and some frustration) trying to refine the ideas more and I’ve been struggling with its execution and style. And here I thought my first tarot deck was challenging.. but this.. this new deck is a whole new challenge! I really hope I’ll be able to get through these obstacles and hammer out some more concrete details because my fingers are just itching to start painting.
I’ve also been in a bit of a creative rut lately; so I feel like this blockage has been affecting my ability to tackle this new tarot challenge as well as creating something new for my little Etsy shop. Where do I go from here? What should I create next? Should I take a break instead? Maybe step away until inspiration hits?
But no, I just can’t do that. I have a single piece of paper with some text on it that sits above my desk so I’ll see it often, and lately I find that I’m reading it more than ever because I need a good reminder. These are the words:
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.” – Chuck Close
So I need to keep creating, even if there are invisible monsters trying to stop me from making something awesome like a brand new tarot deck or some awesome new art. Today I created a simple little angel to boost my creating spirits.. and when I was done, I noticed she brought a little smile to my face. Now I may have to make more of them.. maybe they’ll help fight the invisible monsters so I can start creating some awesome things again.
Creating a full tarot card was one of the biggest projects that I’ve probably ever completed. It still boggles my mind that I managed to finish The Animism Tarot. It felt like I was spending all of my waking hours working on it: writing down ideas, researching symbolisms and meanings and interpretations, sketching and painting and MORE writing.. that when I finally finished it, had the deck in my hands and everything was published, I felt a little, well, lost! I didn’t really know what to do with myself after that. The creating process was over.
Of course, life went on after that and I started other pieces of artwork: more greeting cards and jewellery and things like that. But there was that nagging thought in my head that my tarot creating days were not over.
Over the last while, that thought has been digging deeper and deeper into my brain. I’ve briefly thought about different ideas for a new tarot deck, and there is one idea that has stood out to me since finishing The Animism Tarot. But time will tell; I’ll continue to brainstorm and contemplate about the direction of this possible deck.. but I’m pretty sure that this idea won’t go away until it becomes completed…because that’s how it always works!
I’m always impressed with those that do daily tarot readings. I used to try daily readings, but I don’t know if it’s the fibro brain that I have (okay, it totally is), but I found it very hard for the information from daily readings to “stick” with me through the day.
I do like to take my time with my readings though. I read the cards and when it’s over I’m also spending a lot more time contemplating over the reading as I try to think about my interpretations. Tarot notes are especially helpful and I find myself looking back on recent readings and scribbling down new notes as I reread everything. I still learn more as I go along and I guess now I like to take my time instead of jumping right into another reading.
Do you do daily readings? How do you incorporate the cards into your daily life?
If I had to choose which Animism Tarot card was the most challenging to create, I would not hesitate to pick Justice.
The concept of this deck was to take animal and tarot qualities and combine them together to create something very special. Some tarot cards were certainly much easier to create than others because certain cards had immediate connections with certain animals. For example, The Hanged Man and the possum were practically meant to be.
But Justice? Justice was, by far the hardest card to plan.
How do you paint something as challenging as Justice? I found it really hard to put it into the right image for this deck. It’s not really something that’s associated with the animal world and animal symbolism. I mean.. what did Justice really mean to me? The first things that come to mind were court systems, the scale, the blindfolded Themis, and certain Justice tarot cards bring about images of authority and righteousness. One animal that was often associated with things like justice was the eagle. Oh, well, there’s America and the eagle! Easy choice! But my eagle was front and center as the Ace of Swords, and to me, that’s where it belonged. No, my Justice would be different.
I was stuck with Justice with a very long time. It often got pushed to the side a little bit, and a little bit more as I worked on other tarot cards instead. I really had to think about Justice, and what it really meant to me. Looking at other concepts and ideas did little to actually help me.
Thankfully, when you stop focusing on other influences, you can finally find the right focus.
What helped me wasn’t looking at what images were associated with Justice, but rather what the tarot card meant, not only to other tarot readers or tarot guides, but what I felt like the card really meant for me. To me, the Justice tarot isn’t about law or punishment. Justice, to me, is about balance.
It’s about being aware of what’s around you, being aware of the outcomes that may arise and the effects that may come from the decisions that you make. With such human qualities that the Justice tarot brought about, it finally made sense to place the chimpanzee as my animal for Justice. Just look into their eyes and try to deny that we are not somehow connected, that they would not be aware of being aware. Two chimpanzees became my Justice, creating that sense of balance, but to also share that shared moment in time. They shared a moment of understanding, even without one spoken word. My Justice was finally complete.
When you get a new tarot deck and you shuffle those cards for the first time, do you ever remember the first card that you draw from that brand new deck? When the very first proof of The Animism Tarot arrived at my door, and I shuffled those cards, I dealt my very first tarot card from the deck and thought about the type of journey the deck and I would share,
Well, I drew Justice.
I thought that was fitting.
What a weekend! With an amazing day trip out of the city with friends and then attending a hilarious bridal shower with relatives. (My mom made for a fantastic toilet paper bride, I have to say!) But now I really need to do whatever I can to stay focused on the road ahead, and thankfully there’s the Knight of Pentacles to help me. This knight is my rock. He is steady and able, taking his time when necessary. Sure, watch him move when provoked, but this is not one of those times. He’s solid in build and in character. This is definitely no pushover. Definitely more experienced than the Page of Pentacles, I wanted my knight to be a little older, like he’s been around the block a little more. The powerful rhino was very fitting: his strong presence, the rough exterior, the little wrinkles. Enduring yet quite temperamental. He’s a reminder to keep going and to keep pushing.
I am continuing to find my groove with the Animism Tarot deck and continuing to learn and gain more insight into the world of symbolism, intuition and tarot reading. A celtic cross spread was in order to wind down my evening last night. I always gravitate towards small three card spreads and it was time to aim a little bigger.
But oy vey. I was reminded of why I’ve been doing three card spreads in the first place and and why I like doing three card spreads over others: for one, larger spreads take so much more time. To look at the different positions, their meanings, the cards, their meanings, their meanings in connection with their position, their meanings in connection to other cards with their meanings and their positions and how it all comes together? Ohhh the pages of notes I ended up writing last night! Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Also another reason why I enjoy my little three card spreads: I don’t have room to do larger ones. I don’t have large, spacious reading areas, and if I can just be a little honest: I have a lot of crap. Papers and fabrics and boxes and knick-knacks and small piles that end up being larger piles. I’m a collector. Of Stuff. Celtic cross spread? Ain’t nobody got room for that!
Thankfully there are evenings – ah, the evenings. When I can wind down on my bed, lay out my bright fuchsia scarf, and even have the room for something a little bigger than my usual three cards. This reading ended up going really well, I think. I think the cards that really stood out to me were:
The Ten of Pentacles.. where I’d like to be, to be able to find my place in this world.
The Six of Cups.. how young at heart I really am.
The Queen of Swords.. filled with strength, to be fearless, to find purpose. She is who I want to be. This is the future card, which – very fittingly – rises up from the Ace of Swords, which happens to be the past position.
The Queen of Wands, representing the outcome. The Queen of Wands really comes when needed. Filled with life and energy, she glows with strength and brings a positive lesson to learn.
This reading was definitely insightful, but for an every day reading I think I’ll stick with my three card spreads! Of course with time, and practice, readings will come easier and faster and spreads will be much more easier to tackle. But for now, I think I really have to be in the mood to do anything larger. I definitely lack the energy to dive into larger spreads on a regular basis.
Do you prefer to read small spreads or larger spreads? Perhaps one day I’ll tackle Radue’s Wheel, the 78 card spread. One day!.. maybe.
The King of Cups is my gentle giant. The court cards were actually really interesting to work on because I felt like the right animals had to really own their role, and here they needed to have their own unique presence in the cups’ waters. This king was definitely no exception! To me, he had to be grand and fantastical. So why not strive for the king that easily rules the waters and paint the largest mammal in the world: the blue whale.
It’s hard to capture the grandness of the blue whale. If I had my way, I would probably have three tarot cards side by side to paint the king so I could really capture the size of him! But it’s okay; I think a single card suits him quite well. This is one stable king, able to take control of the flowing waters that surround him. He takes everything in stride, knows how to get the right words across, and knows how to keep peace over his world.
The Emperor had made a few appearances in my readings recently; I guess he took a break today. Maybe this reading was a bit too on the emotional side for him (Ace of Cups and The Moon?! No thank you!); so he wanted to step away. But even though he’s not there, I can still feel his presence; like he’s just peeking over my shoulder, pointing to each of the cards and pushing at me to take charge of things. Sigh 😛 Maybe he sent the Magician in his place in the reading instead… The Magician is kind of staring at me with this look that says, “hey, this is serious. Stay focused!”
Even though the Animism Tarot is complete, I feel like I’m still at the start of the road when it comes to actual tarot reading. And even though I can pull out cards that I’ve actually designed myself, I still continue to go, “hmm, what the heck can that mean?!” when it comes to applying the images to the questions that I have. Reading is a whole other ballpark; I’m no longer drawing and painting, but trying to see things in a different light and writing down notes and readings in my tarot journal (or rather, my stack of lined sheets of paper that’s usually a mess.) But it’s definitely been an interesting road so far, and it’s surprising the kind of insight I can find when it comes from my own pictures. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that this deck is real. I better not wake up and find that this has all been a dream, or I’ll be so mad!