Painting count: 11/78.
Personal Tarot is a long time coming. I decided to make an oracle deck over two years ago, but I didn't know exactly what that meant for me.
DC and I worked together to create a deck of sacred affirmations, and I absolutely loved those, I still do, I use them daily and I know a few others who do, too. I thought maybe this was enough, but my intuition wouldn't drop it.
I spent a few months making a seeded deck of cards, by meditating with each card. I then matched plants who's energies met what the card called for. Then, I made an satchet of those seeds and embedded them in the cards themselves. I actually love this deck, and I use it all the time, too (it was a classic Rider-Waite deck that I converted). But, still, I didn't feel like this was quite it.
I thought maybe what I needed was to really get clear with my understanding of Tarot, and that let me to Personal Tarot, the journal. What I knew for sure is that the more I developed my connection with the symbology of Tarot, the more connected I would be to reading the cards.
This was really, really fun. But, each reading added layers and depth to my understandings of the cards, across decks, and I needed a way to consolidate it all- I wanted an in-depth log of my research, intuitive messages and intentions for each card and reading. For years I'd just scribble the card, date and maybe a note in the guide books that came with the decks I use. This worked pretty well within a deck, but part of my whole fascination with tarot is the universality of the symbols and the connection of the tradition. I wanted to connect with tarot energy, through many decks. I wanted to track the common threads, the differences, the nuance.
So I created the journal that I wanted to use, and that was the first offering from PT. It's worked really well for me, and it's so fun- plus it feels substantial, to document my personal tarot in a volume that can be passed. Passed around, passed down, passed as it feels right. It is a record.
I offered, on social media, to do free one card readings for people so that I can fill up my book with readings. Boy did they respond! They're still responding, it's so wonderful! It was at this time that I found a BIG distinction for myself between reading cards and channeling.
I am still learning about this concept. and haven't fully landed; I'm practicing and noticing.
The thing is, I thought it would be easy to fill the book for strangers: I would *read* the card, say/write what I know about it, and send that message on with light and positive energy. That's not how it's worked. I can pick a card and talk about it, but as soon as I attach the intention of someone to it, it's not impersonal. It is, truly, personal tarot. I have found that I've needed to work on a system for this- I don't know yet how I feel about what feels like the channeling piece. My goal was to create tools of light and love for people who channel to use, but I have not found it so simple. On the one hand, it's pretty trippy what comes to my mind, and how. It's wild how connected to the person I am pulling for it feels. I hear actual warnings, and I really don't want to pass those on. I feel more called to present the "facts" of the card, and then the individual hears the message, allowing their intuition to find the language (tarot is all stories) to voice the warning for themselves. And it drains me, and I know there are ways to be reading/channeling from universal energy, not my own, so I need to learn more about this.
I slowed down on the readings, to honor what is actually happening instead of staying attached to what I thought would happen. I'm now only doing a couple a day, and it will take me a longer time to get through the requests, but it feels more responsible, and also I believe in perfect timing. I will give the right messages at the right time.
That being said, the people who are deeply, deeply hurting and come to me personally for a card do skip to the front.
So here I am, with my journal, doing these reading, sifting through the (literally) hundreds of pages of notes and charts and research that I have accumulated... and just like that, it was completely obvious: IT WAS TIME!! My deck was ready to be born. It just 100% felt like the wait was over. The hard part was done, oddly.
It was time to paint!
So since then, I have been painting! and painting! and painting! And, writing.
Because it's not just the cards coming through, it's the story.
Tarot is stories, because our brains are made to understand stories. It is, in fact, every story, it is universal and covers, literally, every situation/archetype/emotion that we face in a human lifetime. It uses ancient symbols, it's universal, and it's timeless. I find it similar, in these ways- framing lessons into stories we can understand, using universally recognized symbols and themes to another book that many people use to find meaning. Allegories, metaphors and cautionary tales... sound familiar? It's very similar, the difference being what energy it deals from, and what it asks of you to receive the stories.
And I live in stories. I love them. Fiction, for me, reveals so much about the human condition, allowing for more compassion, understanding, connection and giving us ways to relate to one another. But, I like stories that I understand, that make sense to me- impart meaning.
So with each card, comes a part of the story. And it feels a lot like my moms story, which makes sense, because of all the stories I have encountered, hers is the one that is hardest for me to resolve, find meaning in and peace about.
What I don't know yet- will the story coming through, which is separate from the guide that will accompany the deck, be part of the guide? Will it be just for me? Should it be in blog posts, birthed with the birth of each card?
So here is the process:
It doesn't get painted or written in order. I did start with the Fool, but only because he intimidated me the most. Next, I did the Hermit, and then the Lovers.
I am doing all the raw paintings with acrylics and oils. They're all 22x30" (I think, I'll have to double check but it's close to that if not exact). When I finish all 78 paintings (actually 79 I think, because I really am becoming attached to a XXII Spirit card...) I will "finish" them all with gold, silver, black and white oil markers. I think this will keep the deck consistent and cohesive, which I worry about since it's so many paintings and I tend to get experimental... that is as it should be, and then coming back to them as a group to finish will also be helpful.
I also do a lot of digital art. I love that, too, it's really become one of my jams. So as I paint the deck, I'll be uploading the raw paintings and playing with them digitally to create designs that stand on their own. The exact finished cards that make up the deck will be revealed and will be at least somewhat different than anything I post before they're all complete. I think this makes it fun, and also give me some freedom to paint what I want (since I have a HELL of a time painting when I have to). I will also paint all the symbols and art to illustrate the guide, and I'm excited to also see some of them on cool shirts, stickers and journals.
That's where I am today!