Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Wings of Change Lenormand: The Making of the Letter

Final image
I was asked recently what it was like working with Elisabeth Arena on the Wings of Change Lenormand.  Although the process took a lot longer than we'd originally intended, overall I was really happy with it.  It felt like a true partnership, with plenty of back and forth between us, each making suggestions to improve the final product.

For instance, you can see here the final image for the Letter. 

In my original sketch, I had the faery sat at a regular table, and very little sense of perspective:

My "sketch"

Elisabeth altered the perspective, giving the image a lot more depth, which I loved:

Elisabeth's sketch
Yet, the colours she first used felt too cold to me:

Stone table



I tinkered with the image in Photoshop, and sent her this suggestion for how to adapt it:

Photoshopped tree stump
From there, Elisabeth reworked the image to its beautiful, final form.  It was great that we could each bring something to the process, and be open to the other's suggestions and point of view.  Altogether, I'd say there was a real sense of teamwork, which felt comfortable and effective.  And I hope that through this process we've managed to create something that others will love, too.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Locus Tarot Reading

This week's deck is not yet available - it'll go live as a Kickstarter project this Thursday.  However, when the creator approached me, I thought it was a pretty interesting idea: a minimalist tarot.  So, today I'm giving it a test run, and on Friday there'll be an interview with Mike, it's creator...

Now: Two of Swords

The pip cards are simple patterns of circles, enveloped by a larger line of the same colour.  The colour scheme throughout is red for Stones (Pentacles), blue for Cups, yellow for Rods (Wands) and green for Swords.  Unusual colour choices, I'll be interested to hear what inspired them...

Seems like a bit of a stalemate - two ideas, but no clear choice between them at the moment.  Quite a tension, as the two try to split, yet are also held together.  Or, I could see this like a cell dividing: new ideas are opening up opportunities, but these are not yet ready to go!

Don't: Queen of Rods (Wands)

The Queens are all this tripartite white shape, with little black circles in their dips, on a background of their suit colour.  I like the three-ness for the Queen, echoing ideas of the Goddess.  As what not to do, the Queen of Rods says not to get mixed up in other people's projects, perhaps thinking I know what's best.  

Do: Three of Swords

Once again, three green circles, enveloped by a green wavy line.  Nothing obvious here to suggest heartache or the ideas that jab around at our emotions.  I'm reminded of Rachel Pollack's take on the Three of Swords in the Shining Tribe Tarot, and the idea that sometimes it is necessary to sit with uncomfortable thoughts, to hold on through the pain, so as to make it out the other side.  Mixing with the other two cards, one talking of tension and the other of not butting in, it sounds like I should hold off on trying to release the tension of differing ideas, even if it seems painful not to do something.  This one is always tough for me.  I have a strong Queen of Wands streak, but I shall try to rein her in!

I also decided to draw an extra Major, to show what they are like.

Overarching Message: The Sun

I'm really curious to hear how Mike decided on the colour scheme and layouts for the Majors, too.  They all have a black background, and a combination of black and coloured circles, with at least one large, coloured circle...

What I see here is a big green circle, with a little mustard circle off to one side.  A base of Air/Swords, with a little Fire/Rods thrown in?  The mind giving birth to a new spark of passion?

Seems like sitting with uncertainty may not be easy, but it is the way forward to a sense of renewal and joy!

Friday, 27 February 2015

Tarot Polski Overview

As I said on Monday, the Tarot Polski is sadly OOP.  Another downside to it is the non-illustrated pips, which many people struggle with.  I don't mind them, but definitely prefer something more visually stimulating.  I adore the semi-illustrated pips of decks like the Incidental Tarot and the Vision Quest Tarot.  No humans to push our emotional buttons or rub is the wrong way, yet plenty of symbolism and colour to make room for intuition and understanding.

Still, this deck has a lot of colour and charm in its favour.  Take the Tower, for instance.  The perspective is amazing, with a really powerful feel to the lightning and the fall.  And while we can't see the top of the Tower, we see clearly the King plunging downward, crown still on his head.  He's a florid man, big and brassy, which seems only to make his fall harder.  As the saying goes, 'The bigger they are, the harder they fall' and that's true of our fixed ideas, too.

A far calmer scene greets us in the King of Pentacles.  He sits calmly on his throne, his red robes spilling around him.  In one hand he holds an orb, representing his authority over the world, in the other a large golden coin decorated with a sphinx in the centre and astrological symbols around the edges.  Behind him are mountains: do they suggest spiritual heights, or just emphasise that his dominion stretches to the farthest reaches?  Certainly, you don't get much more solid and earthy than a mountain...  As with all the Minors, the top of the card has a yellow sky, and holds astrological symbols.

That same pattern is repeated on the Ace of Pentacles: golden sky and astrological symbols.  Below it we see the background found on all the Pentacle pips - dry and cracked earth - with the same golden coin with Sphinx and star sign symbols. 

We find the same basic structure on the Four of Cups, too.  The only variation is a blue, watery background beneath the yellow sky/astrology.  The Cups are laid out as though at the four cardinal points.  Not much to suggest ennui or the possibility of something new should we choose to open our eyes to it...

This deck has fun, colourful Majors and Courts, and added astrological information for those that can use it in their interpretations.  A workable deck, but not one I'll use much, because of the non-illustrated pips.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Wings of Change Lenormand Card Backs

Final card back
Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote!  It was excellent to get your feedback, and you overwhelmingly voted for the sepia butterfly eye back, shown here.

This was the back which, after I'd messed around with about 30 different variations and ideas (single butterflies, multiple butterflies, faery on a sky background, fire faery, and many more), my wonderful, artist friend Liz Arena, illustrator of the deck, created. 

Now, creating a back for the cards wasn't in our contract, but after I sent her through a couple of my variants to look at, she took pity on me.  She looked at other card backs from decks in her local esoteric store, and ones she could see on-line, and then thought about this deck we've been creating.  Here is her inspiration, in her own words:

Some of the other options
"Thinking about the concept, and looking through a lot of oracle and tarot card art, I thought the butterfly "eye" could take the center of what might usually be the psychic human eye.  I implied a compass to indicate the many directions of the future and added decorative corner elements that echo the shape of a butterfly's wings.  I added some texture and an aged feeling as well."

I think Liz did a beautiful job, and that this back will compliment the vibrant images on the card fronts.  Still waiting for the prototype deck to come through for proofing before sending off the final designs...

And if you want a look at what didn't make the grade, here are just a few of the card backs I created :D

Monday, 23 February 2015

Tarot Polski Reading

This week's deck is one from Poland, not easily available, I'm afraid.  And bizarrely, I got my copy of the Tarot Polski via Canada!

Situation: Knight of Cups

Look at this guy with his congenial smile and his cup of wine held high.  He seems to call on us to eat, drink and be merry.  Though he's rather armoured up, perhaps some pleasant time will open him to his emotions a bit more.

Had a nasty argument with my Dear One at the weekend (Big Boy sick, Little One up ridiculously early, so we were both tired and grumpy).  So, this week we need to spend some time re-finding the romance and saying loving things to one another.

Don't: III - The Empress

Don't you just love her up-do?  Princess Leia, eat your heart out!  This Empress highlights the nurturing aspect of the card, with one breast bared and on offer.  Though not many mothers can claim that dainty, narrow a waist after a couple of kids...

With Big Boy hopefully back at school, it's not a time to focus on the kids and motherhood. 

Do: Three of Cups

When I bought it, I didn't realise this was a non-illustrated pips deck.  Still, I'm fine with that.  Though I won't really use the astrological symbols offered at the top of each card, as my astrological knowledge just isn't up to it.

For me, this is the card of friendship and support.  So, advice for this week is to foster friendships, to seek and offer support. 

For journal prompts based on these cards, click here.