This could also be called “getting back to things I used to love to do.” When I was editor of the American Tarot Association Quarterly Journal, I developed an interview for those who had created decks. The twist on the normal interview was that I requested it be answered by pulling cards from their creation, Tarot deck, itself. So, in essence, their creation of the artist/author became their voice.
Recently I saw a deck on Kickstarter (I blame many people for telling me about this deck but Siobhan gets first dibs…lol. Check out her Gemini ‘Scopes while you are there.) This deck was by two women in Austin, Texas which was an immediate plus since I used to live in ATX. But what really grabbed me was the clean lines and subdued color pallette. Typically I like brighter colors and am really drawn to the art of the likes of Tarot visionary Lisa Hunt. But I do enjoy black and white decks and less vivid decks as well. So I backed this deck. (FULL DISCLOSURE: This deck is fully funded already.)
The name of the deck made me grin. If you’ve been to Texas, you have probably seen mesquite. It’s a popular tree for using in fires and barbeques. It’s also a tenacious tree that can grow in some pretty harsh condition. I decided to interview the creators, Aleisha and Bronwyn about their Mesquite Tarot. Please note that some of the cards pictured here may be prototypes meaning there could be some changes in the final product.
What card describes you as a writer or artist? If you are both, please choose a card for each one.
Aleisha as a writer: The Fool
Very appropriate. In writing and in life, I am definitely figuring it all out as I go along, just like everybody else. I’ve approached writing this book with a lot of playfulness and curiosity: watching where it leads, feeling open to possibility, having fun. It’s easy to feel a lot of fear when it comes to creating; it’s been an intention to energize more of the imagination and childlike wonder of key 0.
Bronwyn as an artist: Three of Wands
A huge part of what I do as a visual artist is constantly attempt to view things from as many different angles as possible. I’m always working to put aside what I may think I know, and take a new approach- one that comes more from within. A lot of that work includes taking risks, being confident, and accepting the role of a leader, which always comes along with uncharted territory. My eyes stay open to new opportunities, new projects, and new ways to push myself as a creator.
If I were to ask your deck to describe you, what card would it use?
The World: Wow, how lovely.
We’re of the thought that the world is a living being, that our connectedness with nature and each other is an essential part of ourselves and is necessary to experiencing the fullness of being alive. We are doing our best to promote clarity and kindness on the planet and we think tarot is a pretty great tool for that.
What card would your deck use to describe itself?
Ten of Wands: We relate to the element of balance in the ten of wands, the focus and determination that this card encompasses. Being present step by step, even in challenge.
What card describes your favorite piece of creating this deck?
Nine of Cups: Overflow and abundance. This card hints at the material– we’re often airy, in the world of ideas. Connecting to the tangible has been a really special aspect of the creative process.
What card describes what your favorite questions to answer are?
Page of Cups: Mesquite does gravitate toward the idealistic, dreamy, the poetic.
What card describes what you think are the most valuable lessons you learned while creating this deck?
Knight of Wands: From the onset, we’ve approached the deck creation with a lot of action and momentum. Part of our motivation in running a Kickstarter campaign was to create externalized energy that would help us get through some of the challenges in bringing it to fruition. I think we were able to harness some of the knight’s boldness, and like him, we were able to move forward in action and ambition. Even in imperfection, the fearlessness and boldness is something we’re grateful to be learning.
What card describes your best use as a tarot deck?
Knight of Pentacles: Though Mesquite has a gentle sensibility, its use is rooted and active.
What card describes your greatest weakness?
Eight of Pentacles: It’s a bit like a classic job interview, haha– indeed our weakness is often in perfectionism. Like many creators, we are prone to being hyper-critical of our own work.
What card describes your greatest strength?
Five of Cups: We are good at being resourceful, working with what we have even when it’s not as much as we’d like.
What card is your most favorite? Why?
Eight of Cups: This is actually one of the first cards in the tarot I ever made contact with. It appeared years ago and was a strong message that I needed to turn away and do some searching. A reminder that leaving things behind isn’t always an easy path, but often a necessary one.
What card is your least favorite? Why?
Queen of Arrows: Hmm, this is a tricky one because we actually really love this card. The queen’s clarity and connection to truth has been feeling like an especially helpful energy to harness.
Which card do you think needs to be studied the most?
The Chariot: When the energy of the Chariot is in balance, it’s such a powerful and directed card. There’s definitely lots of Chariot energy in the world right now, but it’s not always used in a clear and balanced way. Definitely plenty of study we can all do w/r/t the Chariot.
What card describes your personal creativity?
Two of Pentacles: Again, the theme of balance and playfulness emerges!
Who or what inspired you to create a deck and why?
Five of Cups: A great lens to understand inspiration. As we progressed in our personal tarot practice and began creating our own deck, we noticed our relationship with tarot evolving into a space where we could access clarity and optimism. Rather than being focused on the things that are broken, we wanted to look at what was full. We wanted to provide a tool for seeing solution when so much of the world seems to be staring and what’s been overturned.
What upcoming projects can you tell us about?
Nine of Pentacles We’re in a stage of planting more seeds, nurturing and growing as artists and creators. At this stage, we want to honor Mesquite and keep our energy directed towards making it the best it can be. We feel a lot of momentum building and are also excited to continue creative collaboration. Beginning to gestate more ideas for expansive projects that foster kindness and compassion.
Draw one card. Tell us what secret habit this card reveals about you.
The Hermit: The two of us met as housemates, and one of the secret habits we share is creative hermitude. There’s a fertile buzz in the house when we are both working, sometimes collaborating in the kitchen or in the breakfast nook, sometimes alone in our respective bedrooms. The homebody tendencies have made our house a hive of productivity and generative vibes. We are able to be hermits in community.
Do back this one, y’all. I predict it will be a keeper.