Interview: Lisa Hunt & The Fairy Tale Tarot

When I was editor of the American Tarot Association Quarterly, I developed an interview for those who had created decks. The twist on the normal interview is that I request it be answered by pulling cards from the Tarot deck itself. So, in essence, the creation of the artist/author becomes their voice.

Some of these questions are actually geared towards the deck answering for itself–a neat bit of anthromorphism, eh? Those questions are marked with a D

For the first of these interviews on my blog, Lisa Hunt has offered herself up as a willing vic…errr, participant. I wanted to share a bit of what she said about this process.

Lisa Hunt on the process of doing this interview-by-deck: Lisa_grinThis unique interview taught me the importance of trusting the cards by allowing synchronicity and psychic impulses to deliver those messages that are not necessarily obvious, but pertinent to the questions at hand. My calculated, deliberate choices would have been much different than what the cards had chosen for me. But that’s the beauty of this exercise. It forced me to think outside the box in more objective terms. Some of the answers are tinged with humor, but sometimes it is good for me to laugh at myself.

From her official bio: Lisa is an internationally known tarot artist whose work includes Shapeshifter Tarot, the bestselling Celtic Dragon Tarot (Llewellyn), and Fantastical Creatures Tarot (US Games 2007), nominated for a 2008 Chesley Award and voted a top-10 tarot deck for 2007 by Aeclectic Tarot. She is the creator of the award-winning Animals Divine Tarot (Llewellyn 2005), earning her a 2006 COVR Visionary Award. Lisa is also the author of the fully illustrated meditation book Celestial Goddesses (Llewellyn 2001).

Lisa lives with her family in sunny South Florida. She is also a student of Submission Taekwondo at the Boca Academy of Martial Arts and received her Black Belt on December 13, 2008.

What this doesn’t tell you is what an incredible human being Lisa is. I have had the pleasure of tweeting with Lisa as well as exchanging a few emails. Generous, warm, spiritual–she is truly an amazing soul. This deck, in my opinion, reflects all of this in some unique ways. But I digress! You want to know about the interview, don’t you?

So on to the interview!

What card describes you as a writer or artist? If you are both, please choose a card for each one.

As a writer: Seven of Pentacles (The Golden Goose)Pentacles_7
I had always wanted to write, but my own insecurities kept me from fully exploring this part of myself until much later on. I think my own academic laziness as a forming young mind prevented me from considering writing professionally. But as I matured I could not deny my desire to explore this aspect of my creative muse. With persistence and practice, I took my passion for words and incorporated it into my creative repertoire.

As an Artist: Innocence/The Fool (Little Red Riding Hood)
Whaddya know—the very image that I’ve used as my profile picture has searched me out once again. Interestingly, I was brainstorming metaphors with some artist tweet peeps while examining artists’ encounters with “the mental audience as we work”. And I couldn’t help identify with Little Red Riding Hood with wolf hovering over her —much like the creatures that hang over my drawing table as I venture into unknown imaginative lands with pencil and brush. The wolf is there, serving as my scrutinizing conscience, a figment of that inner terrain that is sometimes shrouded with fear and worries of artistic mishaps. All the while, I carry my basket of ideas and wander. They’re always there—these mental creatures that both rally the spirit and keep one on one’s toes!

If I were to ask your deck to describe you, what card would it use?

Eight of Swords: Diamonds and Toads
Swords_8What? Oh, you annoying little card. How dare you invade my illusions of being the happy-go-lucky artist! Instead, you have to remind me how complicated I can be. Yes, it’s true—I will not cheat and put this card back but rather, face the fact that I am at times my own worst enemy. Yes, I can be insecure, yes I can harbor anxieties, yes I can be self defeating and oversensitive. But aren’t those some of the very reasons that propelled me to do art in the first place? It has set me free, allowing me to travel to inner worlds and to reconcile those aspects of myself that are less than sanguine and wonderful. The artist in the raw is a complex creature and I make no apologies for it. But thanks, deck…for blowing my cover 😉

What card describes you as a deck? D

Six of Wands: The Prince and the Dragon
Victorious, triumphant and full of determination. I am the subtle deck who roars and if given the chance to be thoroughly explored. I will prove fulfilling!

What card describes your favorite piece of creating this deck?

Seven of Cups: The Glass MountainCups_7
No surprise here. I’ve always been drawn to the Seven of Cups—a card of illusions, imagination, and distractions. As I prepared to embark upon my Fairy tale Tarot journey, my desires and dreams to bring the stories to life were often challenged by the overwhelming nature of the sheer volume of research and work. Somehow I was able to dismantle those barriers that had the potential to diminish my spirit. I tried to maintain focus and just poured myself into it.

What card describes what your favorite questions to answer are?D

The Sorceress (High Priestess): The Lake Maiden
Questions full of mystery and possibilities that engage the psyche and help to nourish a greater sense of awareness.

What card describes what you think are the most valuable lessons you learned while creating this deck?

Pentacles_PrincessPrincess of Pentacles: The Princess and the Pea
This makes sense. From the beginning, I approached this project with a balanced mindset (or call it middle age slow down). I requested a long term due date so I that I could thoroughly enjoy the sensations of painting without worrying about the realities of an impossible deadline. I followed what felt right and enjoyed the process to the end. I think I learned these lessons from past experiences. I tend to underestimate how long a project is going to actually take me to finish. It’s like the eyes being bigger than the stomach scenario—with the exuberant spirit piling on much more than she can possibly chew.

What card describes your best use as a tarot deck?D

Princess of Wands: Tatterhood
Helping people to maintain a sense of adventure as they explore the deck. It’s important to be true to yourself and listen to the messages that the cards are trying to deliver.

What card describes your greatest weakness?

Ace of Swords: Cap O’ Rushes
There is a certain amount of study required to master all the nuances of the cards as I presented them in the book. I hope individuals can be flexible and patient enough to allow the delicious stories and images to immerse the senses and activate feelings of wonder as they slowly familiarize themselves with the deck.

What card describes your greatest strength?

8 of Wands: The Three Princes and their BeastsWands_8
Fairy tales provide such a great platform for psychic exploration. The images are magnificent storytellers filled with symbolism and layers of meaning (visuals that are meant to resonate with different layers of consciousness). I think you can learn how to use them quickly if you let the images talk to you. Don’t worry about what you think you should see, rather follow your intuitive voice and go for it.

What card is your most favorite? Why?

Temperance: The Water of Life
Wow, I love this card and am so glad (and surprised) it was drawn. It has a nurturing, calming quality about it that reminds me of how important it is to stop and reflect on our journeys along the way. Just an aside, I actually gave the original watercolor painting as gift to my friend Kris Waldherr. She graciously posed for this piece.

What card is your least favorite? Why?

Pentacles_22 of Pentacles: Ricky of the Tuft
Ah, the old question of balance rears its ugly head. I find it fascinating that I would draw this card after Temperance. It indicates that I haven’t quite reconciled my insatiable need to be creative with my practical desires to accomplish day-to-day tasks. I am trying to find compromise and balance between the two, but it ain’t easy!

Which card do you think needs to be studied the most?

7 of Wands: Hansel and Gretel
I would have consciously picked Temptation, but the cards had other plans. Still, like Temptation, there is a shadow element in this card that is worth exploring in depth. This card reminds us of how important it is to stand up for what we believe in. Even though our gut (intuition) will often call us to action, sometimes we become paralyzed by irrational ego-driven fear. It’s so important to listen to our inner voices and to face the very shadow that is keeping us from fully actualizing who we are. There is loads of symbolism in this card including oven/womb, witch/shadow, key/liberation etc. Some elements are more obvious than others. The story itself is worth pondering from beginning to end as it has so much to teach us.

What card describes your personal creativity?

4 of swords: The White DoeSwords_4
Another surprise as I thought I would pick a more visually active image. But I immediately saw a correlation between a restful state and creative hibernation. As an artist, I never, ever force an image. On some level, I have always operated on automatic, thus letting images flow at will. And in the process of allowing the images to emerge, shapeshifters, animals, and all manner of ethereal beings have always graciously greeted me on the watercolor paper. Much of what you see on this card does in fact exemplify my artistic methods. Then there is number 4: connoting stability. Within the four walls of my studio, magic happens and here is where I feel most comfortable and at ease with myself.

Who or what inspired you to create a deck and why?

The Star: The Star Maiden
Wow—that makes immediate sense. Need I say more? Dreams make it happen. And the wealth of mythos contained within the body of our collective heritage has served as my compass. My work is an interpretation of those collective and personal dreams, and certainly fueled The Fairy Tale Tarot experience.

What upcoming projects can you tell us about?

Courage (Strength): Little One Inch
8_CourageHmm… appropriate given that my next project will be an expedition through the darker terrain of the human psyche. I don’t want to give too much away, but the body of work definitely has numerous confrontations with the shadow and is therefore requiring a little courage on my part as I attempt to portray these visions. It’s a challenging body of work that is pushing me beyond my comfort zone. But the rewards are making themselves obvious. I’ll talk more about this next year, so stay tuned!

Draw one card. Tell us what secret habit this card reveals about you. 😉

Princess of Swords: Thumbelina
Well, that is not what I expected at all! But then again, most people who know me are familiar with my habits! Thumbelina and the cast of critter characters definitely echo my affinity for wee creatures. I have a small collection of bugs that I had stumbled on after their demise including butterflies, beetles, bees and all manner of entomological specimens. No worries, all properly stored within the confines of my studio. No “ick” reactions please. Nature is a loyal inspirational partner.

You can follow Lisa on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.  Do make sure you become a regular at her blog where she shares bits and pieces of her process as well as everyday life. It’s a favorite of mine.

I have to share a few full-sized images so you can get a taste of the intricacy of Lisa’s work. First, the Star simply because I adore this image!


Next one of her amazing court cards,  the King of Cups. This takes me breath away.


And last, one that I chose at random. The precocious Princess of Wands riding her goat.


I hope that you, like me, now need this deck. I love to be a deck enabler!

4 thoughts on “Interview: Lisa Hunt & The Fairy Tale Tarot”

  1. Getting the interviewee to pull cards to answer questions is an interesting technique, taking the answers away from their conscious/superego/censoring principle and handing it straight to their subconscious on a plate. At least in this interview, it produced a fascinating discussion.

    I’m blown away with the scan of the King Cups. In particular, I love the fish-maiden shamanically changing form as she is released into her element, and the three flying birds against the sun, turning it into a winking face.

    Nice work all round, Lisa!

  2. first, the interview questions were really good at pealing away the superficial response. but the card draw was amazingly insightful. great interview!

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