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Interviews with Deck Creators


Our latest interview is with Beenish Khan, the creator of the Flights of Fantasy Tarot - a vividly-illustrated Tarot deck with characters from folklore and mythology.

Each card is tied to a fable, a legend, a deity. No single card bears a similar theme. Yet each card can be read as part of a self-exploratory whole. Whether your goal is shadow-work, divination or simple entertainment, it is my hope that these cards will offer a humble source of wisdom..

Where in the world do you call home?

I've been traveling since I was a child, so I'm used to finding home in unexpected places! That said, I find myself unfailingly gravitating to places by bodies of water – whether it's rivers or sea-sides. Currently, I'm residing in Austin, Texas, and utterly in love with their network of lakes, and the energy of freshness and inspiration they bring :)

What was your first experience with tarot / oracle and when did you fall in love with it?

I was 12-years-old when I first got my hands on a Morgan Greer Tarot deck. Although I couldn't understand the motifs, and knew very little about Tarot's divinatory uses, the deck's artwork just spoke to me. It was like poring through a storybook with a complex and colourful cast of characters. Afterward, I bought a guidebook to understand the significance and mythology behind the cards. Since then, I've purchased and perused several Tarot/Oracle decks. Yet my baseline fascination for Tarot remains tied to its storied iconography. For me, each card is like an illustrated page, and can offer us guidance on how to understand our world, both the inner and outer.

What made you want to create your own oracle deck? What was your inspiration?

I've always had a deep fondness for Brothers Grimm fables, and their older, more adult origins. Similarly, I'm always on the hunt for tidbits of local folklore and mythology wherever I travel, be it Okinawan ghost stories or Slavic fairytales. In a way, Flights of Fantasy is both a love-letter and an illustrated compendium of the stories/characters that have most strongly resonated with me, from childhood to adulthood, and my desire to share their interpretations with a wider audience.

What would you say is unique about your deck?

In terms of uniqueness, I've tried to convey a literal sense of the fantastical in the deck, through both its vivid and highly saturated colours, and the surreal compositions. I want to offer Tarot readers a sense of having their feet in two worlds – at once grounded in reality and also somehow untethered from it, in a way that invites reflection, and a sense of freedom. One of the reasons I chose Flights of Fantasy as the deck's title was because of the Greek word "phantasia," from which "fantasy" is derived. For Ancient Greece, phantasia was synonymous with the imaginative faculty, and the birthplace of ideas before they manifested in the physical realm. I'm hopeful that this deck offers a similar space to entertain fantasies, as part of the healthy and holistic process of self-knowledge.

How long have you had the idea for the deck for and how long has it taken you to create it?

Since my late teens, I'd dabbled with the idea of creating my own Tarot deck, in a loosely Rider-Waite-Smith style. However, I lacked confidence in my ability to create a deck that others would respond positively to – and the patience to sit down and meticulously plan each aspect of its design. You could say this deck has been a learning curve nearly two decades in the making, in terms of both self-discipline and artistic skill, with several aspects needing to be redone and revised until I got them just right – or was at least satisfied with the end result ^^;

We are living in such crazy times. How has the pandemic affected your creativity?

As someone who revels in solitude as a chance for creativity and reflection, the pandemic brought with it both complications and blessings. On the one hand, it felt as though we were forced to hit pause on many aspects of our lives, and reassess what truly sustained us, versus what was ultimately damaging for our well-being. On the other hand, there is no denying the pandemic has been a source of tremendous emotional, physical and financial stress.

For me, personally, the backdrop of the pandemic allowed me to transform my creative work into a source of meaning-making, beyond simply an outlet for stress. I think most artists treat their works as tangible representations of their feelings. For me, the pandemic created environmental pressures that forced me to go beyond that, and treat my artwork as a narrative of my current state-of-being, and how that evolves from moment-to-moment in a post-2020 world.

What have been your challenges in creating this deck?

One of the biggest challenges was finding a wide variety of subjects to sketch, given the lockdowns. Initially, I'd envisioned a diverse cast of characters from all walks of life. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced me to limit who I could and couldn't include in the deck. Rather, I ended up using myself as a reference for much of the artwork, and narrowing the scope of stories I hoped to share.

Thankfully, with restrictions loosening, I've had the chance to update the deck, and include more characters that better reflect my original plans for an inclusive and multifaceted storyset :)

Your deck can be used for shadow work, and I know a lot of our readers are interested in decks they can use for this. Can you explain how the deck is used in this way?

In my experience, self-reflection, and the space to fully embrace our darker aspects, is part and parcel of shadow work. While I've done my best to imbue Flights of Fantasy with a sense of colourful whimsy, there is no denying that this is a "dark/gothic" flavour of deck, in terms of both subject matter and style. Tarot compels us to confront all facets of ourselves, both the positive and negative. Similarly, the deck doesn't shy from more sinister motifs – but it also attempts to engage the querent in a dialogue with their darker selves, using the imagery of myths and fables to tap into the language of their subconscious.

How will you celebrate when the deck is finally published?

Knowing me, I'll have leapfrogged the "Time to Celebrate!" stage right to the "What will my next project be?" stage, haha!

What is on offer for people who pledge?

There is a wide collection of goodies to choose from! The tiers below $50 feature over 100 Kiss-Cut Stickers, 6x6 Magnets, and Posters from my store, DÉJÀ VISITÉ. For the tiers above $50, there are a variety of options to receive the Tarot deck. There's also a Combo Pack tier which allows backers to receive the deck in addition to all the abovementioned goodies! :)

To begin your flight to fantasy with this deck, click here:

Website - Main Store

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Our latest interview is with Aka Skyweb, the creator of the Orphic Tarot - A fully illustrated deck that combines the Tarot tradition with the Greek Orphic mysteries. Featuring 80 original cards.

The Orphic Tarot deck revolves around the theme of life-death-rebirth, with its recurrent references to the myth of Orpheus, his symbolic descent to the Underworld, and his return to the land of the living. It is particularly indicated for shadow-working, self-healing and medium channeling. It has a powerful, solemn and firm energy, akin to "the eye of the Typhoon" kind of electric quietness.

Kickstarter - Orphic Tarot

Where in the world do you call home?

I guess wherever I can really stop thinking and just be in the moment. When I can access an indefinable state of eternity, and my body is an extension of my surroundings. This includes of course natural places, like forests and the sea shore, but can be extended to my own room if I enter a meditative-kind of state. It is quite hard to explain through words. (I never in my life did drugs, btw)

What was your first experience with tarot / oracle and when did you fall in love with it?

I was well into mythology, symbolism, metaphysical and esoteric traditions way before my chance encounter with Tarot. To be honest, Tarot and Oracle cards did not really appeal to me at first. I was too sceptical of the aura of “quackery” which, unfortunately, surrounds this divination tool nowadays. I think the turning point was the chance encounter with Jodorowsky’s book “The path of Tarot”, which I bought when I was 20, both out of curiosity and to gain more information for an assignment at the Art Academy I used to attend to at that time.

What made you want to create your own oracle deck? What was your inspiration?

I guess it was a combination of factors. On the one hand I desperately needed a vent to my anguish and frustration during the COVID-19 lockdown in March-April 2020. On the other hand, I felt a strong urge to incorporate my knowledge of Tarot and cement it by creating my own deck. Dabbling into art as I would normally do lacked a sense of cohesion and structure and was not providing me with much solace. But a Tarot deck can be (should be) a creative work of art AND the reflection of the unity of macro and micro-cosmos, so I went for that option. After carefully considering my areas of expertise, I chose Greek mythology and specifically, the myth of Ariadne, Theseus and the Minotaur as a source of inspiration for my first deck. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, I started planning the Orphic Deck, which is currently on Kickstarter.

What would you say is unique about your deck?

The Orphic Tarot unites the tradition of Tarot with the wisdom of ancient Greek Orphic Mysteries. It has 80 cards (including an alternative Magician and World), each featuring a deity of the Orphic pantheon. It took a painstaking work of research and studying to establish strong nets of correspondences between the energy of the traditional Tarot cards and that of the Orphic deities that embody it. For instance: The Empress is represented by Mother Gaia (the Earth), while her counterpart, The Emperor, is Father Ouranos (The Sky). The orphic deck revolves around the theme of life-death-rebirth, with its recurrent references to the myth of Orpheus, his symbolic descent to the Underworld (katabasis), in pursuit of his deceased wife, and his return to the land of the living, enrichened with a supernatural knowledge which led him to compose the “Orphic Hymns” and fund the Orphic religion. This deck is particularly indicated for shadow-working, self-healing and medium channelling.

How long have you had the idea for the deck for and how long has it taken you to create it?

A good whole year and half since the idea started buzzing in my head, and about 11 months of relentless work to physically create it

We are living in such crazy times. How has the pandemic affected your creativity?

It was the actual catalyst for the creation of my first deck, and surely enough of a contributor to the making of my second deck, so I can’t say that the pandemic thwarted my creativity and self-expression. This is mostly because making “stuff” is for me, a form of escapism. However, I have to admit that, all of this pent-up, electrifying energy sizzling my brains did not come without a price psychologically-wise. I had many burn-outs and still suffer from insomnia, but that’s become almost a habit of mine, lol.

What have been your challenges in creating this deck?

I regret not to have chosen a better drawing support for the cards, while I was drawing them. It took me literally MONTHS to edit all the bleeding lines and imperfections in Photoshop.

Your deck is a hybrid between the Marseilles Tarot and the Rider Waite, what inspired you to combine the two?

The Marseille Tarot and its symbolism (especially concerning the Major Arcana) was the first I was confronted with when I started gathering information about the MEANING behind the mystery of Tarot. Although I am not a huge fan of its iconography, I can’t deny that the Marseille Tarot has a much more insightful, enlightening and rational structure that the Rider Waite’s. Also, the numerological correspondences between the energy of the first ten Major Arcana and the first ten cards of the four suits is most appealing to me. This is why I made a point to apply the same numerological symbology in the Orphic Deck. Please don’t get me wrong: I appreciate the RWS Tarot too, especially the fact it is a fully-illustrated deck, a feature it shares, in fact, with the Orphic Deck.

How will you celebrate when the deck is finally published?

Probably with a nice glass of red wine and a night of free readings live on my IG for all of my amazing backers.

What is on offer for people who pledge?

A big and sturdy 6x6cm hard enamel gorgeous pin featuring Nyx and the Orphic Egg.

A 55X55 cm 100% pure cotton themed altar cloth

A 16 pages zine featuring 8 Orphic themed Tarot readings by your favorite Goddesses: Athena, Nyx, Themis, Selene, Hecate, Persephone, Artemis and Medusa)

Hand-stenciled, 100% linen drawstring Tarot bags featuring Selene, Hecate and Nyx.- Ideal for regular size (120x70 mm) Tarot cards.

Hand-stenciled, 100% linen drawstring Tarot bag featuring Athena on the one side, and her counterpart Medusa, on the other.- Ideal for regular size (120x70 mm) Tarot cards.

Soon I will be putting up some hand-made articulated rag-dolls and a limited number of 10 Zodiac-themed sets of 12 Charms . They are both truly one of a kind, and in high demand after the first batch was snapped up in a matter of hours, so I suggest you follow me on my IG (@akaskywentarot) to get notified on their launch!

To support this beautifully illustrated deck, click here:

Kickstarter - Orphic Tarot

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Our latest interview is with Brant Pallazo, the creator of the Moon Baby Tarot - a tarot deck based on the Hoi Polloi tarot. First marketed in 1972 as a game for children, the Hoi Polloi has remained a favourite deck among collectors despite its low print quality because of its funky take on the original Rider Waite Smith deck.

Brant knew the quality could be improved to contemporary standards while preserving its mid-century aesthetic. The deck was re-coloured and re-formatted so that the images could be printed in modern tarot dimensions. The original old gothic font didn't suit the style of the deck so it was replaced with a fun '70s style font. The result is a fun, updated take on a classic vintage deck.

The Kickstarter for this deck has finished and it was fully funded within 7 hours!! Enchanted Gypsy will stock the deck, so keep an eye out if you would like to purchase!

Brant will have an etsy shop and will have high quality art prints of the most popular cards in the deck and other fun goodies.

Where in the world do you call home?

I live in the capital city, Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA

What was your first experience with tarot and when did you fall in love with it?

I actually grew up about 45 minutes away from New Orleans which is a major hub for Voodoo and other Magical practices. Jackson Square is a city block and is sort of where all the action is. There are tons of street performers and venders selling handmade products. Among these artisans are tarot readers set up all over the streets. As a young person I spent many weekends there with my family and friends. So, I really grew up seeing tarot readers and so for me tarot has always been normal and I never really had any negative ideas about tarot. For me, it’s just always been normal and fun.

It wasn’t until I grew up that I really learned about how to use the cards. My love for tarot really began when I started collecting decks. My vintage deck collection is my prized possession. There’s nothing I enjoy more than searching for and finding a deck that is hard to find.

What made you want to create your own tarot deck? What was your inspiration?

The Hoi Polloi is one on of the first vintage decks that I got at the start of my collection. I absolutely fell in love with it! It came out in 1972 and had everything- a fun ‘70s vibe, Rider Waite Smith based, amazing colors. The only issues I had were that the cardstock was thin and poorly cut and hard to shuffle and the printing was not very good. Shuffling is such an important part of the reading for me. I’d say I’m kind of an aggressive shuffler actually. I always wished I could use the Hoi Polloi more easily. It just wasn’t satisfying to shuffle.

When the Pandemic started I lost my job. I was left in a place I hadn’t been before in my life. I didn’t have the answer this time, I didn’t know what to do this time. I have always been interested in art. I’ll pretty much try any medium. I’ve experimented with acrylic painting, weaving, macramé, pastels, gouache, watercolors and the list could go on for pages. I hadn’t really ever worked with digital media though, so I decided to turn the lemon that life gave me into lemonade by exploring and learning photoshop. It was an excellent help to keep me focused on something good and fun and really kept my mind off of my unemployment.

I started learning photoshop by editing, reformatting and recoloring the Lovers card from the Hoi Polloi. After I finished that card I moved to another and then another. Pretty soon I had worked my way through all the cards and really developed my photoshop skills.

What would you say is unique about your deck?

It’s hard to find a Rider Waite Smith deck that isn’t just fully drawn from the original deck. My deck is fully Rider Waite Smith without being a complete clone of Pamela Colman Smith’s original drawings. My deck has a decidedly ‘70s aesthetic- from the font to the colors. At the same time, it feels relevant today. It doesn’t feel old, it feels Vintage and retro.

How long have you had the idea for the deck and how long has it taken you to create it?

I started working on the deck around September 2020. It was a slow process though because I didn’t consistently work on it every day. I would sort of work on it a little when I could and then came back and worked on it more when I had time.

How has the pandemic affected your creativity?

I’d say the pandemic actually helped with my creativity. Being at home and having limited time with people other than my husband and immediate family opened up my free time. It also was the only reason I had the time to learn photoshop and work on the deck.

What have been your challenges in creating the deck?

The biggest challenge was the learning curve of photoshop. I picked it up well but it was difficult to find ways to do the things I needed to do because I didn’t know what the processes were called. I don’t have a graphic design background so I didn’t always have the vocabulary to describe what I needed to do. It was a challenge but it was fun!

How do you thing the ‘70s style will resonate with younger tarot readers?

I think the colors are really timeless on their own and it’s only when you put them next to each other that they give the feeling of the ‘70s. I also think that the timing of my project is really good because the ’70s kind of groovy tie-dye vibe is kind of having a moment on social media. The deck is definitely groovy and retro but also seems relevant with the current trends and aesthetics.

How will you celebrate when the deck is finally published?

I think I want to celebrate during the entire process. I want to enjoy it every step of the way and I want to include the people who have been supportive of my project. I’ve been thinking about filming the tie-dying process for the reading cloths and then the packaging process for my YouTube channel, @Moon Baby. It has been such a lovely process unlike anything else that I’ve experienced. It’s one thing to create a work of art and have your friends and family compliment it and support it, but having the support of people all over the world is the most overwhelmingly good feeling. It’s hard to put the feeling into words.

What is on offer for the people who pledge?

So far the deck will be printed on high-quality cardstock with a matte finish and will be housed in a rigid two piece box. We’ve blown through the stretch goals with include: two additional cards so you can pick which numbers you want strength and Justice to be, a Spread cloth that will be Tie-dyed by me with custom colors that match the palette of the deck, and a guide book that will have all the basic things you need to know to read your cards for the first time and will include my favorite spread.

Moon Baby YouTube QR code:

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Tarot and oracle card decks
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