Updated: Jan 5
Our latest interview is with Juanita Benedicto (Astrologer and Tarot Reader), one of the creators of FAUNABELLE Tarot Deck. A compassionate and kind tarot deck for children and the young at heart. Along with Nicola Allan ( a children's artist), they have created a tarot deck featuring an illustrated cast of animals subtly loaded with symbolism. The accompanying guidebook offers warm-hearted meanings for each card appropriate for kids ages 3-12. But this deck is not for children only, it's for anyone who needs a little more kindness, compassion and beauty in their life.
Kickstarter - FAUNABELLE Tarot
Where in the world do you call home?
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico!
What was your first experience with tarot and when did you fall in love with it?
I first got involved with tarot when I turned 30. I was going through a divorce, had moved across the Country (USA) and had just finished grad school while starting a new career while single-momming it with my two little girls. I didn’t have any friends yet in my new town and felt overwhelmed with responsibilities. I turned to tarot for advice and as a way to tune into my inner strength. It was an invaluable experience and I’ve never stopped turning to tarot.
What made you want to create your own tarot deck?What was your inspiration?
Children’s illustrator, Nicola Allan, and I began meeting to let our dogs play in a giant soccer field. This was last March 2020 when the entire world was closing down due to Covid. We like to think that the spirit of this deck brought us together. It needed Nicola’s illustration’s skill and my embodiment of tarot. I also used to be a children’s librarian. Given our histories, this disembodied creative idea saw its opportunity and within a few weeks of meeting with Nicola and her dog, this idea presented itself to us! Our inspiration is bringing more kindness and compassion into the world!
Aside from your own deck, do you have a favourite deck? If so, which one?
I use the Rider Waite with clients as I appreciate the symbolism of the cards. We migrated much of its symbolism into our own deck, Faunabelle. My favorite deck for myself is Lumina Tarot. The personality of this deck and its energy are deeply spiritual which supports my outlook on life.
Do you have a favourite card (either from your deck or just the card in general). If so, why is it your favourite?
My favorite tarot card is The Star. I pulled it for my New Year’s card in 2017. After a time of a lot of job instability and loss, it gave me a healing hope to begin a journey of empowerment. In Faunabelle, my favorite card is The Hermit. I love how we’ve created a wise Raven of the woods who is self-sufficient with her indigenous crop of Three Sisters. The symbolism of self-discovery and containment in the card appeals to me, very much, as does the witch in the woods archetype. We chose Raven to represent our Hermit. Raven symbolism is connected with crone energy, introspection and self-knowledge which I love for Virgo, its astrological correspondence.
We are living in such crazy times. How has the pandemic affected your creativity?
It’s given me the precious space and time to devote myself wholly to my work. If I didn’t have protected time as I do now, because socializing is out of the picture for me, I would not be able to pour myself into this project while maintaining my astrology and tarot practice.
What have been your challenges in creating this deck?
There have been very few challenges. The biggest one for me would be spending time on the not-so-fun parts such as researching vendors and figuring out shipping!
This deck is created for use by both children and adults alike. What skills or knowledge do you think children will gain from playing with the tarot and do you think the cards should be explained to them or allow them to rely on their intuition?
Just like adults, children have ups and downs. They need something they can turn to for comfort at times. Sometimes they turn to books. Sometimes to stuffed animals. Sometimes to a parent. The tarot will be another helpful tool to turn to. In doing so, they’ll gain the skill to see things from another perspective. Using tarot will stimulate their creativity as well. I imagine them creating little stories for our major arcana ambassadors for instance. What’s the Devil up to in that suit? Who are the other elephants behind The Emperor? A guidebook accompanies the deck. They words have been thoughtfully distilled into a kind and compassionate interpretation. Children will be able to rely on their imagination and use the guidebook. The two are not exclusive.
How will you celebrate when the deck is finally published?
I’ll take a day off! Or ten!! I’d love to be able to take a little trip somewhere and not touch my laptop for a week! :)
What is on offer for people who pledge?
We’ve got a bunch of goodies: the deck itself, now bedazzled with gold sides as we’re reaching our stretch goals! The guidebook. A tote bag, large stickers, notebook, a tarot reading via Zoom, enamel pins, and a little velvet bag to enclose the cards. We have different combinations of items paired at the varying tiers. We’ll also have a pre-order store which will enable folks to include more items when they pay for their pledge.
To bring some kindness and compassion to your life with this beautifully illustrated deck, pledge here:
Kickstarter - FAUNABELLE Tarot