La Flora Tarot

Updated: Mar 29

Our latest interview is with Iara Cortes, the creator of the La Flora Tarot.- a botanical tarot deck based on the Rider Waite Smith system. It goes far beyond the aesthetics of plant drawings. La Flora Tarot is a true study on the correlation of plants and all the Tarot archetypes in a deep, meaningful way.

Stylistically, La Flora is based on a highly curated selection of centuries old drawing masterpieces originally created for scientific purposes but pushing the edge on the realm of pure art. Far from being a collage, these botanical masterpieces were beautifully reproduced using a drawing technique called stippling. In its purest form, a stippled image is composed exclusively of dots. One must look at it at a precise distance to genuinely appreciate its richness. As such, stippling became the common thread weaving together all the art in La Flora Tarot.

Kickstqrter - La Flora Tarot

Where in the world do you call home?

My husband and I were born in Brazil. We chose to immigrate to Canada where we became proud Canadian Citizens and parents to a wonderful two-year old boy. We live in Southern Ontario, and that’s where we are delighted to call home.

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

At 19, I bought a Tarot deck on a whim, at lunch break, while browsing a local esoteric store full of crystals, incenses and magic potions. At that time, I wanted to become a witch. I bought it with hopes of being able to glimpse into the future. The Tarot deck came with a guide for beginners. On the guide’s introductory pages, it stated that if you were a beginner, you should start with questions to which the answer should be a simple yes or no. I took the guide seriously and started practicing. Quickly I realized that formulating questions that lead to a yes or no answer was not simple at all. It made me think hard about why I was asking those questions. It made me strip down to the essence of what I was feeling at that time. To my surprise, the more I sat down with my Tarot to “get answers”, the more I was working on the questions. At one point I realized I was not going to get a glimpse into the future. Instead, here it was a gift that made me meditate, think clearer, make difficult questions and face my feelings with honesty. A lot of times I was surprised to find out that my true feelings were actually different from what I had believed them to be up to that point. I was discovering “my true self” through asking those questions. I was discovering what mattered to me and who I wanted to become at an early and confusing age, when you are supposed to make choices that will shape your future. It brought to light a more conscious, clear, practical and rational way of thinking that I had never experienced before. The Tarot was a tool I was using to be my own therapist so to speak. I am grateful to have discovered the Tarot then as I would not have found the same “guidance” around me at that time. Today, after reading and studying more about its history and archetypes, I use it as a tool to help me achieve a calm, meditative state of mind every time I sit down to get to know myself a little more.

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

The thought of creating my own Tarot deck came naturally since it combined my love for plants, art and design with my constant search for personal growth. That is how I look at the Tarot: as a ludic but powerful tool for meditation, self-discovery and by consequence, growth. I know there are other beautiful botanical decks readily available, but I believe I am bringing something new to the botanical Tarot table.

I guess I should mention that the core inspiration for La Flora Tarot was the essay: “The Intelligence of the Flowers” by Maurice Maeterlinck. Once you read it, you can never unlearn the brutality of the plant world.

Aside from your own deck, do you have a favourite deck? If so, which one?

There is so much beauty out there. I adore everything UUSI studio has made this far but if I had to pick just one, that would be the “Carnival at the End of the World” by Kahn & Selesnick. The artwork at first seems old-world naïve, but then, looking closer, you will find so many layers and complexity. It is one of those things where you keep discovering new nuances every time. So much so that the French Laetitia @laetitia.cartomancy, who studied art history at Sorbonne and works as an intuitive counsellor, has created a workshop dedicated to the Carnival at the End of the World iconography.

Do you have a favourite card (either from your deck or just the card in general). If so, why is it your favourite?