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