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?