Our latest interview is with Nya from the Ritual Muse, the creator of the The Fools Tarot.- a deck that follows the Fool's journey through life with an innocence that comes from a life not yet jaded by the hurts and lessons of the world. The Fool is a free spirited individual that is unafraid to LIVE life to its fullest.
There are no humans in this deck except for "Justice" which is technically a statue. The Court cards do not feature kings or queens and were designed to be gender neutral. The "page" cards are "initiates" and feature a book in front of the alchemy symbol for the element. You'll also see the corresponding moon face near the top. The "Knight" cards are "champions" and feature a trophy before the alchemy symbol of the element. The "Queens" are "Sages" featuring a lotus flower to represent their wisdom and nurturing nature. The "Kings" are "Speakers" featuring a crown to represent the status of being a leader for the suit. All Champions, Sages and Speakers have their corresponding constellation near the top of the card.
Kickstqrter - The Fools Tarot
Where in the world do you call home?
Currently, Knoxville Tennessee is my home, but “Home” really is wherever my wife and son are.
What was your first experience with tarot and when did you fall in love with it?
My first tarot experience was a subtle introduction by a friend who is a reader. For several months, when we would see each other she would slide a deck close to me and say, “I know-I’m just doing what I’m being told.” At the time I felt like tarot was opening up a rabbit hole that I really did not want to descend into. One night, we were having a glass of wine after dinner and she slid her deck to me. I threw my hands up, grabbed the deck and began to shuffle. I pulled one card, looked at it and then spewed this story out to her. When I was finished, she nodded her head and took out the companion book to the deck and read it back to me. It was eerily spot on. She said, “I told you. You’re a reader.” And that was it. I purchased my first deck, fell completely in love with the art and how doing a reading made me feel-and never looked back.
What made you want to create your own tarot deck? What was your inspiration?
Years ago, I had this great idea of creating a deck with two other friends. One was a much more established artist than I was at the time, so my intention was to just be the writer. My artist friend wasn’t interested, so I created one card myself on a three-foot canvas. It was really hard work. I wanted layers for readers to get lost in, but it became overwhelming and there just wasn’t time. Since then, I have really evolved in my artwork and after creating an oracle deck from my previous work, I decided it was time to revisit the tarot idea. Inspiration for all of my projects comes from a quiet place within me. A place where I understand that all of my demons and scars can’t compare to my power and purpose.
What would you say is unique about your deck?
I think my deck is unique because I didn’t really follow any of the tarot traditions when it came to creating the artwork for the cards. I did not anticipate all of the animal energies emerging, but it just felt so perfect when they did. I think this tarot deck manifested itself and I was just the fortunate woman that got to witness its birth.
How long have you had the idea for the deck for and how long has it taken you to create it?
I really became serious about creating a deck a year or so ago. I started this journey with my Tattered Wings Oracle deck which was an easy way to dip my toe in. A tarot deck was always the bigger picture though. This deck took me about four months to create the artwork and I am still writing the companion book. I was very fortunate to be in a place that allowed time to create every single day.
We are living in such crazy times. How has the pandemic affected your creativity?
This past year I really began to understand being an empath and how I allow it to affect me. I remember sitting at our kitchen table or on the couch, night after night just crying from such a deep place. I didn’t understand the hate and the suffering in the world until we were locked in with nothing more but bad news after bad news. The only way that I was able to center and ground myself was to create. I poured whatever I was feeling into my hands and released them little by little with each brush stroke.
What have been your challenges in creating this deck?
The simplicity in this deck was much harder than I thought it would be. As an intuitive reader, I get lost in the layers of the artwork but I really wanted a minimalist approach. Being happy with a card and its aesthetic and energy was difficult because I was the creator. If someone else made it, it would be easier for me to sink in. Creating comes with expectations and I’m not always confident enough for that.
You wanted to create a simple deck that didn’t feature any human beings. Why was this important to you?
Human inequality breaks me in half some days and I know how imperative it is that everyone in the world be able to read books and see art with beings and stories that reflect who THEY are. There are some incredible artists out there that can do that, but it is not a strength of mine just yet. So, in order to make this deck gender and culture non-specific, I decided to focus on symbolism. Then I created the Death card, a soaring black raven and realized that animals are something that we can all relate to. And the energy I felt when they came up really made me feel like the cards were going to speak freely to everyone. My deck is for humans, whoever they may be and however they identify.
How will you celebrate when the deck is finally published?
Celebration night will most likely look like tacos and adult beverages at the fire pit-where we like to celebrate everything! When my Kickstarter campaign ends and I can breathe again, (HA) I am going to purchase a talisman for myself. I have always wanted a piece of jewellery that I wore when I was sitting down to do divination work or astral travel. The creation of this deck has introduced me to such an amazing community of people and they have helped me to remember a piece of me that I had forgotten. I want to sink deeper and I also want something that I can reach up and touch that reminds me of the gifts that I have been given. I want something to remind me that there is a purpose and that I can escape this realm and find whatever I need, within.
What is on offer for people who pledge?
Everyone that pledges on Kickstarter receives a deck and companion book. I have also added a companion journal, a hand-dyed embroidered reading cloth, sage items, stickers and pins are on the way and my favorite addition is the ritual oils and goodies that came straight from my garden and through my apothecary area. It’s always been my dream to have a delicious little witchy shop, so making these items and offering them are just really nurturing my soul.
To follow the Fool's journey with this deck, click here:
Kickstqrter - The Fools Tarot