Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop!
An international group of tarotists (check out the master list) are all writing on the same topic and then linking to each other so that the reader can hop from one blog to the next, seeing all the permutations and facets that the topic inspired in different writers.
Tarot, Healing and Creativity
I have always had the urge to make things my whole life. When I was a kid growing up in Michigan, my mom would take me to Spore Handicrafts in White Pigeon. It was a magical place full of the raw materials that sparked my imagination. I liked mixing together plaster of Paris and pouring it into molds to make holiday themed castings. I would make tiny castings of Thanksgiving turkeys or holiday wreaths, paint them, and adhere a safety pin to the back to create small festive brooches. I learned this technique from my third grade teacher. I remember standing at Spore’s looking at all the molds and carefully selecting the one I wanted to use.
I learned from a baby sitter how to make macramé bracelets incorporating white beads with black letters inscribed on them to spell out my name or the name of a friend. I remember sifting through the little beads in a little drawer, finding the letters that magically would work together to form my name.
This is where I first learned to manifest—to go from idea, to emotional charge, to slowly understanding and arranging my jumbled materials, to the feeling of success and accomplishment provided by a final completed project.
When I was in high school I desperately wanted to learn how to sew, but would get frustrated with the confusing patterns and never finished anything. I remember a pair of gray knickers (yes, that ’80s fashion trend!) that sadly never made it to completion. But when I went to college and got a job as a theatre tech I eagerly learned costume design and finally got the hang of sewing and following patterns.
In the years after graduating from college, after moving to Colorado, I got a job working at a House of Fabrics. I taught myself some simple appliqué techniques and taught some sewing classes. Then a few years later I ended up working as a secretary in the Visual Arts department of the city-run performing arts center. Our annual fundraiser was a wearable art show. We would bring in nationally known guest designers and frequently they would offer workshops. I learned several new techniques for appliqué from these amazing classes.
I like making tarot pouches. My first pouch was actually designed for my sister back in the early ’90s. She wanted something for her and a friend to use as money bags for their SCA Renaissance costumes. I realized later the design would work well for a tarot pouch. Over the years I have refined the design and now make tarot bags embellished with cutwork appliqué.
I also learned to knit two years ago and just a couple months ago designed my first knit tarot bag. You can see more photos and get the pattern here.
One of my most directly tarot related projects is my Tarot Fool Box. Seven years ago, the Denver Tarot Meetup offered a session where the presenter taught us the history of the Fool card and used some visualization and story-telling techniques to connect us to the imagery of the Fool. Then she set us loose with magazines, scissors, glue sticks, and colored pencils to let us create our own Fool cards. I was inspired, but these materials weren’t conducive to my creativity, and I wasn’t able to complete the project. But I went home, and with these images and ideas swirling around my head, I went through my scrapbook box (I don’t make scrapbooks, but keep that kind of memorabilia in a box) and carefully selected very personal items, made copies of them, and collaged them together and decoupaged them onto a wooden box. This box is now on my altar and it holds a deck, a mala and some other small magical items that I work with regularly.
The photo (1999) on the front is of me playing a character in the Steve Martin play, WASP. My character is standing arms out, hands open, eyes closed, headed lifted, smiling, being guided into imagining a perfect outcome by her spirit guide. The character of the guide stands behind my character, her hand on my shoulder to push me forward into this new reality. I framed the photo with the border of some lovely stationery from a letter from my mother. Printed on the design of the stationery was a string of small hearts, and I cut those out and positioned them so that the hearts fell from the hand of the spirit guide over my heart in the photo. I cut the words “We move on” with four arrows pointing the way up from a letter from my sister, and positioned that below the photo. I used the words from a poem I wrote, “Sweep up the broken pieces, there is no restoration, only transformation into light,” placing them over an illustration of a stellar constellation of two people holding hands, stepping forward. Around the edge of the box lid, I cut out a line of sheet music that my father composed with the traditional lyrics, “When I see the Lark moving its joyous wings, in a ray of sunlight, then forgetting itself and falling because of the joy pervading its heart…” I finished the design with cutouts of roses and butterflies and other images that were of significance to me. I tried to capture the essence of the Fool, taking a leap, risking a fall and moving forward.
I remember a few years ago seeing a billboard for a Jeep Grand Cherokee. The advertising slogan proclaimed, “The things we make, make us.” I believe this is profoundly true. When I was first getting seriously onto my path as a spiritual leader, around 1991 to 1994, I studied with a teacher who taught me what he called The Craft. Everything we learned was a craft, and named so: leathercraft, smithcraft, metalcraft, candlecraft, herbcraft, etc. He told me that there were three degrees in The Craft. The first degree was being able to identify a pattern, the second degree was being able to reproduce a pattern, and the third degree was being able to create a pattern. I learned that every craft I produced, I was creating myself. Every problem I came up against, every frustration, was working through my own kinks, untangling my inner knots. Every completed project made me a little more whole. Every refinement of the process was clarifying who I am. Every time I was able to give a completed masterpiece away I was freeing myself to move on. Creating was healing.
We create, and therefore heal, with our tarot readings. Each spread we read is a story. I wrote a sonnet, the final couplet of which was, “Divinatory knowledge will be ours, when we no longer read but tell the stars.”
When we tell the cards, when we create stories out of the pictures before us, then we are designing our lives. We have stepped off the path of fate and fly ahead into our unique destiny. I know a tarot teacher who says that he tries to see something new in the cards every time. Imagine finding something new in every card in every reading. There are an infinite number of stories to be told, but only one that is uniquely ours. The thrill of adventure as we step into our own unknown enlivens us, creates us, heals us. We tell these stories to leap into the reality of self-creation.
Joy Vernon has been studying and teaching energetic and esoteric modalities for more than twenty years. She is the organizer of the Denver Tarot Geeks, Denver Tarot Meetup and Fort Collins Tarot Meetup, and she served on the faculty of Avalon Center for Druidic Studies. She is one of the Psychics of Isis and has been featured at SpiritWays, the Mercury Café and psychic fairs throughout the Denver Metro and Northern Colorado. She is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and a member of the American Tarot Association. Joy also teaches Traditional Japanese Reiki. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit JoyVernon.com.
© 2013 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.
Joy Vernon is widely recognized by tarot professionals as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup has grown into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher at Isis Books. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.