My tarot decks come with bonus cards, partly because I feel like they add an important aspect of personal energy to the deck, and partly because they fill in small gaps I find in the overall spectrum of meanings. For Creatures Tarot, the two bonus cards are Belief and The Journey. The journey card feels fairly self explanatory to me, with a little creature making its way across the ups and downs of its personal path. Not exactly the drama of a roller coaster, but the highs and lows we all come across. Moving forward, making our way.
Belief, however, has a longer story behind it. In the booklet, this card will briefly explain the meaning behind the card, but this is the very deep dive.
When I was creating the deck, I knew it would have 2 bonus cards, but I didn’t know what they’d be. One quiet afternoon, I sat in a coffee shop to draw. Sometimes when I make art, I have a plan, and work loosely to that plan. Sometimes it literally just comes out on its own, and I’m just as surprised as anyone else what comes out. This card happened the second way, with a bit of help from my mother.
My mother died sixteen years ago, on the 11th of January. I chose this date to launch this tarot deck, because the entire deck will be dedicated to her. I know it isn’t normal to dedicate a tarot deck to someone, not like what you’d do in a book, but I haven’t written my book yet and I thought about her a lot while creating this deck. In many ways, she’s been on my mind a lot.
She was an artist, and constantly creative just like I am, but I wouldn’t say she ever knew how creative she was, or how good at it she was. Creativity is probably my most vital energy, and I get it from her. Her own mother was also an artist. They both kept their art to the side though, never on the main stage of their life, despite their talent.
Knowing this art runs in my blood is important to me. This creative link I have between generations of women. But unlike them, I’ve decided (and have been able to) put my creativity at the front of my life. To be led by it. And recently, to make the utterly terrifying decision to make a living from it.
And oh it has been terrifying. And I have questioned myself. Still, I know this is my right path. I don’t know how I’ll get where I’m going but I know I’ll get there.
I don’t often feel my mother’s energy as separate to mine. She’s so close to me, I often can’t differentiate her voice from my inner voice. And that’s fine because they always say the same thing. It has been very rare indeed, for me to feel her as a separate other to me. It’s always incredibly powerful though… and it in that coffee shop, as I drew these cards.
The idea for snow came to me. Growing up in midwestern America, I got a lot of it growing up and I miss it sometimes. As I began drawing snowy scenes, I thought of mom. The image of a bright red cardinal (which she loved) against white snow always reminds me of her, but it’s not an image I ever see in England. Not in real life, anyway. Those birds are not here.
I thought maybe I’d try to draw a cardinal… but then the energy of my mother burst into my awareness, with thoughts to share. Instructions, even. Blackbirds always remind me of her, she comes to me through them, and I felt her telling me no Sara, don’t draw my bird. Draw your bird. I was crying at this point, feeling her, changing my mind to draw the bird that reminds me So Much of her presence. When I finished, I didn’t know what to name the card. Or what the drawing even meant.
Wiping tears off my face, I forgot about the card. I closed my eyes. I sat with her, with my mind, in a quiet head space. I asked her if I could do this. I asked her if I was going to be okay. And she said… Believe. A message clear as a bell, a message bright as a cardinal against the snow.
And so, this is the Believe card. My mother reaching out to me when I needed her. It will of course mean other things to people looking at it. Our own interpretations of these cards is valid and, in fact, essential. It is both correct and beautiful to take my intentions, consider them against your own circumstances, and come up with your own meanings and paths. Our journeys may be happening at the same time, but they are deeply personal and unique. As it should be.
So there you go.
The reason this deck launched on the 11th of January is because that’s when she died. And I believe in doing good, beautiful things on that day, rather than sitting in darkness. She’d have loved these decks. She wouldn’t have had any idea what they were to start with, but she’d have learned. And showed them off. And told strangers in the street about them. And celebrated my creativity without taking any credit for it. I owe her my life in so many ways.
Being creative honours her. Thank you for sharing that with me, even just by reading this, and for being a part of my own journey, my own belief.