Meet the “Temperance” Card

Meet the “Temperance” Card

Posted by on Oct 8, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio, Stories | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “14” – Temperance Synthesis, healing, and moderation are all themes of Temperance, and it’s time to take stock of how these concepts could create a better sense of wellness and fulfillment in your life. Are there things you are doing too much of that you would do well to tone down? Is a lack of balance in your eating, exercise, or self-care causing you illness or discomfort? Are there elements of your life that are out of sync with each other that need integration? Take some time to evaluate what needs balance in your life and, if needed, get some help to find your way forward to healthy integration. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll get some peace of mind in the mix. Jacki Gethner is the multi-passioned model for this card, and it seems like everything she does in this world points back to Temperance. One expression of her healing skill is through her massage therapy practice. She also runs a non-profit that speaks out for the sexual health and well-being of women over 50 called Women of a Certain Age, or WOACA. She supports another non-profit called Bead for Life, that puts money into the hands of Ugandan women by creating global markets for recycled paper bead jewelry and shea butter products. She has past experience as a drug and alcohol counselor. She is a devoted and helpful friend. And her motto is, “Think and live for peace.” Jacki has a beautiful way of blending many things into one unified whole. As a massage therapist, she uses traditional massage, reiki, reflexology, gua sha, cupping, stone work, essential oils, sound healing, and bodywork to help her clients get a truly holistic healing experience. Jacki’s talent is knowing when just the right thing is needed, and bringing it into the session as the client’s needs arise. I can go in with a cold and a 60 hour work week that’s wreaked havoc on my shoulders, and after an hour of oils, rocks, reflexology, and reiki I leave a new woman. With about 30 years of experience, Jacki knows how to perfectly blend each modality in a beautiful flow that addresses all of the parts of us that need healing. There are so many talented massage therapists in our city (many of whom are also my friends), but in my experience this level of successful integration of so many modalities is unheard of. And it’s the perfect expression of Temperance’s magical ability to mix the right elements for healing. WOACA is Jacki’s passion, and through this organization she speaks out for and teaches about healthy sexuality for women over 50—a group that is rising in its reported incidences of HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases. It’s not a subject that is easy to discuss, and it almost takes the soul...

Read More

Meet the “Death” Card

Meet the “Death” Card

Posted by on Oct 8, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio, Stories | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “13” – Death You’ve turned a corner into a new land. This is the domain of Death and she beckons to you to embrace change. This change may be painful, perhaps it is difficult to engage in the process of re-invention… Ultimately, though, this change is necessary for you to evolve, to become who you are now meant to be. Fight it and it may well feel like dying… Surrender and you may actually be able to see all the color and joy this change will bring into your world. Ultimately it’s up to you… and whatever story you bring to the change game is really just that—a story. Step out of your old story and into the new you. Death is never a simple or easy card to get. However, when approaching this card, I wanted to imbue it with a less intense, less dark energy. It’s pretty serious, but Death can be the harbinger for goodness in our lives—at least, in the metaphorical sense, which is in most cases what this card means in readings, in my experience. I noticed that when people new to Tarot get the Death card in a reading, their mind usually jumps to the worst possible interpretation for the card. I wanted to take a little bit of the edge off of it, and give people an opportunity to really engage with the changes coming into their lives, instead of being terrified to face them because of a deliberately off-putting image. Brooke Redbird is the subject for Death. She assisted me a lot early on in the project as a photo shoot assistant, engaging in the play of the initial stages of an ever-evolving process for this project. I wasn’t sure who I was going to ask to do Death, and I was a little worried I’d have a tough time finding the right person, because who wants to play the role of Death? When I told her about my deck early on and later asked her if she would want to be in it, she practically threw herself at me to be on this card. I was thrilled! She said she resonated with the Death card for ages and felt like she was always going through big changes and had always been the sort of person to totally embrace positive change, no matter how difficult… And, like me, she sort of relished in the challenge. Yes, this was definitely a person to embrace the positive aspects of Death and help me bring a new vibration to this card! I had had this idea for awhile to put death on a unicorn, instead of the usual white horse. Specifically a ceramic figure of a unicorn with a person on top. I think it all added up in my mind as a more whimsical...

Read More

Meet “The Hanged Woman” Card

Meet “The Hanged Woman” Card

Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio, Stories | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “12” – The Hanged Woman Sometimes when you think you are ready to ride the train straight to your destination, you are put on pause by the great drawbridge of the universe. Take this opportunity to get a new perspective, you might have missed something! Being blocked on your path can sometimes be a great gift. Just remember that holding intention for a positive outcome—leaning into your faith—is the best way to proceed when you are put on pause. Don’t be afraid to surrender your point of view if it is not truly helping you. For me Hanged Woman represents new perspectives, but also sometimes compromise and sacrifice. Usually it appears when you feel rarin’ to go but the universe is putting the brakes on; probably in order to get you to look more closely at something, or to show you that there is some road block in your own ego you have to work through or release to step forward. The train station is so close you can taste it, with all its associations with movement, momentum, speed, and change of scene. THEN! The Hanged Woman hangs up your journey, almost saying in Monty Python style, “Stop! Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see!” Except it’s not so much a bridge of death as a bridge of traffic jams, and you may ask a lot more than three questions before you see the other side. Oh yeah, and by the way… there also may be no such thing as a right answer. You can’t really trick the Hanged Woman into letting you cross with fancy words. You’re just ready whenever it is you’re ready. In the meantime, The Hanged Woman is happy to give you a show while you wait! Frustrating enough? Yeah, that’s why I probably had so many troubles with this card for so long! I much prefer blazing forward to getting strung up in a “wait and see” mode. But since I’ve learned to make peace with this card, and try to find the humor in being forced to wait. I’ve learned from experience that it usually all ends up being for the better. A couple of years back for the first Splendorporium Tarot art show that I participated in, I drew The Hanged Man card, and according to the participation rules for that show, that’s what I had to illustrate. It was my least favorite card at the time, which of course made me laugh… So I tried to look at why I didn’t feel comfortable with it and to see how I could explore that in my imagery. Ultimately, the takeaway that I embedded in that original image was the need to keep calm in the face of chaos, even if one...

Read More

Meet the “Justice” Card

Meet the “Justice” Card

Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio, Stories | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “11” – Justice It’s time to take an honest accounting of the situation at hand, but be sure to keep compassion in the mix; not everything in life is a simple matter of black and white—there are shades of gray present in the workings of karma. A weighing is taking place, and it might just be you weighing yourself against your own expectations or faulty perceptions. Understand yourself and how the world mirrors back your own beliefs and then do some appropriate accounting and adjustment. Self-knowledge can be a challenge, but to know thyself is not enough; you must be willing to move on from past dysfunction and blame in order for positive changes to truly take hold. While Justice is often a card associated with the legal system, in my own experience it comes up as more often as a card that speaks up for honest self-accounting. We can be afraid to account for ourselves—good or bad, wrong or right—because we fear facing our own potential “ugliness” (notice that it’s only the potential of it!). Yet, this isn’t a card about judgment, but of justice: true Justice, the cosmic kind, is about a karmic balance. In this sort of righting of the scales, making things right is not necessarily helped by blame and retribution. And sometimes holding onto a story gets in the way of telling the real truth. I had intended to invite this model to be in a card for awhile, and I kept coming to the Justice card, though I couldn’t figure out why… I laughed when I realized how perfect it was to have her, since her name is Marie Ballance! What more perfect a name for a lady holding the scales than that? None, I think. But she’s also perfect in many other ways, the primary one being that I believe she carried such a wonderful energy for the Portland Tarot take on this card, and really helped to shape it into what it ultimately became. I created this card in the midst of a whirlwind few weeks around my Kickstarter campaign of spring 2013, and I was coming right up on the photo shoot for Marie, but still did not have a firm concept in place. I was struggling with how to find a Marie connection, a Portland connection, and a Justice tie in for the visuals. Yet, I had learned up until that point that trusting in the process and creative flow that was in my life at the time would reap the best rewards. I wasn’t disappointed: when I lay down to sleep two nights before the shoot, it came to me. Marie is an avid knitter, and I saw an image in my mind of her holding the needles up with the scales hanging from them! I giggled until I...

Read More

Meet “The Wheel of Fortune” Card

Meet “The Wheel of Fortune” Card

Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio, Stories | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “10” – The Wheel of Fortune Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down… Remember to hold compassion for yourself wherever you are and try to stay in the center of the wheel. And don’t forget:  even this world is an illusion. If you are seeing the possibility of an improved fortune through this card, don’t let it go to your head! Appreciate the good times and remember that things can always change. It’s your attitude about life that is the biggest key to your continued contentment. And don’t forget that your shadow side has its place in life; at times we must experience difficulty to assist in bringing our shadows into the light, and thus becoming closer to true enlightenment. There are times in this deck that I felt compelled to take a modern spin on a traditional Tarot image, and other times where a very different image from the norm came to me. The Wheel of Fortune is such a card; I just seemed to “download” it one day while meditating on the meaning of this card, and ways to take a more Portland spin on it. Bill Wadhams is a great friend and a wonderful guy. He’s had an incredible array of life experiences: he’s best known to the world as a singer in the band Animotion, which became popular for the hit song “Obsession” in the 80s. They still do big shows and tour, and when he’s not touring with the band he’s acting in plays and musicals with the Portland Artists Repertory Theatre, writing his own music in his home studio, and even building web sites. He’s a multi-faceted and talented person and has navigated many ups and downs in his own life, and for this reason I invited him to be the star of this card, as I knew he would really get what I was going for. My concept required a certain amount of acting and collaboration on concept, and he really brought a wonderful energy and level of experience to the shoot. For this card I had an image in mind of a person experiencing himself at different stations in life. The story is like this: a man hits hard times, perhaps even times he thinks he might never recover from. One day in the future, he’s found his way forward… He’s well-to-do, successful, and has put this past behind him. Somehow they meet, in a strange break in time and space. Or maybe just in his own mind; he could be remembering himself in more difficult days by encountering a lost soul who is experiencing a similar hardship as he once did. The key to healing this “up and down” cycle and finding peace within himself is an act of compassion toward this past self; it’s the moment he realizes that he was...

Read More

Meet “The Hermit” Card

Meet “The Hermit” Card

Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio, Stories | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “9” – The Hermit Maybe it’s time to take a retreat from the world to pursue more spiritual wisdom and insight. The wilderness may beckon you toward a search that is more subtle, slowly unfolding, and timeless in nature; it’s the antithesis to the hurried, forced motions of modern life. When the Hermit card appears, it is a call to evaluate your level of social interaction, as well as the connection you feel to your own inner light. If you are closing yourself off you may need to open back up to the world… But if you are keeping yourself busy and ignoring that inner voice, it may be time to find some quietude. With the ubiquitous presence of technology, media, and online community you will likely have to evaluate how these elements affect your “hermiting”. Are you using technology to connect to others in healthy ways, is it a distraction from yourself, or a way to hide from the more challenging human-to-human interactions? Does it make you feel connected to yourself and others? And when the spirit calls for some down time and reflection, can you leave your phone at home during your “walk in the forest”? The master camper on the mountaintop is not rushed in his quest for inner knowing. He understands that the process has its own flow. He knows that the best way to be present is to take one careful step at a time and carry a torch to light the way. Sometimes night is the best time to explore, when the inner light can shine more clearly and isn’t as drowned out by other sources of illumination. Scott Bullock is an old friend from my time back in Mississippi, and the star of this card. In fact, his discovery of Portland is the reason why I moved up here. (It’s funny just how many people from the South have made exodus to Portland, aside from the both of us.) When I embarked upon this project I knew I was going to approach him for The Hermit, because I’ve always seen him as a person who knows how to reflect his own unique light, and is truly a personality who thrives when he has his own personal cave of reflection to return to at the end of each day. It’s been awhile since Scott and I ran in the same social circles, but back in those Mississippi days, I always felt he was the sort of person that folks loved to go to for sagely advice. He always had an element of the wise old man in him (in fact, he sometimes called himself an old man), and because he was determined to keep his own offbeat perspective (which is a huge part of his charm), people always felt safe to be vulnerable and...

Read More

Meet the “Strength” Card

Meet the “Strength” Card

Posted by on Oct 3, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio, Stories | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “8” – Strength It’s time to tame your animal nature in the interest of your spiritual journey… or to submit your spiritual drive to the needs of your “animal” body. Spirit and body mingle through the field of emotion to create the compass for our life experience, and to deny either is to invite dysfunction and ill health. As long as your feelings and bodily impressions are in service to your spirit, and vice versa, then you can live a life of compassionate collaboration: with your own body, with others, and with the Universe. Only by engaging with the physical world can we achieve the unique spiritual wisdom gained in the living of a human life, so don’t be afraid of the gift of your physicality. If you work with it and don’t let it run you, then you can find true integration, and thus, integrity. The Strength card in Tarot is usually not about physical strength. It’s about an internal strength that can be demonstrated in a number of ways: through finding balance within one’s animal and spiritual nature, displays of compassion, or overcoming obstacles. For one to have achieved a state of Strength in the Tarot sense, one has mastered their more primal emotions in a specific situation and learned to use those emotions in service of a higher calling. They are not ruled by sentiment, but still allow sentiment strengthen them. They are by definition kind and compassionate. For this card I asked Laura Peterson, the Founder and Executive Director of local non-profit Hands to Hearts International, to be the subject. Her organization operates on the simple premise that teaching people how to connect with their children as babies (through a physical bond created by loving touch like baby massage, as well as emotional connection) can change that child’s life, as well as the relationships within the family and the community at large. In short, HHI transforms communities by teaching people how to nurture their children. (And as an exciting side note, Laura recently attended the Clinton Global Initiative, an incredible honor! I’m so thrilled for and proud of her and her organization.) Working with the energy that accompanies her mission is no small task, and it employs much of what I believe the Strength card to represent. The compassion involved in the work itself, the challenge of building an organization from the ground up and working to spread this powerful notion in the face of adversity, the connection to a spiritual calling that is grounded in our physical, animal nature. I see Laura as a very strong woman, and wanted to honor her hard work and huge heart in this card. In the traditional version of Strength, the woman is holding the mouth of the lion closed. In my version, I wanted the lion to act...

Read More

Meet “The Chariot” Card

Meet “The Chariot” Card

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio, Stories | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “7” – The Chariot You’re feeling in the flow and catching some of the Universe’s wind in your sails. With a little faith and a little will, you are riding a rushing wave to your goals. Instead of questioning or controlling the process, you do your very best to keep up with the wild ride you’re on. You understand if you concentrate too hard you might “fall off the board”—so you just do your job of mentally steering the vehicle, focusing on the destination and perhaps not being too surprised when you “magically” arrive! Cynthia is holding an old fashioned phone, downloading the wisdom of the universe and channeling into the world through the power of creative alchemy. The theme of this card is momentum, mojo, magical movement… effortlessly under way. We move not by the force of our feet, but by the grace of our mind, in tune with the timing of our own soul connection. It’s an oxymoron, to be able to move while sitting still. To drive the car without putting your hands on the wheel. But it happens, and when it does, it’s nothing short of magic. This card has some great nostalgia packed in for me, for a few reasons. First, it’s the card that started it all… The one that began the beautiful cascade — no, avalanche — of events that led to where I am today. Secondly, the subject is one of my best friends in the world, filmmaker Cynthia Lopez (and her wonderful canine companion, Charlie). Third, it features a location right outside of my studio, Cathedral Park, right below the St. Johns Bridge — a landmark that has emerged as one of my very favorite in all of Portland. This piece was made for the yearly Tarot art show for the gallery Splendorporium in 2012. When I had to choose a card, I decided to leave it up to the Tarot, and was greeted by The Chariot. Whoever I picked had to have a “rightness” to them, a connection to the card’s energy. I thought of Cynthia. She has been such an inspiration to me, and has worked long and hard with her co-producer on a roller derby documentary called Flat Track Around the World. (She’s also been working closely with the star of The Fool card, Cheryl Green, on “Who Am I to Stop It”.) Since we began our friendship she was always at work on films, but during that year in particular she had made a major shift in her career. She was expanding, moving to a bigger field. At the time she was stepping into a role as a producer (and mingling her own take on the role with traditional approaches in the film industry), so that is the source of some of the visual elements. At that...

Read More

Meet “The Lovers” Card

Meet “The Lovers” Card

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio, Stories | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “6” – The Lovers You are at a crossroads. You have to choose one direction, or find a way to merge multiple paths into one ideal. There is no place that this is more challenging than in love and relationships; often we find ourselves in a position where me must make a choice about love, or in the name of love. Remember that communication is a key to finding your way to the right path; let your heart have its say. Ultimately there is no one right or wrong answer, as long as the direction you choose speaks to your highest truth. The Lovers card has most often, for me, been a card about choices. Usually it comes up when I am struggling with a choice… Do I go this way or that? Is there a way I can have my cake and eat it, too? How can I experience the joys of living in this 3d world and stay connected with spirit at the same time? The traditional Rider-Waite imagery brings to mind Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; despite their nudity, the two lovers feel incredibly disconnected to me; in short, there is no feeling of love in the usual lovers card. I wanted to see a couple represented that displayed true chemistry and companionship as well as a real diversity of choices, in love and beyond. I was delighted when Danni and Sam (and their pug Willie) agreed to model for this card, because I felt they were an adorable, colorful couple and represented the more playful bond that I see in the relationships among my own Portland cast of friends. For many I know, being a lover is about a deep connection that spans across a variety of topics: relate-ability, friendship, sexuality, love, mutual responsibility, dream compatibility, lifestyle, and the ability to play together. The best of lovers are also the best of friends, and appreciate each other’s creativity and sense of humor. To me, the concept of the Lovers card should nod to true companionship and sharing, and Danni and Sam really fit that image. I was so grateful they were on board to help me breathe some fun into it! I adore the story about how Danni and Sam got together; I feel that it truly represents one meaning that I often associate with the Lovers card: a need to be open to a middle way on our quest for love. When Danni asked Sam out in college, she was uncertain whether her crush already knew she was a lesbian. The attraction was mutual, but Sam was straightforward about the fact he’d just come out as transgendered. Danni thought it over and said, “I can roll with that.” And indeed they both did, and are a sweet, brilliant, and adorable duo to...

Read More

Meet “The House of the Seeker” Card

Meet “The House of the Seeker” Card

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio, Stories | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “5” – The House of the Seeker You are on the path of the seeker; it’s time to expand your studies. Whether you do this through education, scientific exploration, or a personal unfolding of experience, you are relating your personal path and experience to the world around you—asking questions, comparing perspectives, making hypotheses, and seeking tutelage from the appropriate masters. Be careful in your journey not to fall into the trap of dogmatism or to take the easy route of following the status quo; whether religious or scientific in nature, we can too quickly assume there is one right answer. In your study, contrasting beliefs may come to light, and do your best to use the gift of this conflict to shed light on your own inner truth. A true seeker realizes on their search just how small they are—and this opens their eyes to the massive importance of being dedicated to the greater truths, and to bringing in light through the search for understanding where there might once have been the darkness of ignorance. Traditionally the fifth card of the Tarot, The Hierophant represents religion, tradition, and structures of learning and knowledge (in addition to the pursuit of it). In Portland, the search of knowledge and truth spans religion, spirituality, and a Carl Sagan-like wonder of science and the unfolding universe. For that reason The Hierophant felt a bit out of place in this deck, so I changed this trump to “The House of the Seeker”. Since not everyone aligns with any one specific religion, I wanted to create an overarching card that was accessible to more people. When seeking a model for this card, I wanted to find a male figure who felt connected to both spirit and science. A friend suggested Dave Markowitz, a medical intuitive and all-around nice guy. We had a great deal of fun during out photo shoot, and I enjoyed getting to know Dave and discovering our mutual love for Star Trek. I had no idea just how perfect a fit he was for the concept until I got to know him better during our collaboration. In religion, science, or any spiritual pursuit, one can forget the importance of expansion and the quest for knowledge in the effort of preserving the dogma of obsolete labels and categorizations. This card points to the need to broaden our understanding of the universe and align with wonder and the beauty of tradition instead of simply adopting past ideas and attitudes by rote. We may need structure to help us enter into the arena of knowledge, but we also are meant to add to that arena with our personal discoveries. My inspiration for the character was Carl Sagan, because he always had such a sense of appreciation and wonder for the universe, even as a scientist. He...

Read More

Meet “The Emperor” Card

Meet “The Emperor” Card

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio, Stories | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “4” – The Emperor It’s time to stand in your power and create the world you want to live in. Don’t be satisfied with any barrier to your success; you have the power to achieve your visions, your dreams. You might have to be single-minded in your quest, to gather immense resources, to stand tall against many challenges, but if you keep the goal in sight you can get it done. Don’t ask others for permission… If you lead, they will follow. Take charge, trust in your integrity, and you can build—and protect—your own personal empire. When a friend introduced me to Portland-based model and actor Nick Johnson, I knew he would be the perfect subject for The Emperor. Not only is he kindly in his demeanor and kingly in his presence, but he really connected with and got what I was going for in the spirit of the card. We had a great time collaborating for the photo shoot. Our idea evolved in the studio for the costumery, and before I knew it we were experimenting with more traditional Emperor attire, instead of the modern attire that we had originally planned for. And it really worked. The Emperor can be a trailblazer, one to create the New Way, but he has learn how to use the existing structures to make it happen (or to create his own structures, and convince people to adopt them). It takes a lot of self-determination and self-belief to be the one to say—and fight for—a new system or a new way of doing things. There might be friction on the way, and understanding or learning how to work within the existing systems to accomplish incredible things is the hallmark of a successful Emperor. In this archetype, you have to diverge a bit from regulating the desires of your community… you may actually need to lead them in a direction they aren’t comfortable with, because you can see the bigger picture, and how to get it done. Nick had some great insights about his participation on this card after the fact that really touched me on a personal level. He was happy that the card showed “a black male in the role of power and inspiration” and felt the image would reach more people and relate to more people than the traditional image of the Emperor in Tarot—this is something that I really wanted, and was glad it came across. Being an Emperor requires a tremendous amount of integrity to make sure you are really keeping the greater interests in your heart. The noblest expression of the Emperor is a caring leader who can help his subjects stand by his decisions because of proven trustworthiness. When I meditated on the energy of this card within The Portland Tarot, many role models came to mind. As...

Read More

Meet “The Empress” Card

Meet “The Empress” Card

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio, Stories | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “3” – The Empress Creative mojo and life force! You’ve got a seed sprouting in your second chakra — maybe it’s a project, a mission, a young’un, a story… and you have the power to give it life. You are ready to “mother” something or someone, to take on the responsibility of carrying a specialness into the world, to nurture it, and others, through the giving of your gifts! Tenderness and patient tending can grow your seeds, as can the understanding that we are all connected, all born from the same Mama Earth. When you understand your connectedness, you realize that sharing your gift isn’t an act of selfishness, but an act of self-nurturing that can ripple out and change the lives of those around you. Go forth, create, and thereby give others the same permission to plant their own seedlings! The Empress stands for creativity, fecundity, life force, abundance, and nurturing. In the modern world the Empress isn’t just a symbol for fertility, but she’s also a businesswoman and creative powerhouse with an empire all her own. She can create great things because she understands the power of collaboration and compassion and can put the quest for resources (financial and otherwise) in proper perspective with the greater heart-centric mission of making the world a better place. The subject of this card is Portland intuitive counselor and teacher Rev. Liliana Barzola-Read of Lotus Lantern Healing Arts (and her own adorable little bunny rabbit). Liliana and I have been friends for awhile now. At first I was a client of hers, then she was a client of mine (we collaborated on her web site), and after attending her incredible Psychic Kindergarten classes, we steadily became closer and closer as friends. When they say your world can change with one incredible connection, they aren’t lying; meeting Liliana was the tipping point for so much change in my world. Through her teaching I learned how to manage anxiety that I had suffered with for years; she reminded me how to watch my own energy flow, listen to my body, and re-connect with Mama Earth on an energetic level. The information she shared opened the door to me trusting my own intuitive gifts and working with them, instead of taking on the destructive habits I unconsciously learned from my own lineage of intuitive family members. But above that I gained a wonderful, giving friend and a person who showed me the value in reaching out and helping the people in my community. She’s also a creative powerhouse who is totally in love with her work, and she’s always looking for new ways to give her gifts to the world, with the biggest possible reach and the highest integrity. In short, she’s a huge inspiration. If you know anything about Tarot, you probably could understand...

Read More

Meet “The High Priestess” Card

Meet “The High Priestess” Card

Posted by on Sep 21, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, Major Arcana, Portfolio, Stories | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “2” – The High Priestess Feel and embody the mysteries of the universe. Let them flow through and become part of you, to strengthen your intuition. When your special, secret knowing arrives, it’s a powerful moment—you realize that it’s your own blessed duty to burn this singular fire. Share the beautiful heat of your knowingness/ beingness with your tribe, while honoring that they, too, hold their own secret, sacred flame. And remember—every person’s flame is to be honored equally. The High Priestess is such a deep and quiet card that I sometimes have a hard time being fully present with it in a reading. I feel as if it’s keeping secrets from me, just at a time when I am looking for clear answers. The message I often hear when I pull this card is, “You know what you need to know; it’s there, deep within.” I’m being called to follow my intuition. Of course, when doing a reading we may find that we are sometimes hoping that Tarot will let us off the hook, since carrying a flame implies that sometimes it can burn us, instead of us burning it. Also, sometimes our intuition doesn’t feel so strong. However, falling into the meditative grace of your own flame can connect you to something larger. It’s not always about having an answer, but more about being present with an understanding. In a fast-paced, answers-or-be-damned world, this can create a sense of panic; but in order for us to survive the chaos of our lives it is essential to connect with this sacred stillness regularly. We can know what we need to know, without needing to know all the answers. There are so many beautiful women in this card and I’d love to tell all their stories. Some I know well, and some I only met on this shoot, but every one of them brought such a beautiful energy and pulse to the image, and I am so grateful to them for collaborating with me to create this image. With a group this size, normally I would consider photographing the models separately; but I’m glad I didn’t for this card, because the energy of the sisterhood proved vital to the powerful vibe of the image. Going through photos after the shoot, this is the one that gave me chills. I “knew” instantly it was the one. Not just a good “the one”, but a whiz-bang-I-can’t-breathe-it’s-so-beautiful “the one.” The poignant gaze of the women seems to not only look at, but to deeply see the viewer: beyond labels and beyond judgment—whole and worthy. Each holds a small totem of an earth element or a spirit element before them as if offering the mystical bounty of their circle to the querent—a new initiate into the tribe of priestesses. The image for this card...

Read More

Meet “The Magician” Card

Meet “The Magician” Card

Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “1” – The Magician Get ready to bring your big ideas down from the astral and make them real. Now is the time to envision and act. You have great power at your fingertips—the power to manifest the things you see in your dreams. Using the compass of your emotions and the fire of your will, set your sights on a focused purpose and give shape to the world! The Magician is a card about focused will, magic, and manifestation. To me it is an archetype for someone who controls an incredible flow between mind and matter. The mind fetches information from the realm of infinite possibilities and sees ways to make it concrete. Maybe this is a combo of skill and creativity, or maybe it is the sheer ability to will things into being… Either way, the Magician is a power to be reckoned with. When I announced the launch of my Tarot deck project, Lee was the first to request placement on a card—specifically that of the Magician. Originally I had chosen this card for myself, but when Lee requested it, it felt so right that I had no choice—in my own mind—but to step aside and give the title to him. Perhaps that’s just how powerful of a Magician he is. 😉 Lee is an incredible artist and professional illustrator. He’s done covers for well-published fantasy and science fiction authors, beautiful posters for plays and musicals, and has even illustrated an image of one of my most admired musical artists, Amanda Palmer, for a non-profit literary pin up calendar that he created himself (which he now has established as a yearly project. This year funds will go to benefit the Clarion Writer’s Workshop). To list these very few accomplishments feels only like a drop in the pond of Lee’s massive visual storehouse. There are few artists that work as hard as Lee, and his mastery isn’t an accident; he’s put in his 10,000 hours, probably times 10. And yet, with all this strength of will, there is a delightful magic that surrounds Lee. He is gentle and bubbly, giving and supportive, and well-known in the circles he walks. You’d think all that focused creation time would have rendered him a hermit, but somehow he even manages to have a robust social life with a huge a tribe of good friends, in the midst of it all. Only a Magician could pull it off. Lee’s stunning look in this card is in part thanks to this lovely blue jacket he had acquired on a trip in New Zealand that he took with his sweetie this year. With the right duds and this pose in mind, I had to find the perfect location to match the energy that Lee brought to the shoot. When I discovered the beautiful stairwell...

Read More

Meet “The Fool” Card

Meet “The Fool” Card

Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 in 23 Days of Tarot Majors, First Round Illustrations, Major Arcana, Portfolio | 0 comments

The Portland Tarot Majors – A Daily Commute Day “0” – The Fool Starting afresh on a new journey can be an adventure when you maintain your innocence. Just be watch your step! And welcome to Portland, dear wanderer! You’re in the right place. The Fool card is the beginning of the journey in Tarot, so I wanted the viewer to immediately be welcomed to Portland, and thereby The Portland Tarot, on the very first card. Cheryl is the lovely subject for this card, and as her last name is Green, green seemed to somehow subconsciously supplant itself as a theme for the imagery. In this card I decided to keep the Fool’s usual carefree pose; with Cheryl’s winning smile, I felt it came off beautifully. Another thing I love about it is that is has a touch of a feeling of “The Sound of Music” about it  that seems oh so fitting for this card. This card traditionally speaks of innocence, light-heartedness, and the free-natured experimentation that comes with youth (and not knowing what you don’t know). You have little fear in taking risks… for better or worse. You might be walking off a cliff, but you wouldn’t see it coming! You’re having too much fun trying new things. Cheryl and I chose The Fool card because, on several recent occasions, it had made an appearance in her life. We discovered several connections between the card and her story. Cheryl is a filmmaker, writer and advocate for people with brain injuries and other disabilities, and is currently working on a film titled, “Who Am I to Stop It” that focuses on the experiences of artists with brain injuries. She runs an organization called StoryMinders, which she created to give “a platform for people with brain injury to use the arts to increase connectedness within this often isolated population and to promote critical dialogue and change in the larger community.” Other than her careful consideration of the needs of others, part of what guided her on this particular path was a brain injury she received from a wreck in 2010. In the beginning things were incredibly difficult; after many trials she has found ways to navigate the changes and continue on with a full life—albeit a very different one from the one she had pre-accident. We talked at length about how this difficult change rendered her innocent once again… Not in the doe-eyed way we often mean when we tell other adults they are innocent, but rather by almost putting a hard reset on some parts of her mind that truly give her a more youthful awareness—at least, where it comes to some things. For instance, there is knowledge we accumulate as the years pass—things we take for granted—like how, if you touch a hot stove, it will burn. (Or, in her personal version, how you can’t pull cooked...

Read More