I have always had a fascination for tarot cards, especially once I learned that they date back to the 14th century, possibly from a card game similar to bridge that originated in Egypt or Turkey, followed by Italy, France and finally a Snakes & Ladders type of game in Germany. It reminds me of the origami paper fortune tellers we made in elementary school.
For quite some time I have been thinking of how wonderful it would be to create my own set of cards using the portraits, animals, wildflowers, feathers, tipis and canoes that I have been painting and they arrived this week. I decided to use the meanings of the animals and flowers along with the symbols included in the other paintings to create this deck instead of incorporating the traditional cups, wands, pentacles and swords.
I knew without a doubt that I had to use some of my 52 WEEKS::Heroes portraits as my queens. The 52 WEEKS::Totem Animals ended up being the Minor Arcana as well as the Court Cards (Pages, Knights and Kings) and the wildflowers, tipis, animal silhouettes and canoes became the Major Arcana. I also included the word(s) on each card that, to me, represent that particular card. I find that every card can seem positive or negative but I tend to focus on the positive.
Using the cards is very meditative for me as I typically separate them into three piles, one-by-one with my left (non-dominant) hand and then pile them together before pulling them. There are several ways that I like to use the cards:
1. Pull one card as a type of guide for the day. That can be either the top card or, if I fan them out onto a surface, I select a card that I am drawn to.
2, Pull three cards and place them left to right, with the left representing my past, the center representing my present, and the right representing my future.
3. Pull five cards and place them in a cross formation. The first card is set on the left and represents work; the second on the right to represent home; the third at the top to represent something unexpected; the fourth on the bottom to represent my role; and the fifth in the center to represent an outcome.
I trust my intuition when I look at the cards and try to read how they work as a whole. If there is more than one card in a particular suit I pay attention to what that might mean for me and where I should possibly focus my attention (ie. Cups=Emotions/Relationships; Pentacles=Finance; Wands=Creativity; Swords=Intellect). If there are more Major Arcana cards then I consider there may be an upcoming change in my life or that things may move swiftly. Often it is just a change in my attitude which brings this about.
To me, this is a kind of prayer or meditation and it helps to calm any anxieties I feel by forcing me to slow down and breath deeply. If you are interested in creating your own cards, you can do so through a variety of online sources, but the one I used was Make Playing Cards and I'm very happy with the outcome. You can also personalize playing cards on this site which I think would be a lovely wedding or birthday gift.