Mermaid Type Tarot

I created my very own tarot and oracle decks as part of my healing journey, which I call the Mermaid Type Project. Currently, the deck is for sale at Yoga Soup in Santa Barbara. I have 2 versions of the deck, a type and party style. My tarot decks feature mermaid relationships. The imagery is an alphabet inspired by two personal experiences.

One aspect of the cards is about feeling different after being diagnosed with dyslexia and facing shame about limitations in reading and writing in early childhood. In this sense, the deck is accessible like a child’s ouija board game. The alphabet and numbers are a play on the basics of learning a visual language. The type deck is all letters and numbers.

The second metaphor in the Mermaid Type Project is about diving deep into the unconscious mind and the relationship between image and behavior. Each card features a couple of mermaids, except the Magician, who is alone among the couples. The mermaids assist in bringing unconscious behaviors, such as codependency, into the light. With knowledge comes the opportunity to make empowering choices. I hope to inspire others and myself to continually discover new aspects of themselves and live whole, joyful lives. The party deck features full images.

My journey to creating a tarot deck was mysterious. It did not start out with a clear intention. Instead, it was a series of events that led to many healing moments and deeper self-knowledge. In addition to the deck, I’ve also created a workshop and creative materials, such as a coloring book and mermaid font, to spark others on their journey.

Are Mermaids Real?

Everything started with a conversation about the possible existence of mermaids with a man I was talking to online. He said the military pilots saw things from the air that seemed mysterious. Real or not, he had an imagination, and we enjoyed playing games online. I started researching mermaids too. I found a google image of a mermaid couple arguing that you can see here. The image captured my attention, and I decided to work with it creatively.

I became more interested in the idea of the couple. The dynamics of their relationship and the strange hand gestures fascinated me. I researched other mythic images of couples and worked with them creatively too. I looked at the myth of India and Egypt.

Random Inspiration

We had been playing MMORPG games in the summer of 2016 and really getting into the color and design of them. It started as a grad school project where I tried to complete a game based loosely on the hero’s journey, a monomyth by Joseph Cambel that became a known plot line in films. I thought it could work in a role-playing game too. I took screenshots of my favorite places in the game and used color themes from them in the next iteration of the mermaid couple image. When I was done, it reminded me of the letter W.

The guild I played in was called SWU (short for Star Wars Uprising), and my next thought was that I wanted to make all the letters SWU. After I had three letters, I knew I needed to do them all, and SO the mermaid alphabet project was born.

And The Idea Grew

I was fortunate to be part of a group of like-minded artists planning a local art show. Together we decided to work with the theme of water, and so their work inspired me to explore other applications and possibilities with the image of mermaid letters. I ended up with prints, stickers, jewelry, sculpture, a coloring book, and glyph font. These items are easy to sell online, so I created a store using the SquareUp storefront option. It’s free to set up, and the URL was available. So, I published a store using the square application.

What does water mean to you? Explore artist’s interpretations of water in paintings and prints that reflect diverse points of view. The venue for this art show, Sandbox Coffeehouse, adds a performance and collaborative layer to the traditional art viewing experience. As people quench their thirst and talk with friends, they embody the spirit of Aqua

And The Idea Got Even Bigger

I got 2 custom name requests and sold a coloring book after creating the online store. Despite the small number of initial sales, I was encouraged and excited about the possibilities of the mermaid alphabet. For the first round of creative work, any positive response is an excellent sign. Usually, it takes several attempts for an idea to be understandable to others (in my experience).

Inspired, I created custom letter coloring books for my nieces who visited over the Thanksgiving holiday. They were learning the ABCs and soon announced a request for their first-ever adventure journals! (how cool is that!) Their parents purchased ocean theme journals and pens from the local sea center, and we got to work.

At their request, I helped the twins start by giving them some prompts to get their creative writing started. These were sentences like, “What no one knows about me is…” and “What I love best about my sister is…”. It was an excellent reward to see a new generation in my family discovering journals and the magic of letters!

Then The Project Continued To Expand

I was invited to be an artist mentor for a youth vocational training program and do a workshop at an art symposium for adults. Artists use social media and the internet to find inspiration, build a fan base, and sell art. All the social media materials and supplies fit into a traveling suitcase! Social media is a natural fit for events, meaning portability is essential. Social media also requires a mini production studio with equipment like a laptop, iPad, iPhone, microphone, cameras, and lights. Also, when you have a limited budget, the challenge is to turn lead into gold, so to speak. Art materials can be costly, and it’s a skill to use resources effectively. How many artists also want to be digital content creators? How do artists make money?

This goal in a semester after-school program, where I mentored about a dozen youth artists, was to let them be self-guided with a getting started printed instructions booklet and supplies. I created a program to turn $10 into $220 with art that fits into a mailbox-size container. It was a match for my theme of the Mermaid Love Letters. I worked alongside them to produce items and post them online. Items for sale included stickers, greeting cards, small original drawings, prints, jewelry, digital ads, and other promotional work in social media. Overall the kids were not so excited about the small challenge but wanted to create large and impressive works of art that were more fun. I can’t blame them, and they did have a gallery, so the future planning ideas about budgets and space were very abstract. If you sell art online or do pop-up events, you must consider shipping and setup costs. So small, light, and expensive is a good goal for the starting phase of a product that needs to reach a more extensive customer base. Also, the kids wanted to be painters, authors, or filmmakers. Few teens considered finding work in more common production team roles like product development, marketing, or education.

Merging Mermaid Type With Tarot

Almost three years after I started the quest to create a mermaid font, I finally completed the basic punctuation, lowercase, and uppercase letters. When I completed the font, I realized that this artwork needed to become a tarot deck. I had played with creating an oracle deck for the mermaids that was based on love story topes from, and I felt like the tarot deck would be a natural fit.

I decided to create a Kickstarter campaign to fund the deck as I had done crowdfunding on my Original Odyssey oracle cards in 2015. The funding was a success, and creating my own cards introduced me to the world of Indy Deck Artists, and I fell in love. My deck collection has grown, and so is my tarot reading. This site, Tarots Today, is about my passion for the art of reading cards, art, and people.

This story is about unique life paths and trusting the journey and not the destination. Making art and sharing it with others is rewarding as a process and memory of our past experiences or desires to spark more storytelling. When we listen and speak, we learn about ourselves, create community and connect meaningfully with others. Everyone has a role in the system, from artist to teacher to vendor, and some of us play a little bit of every role.

I hope to reach a large audience with this project to help inspire people to feel and believe the impossible is possible, specifically in creating meaningful connections in our relationships with ourselves and each other.

The Mermaid Type Project evolved from random life events. The experience is about sharing a personal journey in self-discovery and personal development. Is it a mermaid or a letter? It’s both! The letters are mermaids, they can move and dance and tell many stories. Symbols point to multiple meanings, unlike signs that have only one interpretation. I used the figurative type on my tarot cards to comment on living with dyslexia. When it is difficult to read, we embrace the experience and see possibilities.

Do you communicate better by watching and listening to people? Tarot reading is a tradition of verbal and visual stories. Often the conversation extends to discussing personal relationships in the individual’s life. It is an intimate experience. The cards help us imagine other perspectives. Awareness of angles might expand the consciousness of the person asking questions, awareness of options, motivation, and desires.

By loosely applying depth psychology methods to the tarot reading process, my goal is to facilitate readings that are entertaining and creatively engaging. The creative mind is at the center of depth psychology, a therapeutic theory relating to the relationship between the conscious and unconscious mind. Concepts I’ve considered include:

  • Individuation is represented in the tradition of Tarot and the major arcana cards.
  • Sticking to the image represents the visual theme replacing standard tarot images.
  • Negative/Positive archetype polarities are represented in the guidebook text formatting.
  • The transcendent function is represented in the video formatting both visually and sequentially.

Intuition does not say what things mean but sniffs out their possibilities. Meaning is given by thinking.

— Carl Jung, Jung-Kirsch Letters, Page 21

Many research practices use narrative to communicate the truth of social life in stories. Leavy (2008) said narratives “maybe our own stories, those of others, or those that blur ‘the real’ and ‘the imaginary’ but are no less truthful in communicating human experience” (p. 39). The artist’s authentic voice is needed, because if we allow the market value of art to “define and control our gifts, the less gifted we will become, as individuals and as a society” (Hyde, 2007, p. 205).

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