Hello everyone Just two things to say. Firstly the printer has opened up sales to Australia (and hopefully other USPS blocked countries). And secondly I’ve (hopefully) fixed the Contact form now. Let me know how that goes. Kind Regards Sarah
Greetings to you all on the Day of the Fool! Seemed like an appropriate New Moon to open up the store for the Tarot size release (Tarot size: 70mm X 120mm, 2.75″ X 4.75″). Asherah Tarot Tarot Size (Click to Buy)
This deck comes with 81 cards, 78 Tarot cards and 3 extras, in a sturdy side opening tuck box. I wasn’t able to fit enough extra cards in the box to do a full keyword guide, but I am currently working on a printable pdf of that information which will be available for free on my site.
This is another US release, and sadly the postal situation to Australia and New Zealand is still an issue. The printer wants to ship there, but USPS currently has no parcel service going to these countries due apparently to Covid. We are hoping this will change soon, but I am making enquiries about finding an Australian printer if things don’t improve. World trade is getting ever more dysfunctional and expensive it seems and all I can do is try to find work arounds and get as many decks out there as possible.
The good news is that the printer I am using also does books so I am planning to release a hard copy guide book through them as soon as possible. In the mean time I am still giving out the pdf to anyone who contacts me. I am dubious as to how how efficient this sites mailing list is. The last post I made failed to send notification emails to me, so please let me know if you aren’t receiving updates.
I hope you enjoy the Tarot size deck. It really is the best rendering of the colours I have seen so far and personally it is my favourite version size wise as well. This is the version I choose to use myself. Sadly this printer doesn’t do anything larger so it could be quite a while before I find the right place to produce a deluxe jumbo edition. Prices have gone up exponentially everywhere both for shipping and production and many printers seem to be on their last legs. I will keep you posted as to developments. Regards Sarah
Today I have opened a store on a US based Print on Demand service and released a Poker size version of the Asherah Tarot Third Edition. Poker size cards are 63mm x 88mm, (2.5″ x 3.5″), so this is a small size deck. It comes in a tuck box and has 10 extra cards, which have interpretations of all the cards and correlations to the Qabalah. I am very happy with the colours and feel of this deck, and although it is small, it is glorious!
There will be future releases of larger size decks, as and when I find appropriate printers for them, but I decided that I might as well start selling the Poker size deck now. It’s possible I will release a tarot size deck from the same printer if they can provide good proofs, but best case scenario is that won’t be for three or four weeks. Worst case is I might need to find another printer altogether for the Tarot size, as I certainly will have to for the deluxe large version.
I am also looking at Print on Demand options for other parts of the world, because the big problem at the moment is international shipping prices. It’s impossible to say how this will pan out as so many POD companies seem to be in difficulties or raising their prices exponentially. I have the files ready to make the decks so it’s just a question of finding the producers. If you are aware of any good POD options in your region please let me know.
Thanks as always for all your support and encouragement. I am working towards more releases as soon as possible, and planning a hard copy book soon too. Watch this space! Love Sarah
Hello again all you lovelies! Sadly the printer I was hoping to use appears to be unable to produce cards with structural integrity. The coating is not adequately sealed and deteriorates quickly which is a shame because they got the colours spot on. This is unfortunately an unacceptable defect and so I am on the hunt for another printer. This of course pushes everything along into 2022. On the good side the worldwide shipping issues caused by the pandemic might have eased by then. It has not been an easy time for self publishing!
I’m very grateful for your patience and encouragement. All the kind people who have contacted me expressing interest should know that each message lifts my spirits and gets me back to work. For me the road of self publishing has been fraught from the start as I am sure it is for everyone. I am getting used to the struggle though now and starting to see a lot more possibilities. In a way the delays have been beneficial, because my perspective has changed a lot, and I have had time to format the Tarot size, which I am starting to realise is my key product, being large enough to show off the artwork and small enough to be affordable to ship and produce.
Regarding the pdf of the guide book, I am still willing to send out copies. Just contact me via the form. It will get updated and hard copied eventually.
And finally I have shared the new Princess of Wands, as a thank you for your support, and to honour my dear sweet kitty cat who died last week at the age of 20 and who was integral to the creation of the cards. He is included in this card because he is the original Tiger Star.
A Happy Holiday to you all and Best Wishes for the New Year Love Sarah
Hello everyone, I have some news at last on the third edition release. As I have mentioned before I have been working on formatting a Tarot sized deck. I have recently received test copies of the deck printed by a US based manufacturer that I am very happy with, and I am planning to release a Tarot size deck and a Poker size deck as soon as possible. I need to fix the boxes and order samples of those and with shipping being slow these days that will probably take another month, but after that I will be good to go, so I can certainly say we will have something happening in time for the Winter solstice if not before. I won’t be doing fund raisers or preorders, because this manufacturer doesn’t really do bulk discounts in the same way as some of the Chinese manufacturers, but their prices are very affordable. As soon as I have a sample I am totally happy with, I’ll just open up the shop for sales. There will still be a large deluxe edition, which I might need to fund raise for, but that will be next year some time. I decided to work on the smaller versions first to get used to box making tools and vector graphics, and I must say, the Tarot size is very pleasant to use and to look at. I am loving the richness of colours that this new printer had achieved! Anyway I will get to work on those boxes now and keep you all posted of how things are progressing. Regards Sarah
Hello everyone, I hope you are doing okay in these strange times. I thought it was about time I gave you an update on how things are progressing with the deck release. I have done quite a bit of work adapting the deck to a new size…Tarot size, and so I want to release three sizes, Poker, Tarot and Large, but I might end up releasing them one at a time. I have also recently started to learn how to make boxes and packaging and that is again delaying the release. I am sorry to those of you waiting but I can only say that when it finally arrives it will be as good as I can make it. There are so many graphic skills that I have to learn as I am primarily a visual artist. On the good side it seems my brain is feeling very receptive to these new programs now so I am really enjoying the process. I can’t give a date at this point but let’s hope it’s before summer is out. Sarah
In September 2005 I started painting Tarot cards to amuse myself. My first card was the Hanged Man, which was inspired by the sad tale of a brilliant musician called Koh Morota who drowned himself in a river. More cards followed and the project quickly snowballed into an epic of creation that lasted thirteen years. I worked on it full time for all that time, but it never felt like work, even though it was often exhausting. I was excited to start in the mornings, lost in the flow all day, and reluctant to finish at night. It was a wonderful adventure right from the start and I wish I could do it all again. Creating my deck was an all consuming obsession, and a passion I happily sacrificed a great deal to achieve. I turned forty in 2006 and this crisis of mid life no doubt was part of my inspiration to do something really epic while I still had the energy and opportunity. I made several life style changes for the sake of my health and these transformations helped me to find the clarity and determination to really do some intense work. One thing fed into another, and the work itself healed me and transformed my life further. It was an amazingly therapeutic feedback loop. The process of making a Tarot suited my talents perfectly because I love reading and writing as well as painting, and I have always had an interest in occult matters, so the research was just as enjoyable as the artwork. I started reading the Tarot in my early twenties when I was given a copy of the Thoth deck, and I have always greatly admired the artwork of Frieda Harris.
Over time I developed a system of creation, a cycle of production timed with the phases of the moon. I would brain storm, research and make sketches from the new moon onwards and usually come up with a drawn design by the full moon. Then I would paint the card and do all the detail work in the waning moon. There was a lot of sketching, and a lot of dreaming. I have recently included a gallery of sketches on my Tarot Gallery page. Ideas come to when you plant the seeds. Often I would go to sleep thinking about the ideas and wake up with a solution. It always felt like I was receiving the material rather than conceiving it. I would play around with shapes and symbols and then suddenly a design would pop out that I knew would be a great painting. I also found that life would reflect the art, and synchronistically generate ideas with appropriate events and emotional crises. Certain cards had very powerful effects on my psychic energy and even my physical health. These effects were sometimes temporarily distressing but in the end always beneficial and empowering. I had always used art as a psychoanalytic tool, and the Tarot seemed to magnify this application immensely. It was a truly fascinating experience and I came to realise that the cards regarded as the most difficult psychologically were actually the most rewarding.
Once I had my design I would cut a 50 by 35cm piece of rag paper (300 gsm Arches medium rough), stick it to my drafting board and draw it up, with all the lettering and symbols included. It seemed very important to me to do the lettering by hand as a part of the painting rather than in post production. In retrospect I would have made my life much easier if I had kept the text separate, but it did make the deck design unique. I mostly used acrylic inks for the base colours. They are great for doing waterproof transparent areas, which you can then easily overpaint with watercolour or gouache for detail. The texture of the rag paper really shines through and its still possible to see the drawn design underneath. If you want to make beautiful pictures you need good quality materials. Some cards came quickly and easily. The Minors were a joy to create and took only a year to produce. I developed a system of geometric and numerological designs that really took off. There was a lot of compass work, and a lot of sacred geometry, and absolutely no digital work needed on any of them. What a gift! Unfortunately producing such a surprisingly satisfying run of Minors made me dissatisfied with the full set of Majors I had produced before that, and ended up inspiring me to paint them all again. I’d probably advise creators to start with the Minors, because then you are at the top of your game when you get to the more difficult cards. Another surprising thing about the Minors was how much I loved painting the cards I had always thought of as difficult, like the Nine of Swords and the Five of Discs. I really learned to appreciate that every card is a glorious paradox. I think perhaps if the Thoth deck has a flaw it is that its hard cards are a little too gloomy and one sided.
For many of the Majors and all the Courts, the main problem was coming up with a good figure pose. This was done with the assistance of my photographer partner. Almost all of the figures I posed for and he photographed, and some the other way around. I then drew from the photographs, adapting and morphing the figures in various ways. In some cases I even changed the sex. Getting a good pose meant finding a pleasing shape that reflected the meaning of the card and fitted nicely into the shape of the design. In some cases we took literally hundreds of photos before finding the right one. It was the first example of how essential digital technology would be for this deck. The Courts were particularly gruelling for me and a few of them I painted three or four times! The Majors also had at least two versions and in some cases three or four. Each one took ages to paint, in some cases months of work. I thought I’d wasted a lot of time on redundant versions (although I really enjoyed painting all of them and did not regret any of it). However when I reached the final stage of creation, digitising and manipulating images, I realised I could use all the versions and in fact every single painting would be invaluable as collage material. It was quite an exciting (if rather tiring) stage of development. At least a year was spent on shuffling bits of painting about on the computer. It would be quite a different deck without the digital collaging I did on many of the Majors and Courts. A much less satisfying one for me at any rate. My one rule was to only use hand painted elements. Some of the cards ended up with literally hundreds of fragments and dozens of layers, with files of more than a gigabyte. There are many versions of each card, leading up to the final version. Some of the most complex collages are the Magus, the Empress, the Priestess, and the Emperor, though there are plenty of others as well. Some of the Majors are completely without digital alteration, such as Death and the Devil. Generally speaking, the mandalas in the deck are pretty much as painted. I loved painting the mandalas and it’s something I’ve continued to do after finishing the deck.
I have never painted anything digitally and I probably never will. Painting to me is all about the translucence and tactile qualities of paper and paint. I’m not naturally a digital artist of any kind, but for this project it seemed to be necessary, and in the end I did really enjoy the collaging and its endless possibilities. I did all my own formatting for print as well, including a very laborious late addition of bleed areas. In fact, I have done absolutely everything myself, learning on the job, which is partly why it all took so long. I am far too much of a perfectionist control freak to do it any other way. For much the same reason I will go on publishing the deck independently. It’s the only Tarot deck I will probably ever create, though it may change a bit from time to time, and so I want to keep total control of every aspect of its emergence, just as I did its creation. I am currently considering my options as to the third edition. A lot depends on whether the Virus shuts Chinese production down again because that is certainly where it will be printed, one way or another. We are in very uncertain times, but all this isolation is a good opportunity for some meditation and self reflection. It’s a good time to be a Hermit like me. Take care and look after each other, Love Sarah
I have recently uploaded a Tarot Gallery to the site with a selection of my favourite cards, and I’ve decided to post my thoughts inspired by the cards in that gallery, one at a time. It could prove rather tangential, but then my Tarot has always been about the bigger picture. I like to look for messages and hidden meanings in my work because paintings always mean so much more than you think they do when you paint them, and Tarot art is if anything even more fertile in this respect. At the end I will add the interpretation of the card from my guidebook, to try and bring it back to the Tarot.
Mercury is in Pisces and going retrograde soon so it seems like a good time for emotive and nostalgic communications. Venus has just gone into Aries (my own placement) making me feel all confident about getting out there, and it’s a super full moon in Leo with happy aspects to Mars. So let’s get started!
It has been raining all winter here in soggy Scotland, and I am missing my sunburnt home land and grieving the terrible and catastrophic bush fires. Having lived in Australia for forty years, its unique wilderness is very much a part of my soul, and the spiritual power behind the Asherah Tarot. All art is inspired by nature and this Tarot is no exception. Not only are we dependant on ecosystems and wildernesses for material sustenance, but also for spiritual and artistic inspiration. My great love affairs have been with wild places, and with the creatures that inhabit them. I love Scotland very much too, and I live now on a magical island which I will talk about in later posts, but compared to Australia its ravaged ecosystem is an empty wasteland. People who have not experienced the rich and unique biodiversity of Australia do not understand just how much has been lost in these terrible fires.
Looking through the cards in the gallery I felt drawn towards the Seven of Wands, one of my all time favourite cards, and it occurred to me that it looked a little bit like a Koala on Fire.
People cry for the koalas, because they are so very cute, and because they are too slow and gentle to survive this cruel and disastrous world. They are a symbol of the spiritual way, climbing the Tree, dozing in meditation, chewing on their vegetarian diet, and finally being sacrificed in the flames of our materialist hell. Their kind eyes stare out from our TV screens, suffering terrible wounds without complaint. They died in their hundreds of thousands in these fires, but they are just one species in the long list of incinerated wildlife. As you might know my personal favourites are the flying foxes. In a land full of highly intelligent creatures, they are the supreme sentient beings. Sun baking and socialising noisily during the day in huge colonies, soaring and sipping nectar at night, they are a mammal like no other. Sadly they are widely demonised and persecuted, and they suffer more than any other creature, dying of heat stress in their thousands, starving in droughts, crucified on barb wire fences and in fruit tree netting. They die and they die, and one day in the not too distant future they will be gone forever, and we will have lost the chief pollinator of the forests, and the pollinator of our imaginations as well.
I love the intoxicating smell of the Australian bush, the shimmering eucalyptus haze, and the sonic chorus of all that teeming life. I love the lizards of all shapes and sizes, from massive goannas to tiny skinks, and swimming Water Dragons. I love the snakes, fantastically beautiful in their shimmering silkiness and so psychic you are unlikely to see one before it senses you and disappears. I love the spiders too, especially the huge and harmless huntsmen who come and quietly live in the corners of your house, eating mosquitos. I love the ants and the fireflies and the beetles. I love the pretty faced wallabies, the big red kangaroos and the cuddly tree climbing kangaroos of the northern tropical forests; I love the wombats making burrows, the shy platypus in the creeks and echidnas, so unique and amazing, like little spiky tractors digging up ants nests. Possums and singing frogs rule the night, while the day belongs to the birds, and they are unrivalled anywhere in the world in their variety and numbers. It would take far too long to describe the wonderful bird life. Their fearlessness makes them the most well loved of all creatures. Most Australians know some birds personally, and bond with magpies or cockatoos or often a whole horde of various characters. The sounds of their songs are the music of my soul.
There is no end to the sheer abundance of wild life in just a few acres of bush, or even in the cities, which are increasingly a refuge of last resort. Anyone who knows the bush is aware that far more than a billion lives have been lost in this recent apocalyptic fire season. And those that didn’t burn are now starving, because more than twelve million acres have been reduced to lifeless ash. The thought of so much life being lost in such a huge area is soul destroying. Species that were already threatened, are now pushed to the very brink of extinction and beyond. It is wound to the heart of the wilderness that will never heal. The sheer scale of this tragedy puts the petty craziness of human existence into perspective. The loss of the unique and ancient Australian ecosystem is one the group soul of our species is unlikely to recover from. Climate change is a direct result of human activity, so not only are we are in mourning for all those precious animals, birds, reptiles, insects and plants, and the inspiration they gave us, but we are writhing with guilt and horror. The destructive power of the human race far outweighs our creativity. In the end we create only one thing it seems, and that is hell on earth. This seems a dark way to start my revived blog, but I have promised myself to be authentic and speak from the heart, however painful that might be, and to try and talk about what matters most to me.
If there is an upside to all this grief, it is proof that we have loved a great deal. I loved painting the fire cards and I love seeing them in a reading. Their passionate warmth and promise of excitement banishes my cold wet pessimism. Passion for art and music and the wilderness are what make life worth living. When we are filled with enthusiasm, we are truly alive.
Seven of Wands
Esoteric Title : Valour
Mars in Leo
Opposition to our true will inevitably arises from the accolades of the last card (the Six of Wands), both within ourselves and from the outside world. It is time to stand our ground and live our dreams, a struggle without a guaranteed outcome. Sevens indicate a blockage of some kind, and its important not to let road rage surface during these inevitable traffic jams. The Seven of Wands is a lion shaped candelabra (a Menorah, associated with Asherah) holding seven incandescent Flame Hearts. The lion is gripping the seven pointed star of Venus in its teeth and has a look of excitement and intensity. It suggests the joy of a battle fought for an honourable cause.
The sphere of Netzach is ruled by Fire and is a dynamic and energising influence in the fiery suit of Wands. The attribution of Mars in Leo makes this card a truly explosive dose of passionate Fire energy. Mars the warrior is vitalised and stabilised by one of the most commanding and dominating of signs. The potential for the use of this abundant energy for higher purposes is increased by the creative Venusian influence of Netzach, the selfishness and egotistical lower nature of Leo being modified by an active polarity with the collective mind. Once Leo’s tendency to forceful histrionics and desire gratification has been curbed, the higher spiritual Love nature that is the gift of Venus can emerge in all its glory.
The gift of a vivid creative imagination and dramatic flair that this card depicts needs to be balanced by self discipline and routine to become a truly productive force. The intensity and excitability of this combination of influences can indicate impetuous and ill considered activity and its important to tame these unruly tendencies and develop the ability to focus and to finish what has been started. Versatility is the nature of the Sevens and it requires careful management not to turn into dilettantism.
This card suggests we have the energy to overcome any obstacle, if we are motivated by noble intentions and willing to do the work required. The good fight is often a losing battle, at least in material terms, but luckily in the spiritual, archetypal world of the suit of Wands, losing is in fact winning. This is the secret of Love in its highest Venusian manifestation. Adversity and loss are spiritually beneficial and so the Seven of Wands is the most positive of the Sevens. It is a victory of Love.
I have decided it is time to rework the cards and reassess the means of production so I plan to withdraw them from sale and rerelease them a few months later in a third edition. There will be changes to a few of the cards that I have decided are not completely satisfactory and also a rethink of the container issue. A tin or a pouch of some kind and hopefully a hard copy of the revised guide book. I’m looking at releasing the third edition at the beginning of the Year of the Rat (next year), which will mark new 60 year cycle. I also want to try and improve the site situation as well so there is a lot to do. I am hesitant to name a release date yet because these things always take longer than you expect.
Please note that on Septembers full moon I will withdraw the second and first editions from sale in case you want to get a copy of any of them before they go.
I still do see the deck and the book as a work in progress, and so I intend to continue being an independent creator, and keeping total control of my creative content. Of course I won’t mess with the core images. I’m too lazy to go through all that again! But there are one or two cards that really need to change.
The last year has been rest and recovery time for me, essential down time after more than ten years intense work on the cards, followed by moving to the opposite side of the world, but now finally I am starting to regain my strength and inspiration for the task at hand. Leaving the city to live on a beautiful island has done wonders for my health and happiness and I now feel I can get to work again. I am so very grateful to all of you for your support and love over the years. The response to the release of the Asherah Tarot totally exceeded my expectations and it’s thanks to you all that I am now inspired to get back to work and make this deck the best that it can be.
I am very happy to announce the imminent release of the Asherah Tarot!
I am planning to commence sales on the 24th of June. I will be offering a Jumbo size (3.5 X 5.5 inches or approximately 9cm X 14cm) deck through Game Crafter, with linen finish and UV coating, a 20 page full colour booklet and box, plus a pdf download of the guide book. Exact prices are yet to be decided but will be in the region of 60 – 70 US dollars plus shipping.
I will also release a Poker size deck (2.5 X 3.5 cm) by the end of the year, and it will be somewhat cheaper, but I do recommend the larger size to fully appreciate the richly detailed artwork. I have been very pleasantly surprised by the quality of printing from Game Crafter.
The great struggle has finally reached the point of manifestation! Eleven years of truly obsessive hard work has finally crystalized into a deck of cards. I am releasing the First Edition in as high a quality as I can find, because it has to do the art work justice, and because I want to generate maximum enjoyment. Production costs are high, especially as they are in US dollars, but the results are satisfying. I will work on finding more convenient distribution for other parts of the world, but that could take six months to a year, as my life is demanding urgent attention now. The shipping is quite fast to Australia, and I hope it will be so for other parts of the world.
I will email this announcement to everyone on my mailing list, and update it with details and links as they come to hand. If you wish to be added to the list please email me.
Thank you so much for all your enthusiasm and encouragement over the years…I doubt I could have made it to the end of the road without them.