Monday, March 30, 2015

Testing, Testing: The Alice Tarot

I love the work that Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov conjure up at their magical Baba studios in Prague. In July 2013 I was thrilled to be able to pay them a visit in person. The entrance to their narrow stone-cobbled street is around the corner from the Alchemist Hotel and Restaurant.
That seemed fitting!

Karen, who is one of the most gracious people on earth, spent two hours of her busy creative life showing me (a total stranger but for a couple of email exchanges arranging my visit) their studios in Old Town Prague (not to be confused with New Town Prague, which is an upstart youngster of only 600-ish years).
We chatted about the fairy tale of a city they call home, how the photo shoots were going for their upcoming Alice Tarot, their planned move to Ireland. She even treated me to a Czech beer in a tucked-away patio garden pub that I suspect was known only to the locals. A magical afternoon!

I made my way back to my New Town apartment in a euphoric daze.

On to the subject of today's visit - The Alice Tarot.

1. You are based on a pair of rather crazy tales: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Through the Looking GlassWill your tarot suggestions be equally off-the-wall?
Page of Swords

My two stories can be rather bizarre at times, I freely admit.
Be that as it may, my characters come up against the most perplexing and frightful difficulties from time to time. And are expected to find a way out of them unscathed, using what resources they possess.
Does this not sound a bit like your own life?

I rest my case.

2. How can I be expected to take advice from violent Queens and pipe-smoking caterpillars?
The Magician

I haven't much time, but I'll do my best with your query.
You might begin by reading both of Alice's stories, which have been kindly included in my companion book as a refresher, in case you've not read them recently.

But now, to your question.
Even the most pedantic of tarot decks includes thieves, bullies, and other folk we don't much like.
Sometimes the advice we glean from less-than-savoury characters is more along the lines of what not to do and how not to behave towards others, wouldn't you agree?

Oh dear, I must dash. There's magic to be done.

3. What is the best thing about you?

My skills at resolution. Finding a bridge between two extremes.
Wading in fearlessly in aid of friends.
My peacemaking abilities.
Making sense of non-sense.

The colourful cast of characters, glorious scenery, and spectacular costumes.
Oh, and my baking skills.

Thank you so much, Alice Tarot, for taking the time to answer my questions today!

(Note: there are coloured metallic accents on each card, highlighting bits of the images, that don't show up here. I wish you could see them; they're beautiful.)