Saturday, May 23, 2020

Testing, Testing: The Shadowland Tarot

Today I'm grilling the cute and quirky Shadowland Tarot, a creation of Toronto's Monica Bodirsky.
As always, I'm keeping the companion book closed for this interview, even though its generous size and glossy full colours are tempting.

OK, creatures of the Shadowlands, you're thoroughly shuffled. Are you ready?

1. You look a bit like a cartoon strip. Are you sure that people can take you and your observations seriously?
Oh, yes! We are ready to topple all your notions about our abilities. And upend any ideas you may have regarding our seriousness as a valuable tool in the tarot world.
Make special note of our kindness as we allow the falling man an umbrella to soften his landing. (He will, however, have to turn it right-side up for it to be most effective at breaking his fall. We can't be expected to do all the work!)

2. Shadow work is sometimes thought to be a scary and challenging pursuit, even something to be avoided. Is that how you feel about the shadow side of things?
We see that there are two sides to every story. And we would like to be fair. While we acknowledge that some humans shy away from looking at their shadow side, or try to ignore what lurks within them because they would rather it weren't there, we also know how healing that can be. What a relief to finally bring that something into the open, where it probably won't be as terrifying or awful as imagined.
We strive to help, with care.
As you see in this card, we are taking great pains to keep safe both the parent bird and the eggs, even while leaving open the possibility of a much larger creature nesting nearby. We trust they can work it out.

3. Your characters don't have any irises or pupils, only blank eye circles. Why is that?
That is a very good question. We've sent our Star to reply.
Well, let's face it, we're most of us monsters in this deck. People can be afraid of monsters (especially the ones under the bed or in the closet). If you think about sketches of faces, much of the expression, be it mild or menacing, comes from the eyes and eyebrows. We have neither. 
So that does, in my opinion, three things:
a) It makes us benign - sweet rather than scary. More lovable than leering.
b) It gives us an air of neutrality. We don't judge, we don't lecture, we don't tell people what to do. We merely impart our thoughts on the subject and leave them to draw their own conclusions.
c) Rather than have readers or querents be distracted by our expressions, we free them to focus on the bright ideas washing over them from the stars above. 

4. What do you like to do in your spare time, when you're not being shuffled and used as a working tarot deck?
Oh, how delicious! Well, after making sure that my finances are in order and my ledgers up-to-date, as befits any King, I head out into the Barren Lands at the edge of the mountains for a bit of time to myself. As you can see, I have a collection of crystals, and I love to see them reflect and refract in the light. This usually happens at sunset, after my day's work is done. Not that a King's work is ever truly done...
I also enjoy a bit of carpentry (the ingenious portable folding table you see here is my own design) and I have recently taken up stone rubbings. There are tablets from antiquity buried in the Barren Lands and I am cataloguing them. So many projects, so little time!
And sometimes I just rest, and allow my creative juices to replenish themselves. Do you do that too? 

5. What is your special gift? In what way are you a genius?
We are so very friendly! Come on in, and join us with a cuppa of your choice!
We welcome all types: green ones, purple ones, tall ones, aquatic ones; those with suckers, those with boots. Bejewelled or bespotted. We like questions with teeth or those tied up with bows.
All come to us as strangers but once. After that, we meet as friends!

Thank you, SHADOWLAND TAROT. It has been a pleasure!