1. Your new book, Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot,
is the fourth book in three years on which the two of you have
collaborated—and you have two new oracle decks coming out this year, as
well. From where do you draw your ideas?
Everyone looks for purpose in their life;
in writing, we try and connect to a higher place and share this
experience in our books. It sounds clichéd, and spiritually contrived,
but it is how we feel—every book, every deck, is part of one story, the
same story we all seek. In working with the esoteric tradition we
remember what is important to us—and everything else follows. We try
and teach and leave in our books a magical legacy, to which anyone can
connect and join us in creating a good life.
We were asked this online recently, and
we pulled a tarot card in answer; it was the Empress, signifying
perhaps the secret to productivity is to do what you enjoy and keep it
as down-to-earth as possible.
2. What is the
collaborative writing process like?
We get asked this a lot, but it is still
a mystery to us, and an ongoing adventure.
We often think about how Pamela Colman
Smith and Arthur Edward Waite worked together, so briefly and
powerfully, and how Frieda Harris and Aleister Crowley took five years
to work on the Thoth Tarot. We have little record of the
surviving letters from the latter. It seems that such collaborations
always produce more than the sum of their parts, and yet remain a
mystery in their magic.
We tend to always be doing four different
things each at the same time, like pieces of a jig-saw that we cannot
really see in advance. Sometimes pieces come together, sometimes we
look at what we have both written and realize they are corner-pieces of
3. The title of the book, Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot,
refers to the tarot as "Waite-Smith" style as opposed to the
ever-popular "Rider-Waite." Why do you make this distinction?
We really wanted to use a standard and
modern format for the title, to show how our book recognizes equally
both Waite and Smith.
The deck has not been associated
primarily with the original publisher, Rider & Sons, for many
years, so is a bit redundant. We also wanted to demonstrate that our
book was different to what people expect and think, yet returns to the
original two sources: Pamela and Arthur.
4. The book also includes
new material from illustrator Pamela Colman Smith; where did you find
this new material?
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the full interview.