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Please add to your address book to ensure our emails reach your inbox. - Monthly e-Magazine - September 2011

Creating The Gaian Tarot
by Joanna Powell Colbert - September 2011

The Gaian Tarot emerged from the fertile ground of the archetypal imagery of the tarot combined with my deep love for a small island in the Pacific Northwest.

This deck was a long time in the making. The seed for it was planted in the 1980s when I was working with the Motherpeace Tarot and comparing it to traditional decks like the Rider-Waite-Smith. I was drawing pen-and-ink Goddess portraits in those days, and was intrigued by the idea of creating a tarot deck. But the thought of making seventy-eight separate pieces of artwork was daunting. I worked consistently with the tarot as a teacher and reader until the late 1990s when I set it aside for several years. During that time I moved to a small, rural island and the focus of my spiritual practice changed.

I heard Starhawk say that the earth is our sacred text, like the Bible or the Torah or the Koran, and that most of us are illiterate in it. I took that to heart. I began to spend the bulk of my time outside, observing the place where I lived and practicing wilderness-awareness skills. Just like as I had thrown myself into Goddess studies and tarot studies earlier, I became immersed in studying the native plants, birds, and animals of my chosen home. I grew herbs, became involved in the local community, and built a straw bale house with my husband. Even though I had been walking the path of Goddess spirituality for many years, my practice and relationship with the Great Mystery (whom I call Mama Gaia) deepened. I began to seek wisdom directly from the woods, the beach, and the meadows, without the intermediary of books or human teachers.

"Mama Gaia" is my name for Mother Earth, or the Great Mother Goddess. In Greek mythology, Gaia is the name of the primal goddess who embodies the earth. It is written that She gave birth to the sea, the sky, and the rest of creation. The idea that the earth is our mother is found in many indigenous cultures worldwide. Today, in part because of the popularity of James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis, the words Gaia or Gaian are often used to refer to a worldview that honors the earth as sacred. To practice a Gaian or earth-centered spirituality means to both give and receive sustenance from the natural world. "The earth is our mother, she will take care of us," the familiar chant goes. "The earth is our mother, we must take care of her."

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Back to Top - Author Interview - September 2011

An Interview with Joanna Powell Colbert, Creator of the Gaian Tarot
by Llewellyn

1. The art for the Gaian Tarot is breathtakingly beautiful. From where did you draw inspiration when creating this deck? Joanna Powell Colbert

I moved to a small rural island in the Pacific Northwest just before I started work on the deck. It was the first time I had ever fallen completely and utterly in love with a specific place. I was receiving so much spiritual nourishment from the landscape that it just naturally found its way into my artwork. I was also inspired by my spiritual community of people who live their lives as best they can to honor the earth and hold it as sacred.

2. You already have a following for your art; is most of your work similar to that of the deck? 

Yes and no. Yes, in that I have always used real people as models for archetypal  and mythological characters. I love seeing the numinous expressed in the faces and bodies of everyday women and men. It's as if our deepest, most wise selves step up to be seen. I love facial expressions and hand gestures in particular. But I used to work almost exclusively in pen-and-ink, sometimes with a watercolor wash. In the late 1990s I studied a technique called colored pencil painting, which is well-suited for photorealism. The artwork in the Gaian Tarot  is done in this medium. I begin a piece by taking photos of models, then work out the composition in Photoshop by adding the background and other elements. I make a line drawing based on my photo collage, and then I start laying down the color. The richness and depth of the artwork comes from layering color over color, pencil stroke by pencil stroke.

3. Where did you get your start as an artist?

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Back to Top - Llewellyn Journal - September 2011

The Changing Face of Magic: Thinking Big Thoughts
by Brandy Williams

All of us are shaped by many factors: genetic heritage, family structure, our generation, the culture in which we are raised, and how that culture views gender. As we move through the years our experiences also go into making us who we are. Magic gives us tools to cope with the challenges life presents, and like us, magic is shaped by many external factors. How do we keep magic moving forward in our current times? Brandy Williams, author of Practical Magic for Beginners and The Woman Magician, explains.

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Ghost Hunting and the Concept of Consciousness
by Deonna Kelli Sayed

Paranormal investigation, namely ghost hunting, is enjoying phenomenal and unprecedented growth. This is due to the global broadcast of paranormal reality TV, and this avocation is now popular around the world. But do these shows get it right? What are they—and the paranormal community—missing from their investigations? Deonna Kelli Sayed, author of Paranormal Obsession, discusses the concept of psi and the concept of consciousness in paranormal investigation.

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On Wings Everywhere Ascending: The Relevance of Dragons in the Modern World
by Shawn MacKenzie

In the simpler times of long ago, our ancestors struck flint to tinder and, with deer on the spit and wolf cubs at their feet, watched shadow monsters dance across cave walls. They knew Dragons intimately and held them close. How could they not? With primordial majesty, Dragons ruled earth, sea, and sky. They were reminders of the danger beyond the firelight, the world beyond comprehension. They were Awe personified, revered for their wisdom and at-one-ment with the Universe, dreaded for their strength and elemental energy. But what about the importance of Dragons in today's society? Shawn MacKenzie, author of The Dragon-Keeper's Handbook, explains just how truly relevant Dragons are to us.

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Back to Top - Lo Scarabeo - September 2011

99 Names of God, by Lo Scarabeo

99 Names of God
by Lo Scarabeo

Ludy Lescot Tarot, by Lo Scarabeo

Ludy Lescot Tarot
by Lo Scarabeo

Minchiate Tarot, by Lo Scarabeo

Minchiate Tarot
by Lo Scarabeo

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn, by Lo Scarabeo

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn
by Lo Scarabeo - Try This! - September 2011

Growing Plants to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Astrological Transits

Tarot Spell to Attract Many Friends - New Releases - September 2011

Gaian Tarot, by Joanna Powell Colbert
Gaian Tarot
by Joanna Powell Colbert

Paranormal Obsession, by Deonna Kelli Sayed
Paranormal Obsession
by Deonna Kelli Sayed

Tarot and Astrology, by Corrine Kenner
Tarot and Astrology
by Corinne Kenner

The Dragon Keeper's Handbook, by Shawn MacKenzie
The Dragon Keeper's Handbook
by Shawn MacKenzie

True Ghosts 3, Edited by David Godwin
True Ghosts 3
Edited by David Godwin

Voice of the Trees Oracle, by Mickie Mueller
Voices of the Trees
by Mickie Mueller

The Woman Magician, by Brandy Williams
The Woman Magician
by Brandy Williams - Reader's Top Picks - January 2011

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  2. Llewellyn's 2012 Witches' Datebook
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  3. Wheel of the Year Tarot
    by Lo Scarabeo

  4. Wizards Tarot
    by Corrine Kenner & John J. Blumen

  5. Gaian Tarot
    by Joanna Powell Colbert

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