28 Aug Interview with Mary Evans – Creator of the Spirit Speak Tarot
As I mentioned in my review of this wonderful deck, the Spirit Speak Tarot has been a huge gift to my Tarot practice. It has shifted my perspective on some of the cards and opened up a whole new level of my personal meanings of the Tarot. I am delighted to share my interview with the Spirit Speak Tarot’s creator Mary Evans.
A fellow creative Gemini Goddess Mary is such an inspiration for deck creators, mystics and tarot readers.
1.Can you share a little about yourself. Where you are from, what you are passionate about and what is your profession?
I’m originally from Franklin, Tennessee, a beautiful and quiet town about 30 minutes from Nashville. Now I live in Oakland, California. It’s hard for me to be away from my family, but I find so much magic in my community here.
I am passionate about many things! Being a Gemini, I like to have little bits of everything 🙂 I love drawing and feel like I always have and always will. I was very lucky to have parents who encouraged my artistic interest at a very young age. I also love jewelry and fashion.
Additionally, teaching, which I started after the Spirit Speak deck debuted, is something I am passionate about. As a tarot teacher I hope to provide my students with not only knowledge, but most of all faith in themselves, to have authority over their cards, to not feel intimidated by the tarot, and to use it as a tool to become closer with the self. Everyone can have the experiences with tarot that I have had. It has been such a gift to me and I want to empower others to have similar enlightening experiences, if they so desire.
At the moment, I work as a teacher, artist, tarot reader, and part-time metalsmith for a local jewelry company. The goal is to have my art, tarot, and teaching support me full-time in the next year.
I had been thinking about creating a deck for a few years. However, I held myself back because I felt like I needed to be some kind of “tarot master” to make my own deck. In June of 2014, my friend Katie Oly, an amazing embroidery artist, proposed having an art show at a shop in Oakland called Resurrect. Resurrect, owned by Kate Marrow (a very cool lady), has been one of my earliest supporters here in Oakland. Katie wanted the show to be tarot themed. Because we had booked the show for February, I had a lot of time to get pieces done. I thought if I planned my schedule right, it was possible to get all 78 drawings done in time for the show. Making it into a deck that people could purchase was more of an afterthought. Having the deck in the context of artistic expression, versus making a product, allowed me to truly free myself from so much self criticism.
3.How did this journey of creating the deck unfold?
I was on a pretty tight schedule. At first, I wanted to make 3 cards each week. During the major arcana cards, it felt slower. Half way trough, I wasn’t sure I could continue, it seemed like so much. I think this is because the major cards are the “big concepts”, they need more attention. My process was to think of what the card meant to me, and translate that into symbolism that was my own. I realize now that tarot cards are like little cheats. An image that triggers a feeling or words. For me I was creating my own tarot language. I tried my best to not look at other decks during my process to stay true to myself. However, I did learn from The Golden Tarot, a Ryder Waite based deck, whose influence I think you can see throughout tarot. Once I reached the minor arcana it was like the deck had taken over, like the cards were making themselves. Sometimes I would make 3 or 4 cards in one night. Overall, it took less time than I had originally anticipated.
4.What were the unexpected challenges creating this deck?
I think the greatest challenge of this project was letting go. This is the first project that I can think of where I had to let go of the idea of my drawings being pretty or beautiful. Or not that I had to let go, but I wanted to. I wanted my drawings to be a tool, and I felt like focusing too much on aesthetics would take away from their meaning. There are cards in my deck that I would not want to frame and hang on my wall, but when I see them, I understand them, and that was my intention.
5.What is your favorite Tarot Card? (of your deck or in general)
Wow! That is a hard question. I don’t think I have ever tried to come up with a favorite. There are certain cards that I feel a fondness to. I don’t know if I could pick just one. The Queen of Swords is really important to me, The Empress, The Hermit, 6 of Pentacles, 9 of Pentacles, 10 of Cups, The Magician, The Fool, The Wheel of Fortune. So many cards have had such an impact on me, and there are so many that I look to, to bring certain things into my life.
I don’t actually read my own cards anymore. I find that I am impatient when reading myself and tend to manipulate things. Luckily I have been blessed with friends who are also readers, and frequently trade with them. Reading cards for other people is something that really lifts me up. I love connecting with others on that level, the deeper, the real. It helps me have compassion for this world, that we are all trying to make ourselves and our situations better, to be happy. We all have things that we are working on at any given time, and it’s not always easy. We are each our own universe having to orbit each other, it can get messy. Every time I give a reading there is some advice I am giving the client that I should also be giving myself. I do feel like those connections are so important. To let them know that they are not alone, and also neither am I.
7.Any advice for the artists and creators reading this?
My advice would be to dig down and hold onto what is true. When those nagging voices whisper in your ear that your not good enough, that you will be judged, feeding you fear, try to listen to the light. Drawing and creating is what feeds my soul, I need to do it to be happy. And sharing that with the world is what I love to do. Many times I could have pushed it away because of fear, fear of judgement. What is TRUE is that none of that matters. Your voice is important, what you have to say through your creations means something. I know you can be brave.
Currently, I am working on a jewelry collaboration with Lise Silva, an incredibly talented fiber artist. Our project is called In The House of Lovers. Lise is a dream to work with and this project has been a big part of my recent life.
At the same time, I have been developing my own Fall collection of jewelry called Mystic Moon. It has been on hold for a while, so I am excited to come back with new designs and materials! I am also passionate about expressing myself through fashion and adornment, and hope to incorporate my art with those mediums. I plan on collaborating with a local San Francisco clothing designer next year and I couldn’t be more excited about that.
I’m also working on a calendar of herbal drawings and writings with magical herbalist, teacher, and dear friend, Liz Migliorelli, and a new deck! I am almost completed with a new oracle deck which is soon to be published. This deck focuses on simple themes, it’s easy to use and read. I was inspired by the lightness and brightness of Dorren Virtue’s oracle decks. I have some work to do before I achieve her angelic way though, my deck still incorporates themes like anxiety and fear, along with love and self care.
Rapid Fire Round!
Starsign? – Gemini
Favorite flavor of ice-cream? – Moose Tracks, it’s an ice cream with peanut butter cups, caramel, and chunks of chocolate, I am really bad about digging out all the good stuff and leaving the vanilla ice cream….
Do you have any pets? – Yes! My most precious angel!!! Priscilla the cat. He is one of the best things that has ever come into my life. He is a true ANGEL!! He is super handsome and fluffy and snuggles like a human (not even exaggerating). He is a Priscilla because he is named after Priscilla Queen of The Desert a movie about some really great drag queens.
What book are you currently reading? – Currently I am reading You are Psychic by Debra Lynne Katz, I just boughtYou Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay and I am super excited to start it! Also on my reading list is Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Name a film you have seen more than 5 times? – Mary Poppins
Who is your biggest inspiration? – My family. I admire all of them. They mean the world to me. My father and mother are both so strong, each one has overcome so much and built a beautiful life together. I have two brothers that I adore, and in each, I see myself and also things that I want to be.
What is your go-to crystal? – Citrine! I am all about using this crystal for manifestation and abundance!
How can we follow you and your projects?
Get your copy of the magical Spirit Speak Tarot HERE.