I met Gala Darling two years ago in a chic little hotel bar. Molly Crabapple introduced us after insisting the world would crumble if we didn't meet. She was right. We laughed and laughed talking star signs and art. It was then I first proposed that Gala would be the Star Card. Since then the tarot has gone through a lot of changes. Last year, right around this time I painted the Magician which completely changed the feel of the deck.
After finishing the Empress just a few weeks ago I wondered which energy would make itself known. There was a little spark of light and the Star was born. I usually live the cards as I paint them so as I started to make the sketch I wondered what wonderful things would be emerging. My house got messy, I had paint everywher, people kept coming into town, and I finished a few comissions. A week had gone by and I hadn't worked on anything. I wondered if maybe it wasn't time to paint this card. That thought was quickly put to rest when I realized what was actually happening.
I had been thinking about a number of things. Jack Kerouac was one, Taylor Mead giving up riches to come to NYC was another, old black and white movies, and wardrobe trunks, glorious wardrobe trunks with drawers and hangers. I remembered Callie Curry had gotten one when she first moved to closer to Pratt and I've wanted one ever since. So I started looking online. Unfortunately a lot of these trunks were more than I could afford or wanted to pay. I found one on etsy that I absolutely fell in love with, right down to the color (red) and the interior paper covering the drawers. It was my dream trunk but it was on hold for someone else. I wrote the woman saying that if the sale fell through to contact me and started my search again. As I searched through pages of trunks, I happened upon one. It needed fixing but something about it made me keep going back to the page. It was $55 and said pick up only. Unfortunately it was in Ohio. There was no way. I messaged the woman and asked her if she would sell it to me if I paid for shipping. On the listing it said it belonged to her 86 year old mother and I liked that about it. I felt like the trunk had a good history and that it was loved. The other one as much as I loved the way it looked, I had no idea where it came from.
A day passed and the other trunk sold. I came home to an email saying if I paid the shipping and set it up for pickup the trunk was mine. I bought it right then and there. I would get the trunk the day after Valentine's Day. It would take two days to ship. It was Sunday when I set it all up. The woman wrote me, "My Mother passed away recently. She was originally from NY so I think she would be pleased for it to be heading back home."
Monday I lassoed up Kate Black and Emily Poole to Bowery Poetry club to see Taylor Mead, one of New York's treasures. The Friday before my friend Jeffrey Wengrofsky had screened his film Party in Taylor Mead's Kitchen. Taylor has a fascinating life story. He grew up in a wealthy political family, read Kerouac's On the Road and gave it all up saying "That's how you're supposed to live." and hitchhiked to San Francisco where he was immediately accepted into the beatnik scene. I needed to speak to him. I got there early and chit chatted. I even told him about the trunk, to which he replied, "Now that's what I have to do. Condense everything to two bags. You never know when this city will throw you on your ass."
After the show I was filled with inspiration. At 86 years old Taylor could kick most of our asses with his energy level.
Now I knew I had to do something special with this trunk. I also knew I needed to paint. I started to make small steps in the painting. The Star is an interesting card because it's associated with Aquarius. You're always going to go into strange wonderful worlds when dealing with Aquarius energy. I knew I'd have to take this one step by step. Gala was perfect for Aquarius even though she's a Virgo. She's got a wonderful quirkiness, is a master at connecting people, and all of that hope, amazing style, self love, and healing is just what the Star represents.
I took an unconventional approach to her. In most decks, the Star is pouring water into the river as well as the ground herself but in this one, she inspires others to do so. You see the Star is not only about healing yourself but inspiring others to do so as well. The Star is about future hope, keeping positive even if the results aren't immediate and having the confidence and patience to stay on track. The Scarlet Ibis represents Thoth who is the Egyptian God of wisdom and the divine mediator. He is the inventor of writing and the patron of scribes. At the end of ones life, Thoth is there for the judgement where the weigh one's heart on one side of the scale and a feather on the other. If the heart weighed less than the feather Thoth would bless their afterlife. He is associated with the night and the crescent moon. Some say the Ibises curved beak gave that association as well.
The first flower is a Rose Pink, this one has white petals and the second is Rue Anemone. Both were taken by Jim Shirey. The first I chose before I saw the name but laughed afterward as Gala is known for her love of all things pink. They are also known as bitterblossom and for this once again perfect for the star. Sometimes we can't always see the wonderful things we have in store for the future. perhaps that certain somebody is not into us right now but will be in the future. That can be incredibly frustrationg, or a career that is going to be prosperous but it hitting a few bumps in the road. The bitterblossom gives us that taste of reality that wakes us up and makes us realize that we must remain focussed. The Rue Anemone is called 'Wind Flower' because it appears to open its flowers when the wind is blowing, and from the greek 'Anemos' meaning breathing or lives.
I received the trunk on Wednesday in the midst of painting the card. And as the poor delivery guy had to carry it into my home. (It was too heavy for me to lift). I realized all at once that the trunk was a symbol of my own hope. My hope for travel, and for some mysterious adventure down the line. I couldn't see what it was now, or perhaps how it would happen but in time and with a little effort everything would come together.