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Entries in 5 of coins (4)


Pimp My Artwork 047: The Making of the Deck

I came to the realization the other day that not everyone I want to be in the deck will be.  There's 78 cards.  I have more than 78 friends.  I meet someone and suddenly a card will come into my head and unless I mark it down in my little brown journal, that image will not leave.  

People keep saying "Aren't you the one creating the deck?" and I have to answer yes and no, and here's why.  When I started to paint the deck I had no direction.  I had started decks years earlier and finished about five cards before I got sidetracked with other projects.  I tried again a few years back and got but one card and a few paintings that resembled cards but didn't fit together as a whole.  I felt stuck.  The Five of Coins was the first card I painted and had the right feel to it.  It wasn't until a year later when I painted the Magician that I finally got direction. The cards themselves tell me the direction they want to go.  I will try to paint one a certain way and have to paint it over and over until I finally follow the messages coming to me.  I don't know where this deck is coming from.  It just kind of takes over. I can have one idea and it will veto it.  This has never happened before with a body of work.  Here is the story of the Five of Coins and how the tarot came to be.

The Five of Coins

This card brings sorrow and loss. It is usually an emotional or financial loss depending on the layout.  Sometimes it is a spiritual loss or a loss of hope. This is a time of difficult emotions, insecurity, anxiety and stress, vulnerability, depression, and uncertainty. It is also the wounded healer card.  It denotes wanting to take care of another's wounds when yours have not yet healed.  The message in this card is to hold onto the important things in life, there is hope.  You will find your way.

I had gotten a message from an ex.  He had bone cancer and wanted to clear the air between us.  We had parted ways badly, the wounds were still fresh.  I cried. 

You see, when someone you once and still care about tells you they're in pain you want to run to them.  You want to hold them and tell them it will be ok.  That everything will work out fine and everyone will get a happy ending.  It doesn't always work like that.  I was still angry at him.  I wanted him to be okay but I wasn't ready to fully commit to friendship.  Instead I painted. 

The five of coins was really about compassion.  The night I painted it I wanted nothing more than for him to be healed and yet I didn't paint him into the card.  I didn't want him to know I still cared, so in his place I painted a man I used to know.  I imagined us meeting up on a dirt path, both wounded but compassionate.  I imagined we would heal.  I imagined he would come back to me.  He didn't.  He had moved on. 

I said things I shouldn't have.  I was still angry but in the end I made sure he knew he would fight the cancer and win.  As much as this card is about loss and suffering, it's also about compassion.  The night I painted it I was filled with love, not a happy love but a sad forlorn type of love.  This card was the beginning of me tending to my own wounds and with it beauty emerged. 

The night I finished it I knew this was the feel I wanted for the deck.  A small town with abandoned buildings, bits of hope among ruin, and always magic. 

Just recently we had a number of eclipses.  That same ex lover came back into my life but in a new way.  This time I'm going to paint him into the deck.  This time I want him to know we're ok and we never have to repeat that history again.  This time we won't be together as lovers.  This time we can be friends.

If it's one thing I have learned, it's to let go of the past.  You can talk about it, you can refer to it it, but you can never hold onto it, not even yesterdays past.  I've only recently became of aware of this.  Time doesn't wait for us, it keeps moving.  It would be disastrous if it stopped.  When put into perspective with your own life it's huge.

This deck had two beginnings, one here and one with the Magician. Sometimes it's all about tapping in and listening.


Dreams Are Real 029: Project 40

Today is day two of Project 40, a brilliant experiment by Sherene Schostak.  Project 40 consists of 40 days of well-being. What addictions or attachments would you be willing to sacrifice in order to see a glimpse of your true self? Is there something you always wanted to do but procrastinated?  Sound a little like Lent? Well, Project 40 version 2 encourages you to delve into the arts and abandon yourself to creativity.

When I started Project 40 yesterday I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  In New Orleans they call it "Growing up tipsy." It means you're tapped in.  I've been tipsy for a long time but lately feel I need a deeper connection, past Holly and Brian, and my immediate family of ancestors, but deep into the roots.  So for 40 days I'll be working intensely with my boveda (ancestral altar).  My goal in this is to feel connected to my ancestry.  I'm also prone to depression ans well. I think any sort of meditation is good for balancing, as well as trust within self, and confidence.  All of these very good things. 

Lately life has felt like the five of coins.  I was worried about everything except my well-being,  I became the wounded healer, and although that can work for some time, it eventually catches up to you.  I've been quiet this week, cleaning the house, cooking, doing mundane things. I'm getting ready to work on a big painting and designing a logo for a company. 

I sat in front of the boveda and started to cry.  It's amazing what can happen when you just sit still for a few moments. I took out my cards and  promised my ancestors I would trust them and I did what any young woman would do.  I began to doubt everything everything that was told, even the good things.  Even the things I was told to let go.  But that's part of a journey, or at least the beginning part, doubt, denial, fear.  It's all part of something much richer.  I even set up a little place to honor Oshun to bring a little sweetness into the home.  And while I enjoyed the dancing I still felt there was a lot of work to be done.

The top of the boveda.

Inside the boveda

A space for Oshun.

Later that evening I did a surprise reading for a man I had only met once before.  There are some readings that just flow.  The minute you throw down the cards they start to speak.  This was one of them.  We hugged afterward.  I gave him a piece of coral from Kali's altar.  "For grounding but also clearing." I said, handing it to him.  He gave me a coin, a gift to make a Gypsy smile.  A 1913 penny which I have placed into my gris gris with the mini spanish deck.  "For luck." He said. 

I pulled three for myself:

The Magician, The Star, and The Empress.

Image by Katarína Hybenová for Bushwick Daily


Pimp My Artwork 022: The Deck So Far


Pimp My Artwork 01: Five of Coins

I haven't been posting much of my recent work, as my partner in crime Sherene Schostak and I are currently cooking up a proposal for an awesome tarot deck. It will be filled with rich textural images and traditional descriptions with an astrological twist.