Meditation by Leilani Joy
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: How to use the Meditation Card: Within the 78 Tarot Carnival deck, we have included a specially designed Meditation Card, created for the deck, and not found anywhere else. This card can be used to center yourself before reading with this deck, and we hope that by spending a few moments gazing at this card, you will find a deeper connection to the color, light and hope brought by the deck itself.
Meditation is a card unique to the 78 Tarot Carnival deck and created by Leilani Joy.
Artists Interpretation: Meditation. A card unique to the 78 Tarot deck, unites the ancient practice with the power of tarot. Many believe that having a connection with your deck is a vital part of tarot and ensures a more accurate reading. There are many meditative techniques than can be used to increase the reader's sensitivity to their deck. By taking the time to center yourself and focus your energy, one may reach a deeper connection to tarot itself. Inspired by Japanese carnival, Kabuki, and Buddhist meditation- this card represents balance through symmetry and finding one's center. Our subject is literally at the center of the image and encircled by a window of light. The light exudes from her center, with all surrounding directional lines converging at her heart chakra. In Hindu and Buddhist traditional, Anahata (heart chakra) is associated with balance, calmness, and serenity. - Leilani Joy.
California based artist Leilani Joy is influenced by Japanese animation, fashion illustration, and the occult. The art she produces is unique and highly sought after by
many collectors and art galleries, including Swoon Gallery and Disney’s Wonderground Gallery. Wanting to mentor and educate young artists, Leilani has begun to demonstrate her process and explore new techniques on YouTube.
Foresight by Larry Elmore
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: How to use a Wild Card:
There are two Wild Cards within the 78 Tarot Carnival deck, each created for the deck, and are not found in other decks. They are related to the Major Arcana and are designed to pop up to bring a special message to the reader when it is most needed. You can use the deck without these cards, but the inclusion of them adds an element, a facet of life not generally covered by the traditional 78 cards of the Tarot.
Larry Elmore is a titan in the world of fantasy art, who helped set the standard for art in role-playing books, while working with TSR, creating covers for D&D, AD&D, and most famously, the visual world of Dragonlance. He has worked on many other projects too numerous to list! Larry has honored us with his phenomenal artwork since our very first deck.
Foresight is a card unique to the 78 Tarot Carnival deck and created by Larry Elmore.
Equilibrium by Natacha Chohra
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: How to use a Wild Card:
There are two Wild Cards within the 78 Tarot Carnival deck, each created for the deck, and are not found in other decks. They are related to the Major Arcana and are designed to pop up to bring a special message to the reader when it is most needed. You can use the deck without these cards, but the inclusion of them adds an element, a facet of life not generally covered by the traditional 78 cards of the Tarot.
Equilibrium is a card unique to the the 78 Tarot Carnival deck and created by Natacha Chohra.
Artists Interpretation: High in the clouds, the tightrope walker is sitting, balanced serenely between the sky and the earth. In her right hand she holds six balloons with heart symbols which she gifts to the sky above. In her left hand she holds six red roses which she gifts to the earth below. In some traditions, the number six is a symbol of balance and completeness: 'As above, so below. As within, so without.' The Equilibrium card talks of the balance and key to life itself: everything around and within us is one and the same, microcosmos vs macrocosmos, man vs the divine and the Universe. In a reading the Equilibrium card will appear to remind us to pay particular attention to the nature of the thoughts we sustain and the things we focus on at this time. The divine/universe exists within all of us which means that we have the potential to shape the world around us through our thoughts and feelings in positive and negative ways, the choice is ours. The advice is therefore to focus on putting out as many loving and positive thoughts and feelings (represented on the card by the gifting of the roses and balloons) as possible.
A French artist living in the UK, Natacha Chohra creates a beautiful mix of realism and make-believe / fantasy, to bring light and positivity to others. Nature, folklore, myth and legends play a large part in her work and art.
The Fool by Poul Dohle
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The Fool stands at the beginning of his journey, travelling into the unknown. He’s a primitive soul, the white rose in his hand representing his purity and desire for freedom. So far he has lived, and made his career, on the stage, instead of in the real world. He has never encountered society, or the civilisation of mainstream humanity, and as yet is unaffected by either. Now he stands at the edge of the stage, ready to take the plunge, guided only by his loyal flying hound and the globe on his bindle.
This card represents the feeling of wanting to move onto new pastures - you have learned all you can within this sphere, and want more freedom. This is your chance to start anew, take what you've learned, and begin again.
Artists Interpretation: I was very happy to have been assigned The Fool by 78 Tarot. It stands for the beginning and being curious about a new life journey. The Fool has the number 0 - the beginning of the beginning, the first and last mystery, the incomprehensible absolute, symbolically recognized in mysticism as the world egg or uroboros.
The world can be seen on a bag at the end of his rod. The Fool is the pure soul, the essence of childhood in older, experienced people. His white rose stands for purity of heart and innocence, the rod for his fiery vitality. The monkey occurs frequently as a dream symbol, standing for the uncivilized, materialistically-oriented animalistic/primitive people without intellect. He stands before the abyss into unconscious (symbolized by the night sky and moon on the stage decoration) looking at us expectantly and questioning.
Poul’s first painting medium was porridge – he soon moved on to creating enchanting paintings and illustrations that feature unique and magical dragons, unicorns, or endearing elves and goblins. He has been working as a freelance illustrator since 2005. Poul has graced us with his wonderful talent since our Nautical deck.
The Magician by Delphine Lévesque Demers
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The magician is master of his art. His right hand is raised to the heavens, and energy bounds from it - the power of the universe is his to command, and he isn’t afraid to show it. He proudly wears the infinity symbol, and his belt is an Ouroboros, a symbol of eternity and the cycle of life. He presents us with all four Tarot suits - the elements, the powers of intellect, emotion, spirit, creativity and the physical world are within his grasp, literally.
This card inspires, telling us we already possess the knowledge and skill to make our dreams come true. It predicts success and soothes self-doubt. The wide range of powers available to the Magician reminds us that we can harness the powers of the universe, that rather than rely on one skill-set, we can reach wider, think creatively to achieve our goals.
Artists Interpretation: For this card I decided to go for a middle-eastern vibe, casting the 4 suites as a magic show in his tent as the Fool enters the Carnival, presenting him all 4 kingdoms. My husband Jason modelled for this painting as he is my muse and I thought he would make a perfect Magician for this deck!
Delphine Lévesque Demers is a self-taught professional illustrator specializing in fantasy, horror and erotic art. Her artwork is featured in many art book collections, various collectibles, and she also worked as an illustrator for the Bettie Page Production, creating official merchandise of the famous pinup featuring Delphine’s paintings of her.
The High Priestess by Meredith Dillman
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The High Priestess is a daring acrobat, suspended serenely in the sky. Her aerial ribbon forms two pillars, one on either side of her. Her head-dress creates a translucent veil, tantalising us with a slight view of the heavens behind her. Lunar moths fly, entranced, toward the crescent moon, just as we gaze towards her in wonder, desperate to discover more about the mysteries she hides.
This card is represents a time to hold back and listen to your subconscious, to your inner wisdom, rather than rush in, fuelled by emotion and intellect. It is strongly influenced by the moon and as such, intuition plays a major role, but also reminds us that things are not always as they seem - reinforcing the advice to pause for reflection.
Artists Interpretation: The High Priestess represents a doorway to veiled mysteries, wisdom and knowledge. She swings between twin pillars of silk with her veil flowing out behind her. She is crowned in moonlight and carries a key and scroll of knowledge on her belt. The pomegranate in her dress references the goddess Persephone. Behind her are stars mimicking the shape of the tree of life. Luna moths gather around her, drawn to the presence of the moon.
I didn’t want to create the usual depiction of the card in all blues. I chose an Indian and Pakistani styled costume in gold hues to stand out against the sky.
The Empress by Jessica Douglas
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: An opulent Empress stands at the entrance to a lush forest, seemingly out of place, but perfectly at ease with her surroundings. Angelic wings spring from her jewelled head-dress, her gown is beautiful, petal-like and decorated with heart shaped leaves. She is both at one with nature, and rising above it into splendor, but her Venetian abundance reminds us of the sensational, hedonistic history of that legendary city. Her mask is compelling and unnerving, her white eyes staring through you, while appearing sightless. She holds a sceptre in one hand, and almost casually supports a heart in the other.
This card embodies the fluid nature of woman, flowing easily between emotion and intuition, suggesting that by embracing all facets of femininity, there is little that this regal, elemental earth mother can't achieve.
Artists Interpretation: The first thing that struck me was that the Empress is a mother card. Not just about fertility and pregnancy, but literally mother earth, and so while a forest scenery is not exactly carnival, I felt it would best display her tie to nature and bountiful growth, harvest, so on. My next choice was to go with the Venice Carnival, which both implied royalty and riches, as well as leant itself to symbolism in the Rider Waite deck. I felt that having her dress mimic a flower blossoming beneath her would do well to show her connection to growth, springtime and new life. She's often shown with the symbol of Venus, and so I incorporated that into her gown as well as the Fleur De Lys.
The Empress is, above all else, a card about coming to know and accept who you are as a person. I repeated this feeling with three leaves, two over her chest and one floating above her hand to show the love of self, and that loving oneself means you have more love to give to those around you.
Jessica Douglas is a fantasy artist with a large repertoire and history in the fantasy art community. She creates intricately detailed paintings as well as a large variety of other artsy goodies using her skilled hands. A veteran to 78 Tarot as well as the fantasy art community – she is currently working on illustrations for Peter Beagles modern adaptation of The Last Unicorn.
The Hierophant by Patricia Ariel
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The wisdom of this mysterious eastern vizier is evident in his eyes, too old and wise for the young body in which they reside. Two fingers on his right hand point skyward, symbolising the link from the mundane world to the heavens above. He is ringed by a triple halo, symbolising the three worlds, his power over which is revealed by the triple ringed key in his left hand. He is the teacher, the one who brings knowledge and ceremony to the carnival and the people who work within.
This card represents a current need to defer to others - to respect customs and tradition. It suggests that as things stand, we will achieve more by following these rather than if we think out-side the box and choose a less traditional path.
Artists Interpretation: The Hierophant is the High Priestess's male counterpart, the connection between humankind and the gods. His element is the Earth, and he carries the key that open the mysteries that are hidden from the common man. Traditionally, the Hierophant represents the desire to achieve knowledge and illumination.
To create the Hierophant, I sought inspiration in the oriental characterization of old carnival fortune tellers, giving him a turban that is ornamented by a peacock feather. The peacock is a symbol of wisdom and inner vision for the eastern cultures. The Hierophant is not represented as an old figure, but rather as a lively and strong man to represent the immortality of the conscious mind. He has a blind eye, which translates his capacity to look inside, or to see into the darkness of what is mysterious or occult.
His horns represent the element Earth to which he is related, but also reinforces his connection with Venus, the ruler of Taurus, the quintessential Earth sign. He points to the sky with two fingers, to symbolize his connection with human and spiritual natures. The butterfly landing on his fingers represents transmutation, and, as a symbol of the element air, the faith that becomes certainty since it sprouts from knowledge and reason rather than blind dogma.
Despite some formal training, Patricia Ariel is primarily self-taught. Inspired by theater and ballet, Eastern Art, Art Nouveau and Jugendstil, Pop Art, occult symbolism, Tarot, Astrology and metaphysics, her body of work is based on a passion for figurative art, combined with expressionist and ornamental abstracts. Patricia graced us with her absolutely gorgeous art for the first three decks.
The Emperor by Stanley Morrison
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A white-haired ringmaster sits on a gilded throne, in front of a mass of circus tents. This is his world, the throne an obvious symbol of leadership, the rams heads symbols of his discipline. The Emperor's clothes are ripped and torn - this leader works just as hard as his carnies. He earned his experience and authority, he is to be respected and admired. He wears an opulent Venetian mask, his white eyes stare intently, and although they appear to be inanimate and sightless, they bore through you. He carries a pulsing fiery orb and a staff decorated with an ankh. The ankh is representative of his authority, the flaming orb, a globe that represents his dominion.
This card suggests that hard work, and playing within the rules will bring you the rewards you seek. The stability and experience you achieve will bring you the respect of your peers and help you on your way.
Artists Interpretation: Since this card complements the Empress, I wanted to incorporate some of the same colors that Jessica Douglas used for the Empress. I made the colors more vibrant to symbolize his passion and energy for life and its challenges. I put slightly torn clothing to indicate that he has acquired years of wisdom and experience and he is worthy of listening to because he has seen first-hand the consequences of his actions. The long white beard also helps in this.
I tried to convey his power and authority with the perspective of slightly looking up at him. I left it up to the viewer to decide what his throne is traveling on (Elephant, Wagon…). For his intellect and astral ruler symbol, there are 4 rams heads carved in the thrown.
The Ankh, which I wanted to be like a ring masters cane, is the Egyptian symbol of Life. The orb I wanted to be more magical, so I made a blue orb on fire to representing the carnival world over which he rules.
Stanley Morrison is an award winning fantasy artist, who has previously created interior illustrations for issues of Dragonlance “Age of Mortals” and “Bestiary of Krynn“, along with book covers for various publishers, concept art for a variety of studios and card art for Hiddencity games (BELLA SARA) and for AEG (LOFR). Stan joined the project for Nautical and has been gracing us with his talent ever since!
The Lovers by Shelby Nichols
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Two lovers leave the freak show together, happiness and contentment evident on their faces as they begin a journey. He gazes up towards the heavens, suggesting that their love is a deeply spiritual connection. She holds an apple in her hand, representing the purity of their relationship. But a serpent is draped around them, binding them in the shape of a heart. There will be trouble ahead, their relationship will face hardship and there may be tough choices to make, but they have decided to face these trials together, as equal partners.
This card suggests that in every relationship, whether it is a romantic attachment or good friendship, the partnership is affected by every choice made, and that we have to stay true to ourselves in order to withstand adversity.
Artists Interpretation: In the earlier part of the 1900's, individuals with a condition called microcephaly could occasionally be found in carnival freak shows. Some, like Pip and Flip, were loaned to circuses by families to get extra money during the depression.
Overall, the childlike and innocent natures of the microcephalic performers won over audiences, and that sweet nature inspired my Lover's card.
The Angel was inspired by Koo Koo the Bird Girl. Born with Virchow-Seckel syndrome, she was actually rescued earlier in life from a mental institution, and performed well into the 60's.
Shelby Nichols believes there can be beauty in all dark things, even nightmares and often explores this with her art. A self-taught artist, who works primarily in graphite, her art seeks to tell a story, or hint at character, and she finds inspiration in art that makes the viewer wonder what would happen next or where the subjects had come from. Shelby has graced us with her storytelling talent since our first deck.
The Chariot by Mike Tenebrae
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A ringmaster drives his chariot through the carnival, a look of triumph on his face. This is no simple horse-drawn cart, but something deserving of an ancient gladiator, pulled by two massive elephants. Storm clouds gather overhead, suggesting trouble and higher powers at work, but the ring master is unfazed, the chariot moves on, unrelenting. These massive beasts could crush him at any time, but instead, they work with him, accepting his command, rather than being broken by his will.
This card is a reminder to be assertive and bold in the face of challenges ahead. Telling us that guided by strength of will and courage, moving forward while maintaining focus will bring success. This is not a time to be timid or meek, but rather, you should gather all your confidence and drive onward.
Artists Interpretation: I was thrilled to have made the cut for the Carnival Tarot Deck, but was nervous upon discovering my card was the Chariot. I knew admittedly little about the rules of the tarot images and the Chariot seemed a more complex image in any setting. But that comes with the job of being an illustrator, so I took up the challenge and began going through ideas...but it was still tough, for me at least. In the end the message I wished to convey was one of power, which seemed to be a fundamental element to the card itself. I did not want to depict the beasts in it under subjugation. My initial draft was a bit too macabre as the message I wanted to reflect was my distaste for animals in service to the circus. My next image I hoped to show the animals in both earnest determination as well as triumph and perhaps even touching upon that slight air of danger that can be found in a carnival atmosphere.
Mike Tenabrae is an artist working from his studio in South Africa. He has an extensive background in illustration and has worked with companies such as Fantasy Game Flights, The Design Element, Avalon Games and more. Mike joined us for the Circus and will continue to space!
Justice by Iris Compiet
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Between two red velvet curtains, a ballerina balances on a sword. Above her, an angel and a demon whisper to her, one on either side of her, acting as perfect antithesis. A star hovers above her, while flames sear below. Her sightless gaze is turned up toward the sky, and her feet are bloody, but her balance is resolute. A flaming heart is emblazoned on her chest.
She suffers for the balance she has achieved, unwilling and unable to judge by appearances, but only determining the truth for herself by listening to both good and evil and weighing both for herself.
This card cautions that Justice is not easy, or obvious, but hard won and sometimes requires sacrifice. It reminds us that our actions and decisions bring consequences, and that fairness will only prevail by achieving balance.
Artists Interpretation: Justice is a delicate ballerina who balances on the double edged sword, as a dancer on the tightrope. Beneath her are flames, her feet are cut on the sword, justice and balance is a delicate thing. She herself is the scales of justice. Her hands in perfect balance. Weighing her judgement in her own two hands. Listening to all the sides, the opposing arguments, good and evil on either side of her. Good in the form of an angel, evil in the form of a devil. She has no eyes and relies on her other senses to keep the balance.
Joining us to create Justice for 78 Tarot Carnival, Iris Compiet is an award winning artist and Illustrator from the Netherlands. She studied at the University of Art in Breda where she graduated with honors. Since then she thrives as an artist and illustrator, serving clients across the globe. Iris enjoys working on projects ranging from picture books to gallery art and even concept art for films. Her work has been juried into art annuals such as Infected by Art and has also been exhibited in Maleficium Dark Art Exhibition curated by J. Anthony Kosar.
The Hermit by Michael Banks
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A young cat sits alone outside the circus fences, with only the detritus left by the evening's attendees. He has abandoned the noisy, bright circus, and escaped its distractions – he has gone as far as he can in this world. He chooses the peace and quiet of dark night to indulge in some soul searching. He is not completely alone in the dark however, he has captured a firefly to light his way and bring wisdom. A discarded lollipop acts as a staff, representing his power over emotion and intuition, and on his own, he will find the answers he seeks and move on.
This card reminds us that the world around us is chaotic and that we can get lost within it. There is a time to isolate ourselves, ignore all of life's distractions, allowing introspection and contemplation to guide us on the best way forward.
Artists Interpretation: After a roller coaster life of ups and downs. This little loner is ready for some peace outside the hustle and bustle of the chaotic carnival life he once knew. He will find his own way using what he's learned and making due with what he has. Living on the outsides of the crowds, keeping to himself, enjoying everything from a far and living a peaceful life of solitude.
Michael Banks creates gorgeous surrealist, lowbrow images and comics filled with big eyed characters and cute animals in colorful scenes. Michael has a talent only surpassed by his drive to make the world a happier place, perfected by years creating art in a variety of ways from tattoo flash to children’s stories. Michael has honored us with his absolutely furrily adorable art since his Wild Card Curiosity in Nautical.
Wheel of Fortune by Tanya Bond
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: To one side of this beautiful woman, there is a calm beach scene, but shadows play over half her face. The other side of her face is clear, with a bright expression, but behind her, dark storms gather. She is the very image of duality. Her head-dress is a simple wheel, intricately woven into her hair. At its centre is a spiral of white and black that would combine when the wheel was in motion, symbolising two halves of a whole, the light and dark that are constant in an ever changing world.
Life is about the inescapable ups and downs, the good and bad that are a part of each other - without the bad there would be no good, just indiscernible blandness, and this card reminds us to embrace that, to accept the ever moving cycle of life.
Artists Interpretation: The wheel of fortune represents the forces of fate that are outside of our control. It symbolizes a cyclic nature of our life, our destiny, an inevitability of what's coming, good or bad, and the ultimate balance of these cycles. What's coming is meant to happen, and in time the tables will turn, every dark period of life will be followed by a light one. The change is imminent, and our work is to accept it gracefully, and to learn from the coming events about ourselves, about our life and about our destination.
Tanya Bond is the talented 78 Tarot artist who created the High Priestess for our Nautical deck, and the Fool for our First Edition. She is a self-taught artist, who loves discovering new mediums and subjects. Recently, her work has been focused around emotive portraiture and pop surrealism. She recently published her very first Oracle – the Duality Deck, which features her beautiful artwork and writing. She also has published 2 coloring books and is working on her 3rd. She has graced us with her presence and talent for every one of our decks.
Strength by Selina Fenech
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A young woman stands with a massive lion, gently supporting his jaws as he towers over her. She wears no armour, she has no protection, but she is safe. Her trust and confidence in this powerful creature is absolute - she stands with her back to him, but does not fear him.
He is painted with an infinity symbol, representing the spiritual power and balance between them. Her hair falls down her back, mingling and merging with his main, until we are not sure where she starts and he ends.
This card suggests we mirror her - face a dangerous situation with compassion and courage, rather than beating it down with physical strength. To keep the confidence to work calmly with challenges, rather than against them.
Artists Interpretation: Normally depicted with a woman softly holding a lion's jaws. The woman often has a crown of flowers (I gave that to the lion instead) and the infinity symbol above her head (part of the lion's make up).
The Strength card is more about inner strength than physical strength. I wanted to show bravery by having her back to the lion, it's mouth so near her head and her so vulnerable nearly naked.
Australian artist Selina Fenech has enchanted lovers of fantasy with her artwork for years, and continues to do so with her books. Her art has featured in many magazines and books, along with oracle decks, calendars, and many other items, including dolls. Selina has graced us with her glorious art since Nautical!
The Hanged Man by David Van Gough
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A masked figure gives us a glimpse behind the curtain. An escapologist hangs upside down in a tank of water. The ring master of this macabre circus holds the cable from which he is suspended. Swirling around him, bubbles of air that escape him transform into eyes and skulls, and sink into darkness at the bottom of the tank. His arms are behind him, he is chained and bound, and seems to be in terrible danger - his mask is one of despair. But he is the master of his craft - he has not sunk into the darkness, he is suspended above it. This is his choice, his trial to face.
This card reminds us that changing perspective is not easy, but sometimes necessary in order to follow the right path for ourselves, despite the sacrifices we might have to make along the way.
Artists Interpretation: The card is one of surrender, a world turned upside down for a chrysalis caught in polarity.
With all my work, I try to place anything I do within a contemporary context, evoke the Carnival of ancient rites as allusions to the broader stage.
So, referencing the original alchemical properties of the Tarot, it is the sum of Agrippa's human form divine, the Vitruvian man as the ultimate sacrifice recapitulated as a symbol for the events of 911. Who can forget that haunting image of the falling clerk, framed between the twin towers- a perfect approximation of Saturn's harlequin- the fool hanging and paraded as a ritual martyr for some divined end. As above, so below, because all the world is a circus, and the chasm left by the escapologist is nought but the ringmaster's thrall.
Born in Britain, but now living in California, David Van Gough is a brilliant, modern, surreal artist, perfect to introduce us to The Devil. His award-winning Necrorealist paintings are stunningly dark series of works. He joined 78 Tarot in time for Nautical to create the Devil, and now he creates the Hanged Man for 78 Tarot Carnival.
Death by Jasmine Becket-Griffith
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A Venetian lady stands within a circle of masked figures and skeletons. Behind her looms a plague doctor, and she cradles the skull of a dead baby. Death rides past in the distance on his horse, idly watching the scene - a reminder that death cannot be defeated. The rich and poor, children, adults and the elderly, all will face him. But behind all this, dawn breaks, the sun rises on a new day, purifying us all and bringing a fresh start.
Often mistaken for a harbinger of real death, this card more often symbolises the end of something that has come to a natural close, and the rebirth that will inevitably follow. It is a hopeful card - with all endings there is sorrow, but also a chance to move on, begin again and transform into something positive.
Artists Interpretation: I’ve given her a dark red dress (it kind of has a Masque of the Red Death feel to it). The background has an Italianate feel. The skeleton guy on the horse skeleton is based on a very old anatomy etching I came across. As it needed to encompass the Tarot Death card themes as well as the Carnival theme, there are small dancing masked figures or skeletons circling around her, and death on his skeletal horse in the distance. My Plague Doctor / Alchemist character (he appears in a lot of my works) is looming behind her.
Jasmine Becket-Griffith has been a full-time artist since 1997. Her paintings blend realism and fantasy to explore gothic themes with elements of classical literature, the occult, nature, and fantasy. Her artwork can be found in private collections, public displays and is licensed around the world by Disney, Hot Topic and Target.
Temperance by Carla Morrow
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A woman steps forward from her platform, while balancing a parasol in one hand and juggling cups and balls with the other - no mean feat in itself, but this lady is walking the tightrope of diplomacy as well. She faces this challenge with confidence and serenity, showing no fear or hesitation. Her position on the tightrope shows that she is poised between both worlds. She has one foot on steady ground, and one in the heavens, supported only by a slender wire, showing that she lives in both the real world and in her subconscious. She holds 4 balls, and 2 cups, with water flowing flawlessly between them, everything about her performance is in perfect balance.
This card reminds us that nothing is impossible, with patience and preparation. That by maintaining balance and serenity within your life and actions, you can rise above the challenges you face, and reach the skies.
Artists Interpretation: My Temperance card shows a woman up on the tightrope. She balances a feathered umbrella in one hand and is juggling 2 cups and balls in the other. The woman has one foot on the platform and is stepping knowingly into rope. The platform is the material world and the rope is the subconscious. She is sure footed and knows what she's is doing along with the risks involved. The 2 cups she is juggling represent the subconscious and super conscious minds and how thoughts move between the two in order to fully understand how we move between the lower planes and higher consciousness planes. Temperance shows us that the middle, balanced road is the best course of action. Know and understand all the elements and make decisions without taking extreme risks and keep an eye on long-term goals. It teaches truth, Balance, moderation, patience, purpose, and meaning.
Carla Morrow creates images of dragons and other creatures from worlds that can only exist in our imagination using pencil and watercolors to bring these creatures to life. For her, as with so many of us, dragons hold a unique appeal as an icon which has appealed to man for eons.
The Devil by Luca Federici Carey
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: At first glance, all is chaos, but through the hedonistic colour and light of the carnival, two clowns in the foreground are bound to a stone by chains, representing the bonds we place on ourselves through self-destructive desires. Behind them, the devil stares out, his hand raised in command, a broad grin on his face suggesting that he has already drawn us deep within his inviting entropic circus.
For all the symbolism of bondage and command, this card is one of deception. Things are not as they seem. The devil is a figure to blame - representative of our desires, addictions and greed, but ultimately powerless to restrain us. We are in control of our own actions, if we choose to be, rather than allowing ourselves to be bound by temptation and excess.
Artists Interpretation: The Devil card represents bondage, deception, and materialism: a tempting bid for the spiritual energies of the user. What better framework in which to insert these ideas than the endless decadence and opulence of the carnival? The Devil sits atop his altar of distorted attractions, swimming in an eternal swirl of bright and inviting entropy. Though the Devil seeks to acquire us through deception, its fearsome grin and elaborate horrors are plainly on display: you may indulge your destructive nature, but your master is looking through you. He grins the widest grin because, though this may be your first time seeing him, he has seen you (or iterations of you) countless times before and has already made a home within you just as you will within him.
Luca Federici Carey is an illustrator, comic artist, and all-around cool guy living in New York City. He graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Sequential Art and is now pursuing a freelance career and putting together plans for his first graphic novel. Luca has graced us with his incredible art for all of our decks.
The Tower by Piya Wannachaiwong
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A massive creature has escaped, obliterating the circus - even the towering clowns have fallen, their now-broken stilts not strong enough to withstand this whirl of destruction. This dragon wields the elements of the Tarot, breathing down lightning upon the carnival and scattering carnies to the four winds. But this "monster" is a means of revelation – the lightning acting as a flash of clarity. The carnies are uninjured, their costumes and props are wrecked, not their bodies. The stilts, even the tents were temporary structures, and can be rebuilt - all is not lost, the dim light of the moon bringing hope for the future.
This card represents a rude awakening, a time when our beliefs have been shaken, but all is not doom and gloom. Despite the chaos, turmoil and pain, there will be a new beginning, on stronger foundations, and we will be better for it.
Artists Interpretation: When I got the Tower, I knew I didn't just want to do a tall, stone structure. Tall stone towers do not evoke the idea of a Carnival, and are not terribly interesting. I gathered pictures of Carnivals and soon stumbled upon stilt walkers. I really liked the idea of breaking stilts as a Carnival take of the collapsing tower. And finally, I loved painting dragons so I had to include it. I wanted a dragon to break the stilts and of course the dragon had to be obviously inspired by Carnival. The dragon has a head inspired by Carnival masks (with lots of nasty teeth) and 4 arms to pay homage to freak shows. The dragon's 4 hands hold a representation of the sword, the cup, the wand and the pentacle.
This piece gave me the chance to try a surreal look that I've never touched before in my art and I'm glad I went for it. Hopefully viewers will be encouraged to really push boundaries in terms of how to represent ideas in novel and interesting ways.
Piya Wannachaiwong (that’s P-ya Wanna-chai-wong) was born in Yonkers, New York. He misspent his childhood drawing dinosaurs on paper, kitchen tables, windows, school books and living room walls. His clients include Amscan, the world’s largest supply company, Fantasy Flight Games and other gaming companies and eBook publishers. He is also an instructor in Digital Painting and Drawing Fundamentals at Mercy College in New York City. He honors us with his art for a second time in 78 Tarot Astral, after creating The Tower for Carnival.
The Star by Simona Candini
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A young girl walks through a dark circus. Behind her stands a huge Gothic castle, reminding her of the challenges she has faced, the horrors that she leaves behind. She has travelled through a misty forest to get this far, and all she has found is an abandoned carnival. But at her heart glows a large star, the Universe offering her warmth and guiding light so that she can see the way ahead. Seven more stars float around her skirt, illuminating her path as she travels on. The lights that lead her on are eight pointed stars, symbols of strength, garnered from the obstacles she has overcome.
This card gives us hope, representing the distant light at the end of the tunnel, providing confidence and motivation to continue our journey, preventing us from losing our way.
Artists Interpretation: Hunted rides and a ghostly atmosphere create an ominous feeling for my dark carnival themed card.
I love the tones of blue, purple and acid green, melting together to create a fluid stream of thoughts where the reality seems lost in the haze of a dream, timeless in its moving stillness.
The star is there, in front of you, to lead you to your safe place, it’s so bright, but it doesn’t blindfold you, it fills your soul of a sudden awareness, it awakens you from the dream, infusing with peace your inner self. Follow The Star and abandon your fears.
<<Once upon a night we’ll wake to the carnival of life/ The beauty of this ride ahead, such an incredible high/ It’s hard to light a candle, easy to curse the dark instead/ This moment the dawn of humanity/ The last ride of the day>> Nightwish
Since 2010 Simona is working as a full time artist primarily within the pop surreal genre.
Her works embody a beautiful yet sometimes dark world inhabited by big eyed girls and improbable creatures. With a stirring of emotions translated onto each new work of art, Simona brings her love of the old fairytales and childhood imaginings to us in a unique and poetic way. She is a traditional artist and enjoys using acrylics, oils, watercolor, graphite and pencils.
The Moon by Tiffany Toland-Scott
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: On a stage, a young girl kneels before two pillars - the backdrop suggestive of a portal to a dream-world. On these pillars are images of two howling creatures, representing the two sides of our nature. One is a fierce wolf, savage and primal, the other a dog, defensive and civilised. From this portal, primordial mists roll in, and waters crash around her, as she waits, oblivious to all that goes on around her - perhaps she is lost in dreams of things to come. Upon her skirt sits a crayfish, emerging from the waters of our conscious self as it begins to break down the walls of illusion into the material world.
Just as this Moon Girl allows herself to succumb to her sub-conscious mind, this card suggests doing the same, reminding us that things are not always as they seem, and that you should pay attention to your intuition and dreams.
Artists Interpretation: The Moon Girl’s round white face glows, peering out from between two pillars painted with the silhouettes of howling wolves. The High Priestess’s veil has become the curtains on Moon Girl’s stage, separating her from the physical world and the spiritual world. The backdrop painted on the stage behind her comes to life, and the ocean crashes in around her. A crayfish climbs onto her skirt to escape the deluge, and moths, attracted by her light, flutter around her face, distracting her from her true predicament.
Tiffany Toland-Scott is a self-taught fantasy artist working with a variety of media, including digital, watercolor, acrylic and oils. Her favorite subjects range from fantasy to gothic and her work has been published in many books and periodicals, seen on her own oracle deck, and a range of licensed merchandise. Tiffany has been in every one of our decks.
The Sun by Paulina Cassidy
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The sun blazes, casting no shadows, as two young carnies joyfully ride a blue bird through the sky and over a grey patchwork wall. Yellow and green rays shine from this solar orb, as these children escape the grey world below, reminiscent of cheerful sunflowers in our own garden. A bright flower spontaneously sprouts from the young boy's hat as he rides past, reminding us of the life and light brought by the sun.
This card brings cheer, just as the sun brings warmth after a long winter, reminding us that all darkness ends. Your work is complete, it is time to celebrate your success. Life is good right now, and your confidence and joy draw people to you.
Artists Interpretation: Engulfed by the warmth of the sun, a carnival boy and his friend ride a bluebird of happiness. Released from limitations, the young boy represents innocence and rebirth. The chill has been warmed out of his weary bones of the past, while clarity of vision and vitality gain strength. With healing rays of green and revitalizing rays of yellow, the sun touches every living thing. Dark days are over, and we are free to bask in its dazzling light, and to celebrate achievement and vitality. The sun provides the love of life to help us gain clearer perception so that we may live our lives to its fullest potential.
Paulina Cassidy is a legend in the Tarot and Oracle community, having created numerous decks herself. Her whimsical and imaginative creations have graced the pages of many publications, and prints, originals and merchandise are sold worldwide. “My first love is line art; working with shadow and light using intuitive, organic, fine lines. I like to combine my pen & ink work and watercolor layer by layer, and my technique varies from piece to piece.” Paulina graced us with her incredible talent for the Carnival deck.
Judgement by Michael Calandra
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The angel of judgement sits waiting, her trumpet resting on a table, next to a crystal ball. She has called, and the souls of the carnival are coming. Some joyful, expecting good news from a figure who comes to them in the familiar form of a fortune teller. Others are scared of what spiritual judgement will bring. Within the angel's crystal ball, waves crash and swirl, the ever-moving, inescapable ocean a symbol for the inevitability of judgement. With all endings, there is a new beginning, and some will be judged worthy of achieving bliss.
This card suggests a fresh start, but only after a time of contemplation. The vital role water plays in this card suggests that both intellectual and emotional reflection is needed - time to weigh up your past behaviour with both eyes open, and move on, refreshed and renewed.
Artists Interpretation: My interpretation of the Judgement card involves a female character in place of the angel Gabriel. She is dressed in a style reminiscent of a Venetian carnival, but still has the angel wings to signify her being the Gabriel figure. She is using her trumpet to call the souls of recently, and not so recently, deceased clowns to appear for judgement. The mountains, ocean waves in her crystal ball, and even the wave pattern in the tablecloth symbolize the insurmountable obstacles of avoiding judgment. Instead of a traditional banner, I incorporated the red and white colors of Gabriel’s banner into her clothing.
Michael joins us to create Judgement for 78 Tarot Carnival. A fantasy artist working in acrylics, airbrush, and colored pencils, his art has been featured in many publications and galleries worldwide, including the iconic Heavy Metal Magazine as a 4-time cover artist! Michael creates dark and haunting character, using dramatic poses, light, and color to produce the essence of his subjects. Michael joined the 78 Tarot journey for Carnival and continues to grace and honor us with his incredible talent for deck number 4 in Space!
The World by Kmye Chan
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Against a deep blue curtain, a knife thrower stands on her wheel, basking in the audience's applause. She has delivered a flawless performance, unharmed by the sharp blades now wedged within her wheel. The celestial curtain that forms a backdrop to her performance is covered in stars and constellations, her wheel decorated with imagery of a laurel wreath and four creatures representing the fixed signs of the zodiac. She is victorious. The audience, and indeed the universe, are hers in this moment.
This card tells you that your hard work and dedication have paid off, this is your moment to shine, but also reminds us to take what we have learned in this phase of our lives with you into the next.
Artists Interpretation: The World symbolizes achievement and completion, as well as being at one’s rightful place in the order of things; it is typically represented as a women dancing in the heavens, surrounded by a wreath and four creatures. I decided to stay true to the traditional design, with a twist. The knife dancer on her wheel represents Earth, as evidenced by her map shawl, orbited by the Moon and at her perfect place amongst the stars and the cosmos. She is wise, powerful and peaceful, and in communion with her surroundings. The throwing stars cannot harm her. The rotating wheel and orbiting rings around her represent the revolution of celestial bodies and the endless cycle of life; the wheel carries the wreath and faces of the traditional tarot card design, symbolizing both the elements and the godly nature of the character.
French artist, Kmye Chan is a scientist by day, but come the night, and Dr Camille transforms into Ms Kmye in pursuit of mischief in general and art in particular, and becomes her artist and illustrator self. One of our featured artists, we are excited to welcome her into to the 78 Tarot family to create her version of the World for 78 Tarot Carnival.
Ace of Pentacles by Regan Kubecek
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A mass of colorful, bright lights flash against a dark grey sky, but not quite bright enough to chase away the darkness. A young clown stands, her top hat patched, her costume fading, holding an orb in front of her, reminiscent of a balloon she has caught as it floats past. This luminous globe is a stark contrast to the darkness behind her, the skies are vibrant and show a bustling carnival with exciting Ferris wheels. A pentacle is displayed prominently, symbolising a new opportunity for this young clown - her face is hopeful and happy – this is a new chance for her to make her fortune.
This card heralds a windfall, more usually, a new venture for you that brings opportunities with it for better health and wealth.
Artists Interpretation: The Ace of Pentacles, as with all Aces for any of the suites is all about oneness, purity and beginnings. There is no number one in tarot only the Ace, they are kind of like little seeds of things to come, things that should be nurtured.
Specifically the Ace of Pentacles is all about prosperity and new beginnings and abundance. This card speaks of the ability to make things happen if we put our minds to it. We are offered a clear view to success, a means to reach our goals. To find our happiness and desires without any obstacles, it represents the ability to be prosperous.
The Ace of Pentacles usually appears in a reading to signify that money is coming or a new opportunity. That stability and success are within your reach. If this card is in your spread be prepared for things to go your way, to receive what you seek in abundance.
Regan is a fantasy artist with a busy imagination, who derives inspiration from many things around her, none more important than music, which plays a large part of her creative process. She has loved drawing fairies and all manner of fantastic creatures since she was a little girl. Regan has graced us with her colorful art since deck 1.
Two of Pentacles by Joanna Nelson
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Against a frenetic backdrop, a cat stands poised on one foot, juggling two pentacles. Despite appearances, everything is in balance and the cat is calm and controlled. A tightrope is rigged between his ears, along which an adept frog rides a unicycle, while juggling. The circus is busy, but no one looks panicked - this is just the hustle bustle of a carnival, all the performers are masters of their arts. A roller coaster shaped as a turbulent ocean is behind the cat, expertly "navigated" by frogs in boats, and two winged elephants use the momentum of a pentacle to launch themselves into the air.
This card warns of taking too much on before you’re ready - balance has to be achieved and maintained in order to make sure that things do not spiral out of your control, while you’re juggling the various aspects of your life.
Artists Interpretation: The two of pentacles is about balancing ones life. In my image you will see juggling upon juggling. The cat dances upon one foot, staying alert, agile and patient as he juggles the two pentacles in the air, also balancing the juggling frog on a unicycle, high above on the high wire. despite all the juggling and balancing that is happening which represents the different aspects of life, they all seem to have a very content expression and look as though they have a handle on the situation. The cat has mastered the art of balance and harmony for a happy life. The elephlies jump carefree off of the pentacle and fly into the air as the froggies in the boats ride the ups and downs of the water roller coaster with ease and enjoyment.
Joanna Nelson has been creating art for over a decade. She brings unique and whimsical art to the surreal and fantasy art scene, with her gorgeous Cat creations
Three of Pentacles by Mary Layton
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: An apprentice Venetian dressmaker puts the finishing touches to an intricate gown for Carnivale. Two experts stand with her, but regardless of her youth, she is the one in charge. Her mentors watch on with pride, confident enough in her ability to allow her to complete this outfit without their help. An encouraging arm is draped across her shoulders, but it offers no guidance. The pentacles worn by the teachers are prominently woven into their head-dresses, hers is to one side, slightly hidden by the flowers on her own costume - her success is emerging, but no less real than theirs.
This card represents a task come to fruition - there is more to be done, but the learning phase is nearly complete and there is time for a momentary pause to gather confidence and pride in your initial success, to energise you for the work ahead.
Artists Interpretation: The suit of Pentacles is generally associated with trade, business, property, and material possessions. The three card in particular is associated with teamwork, learning, and collaboration; fulfilment of creative or business ventures. My initial thoughts when told the theme would be Carnival, were of the elaborate dress and masks of the Venice Carnivale. My vision then, for the Three of Pentacles was that of dressmakers. Though only an apprentice, the young lady was entrusted with the creation of an elegant costume for an important client. Her mentors look on in approval as she puts finishing touches on the dress. As with the previous two artworks I created for 78 Tarot decks, I wanted to try to incorporate at least one of the zodiacal associations in the imagery - the Three of Pentacles is associated with Taurus, Capricorn, and Virgo. I've given the mentors fancy head-dress with bull and goat horns (Taurus and Capricorn, respectively), and the young apprentice represents the maiden of Virgo (and wears its sigil as a necklace).
Mary Layton’s favorite media are watercolor, pencil, pen & ink, and digital, and she uses them to create beautiful mythic, fairy and fantasy art. She has also been known to dabble in photography and both prints of her paintings and her photography can be found on her web site. Mary has graced us with her presence for every one of our decks.
Four of Pentacles by Helena Reis
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A robed figure stands in front of the carnival, three pentacle coins clasped to her chest. A fourth pentacle is worn, halo-like around her head. She has been given the opportunity to visit the circus, to take some time out from her usual duties and enjoy herself. But she hesitates, the money in her hands clasping her "wealth" to her chest. She cannot convince herself to share this wealth with the carnival, to spend some of the money on joy.
This card warns us that money should be enjoyed, rather than hoarded. Material success is wonderful, reducing worries and stress, but it is a stepping stone, rather than the end of a journey. Work should be built on, money should be spent to improve your life, rather than collected greedily and ultimately becoming a barrier to our own happiness.
Artists Interpretation: The Four of Pentacles generates both positive and negative perceptions. On the one hand, this card signifies that you have accomplished many of your goals and have attained great material wealth in the process. However, on the other hand, there is a risk that you will come to value only material wealth, thus becoming possessive and/or greedy in ensuring that no-one else takes away your wealth."
What I tried to do with this piece was to paint a woman, she is pleased with her accomplishments, but instead of being celebrating with everyone else (the circus tents, air balloons in background) she is just holding on to her wealth like it´s the most important thing. (Inspired by the many paintings depicting "Madonna and Child".)
Portuguese artist, Helena Reis started to paint and draw at a very young age, and has been creating her own fantasy world ever since. About 10 years ago she began to draw and paint more seriously, and continues to improve with every new painting. She recently opened a gallery, Penumbra, in her hometown and now represents artists from all over the world.
Five of Pentacles by Jayde Hilliard
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A broken, beaten man sits on cold stone steps as snow begins to fall. A chipped mug, bag and crutch are his meagre possessions, a monkey his only friend. The monkey juggles baubles, to try and drag him out of despair, to bring him into the world of work, prosperity and colour but while he gazes at his loyal companion, he is too despondent to truly see him. Behind him, a bright poster invites him to join the circus, the warmth of the image a sharp contrast to the grey of the walls. Opportunity, friendship, even a carnival family beckon, if only he'd look up and see it.
This card reminds us that financial worries and adversity can create a downward spiral, into misery and depression, and that there is always hope, if only we can coax ourselves to see it.
Artists Interpretation: A card that refers to poverty, isolation, and worry as well as financial and spiritual loss. Honestly, I was a bit disheartened when I was assigned this card because ironically I held such similar feelings to what the card represented as far as my ability to produce artwork was going. I had been devoting most of my time and energy to my main obligations in life such as work and family and not taking care of myself or my art. The realization really haunted me. But as I looked more at the card and despite the fact the figures depicted were physically and emotionally damaged I felt a bit of hope that maybe they could get out of their situation if they would just have faith in themselves and find a way.
Jayde started creating art at an early age and in 2010 she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from UT Arlington. She is inspired by fashion, nature, pop culture, and human emotions, as well as folklore and old fairy tales, and these shine through in her illustrations and artwork.
Six of Pentacles by Brenda Saydak
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A clown stands, juggling balls as she performs acrobatics on a rope. She has perfected her act, and now involves the awaiting cats – her act representing a person who is materially comfortable, and willing to share. As she takes one ball from above, she passes another below her, but in this case the balance has been thrown off. These cats are part of the show, but remain passive, unwilling to play with the balls passed to them - one lying near them, already discarded, with no need of the next proffered by the clown.
This card represents a need for balance – a willingness to share when times are good, but cautions against giving for giving's sake. Give and take are a part of life, but we should only take what is needed, we should only give what is wanted, and nothing more.
Artists Interpretation: I chose to represent balance with a tightrope walker, dressed in a rich outfit in sumptuous surroundings. The figure is young, representing a confidence and joy in life that comes with generous spirit. The balls can be seen as coins - material wealth, or as tools for the clown's art, representing less tangible riches. The clown itself is androgynous, a nice balance between male and female, and the little cats are both pathetic and cute - needy, but not totally destitute.
I love the message of this card and had a lot of fun designing it within the carnival theme. I wanted it to be theatrical, rich, and whimsical. A major focus of my current work is playing with patterns, which I incorporated into the costume and stage. For me this is a real "feel good" card, a good reminder to stay generous of spirit and keep a joyful heart.
Brenda specializes mostly in fantasy art, specifically cats in Japanese settings, and fairy cats (aka catterflies). Her work is whimsical and pretty, and above all uplifting. Her main objective is to put a smile on your face! She works almost exclusively in acrylic on watercolor paper.
Seven of Pentacles by BK Lusk
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A beautiful circus-woman stands, spade in hand, with opulent, pentacle filled vines growing around her. She has paused, stopped to survey the fruits of her labour, and appreciate what she has achieved so far. She is wearing an intricate head-dress, dressed finely, showing that she has already had some success, but her face shows no real joy. She seems neutral – neither happy nor sad, and has stopped to analyse, and evaluate what is still to be done. What she is doing right, and what she should improve. She will not be truly happy until her task is complete.
This card reminds us we should not blindly plough ahead, but that we should use our time wisely, to occasionally analyse our work so far, and ensure we stay on the right track. Not to bask in our own glory, but to continually keep improving and progressing.
Artists Interpretation: The seven of pentacles portrays a young woman, taking a break, and gathering herself after working long and hard in her garden. She leans on her shovel admiring the flowers and vines that are in full bloom. She reflects on her hard work, contemplating the rewards she has reaped.
BK Lusk is a talented fantasy artist who creates beautiful, elaborate images, full of life, strength, femininity and color. She began painting in grade school and creates her own pigments and paints to achieve the exact colors and textures that she wants. She is influenced by Klimt, Schiel and Grimshaw.
Eight of Pentacles by Eli Neugoboren
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: On a beautiful clear day at the circus, many people are wandering around and enjoying themselves. To one side of this enjoyment, a young woman stands by a high striker game. Her face is set, her concentration obvious as she psych’s herself up to strike with the hammer. This is no tourist trying her luck, her strength is clear from the muscles beneath her shirt, which is decorated with a hammer, the symbol of strength. She is a strong woman, well trained, and testing herself.
This card represents effort and diligence, emphasising that in order to succeed within the material world, you need to be prepared to work hard, to train and push yourself further and further. Be it pushing yourself physically to better health, or to strive harder for more financial rewards.
Artists Interpretation: The eight of pentacles usually shows a man laboring over his workbench to make eight gold coins, completely focused on the task with the town in the background. I wanted to expand on the traditional imagery and update it a bit, as well as put it in the context of the carnival.
My card depicts a strong young woman about to swing a mighty hammer on the strongman game: she is completely focused on her labor, on the goal in front of her. She has a slight smirk on her face because she is confident in herself and knows she will complete the task. The carnival tents stand in for the town, and the chair swing ride in the far background is representative of the fun she is eschewing in favor of doing the work she needs to do.
Eli Neugeboren is an illustrator, retoucher and designer whose work ranges from photo illustration to art direction and logo design. He is also an Assistant Professor specializing in digital imaging technology in the Advertising Design and Graphic Arts Department at New York City College of Technology.
Nine of Pentacles by Deanna Bach
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A dancer poses in her finery, a trained falcon sitting on her wrist. Flushed but content, she rests, knowing that her hard work, practice and training have led to a brilliant performance within the Rio Carnival. Her intricate costume is patterned with grapes and vines, and adorned with jewels and pentacles, bright, fitting with the extravagance of the setting, but nothing gaudy or too opulent. Her falcon both symbolises the challenges she sets herself - it is not an easy creature to dance with - and the wisdom that is at the heart of her actions. She maintains the balance required to enjoy her money and health, but not be governed by them.
This card reminds us to embrace the success and independence that follow hard work, without succumbing to them, warning us that the finer things in life are to be enjoyed in moderation.
Artists Interpretation: The 9 of Pentacles is a card about luxury, self sufficiency and culmination. It is about satisfaction and fulfilment and enjoying all that was worked hard for and enjoying a good life of love, beauty and abundance. It is usually depicted with a mature woman in a vineyard surrounded by grapes and the 9 pentacles or coins which represent the fruitful accomplishments of ones desires. She is graced with a falcon on her left arm. Earth is the element associated with it as well as greens and golds.
I tried to keep much of the traditional imagery and incorporated it into a Rio Carnival look to go with the Carnival theme.
The woman has the 9 pentacles on her costume as gold coins to show her wealth. Her costume has a grapevine pattern
and was inspired by a vintage wall paper pattern which ties in with the mature woman as well as opulence. The falcon sits calmly on her arm, a symbol of her intellect and spiritual control. This is echoed again with all the feathers in her costume.
I wanted her to look confident, proud and happy. The Rio Carnival twist on it seemed the perfect fit, as one would need to exude confidence to wear those costumes, and the dancers always look so happy.
She is smiling and inviting and is pleased with what she has accomplished.
Deanna Bach paints mostly in watercolor – the perfect medium for her to illustrate her faeries and other ethereal creatures. Inspired by nature all around her, be it cotton ball clouds, a dark forest, or sun kissed beach, she finds the magic and beauty of faeries to be positively addictive.
Ten of Pentacles by Chelle Destefano
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The circus has come to town! City streets have been taken over by tents and rides as clowns and carousel horses fill our vision. Even the prominent clock tower is drowned out by the sights and sounds of the carnival, as these horses and clowns with hundreds of balloons fly through the skies. To one side, an elderly ring master stands, sharing this experience, and his wealth, with children as local residents are invited to join the circus and embrace this family of performers. Stray city dogs chase the balls used by acrobats in their act.
This card epitomises the contentment that comes in knowing that you have worked hard, and in doing so, created a legacy. You are now rewarded with financial comfort, but this has not only been about amassing wealth, but also about bringing the peace of mind that comes with it.
Artists Interpretation: This card represents achievements and reaping the rewards. It may mean retirement, but not necessarily retirement from life or everything, but from a chapter in your life and stepping up the ladder of success whether it be financial or personal in your inner-self. This card if drawn means you are doing really well in your life, perhaps with a project or personal growth and it is encouraging you to share what you have succeeded in with those who support and love you, and that you are reaping the rewards at this moment.
Chelle Destefano, who hails from Australia, works mainly with watercolour, ink and wash, and mixed media, often drawing something that might seem odd in reality – like her “Volky” series depicting Volkswagen Beetles in human settings. She loves to create images of antiques, or run down and abandoned places.
Page of Pentacles by Anastasia Smith
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A young carnie stands, holding a shining gold pentacle and staring at it, amazed. He is a sideshow barker, a little cog in the great wheel of the circus, but he has just been given his first gold coin - a tempting treasure for a child, a glimpse into a potential future of comfort and personal prosperity. Behind him are posters advertising the bounties of his carnival - an ape man within a lush, green setting, and a freak show human scarecrow guarding the future harvest from the black birds that would ruin it.
This card represents a dream, a new goal, and the understanding that it will take time, perseverance and effort. Be pragmatic - you will need to work hard to gradually collect wealth, rather than it all come to you.
Artists Interpretation: I created the Page of Pentacles as a side show barker. First and foremost, Pages are bringers of information, so I thought the idea of him calling out to passers by to let them know the sights they were missing inside the tent was ideal.
The Page of Pentacles stands alone wearing a unique hat and a freshly blossomed flower in the band. Behind him to his right is a freak show poster showing the Monkey Man perched in fruit bearing banana trees. To his left is a poster of the Scarecrow Man and a freshly furrowed field that promises an abundant harvest. The Page is completely unaware of anything around him except the gold coin in his hands. The bright sky above suggests all is well and he begins to realize that the coin in his grasp can open doors for him. It is a dawning realization of the path towards prosperity.
Anastasia Smith’s passions are wildlife and super-hero/fantasy art. She graduated from the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in 2002 and has since been working on several projects. Photography is her second passion and many of her works are fueled by images she captured with her trusty Canon.
Knight of Pentacles by Megan Frauenhoffer
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A big cat tamer stands within the big top. His outfit is not glamorous, he is a simple man, holding a single pentacle within his hands that he has worked methodically to create. It is not an original design, but it is successful. The same can be said for his performance with his cats. One of these, a dazzling white tiger stands close to his trainer, content in his company.
This card personifies the dependable rock upon which others may build for the future, he is reliable and steadfast, showing us that the way to accomplish our dreams sometimes lies in the completion of mundane tasks. Fire also plays an important part within this card, for though Pentacles are a symbol of earth, this knight represents fire and the moment of creation.
Artists Interpretation: My version of the Knight of Pentacles is a Tiger Tamer. I picked this circus performer because his bravery best reflects a knight and because his act is very routine based, perfect for the suit of pentacles. The tiger is a more powerful version of knight’s steed, imbued with its own magical powers. The knight/tiger tamer carries a hoop with the pentacle sign woven around the frame and coins dangling off the ribbons. The two are engaged in their performance, with the knight displaying a meditative expression.
Megan Frauenhoffer originates from St. Louis, Missouri. In May 2010, she completed the Master’s in printmaking and drawing at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her drawings and paintings explore the ideas of subconscious fears and transformative narratives. Megan graced us with her talent for Carnival.
Queen of Pentacles by Patricia Smith
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A commanding, sensual woman stands atop a circus tent, inviting you to join her. Her skirt billows out, forming the tent itself. Lush, green vines and colorful flowers spring from the open awning, which is flanked by rabbits on purple banners. This carnival matriarch is surrounded by symbols of fertility, opulence and abundance, they pour forth from her, confirming her material wealth, along with her nurturing disposition.
This card is full of energy, life, and light. It represents an "Earth Mother" type of figure who is successful both financially and materially, but who also manages to celebrate her family and show her dedication to them in practical, meaningful ways. She is always on the go, giving both her time and affection to others, but empowered by the constant activity.
Artists Interpretation: “Material success”, “prosperity”, “reproduction and fertility” are a few of the meanings for the “Queen of Pentacles”. The symbols associated with her are a white rabbit, a single golden pentacle and lots of flowers, plants, greenery. The “Queen of Pentacles” is the quintessential Mother Earth. A nurturer. She is also a highly effective multi-tasker; the one who can have it all. And since the underlying theme to this deck is “Carnival”, I wanted to display the meanings and symbols in a very dynamic, dramatic and colorful fashion. There is no doubt she is Queen and Mother Earth. But dressed in her grand Carnival gown and the abundance of Earthly riches is pouring forth from her. She welcomes you and your success with warmth and security.
Patricia Smith is a “freelance illustrator in the great and beautiful state of Oregon.” Her genres of particular interest are fantasy, science fiction and horror. Her clients include Pelgrane Press, Ronin Publishing, Fire Opal Media and much more. She joined the gang and graced us with her gorgeous art for Nautical, and continues to do so in Space for 78 Tarot Astral!
King of Pentacles by Pierre Carles
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A carnival procession marches along a European medieval street. A giant cardboard King sits on a throne, pulled along by two bulls, honouring and scoffing at a local ruler. Under one of his arms is a gold pentacle, he holds a staff in the other hand, on top of which is a golden star. The entire town has come out to celebrate and cheer for the procession, throwing confetti and marching along.
This card represents the archetypal King Midas figure, successful and self-assured, money just seems to flow to him. But what is not always obvious at first, is how hard he has worked to achieve his wealth and success. It comes easily now, but prosperity is not something that he will ever expect or take for granted.
Artists Interpretation: When I was asked to create an art piece for the King of Pentacles in the Carnival edition of 78 Tarot, this immediately took me back to my childhood.
I was born in Nice, home to the first ever recorded Carnival (in the year 1294), and as a child, my late grandmother used to take care of my brother and I on Wednesdays, when school was off. And whenever Carnival time came, she was always the one who would take us along, following the "Corso" among people cheering, dancing and throwing confetti.
This is the kind of atmosphere that I tried to revive here, in this piece, where the King of Pentacles is depicted as King Carnival.
My late grandmother used to bring us so many sweets, cookies and delicious cakes all the time that we ended up nicknaming her "Mémé Gateaux". Literally, "Cookie Granny".
She died 22 years ago now, but she has been on my mind for every minute I painted this piece. Thank you again for our childhood, Mémé Gateaux."
Parisian artist Pierre Carles has won the hearts and respect of publishers, game companies and collectors with his book and game illustrations, character and creature design, fantasy and sci-fi concept art, tattoo design and body painting, even adult fiction and youth literature. All from painting fairy-tale creatures for his daughter. He has graced us with his impeccable since Nautical.
Ace of Swords by Monika Ptok-Byard
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Against a clear, blue sky a woman stands, wearing a butterfly mask and surrounded by more of these transformative creatures. On her head is a crown of feathers and laurels, symbolising a victory brought by mental clarity. In her hands she holds an upright, two-edged sword, at which she gazes impassively. The theme of transformation continues down her dress, as her overskirt is shaped like the tail wings of another butterfly. Below this a barren, grey mountain range is depicted, illustrating that she has reached the cold peak of intellect.
This card represents the focus that comes with a "lightbulb moment", a sudden realisation that alters your thoughts, lets you see clearly, and takes you in a new direction. At first glance, it seems that a sword is a brutal weapon to hold in the face of fragile creatures, and there is a warning in this card against using too much power on your new path.
Artists Interpretation: I decided to do a Venetian Carnival theme because it reminds me of my trip to Venice. I try to incorporate personal elements of some sort into all my paintings. Her dress and headdress have butterfly and bird feathers to represent that it is an air card, the bottom of her dress are mountains which reflect the cold and barren nature of intellect. The sword touches her head to represent the crown chakra and mental clarity, and the greenery that is intertwined with the sword is showing the 'seeds of change'.
Her stance shows that moment of clarity and I chose her outfit to remind us a bit of a battle outfit...because with that 'aha' moment you are able to 'fight' with your clear logical mind. The butterflies also symbolizes transformation, which I feel happens when you think clearly as you are able to properly get to one point to the other. I also did the colours to represent air and autumn which the card is associated with.
Fascinated by myth and folklore, Monika Ptok-Byard paints enchanting faeries and creatures enjoyed around the world by both children and adults alike. Primarily self-taught, she finds inspiration through nature, travel and culture. Her paintings are mostly done with watercolors; she also works with ink, colored pencil, silverpoint and acrylics. Monika has graced us with her gorgeous art for every one of our decks.
Two of Swords by Alexandria Sandlin
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Against a starry backdrop, a woman stands against a knife-thrower's board, two knives held defensively in front of her chest, a blindfold covering her face. The wall behind her should be spinning, but it remains static. She is inactive - both literally and figuratively poised to defend herself. Her crossed blades are balanced, suggesting an impasse - she is ambivalent, indecisive. Her blindfold means she cannot see the solution clearly, but her third eye is open, trying to use psychic and intuitive perception to help her decision. The moon has risen, shining faint light over the darkness and heralding a new beginning once the stalemate is resolved.
This card warns against avoiding problems and decisions, and reminds us that while life's choices are sometimes hard, even painful, hiding away only makes things worse in the end.
Artists Interpretation: My card became somewhat of an homage to the late David Bowie. His death hit me hard for some reason. I felt that there was some synchronicity at play with the blindfold symbol in the card and his Blackstar videos at the time. I chose to make the stars black for this reason as well. I tried to stay pretty traditional with this card. I did change the stars into knives to make her a circus knife thrower. The third eye is to represent the subconscious that is always working to make sense of what the conscious mind cannot always comprehend
Alexandria Sandlin owns and curates the Eight and Sand gallery in Washington, as well as being a full-time artist. She creates Pop Surrealist / Urban Contemporary images of big-eyed girls and surreal, fairy tale themes, often drawing the viewer into a subtly disturbing or sinister scene.
Three of Swords by Daniel Steven Marconyak
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A sad clown rains scraps of blue paper over a suspended heart, pierced by three sharp, unforgiving swords. The heart is the centre of our emotion, here it is skewered by the cold blades of logic, emphasising the power that pure intellect has to wound, if not tempered with kindness and empathy. This sense of sadness, sorrow and loss is made worse by the ticker-tape rain that pours down upon it from an overturned bin adorned with storm clouds - the look on the clown's face says it all.
This card heralds a heart-breaking period of time that we must endure, reminding us that it's only through such turmoil that we learn, heal and grow. This is not a dark, card, there is still light and hope, the card also serving to remind us that even sadness ends.
Artists Interpretation: I am honored to present to you the Three Of Swords. Last July(7/23/15) I was diagnosed with MS after countless tests. Figuring out why things hurt and what to do to alleviate the pain. Handing it is entirely up to me, the learning process is here for life. I feel like this card was picked for me as a lesson. I need to adjust to the challenges ahead and I'm sure they're going to hurt a little. Pain lets you know you're alive. It's what you do with it that counts.
"I’m a very humble mastermind; you just don’t know it yet."
Four of Swords by Stephanie Sturm
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Even in the middle of a magic trick, there is time for respite. The illusionist's assistant lies, calm and collected, as he draws a hoop over her, showing there are no strings holding her up. One blade is worn as a pendant around her neck, resting with her - the main issue concerning her. Three others dangle above. This is only a few moments of inactivity, but it is a vital pause. She has to stay still, if she rises too early, the blades above will hurt her. The show will go on soon enough, with its usual hustle and bustle and the next act in her performance.
This card reminds us that in the midst of chaos, it is sometimes essential to take time out, even if just a few seconds, in order to recharge our mental batteries, centre ourselves and move on to the next challenge.
Artists Interpretation: This card calls for a personal retreat within yourself, to prepare for your next milestone move – and that down the line you’ll come conquering. To achieve this you require regenerative introspection. Perhaps it is time to relinquish control and diminish your energy temporarily. Someone else can run the show. It is a reminder for healthy balance between tackling challenging routines, and making the most of that rest and stillness.
Three swords above the assistants’ head form both the numeral four, and the heraldry sign that the fight is over ( for now ) – two downwardly crossed swords. The fourth dagger is smaller, on the assistants’ person – worn around her neck. This is to indicate a singular pressing issue, or cross to bear, to mull over during this regenerative state. Cut through the rest to what is really important and hone in on it.
Stephanie Sturm is a Communication Designer who recently graduated from the IDEA program at Capilano University. Pursuing both illustration and design, she is delighted to work with a variety of different mediums and search for the best possible route for each design challenge. She graced us with her talent for the first 3 decks.
Five of Swords by Ellen Wilberg
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A vintage circus performer stands, five blades dancing in her hand, a smile on her face as she looks to her side, where her twin stands defeated, in tears. Storm clouds gather behind the two sisters, but she pays them no heed - she has won this battle, she is only focussed on her current victory and the feeling of accomplishment it gives her. She does not consider the cost of the fight, the hurt she has brought to someone she loves, or that her behaviour may cause future tension.
This card illustrates a time when an argument or conflict leads to more tension, rather than bringing resolution. A situation where the winning was more important than the result, and you may have deeply hurt the people around you by your actions. A battle may have been won, but in doing so, you may lose the war.
Artists Interpretation: One of the sisters of Five of Swords have just taken all the swords from her sister, at all cost. Despite hurting and betraying her sister, she feels arrogant and confident, sure she has just won. I decided to depict sisters, as these often have strong bonds, and even though she might feel she has won, she might have lost her sister in the process. Their dresses differ slightly; one is bolder and more confident, the other is more covered up to show she is retreating into herself. Gold for the arrogant, silver for the hurt one. The wind is trying to knock the daggers over to show how hard it can be to stand upright during conflict. The dark sky symbolises the tension and that the battle is far from over.
Norwegian artist Ellen Wilberg has a creative soul, which flirted with photography for years – this is still evident in her paintings, where light plays a large part within each work. Her art is full of feminine and organic subjects, often created with watercolours, gouache, ink and pencil.
Six of Swords by Vlada Monakhova
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Hooded, masked figures travel along the Venetian canals, their gondola moving under dark bridges and through gloomy waters. The horned vessel bears a blood red banner, emblazoned with six sharp swords. Within, the passenger appears sad and wistful, looking back to where they have come from, saying her goodbyes as the gondolier ferries her away from the past. Her destination is the heart of the city, a place of celebration, dazzling lights shine, the waters are clear and all the shadows have been eliminated.
This card represents transition - moving away from troubled times into a happier, calmer world. Life is improving, but the decisions you make are not easy ones - it is with regret that you leave your past, even though you know you are moving to a better future.
Artists Interpretation: They creeped along the canal, towards a piercing cacophony of light -- laughter and music and things of mirth. She dragged a coat of blood along with the image of six swords -- the six, repeated, in the teeth of the bridge and the horns of the boat. He pushed them along, away from strife and misfortune, away from things and thoughts still lurking under the foam.
Vlada Monakhova is a versatile artist with a passion for creating stories, characters, and worlds. Stranded in the frozen Alberta prairies, she works as a freelance illustrator and chips away at a variety of personal projects when the local wildlife allows for a break. She fancies video games, comics, movies, and all things spooky. She created the Six of Swords in 78 Tarot Carnival.
Seven of Swords by Tanya Ross
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan:
An elephant trainer walks away from his charge with five bull-hooks in his arms. His sense of dominion is obvious on his face. In the leg of the poor animal we see two remaining hooks, which cripple the creature. As the trainer leaves he believes he is escaping the scene of his betrayal. But he has failed to notice a young girl has found him out. Sadly she sees what has happened and her innocence is lost. Is it truly as the sign says? “The greatest show on Earth” and if so, at what cost?
This card is a warning against deception - no matter how tempting it may be to hide away, and deceive, truth will always come out -it’s better to face the truth rather than have it come back and haunt you.
Artists Interpretation: I had a few ideas pop into my brainpan for my card the 7 of Swords that I quickly sketched out, but this image was the strongest in both possible imagery and card representation. It portrays the deceit and betrayal in the card meaning, the “thief” being the trainer. As he uses his swords (bullhooks) on the elephant, he steals the creature’s soul and basks in the power he thinks he wields in doing so behind closed doors (or closed curtains in this instance). But, an unnoticed young girl peeks through the tent curtain to discover the deception in this world, for all that fun and entertainment coming from the harshest of abuses and lies has now fallen upon innocent eyes. All of these aspects are also reiterated by the irony of the signage, "The Greatest Place on Earth" but at what cost?
Eight of Swords by Stefania Russo
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A young girl from the freak show, the antlered "Deer Girl" sits alone, chained away from the circus tent and the paying public. Eight swords hang from her antlers, designed to restrict her movement. The same wire that fixes these has been sewn through her eyes, making her unable to see. Her hands are free, and she has stolen a pair of scissors, allowing her to cut her ties, but she doesn’t. In front of her is a smashed mirror - having opened one of her eyes, she is horrified at what she sees, and chooses to remain bound.
This card reminds us that no matter how trapped we feel, it is always possible to change our situation. We may feel that there are no options open to us, but there is always a way out, if only we can push past the self-imposed restrictions.
Artists Interpretation: The rapacity of inner frustration and underestimation may hide the chances of be free and find Yourself.
A lonely deer girl was captured for the pleasure of the Freak Circuses director and for visitors. The tamer give her name of Lady Baby Deer... Put her into the Prison of Eight Swords, to enchant in the wooden pole and sewing her eyes for let her calm and quiet. During a cloudy night, she found a precious scissor into the dry ground, and cut the wire near her eyes, the same that to tie the Eight Swords. Lady Baby Deer desperately wishing to be free, and in the heartedly of the escape, she destroy the mirror, and finally found the only truth, reflecting on the glass. She's a monster. She's alone. She's not human. She cannot be free. Lady Baby Deer may be rebels and cut simply the wire that take her Prison, but she feels ugly and the world is not ready for her. Liberty is so near to her, but she's just want to be blind, into her lonely world and crying just for herself...
Stefania Russo, who also goes by the name of Lady Fanhir on the internet, is an Italian fantasy/gothic artist with a passion for exploring attitudes and emotions in her unique “dark fairy-tale” style. She is a freelance artist, working on commission, creating gorgeous illustrations and tattoo designs. Stefania has been with us since Nautical!
Nine of Swords by Cora Crimson
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A sword swallower suddenly sits up in bed. She has just woken up from a nightmare, her performance anxieties manifested as a physical sword in her throat, causing her pain and anxiety. Her face is a mask of fear. Eight other swords hang at her headboard, warning that she has many concerns figuratively hanging over her, preventing her from sleeping peacefully. The fact that these swords are suspended in mid-air suggest that these worries are generally matters of the mind, rather than physical issues.
This card warns against letting our fears paralyse us and take over our lives. It serves to remind us that while it is only natural to worry and feel occasional stress, we have to be kinder to ourselves and let go of these anxieties before they impact too much on our lives.
Artists Interpretation: The sword swallower has awaken suddenly from a nightmare to find that her bad dreams have begun to fuse with reality. Aside from being a common part of a carnival act, the swallowed sword symbolizes personal fear, discomfort, and pain. The sword has been engraved with the symbols of Gemini and wind, representing the zodiac and elemental forces behind her struggle. The eight swords hanging over her headboard represent many fears and worries she has that may or may not be real, but they are always lurking in the back of her mind, particularly when she tries to nod off to sleep. She is unable to sleep because of her physical and emotional state, and is trapped in a world where she has come face to face with her worst nightmares.
Cora Crimson is a figurative painter who uses portraiture, scenery, and carefully chosen objects to construct, experience, and express a variety of narratives. With an appreciation for introspection and the cerebral experience, Cora’s work explores the inner world where narratives take on a personal and symbolic form. She is currently developing her card for 78 Tarot Carnival.
Ten of Swords by PeeMonster
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A young boy stands against the knife-thrower’s wheel, ten blades embedded in his side, giving a sense of pain and loss. This is not how the performance was supposed to end! But even when it seems that all is lost and there might be no saving the boy, we look to his eyes, wide and full of defiance and mischief. All is not as it seems, and this is not the end. The wounds are not fatal and both throwing master and assistant must re-evaluate what occurred to move forward and improve.
This card represents an unexpected defeat, but rather than warning against it, it prepares you for this loss, advising you that at your darkest hour, there is still hope. When you reach your lowest point, the only way is up, if you can drag yourself high enough to see it.
Artists Interpretation: It took me a moment to find some grounding in order to work on this card. I chose an emphasis on triumph rather than defeat.. it intentionally references the crucifixion story with the way the boy is spread out in the wheel. All ten swords are in his side, yet he appears more alive than ever.
Californian artist PeeMonster has been creating intriguing unique artworks for over a decade, each depicting a story of innocence with a dark twist of guilt and fear. Haunting, daring and sometimes shocking, her illustrations, mainly featuring children, take you to a place where you can relate to those untold memories. Pee has graced us with her dark and beautiful art since Nautical.
Page of Swords by Kiri Østergaard Leonard
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A young carny holds a sword aloft, feet poised for action, ready to not just start a journey, but to tackle it with all her energy, and sprint towards the goal. The way ahead is bright and inviting, but a dark shadow crosses her face, warning of possible trouble ahead, but she takes no notice. Raring to go, tumultuous energy sparks and swirls around this impatient Page as she glances backwards, inviting you to join her.
With so much energy and passion at the start, the question will be whether you can keep up this level of commitment to the end, and what you will encounter along the way. For now though, this card is telling you to go with it - you might have a lot still to learn, but that can be done along the way.
Artists Interpretation: The Page of Swords is a messenger of turbulent energy, passion and enthusiasm. She is ready to begin whether it is a new project, a new idea or just taking action. With her sword she cuts through to the truth. She is inquisitive; she knows how to ask important questions but lacks perspective due to her young nature. The red sash around her waist symbolizes her passion, the bells ring in the wind, calling her to action; she needs an outlet for her ideas and feelings. The spirals symbolize surrendering to the energies of passion and inspiration. As the spiral moves outwards the pent up energy is released.
A shadow from the turbulent clouds in the background crosses over the face of the Page. She can be a symbol of incoming conflict. She has the desire to prove herself, which can be a double edged sword; she may consider herself superior to others because of her lacking experience and wisdom. She does not yet have the maturity to express herself in a constructive way.
Kiri Østergaard Leonard grew up in the small village of Boeslum in Denmark, Scandinavia, surrounded by beautiful nature and a wide variety of farmstead animals. While still living in Denmark she attended The Academy of Fine Arts in Aarhus, before leaving her home country behind to continue her studies at the Pratt Institute in New York City. She still resides in New York City, where she thrives as a freelance illustrator. She lives with her husband Alexander Leonard and their two cats Minnie and Mishu. Having just completed her own deck – The Green Witch Tarot – we are honored to have her join us for 78 Tarot Carnival.
Knight of Swords by Peter Bradley
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A young, dynamic woman rushes forward, sword in hand to confront the future. Her purity of purpose is shown in the white horse mask she wears as she rushes headlong into whatever awaits her. She focusses only on the path ahead of her, never looking back and therefore unaware of the gathering storm behind her, of the trees and her skirts whipped by strong winds. All around her, butterflies flit and flutter hastily to get out of her way. A raptor, her guide in this endeavour, gives her clarity of mind as she embarks upon her quest.
This card represents an energetic, hasty figure, seeking their goal with unbridled inspiration and determination. They cannot not tolerate delay, and sometimes dashes in without realising the consequences of their actions.
Artists Interpretation: A true warrior finds balance. The outer countenance may be fierce, a face to daunt adversity, while the inside remains serene. Contrary, it may seem that the warrior resonates serenity while a storm rages within. Between serenity and the fury of the storm we find the balance of the warrior. A sword that cuts, yet has no blade. A blade that has no edge and does not cut. In repose the dame stands, the storm boiling up behind her does not daunt her serenity. Fierce her spirit flies, fierce as the hawk, the deadly raptor while she stands calm, poised, patient, ready to flow adversity around her like the wind.
Peter Bradley is a freelance Fantasy Illustrator that works mainly for RPG companies. He spends his spare time working on his developing coloring book which he plans to launch a Kickstarter for soon. He joined us for Carnival and continues to Astral.
Queen of Swords by Everette Hartsoe
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A solemn-faced queen sits upon an unyielding metal throne, a dual-edged sword held upright in her hands, a painted skull atop her crown. Her only companion is a crow perched on her throne, but looking into the distance, ready to take flight at any moment. And yet she does not appear unwelcoming. Her posture is straight but not rigid, her outfit is bold, fun, and colourful, her eyes inviting. The sky behind her is clear, bright yellow - the color of sunshine, it suggests happiness, intellect, and energy.
This card exemplifies a highly intelligent figure who cannot be easily fooled, determining facts without being overly influenced by emotion. At the same time, she possesses a warmth that reminds us that she is a free thinker and cannot be pigeonholed.
Artists Interpretation: The Queen of Swords is a card in the Suit of Swords, part of the Minor Arcana set of the Tarot.
she symbolizes freedom and clarity of her mind and thoughts. I wanted her to sit firm and quiet upon the throne glazing over her domain. The colors of red and green portray blood, wealth and life. The yellow radiates intelligence, comfort and kindness. The bird sits by her side to carry her message across the land. The jester skulls aligned on her throne reminds us that a fun spirit can remain in our lives for an eternity as long as we are willing to allow those spirits in. Queen of Swords is confident, protective and familiar with sorrow, yet doesn’t allow sorrow to over take her position.
Having been our Chosen Fate Wild Card for our debut deck, Everette returns to 78 Tarot for the Carnival theme, to create the Queen of Swords. He is a 20 year comics veteran who formed London Night Studios, an innovative collaboration of creators responsible for starting the careers of such creators as Ed McGuinness, Georges Jeanty, Eric Powell, Billy Tucci, and Steve Scott. While manning the helm at LNS, Hartsoe brought marketing to a new level with many ideas now being emulated by the big 2.
King of Swords by Ken Meyer Jr
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Steel blue eyes flash as a bearded king stares intently, a sword in hand. He wears a mask, adorned with swords that form his crown, tips pointed up towards the clear blue sky, a symbol of his mental clarity and control. His presence fills our vision, his authority absolute, he is to be respected rather than feared. Fragile butterflies swarm safely around him, one hovering by his ear as though offering advice. These monarchs represent transformation, and suggest that while he is a rock of a man, solid and strong, he is revolutionized by intellectual argument.
This card is a symbol of intellectual power and mastery, representing a highly ethical, equitable man capable of weighing his decisions carefully and offering impartial judgement.
Artists Interpretation: Being a newcomer to Tarot, I knew I had some research ahead of me when I started this project. When the work of other artists started coming in, I also knew I had to do a really good job! After doing a little research into what the King of Swords meant, and more importantly for a visual person such as myself, the visual cues the card uses to show those meanings, I found a few things. On my own, I tend to like to play with dramatic lighting. Also having the idea of the crown actually being composed of swords, I knew I needed a close up. I found that butterflies also can be a part of the card. Initially, there were going to be a variety of butterflies, but sometimes my brain actually works, and that enabled me to make the connection between Monarch (King) and the Monarch butterfly. To me, the card means strength, but a strength that comes from compassion. I hope my card conveys that.
Until not too long ago, Ken had full time day jobs in the arts; in ad agencies, online gaming companies (Sony Online, where he worked on the popular game, Everquest), on military contracts (where he did a tail insignia for the Stealth Fighter, among other things), and for various other sorts of companies. All the while, he kept a freelance illustration business running in comics, role playing games and for other clients. These clients include The Savannah College of Art and Design, The American Cancer Society, the RAINN organization, Marvel Comics, Wizards of the Coast (Magic the Gathering), Bell Helmets and many more. He graces our third deck – 78 Tarot Carnival with his talent and style.
Ace of Wands by Becca Turner
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: On a carousel, a wand, the unicorn's horn, begins to glow - bright white light surrounds it, symbolising powerful inspiration and intuition. Instantaneously, flowers begin to fall from the clouds - our dreams and conceptions manifesting themselves in reality. Everything suddenly comes to life, flowers sprouting all over the roundabout instantly attracting butterflies, the symbols of transformation and rebirth, and the unicorn rears up, ready to leave the confines of the carousel and begin a new creative journey.
This card doesn't remind, or advise, but rather demands that you unleash your creative energy. It represents a flash of inspiration burns inside you, screaming to be released. It is not a patient concept, allowing time for careful consideration or research, but igniting a fire within you to get started.
Artists Interpretation: The unicorn horn is the wand...the flowers falling from the clouds represent creative inspiration and the possibilities that we conceive in our mind becoming our reality. The butterflies represent new beginnings.
I filled the base with flowers and butterflies that are growing outwards, so the ideas start in the mind but become a reality once you take action, and grow from there.
Becca Turner is a full-time Fantasy Artist from the UK. She has had a life-long love for drawing and painting, but in 2011, after attending the Avalon Faery Fayre, decided to make art her career. Her original artworks are created using coloured pencils, acrylic paint and a touch of ink.
Two of Wands by Faye Osman
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A masked circus performer perfects her act - spinning the wands she needs for her elaborate acrobatic ribbon dance. But she gazes away - from her vantage point, she can see the vast cosmos, and it calls to her. The distant stars and planets represent the worlds open to her and potential she could reach. Even distracted, her performance is flawless - her skill is such that she could do this in her sleep, and the challenges offered to her tease her creative ambitions.
This card represents the manifestation of inspiration - the flash is gone, but the fire still burns. Some achievements have been made, but there is still a wide creative world to explore. It is time to stop thinking in the short term, to ready yourself and make the decision to leave your comfort zone and push yourself further.
Artists Interpretation: The acrobatic performer is perfecting her ribbon routine, which is elaborate and creative. The planet behind her signifies the skills and techniques she is familiar with. However, in order for her to succeed, she has to get out of her comfort zone. The frontiers of space and the distance stars represents new uncharted territories that she must discover in order to perfect and master her craft.
Faye Osman is a self-taught artist living in Malaysia. Faye’s art style is heavily influenced by her childhood love of ’80s animation and comic books. Her artwork explores the many facets of femininity. Her woman portraits show the inner strength and fortitude that sometimes belie their outward appearance.
Three of Wands by So Ma
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A tattooed lady stands on facing a long path towards a vast mountain range - she wears her tattoos proudly as a reminder of her past, and what she has already achieved. Over the mountains, the northern lights are visible, a tempting dance of color that entices and inspires. She surveys the landscape, aware of the task ahead, and the prospects offered by the journey brings. She has planted three wands along the path, torches to light her way onwards - although she is still immobile, the decision has been made, and she is both mentally and physically preparing to move forward.
This card urges us to keep building on our current success. To indulge in a brief pause, using this to reflect on our past achievements, concentrate on the path we wish to take now, plan for the next stage of our journey and then take the plunge.
Artists Interpretation: I chose to represent my querent in the female form and a very cheeky view it is. With references to her carnival past in the form of her tattoos. I had not chosen the tattoos before commencing the painting, but found they flowed from the conscious self. I love that the tattoos symbolically represent the elements of the three of wands, that I am drawn to at this time in my life.
The Three of Wands traditionally symbolises new beginnings after successfully completing tasks. We are cautioned to seek or heed advice before starting new.
Australian artist So Ma works from her studio using live models and still life to develop very layered, rich canvases. She loves working on Tarot due to the imagery she incorporates in such thorough detail. She has been with us since our very first deck.
Four of Wands by Manuel Da Cunha Vega
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A woman stands between four wands. In her hands she holds two smiling, elaborately decorated masks, symbols of harmony, the colors of the masks mirrored in her own vibrant make up. The wands support a colorful flowery wreath, which shed petals gently, like confetti floating down to join the festivities. This wreath is a symbol of her achievement and celebration, the joy these bring evident on her face.
This card represents stability and jubilation - you've hit your target, and managed to keep your home life harmonious at the same time. Now it's time to celebrate with friends and family, to just enjoy being happy and knowing that you've done well without the usual distractions of a busy, stressful life.
Artists Interpretation: This is a favorable card for festive events and lucky for relationships that will come into your life briefly influencing your material and spiritual well-being. This card can predict that you are nearing happier and peaceful times, and probably will experience new and enriching fortunate events. This letter suggests that you finally achieved happiness and are feeling proud of your exploits. The pressure that you have been under has disappeared or will very soon, and that is cause for celebration. Rejoice and celebrate all that you have achieved to date and see that you will feel relieved, relaxed and serene with all the emotional burden and linked charges fading as you relax.
Manuel is a self-taught fantasy artist, living in Portugal, who enjoys creating colourful, feminine illustrations and images. Big, attractive eyes feature strongly in these images, showing both his enjoyment of drawing them, and also the importance he places on these facial features.
Five of Wands by Ellen Million
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: In the circus, no group seems more together than the acrobats, their every move reliant on the actions of their fellows, though they are all eying each other up, trying to outdo each other. This paradox of competition and coordination is what makes their show so exciting. Will they fall? Will the ego of one cause all to fail? In this pyramid formation, they will need every ounce of strength they can muster to stop them from falling and will need to put their egos aside for the good of the group, no matter how much they might wish to do otherwise.
This is a card of tension and chaos, petty squabbles that, if allowed to take over, form obstacles to your success. Competition can make us stronger and inspire us to be better, but can also dissolve into conflict.
Artists Interpretation: The 5 of wands is often depicted as strife, conflict, and disagreement, but a closer look often shows competition as motivation, conflict as inspiration, and differing opinions as a way to open eyes to new methods and balance. Things that seem like hassles can actually be necessary for growth and success, and different points of view can be combined for a whole that is stronger than its parts. The figures in this card are often shown as many different nationalities, hinting at the idea that there is a greater global balance at work. The five of wands may remind you that you can't succeed without competing. You may feel like you are below others, but if you look around, you'll find that other people look up to you the way you look up to others; you are part of a larger framework than you may realize.
Ellen Million illustrates whenever possible, art has been in her blood since the age of 4. She is both a successful artist, curator of several coloring books featuring line-art created by various artists, and project director of “Sketchfest”, a “48 hour creative jam session with artists across the world”.
Six of Wands by Krisgoat
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A beautiful woman is riding a white goat on the carousel - her white steed representing purity and power. She wears a laurel wreath on her head, another hangs on the carousel above her, in recognition of her achievements, and bringing them to the attention of the crowd. Her posture suggests that she is "playing to the crowd", basking in the admiration of spectators cheering her on, but in a genuine way, rather than gloating. The carousel lights twinkle around her, adding clarity and energy, making her shine all the brighter.
This card is the proverbial pat on the back - bringing your moment to shine, to be appreciated for your abilities and success, the public acknowledgement of your worth that motivates you to give your all and allows you to return to the task, refreshed and renewed.
Artists Interpretation: The Six of Wands depicts a figure wearing a victory wreath around her head, riding a white goat (traditionally a white horse representing purity and strength). The carousel pole her horse is on (the wand) also has a wreath, emphasising her accomplishment. She happy to show her achievements and the happiness they bring her - she has employed all her talents and abilities to succeed and wants people to recognise this.
This card gives encouragement to believe in who you are and what you have achieved.
Krisgoat is a fantasy and surrealist illustrator, whose main focus is digital. Occasionally she dabbles in traditional medium, but primarily she creates using a Wacom Cintiq in Photoshop or Paint Tool SAI. She is also the owner, and head artist of the popular game Goatlings.com
Seven of Wands by Frank Fradella
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The strong man is at the edge of the stage, not taking a bow, but in a defensive position. He holds a mace high, ready to swing, as six flaming torches and pitchforks are thrust toward him. An angry mob is on the hunt, ready to destroy anything they do not understand, and take whatever they want. This time their targets are the carnies and freaks of the circus. Concern and fear flash in his eyes, he is uncertain of the outcome, but he will defend the circus and protect his friends regardless of the cost.
This card indicates a time of challenges and struggles, where you are forced to stand your ground. This is a wand card, the energy here is not aggressive, as a sword would be, but defensive and confident, fighting for what is right.
Artists Interpretation: What you're looking at is a circus strongman wielding a giant mallet to protect the freaks in the freak show tent behind him while a swarm of angry villages storm the place with torches and pitchforks. He's elevated up on a stage there this makes for some dramatic lighting from the torches!
Frank Fradella is an artist, author and indie film & video producer, who has created two successful Tarot decks, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. - The Fradella
Adventure Tarot, created with artist JP Dupras, and the breathtaking Undersea Tarot.
Eight of Wands by Holly Broxson
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: In an amazing display of acrobatic ability, eight human cannonballs are shot simultaneously out of the circus cannons, shooting across the sky in a celebration of movement, energy and action. Behind them the sky is clear, save for some fluffy clouds, through which the colorful performers hurtle - nothing can stand in their way. The spectators will soon lose track of them, and we can only hope that they have a somewhere safe to land.
This card suggests that you have overcome all the obstacles that have previously barred your way, and you are now catapulting toward the end of your journey. The wild ride cannot be stopped at this point, so it is worth making sure you're prepared now, rather than regret it later. This card can also signify literal travel.
Artists Interpretation: 8 wands are shot into the air- a sudden burst, clearing the path for release, setting things into motion quickly. Any hurdles or hindrances are now cleared away, leaving you able to make a move. The things you imagined are going to happen, but you have to act now. Opportunities are finally arising and you have what you need to run with those opportunities.
The 8 of wands can mean the arrival of something: news, answers, travels, or new things in a relationship.
This version of the card shows 8 human cannonballs being shot into the sky. Nothing is in your way. You have built up momentum. You have the great opportunity to go for it and the stamina to make it happen. Even if there many things happening at once, you will have the ability to get the job done.
To be able to make the ideas from one’s own imagination visible to the world fascinates Holly Broxson, who tries to sketch daily. Her stunning, unique art is heavily influenced by fairy tales. She works primarily in watercolor, acrylic, ink, and colored pencil, which suit her flowing style perfectly.
Nine of Wands by Deanna Davoli
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A Thai woman stands under a full moon by a deep blue river. On her fingers are eight wands she has already won through force of will and resilience, but her battle is not over. This is a pause in the longer fight, against a dragon who bears the ninth and final wand. Her well of inner strength is depleted, but with brief respite she can come back stronger; renewed. On her face is a look of grim determination, she is resolute in her desire to be victorious and, while she may be weary from the long struggle, ultimate victory will be hers.
This card symbolises the power and knowledge that you can overcome the final obstacles blocking the way to your dreams. You have already achieved so much, come so far, and you’re tired. But you’ve learned a lot, gained experience, and you’re ready.
Artists Interpretation: The 9 of wands is typically represented by showing a weary man holding a staff. He has fought the battle and won, but is ready to go to battle again. Wands are typically represented as staffs in tarot art, but I literally took it as a magical wand represented in the Western world. I was not sure how I could show 8 wands being won by a warrior. After researching various carnivals throughout the world, I came across Thai Carnivals, where women typically have Thai nails or claws as part of their costume. I was instantly drawn to this and the vision in my mind came to life. I knew my warrior would have obtained 8 wands, and the 9th would be worn by the dragon. Although she is tired, she has the strength from the 8 wands she has already obtained and is ready to battle the dragon again achieve her 9th wand. She has the look of determination to overcome this final challenge and stands up for what she believes in.
Deanna Davoli’s art is a whirlwind of dark fantasy and gothic romance. She has been painting fantasy art, murals, faux finishes and commissioned paintings for the last 7 years, but overall she has been painting and drawing for 16 years.
Ten of Wands by Lindsay Cormier
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The look of stress on this young performer's face is clear to see. Piercings cover her, proud reminders of the time she has spent working with the carnival, but the weight of the wands within her skin only help to drag her down. Flowers adorn her arms, coiling up to her hands from below – this is her harvest. Her goal was always to run away and join the circus, but she has worked so hard to get there that her dreams now seem like nightmares.
This card symbolises feeling that you may have bitten off more than you can chew - you've worked incredibly hard to get this far, the end of your journey is now right before you, but so are the commitments that this brings, the responsibility to continue.
Artists Interpretation: Ten of wands is all about burden. So I created my card based on the old 'freak' shows at the carnival - she is a tattooed and pierced lady which being seen as a freak because of this is a burden on her. The ten of wands are depicted in the form of long bar piercings in her forearms.
Australian watercolour artist, Lindsay Cheesewright became a huge fan of the world of fantasy after being given a poster of a unicorn as a child. For her, creating fantasy art is a need, it’s like an addiction that she cannot and will not give up. Lindsay graced us with her art for our first 3 decks.
Page of Wands by Ash Evans
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: In the foreground is a finely attired young rabbit, behind him on a barren, sandy landscape, circus tents stand in the distance. He stands easily on a balancing ball, adorned with a salamander who represents transformation and fire. The rabbit gazes at the wand in his hand passionately and speaks to it of the future, telling it of his dreams in the hopes that the wand might magically make them come true. He hopes to create his own path, and thinks of it with enthusiasm rather than fear, for while it is unknown, it has all the potential to be something grand.
This card personifies the dreams of youth, full of potential and energy. A tenacious desire is making you restless, urging you to follow your heart, begin a new creative project, and see where it leads.
Artists Interpretation: I pulled the colors directly off of the actual page of wands card. The original page was wearing a blue hat with a red feather. I wouldn't have chosen that palette myself as I really dislike oranges and yellows. I am a very rough sketcher and refine my process as I paint because it is digital and I have the freedom to do that.
Ash is the painter of things with horns, fur and wings! A professional fantasy artist, she creates collectible cuteness, often using crowdfunding to involve her fans in the process of choosing the designs she manufactures. Ash uses a variety of media and techniques to create her beautiful, quirky art.
Knight of Wands by Chris Malidore
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Mounted upon his unicycle, the fire dancer propels himself forwards, blazing his way across the circus arena and onwards to success. Raising his fiery brand in a salute to those that follow his glorious and energetic charge he hastens on to victory. This is not a knight who sits and ponders, but a figure of action. Let others sit and wait, he is here to accomplish great things and he will ride through fire to do reach his goals - he knows that only through courage and action can he fulfil his dreams.
The Knight of Wands is on fire! This card symbolises an energetic, determined and ambitious figure, who charges towards his goals – he has to put the dreams of the Page into action, but he is impulsive, not always taking the time to think things through before he acts.
Artists Interpretation: With eyes set on glory and success, and with some reckless abandon, this stalwart performer mounts his trusty one wheeled steed, raises his flaming staff, and proceeds to give a daring performance that harkens back upon a long history of shock performers, stunts, and all things danger. A warrior in his mind, this performer knows that nothing great can ever happen without giving his all against the odds – for fortune only favors the bold.
Chris joins 78 Tarot for our third deck, and is currently working on the creation of the Knight of Wands for Carnival. He is an illustrator who regularly works within the gaming field as an illustrator of fantasy and horror. That said he can be found escaping this field often to work within his series of Penguin Revolution images….. which he has yet to figure out how to categorize beyond “well gosh, they’re fun”.
Queen of Wands by Enys Guerrero
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The Queen of Wands is the vibrant Queen of the carnival, full of vigour and energy. Within her left hand she grasps her sceptre, topped by a beautiful carnival mask lending her a look of regal confidence, which she uses to inspire those around her, whilst her right hand is raised up to the sky. Surrounded by flowers thrown to her by her adoring public, she exudes passion and the contrasting colours of black and white in her costume give us some sense of her independent free spirit, not to be constrained by one colour or the other, with red showing her link to the fire of the wands suit.
This card embodies a strong and vital leader, with a streak of independence. She is engaging and inspiring, highly focussed on her goals, but warm and welcoming in all her affairs.
Artists Interpretation: The Queen of Wands represent a strong, happy and healthy woman, is a natural-born, intelligent leader who actively inspires others, she is full of energy and inspiration. I normally work with tragic and nostalgic themes, but this is such a strong card, that it transmitted me its own creative power and warmth. So, to represent her warmness and strong leader side, I decide to use red and golden as main colors, this is after all, a card related with the Fire element.
I cannot put aside my usually dark style, so I tried to make her a very Goth makeup, and black hair, but with a happy and friendly expression, so related to the woman who represents this card. And to perform the Wands theme, I decide to incorporate a wooden scepter, golden flowers and white roses. She is also a Carnival Circus Queen, and that's why her wooden scepter, is crowned with a royal Venetian mask.
Venezuelan artist Enys Guerrero graduated as a Graphic Designer, and now dedicates herself to illustrating and teaching. An exquisite mix of Renaissance and Victorian age, with a twist of fantasy and Gothic influence her. Her enchanting artworks have been published in newspapers and magazines like Stampas, Primicia and El Critico.
King of Wands by Felicia Cano
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: This royal ringleader is the ultimate showman, always giving the audience the greatest of shows. His top hat blossoms with flames that surround a summoned salamander rising from it as the regal lion stares on, roaring his appreciation of the spectacle. In his left hand he bears the wand that symbolises his mastery of life and creativity, the key to his power and mastery over the flames. A wreath surrounds him, emphasising his achievements, adorned with a crown, lion and salamander, signs of power and fire that go hand in hand with the King.
This card represents a figure of great energy and strength who leads us to the bright future he has envisioned for us. Boldly he leads us forward, fearing none.
Artists Interpretation: For my illustration for the King of Wands, I wanted to combine the traditional symbols associated with the card with symbols and imagery from a New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration. Present are the single wood wand, a salamander, a lion, a crown, and an old king. Drawing from African and French sources, I included South African Protea flowers, fireflies, a Mardi Gras mask and the Fleur de Lis, a symbol of French royalty as well as a reference to the French heritage of Louisiana. Instead of a king on a throne, I've place a magician in a Mardi Gras costume on his stage which would be a performer's equivalent. The suit of Wands' element is fire, which is demonstrated by the magician conjuring a fire salamander.
Felicia comes on board the crazy train for our third deck, 78 Tarot Carnival. An illustrator based in Los Angeles with a BFA in Illustration from Pasadena Art College of Design. She has worked on various projects for star clients such as AEG, Mervel, Fantasy Flight Games, The History Channel, and much more. She is inspired by the influences of Golden Age Illustration, Pre-Raphaelites and Fantasy Art.
Ace of Cups by Maigan Lynn
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A happy young clown stands with a chalice resting on her head, steadied by her hands. She does not hoard this cup to herself, but holds it high, showing it proudly and inviting you to join in the show. Red velvet curtains, bordering the jewelled paddling pool suggest abundance - but an emotional richness, rather than a material opulence. A dove drops a heart into the cup, which overflows with water - five streams flowing down her body and into a pool of lotus blossoms. The addition of the dove and lotus blossoms, both of which represent spirituality, to the emotional symbolism of the water shows that her feelings bring her serenity.
This card heralds the start of a friendship or relationship that will bring not just joy but an inner peace.
Artists Interpretation: The Ace of cups is about many things but I really wanted the main focus to be Love. It also conveys intuition, emotion, creativity, happiness, empathy, and I feel like love is the thing that sews all of this together. You can see at the center of her chest I've placed a heart (where love starts) and that there are many hearts throughout the piece to symbolize it's significance. I also took full advantage of the colour red as a symbol of love but also as a means to tie in the carnival theme. I kept a lot of the symbology of the original card as I felt that was also important in portraying the meaning. Generally, it is a very positive and uplifting card, focussed on the essence of true love, and I was thrilled to be the one asked to create it!
Maigan Lynn creates colorful, illustrative paintings of mermaids and fairies that make her heart sing, hoping others feel the same. She started painting at a time when she had been struggling with anxiety, and used her bright, happy art as therapy. Inspired by Amy Brown, she became a professional artist. Maigan has graced us with her whimsical art for all of our decks.
Two of Cups by Zindy SD Nielsen
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Two young carnival clowns stand, as if in a dream, clinking glasses and celebrating their merger. Two streams of water flow into their cups from a leonine caduceus, a symbol of negotiation – the separation of energies joining again in their union. Black and white snakes that form the caduceus illustrate balance, the lion's head represents passion and power. Whether they are beginning a romantic relationship, or cementing a new professional collaboration is unclear, but everything about them screams harmony. Even their face make up is in perfect symmetry.
When two become one, everything is possible, and this is illustrated perfectly in the Two of Cups. The card is a positive one, full of hope, harmony and energy, suggestive of a partnership, nurturing and supportive, creating a formidable team.
Artists Interpretation: The 2 of cups is the connection between two souls - the beginning of something new and beautiful. The lion representing the passion, fire and strength and the dark and light snakes representing the balance between dark and light. I love this card, as it has a lot of deep meaning. It's about balance and respect, the beauty in relationships, whether it be friends, family or partners. I've chosen to create my card showing the connection between a man and woman, a relationship of power, strength, harmony, beauty and respect.
Danish artist, Zindy S. D. Nielsen creates beautiful, emotive, charcoal images of melancholy girls. She also maintains a passion for the magical world of angels, fairies and butterflies, which “reminds me of sweet childhood dreams and I think we all should keep dreaming as much as possible in this world.” Zindy has been with us for all of our decks.
Three of Cups by Shana Cinquegrana
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Three circus acrobats celebrate a successful show in their dressing room with a banquet of popcorn, toffee apples and other sweet treats. The contortionist raises a cup in salute of her colleagues, but with her feet rather than her hands. Laughter rings out as high spirits reign - her friends are amused, but their hilarity is met with joy, rather than resentment. These are good friends, familiar enough to giggle with each other without rancour, and this blowout is a celebration of more than just a good show. They revel in their companionship and love for one another.
This card reminds us what can be achieved through friendship - heartbreak decreased, sorrow dissolved, accomplishments celebrated and joy created. It prompts us to spend time with family and friends, enjoying the feeling of companionship, and to bask in the warmth it brings.
Artists Interpretation: 3 beautiful circus performers are celebrating each other as well as their successes. I wanted to convey pure joy as they laugh with abandon. An abundance of food, wine and flowers surround them and they are indulging. Spirits are high and a feeling of harmony and familiar comfort unites them. Clearly there are no feelings of restraint or regret here. It is party time!
I imagine this taking place after hours once all the spectators go home. My personal inspiration for this scene comes from my days as a bartender in NYC. Once my shift was over and the last of the drunks went home it was OUR turn to party. That was when my fellow night club co-workers and I could have a few drinks, count our money and laugh about the night's events. The circus theme lends itself perfectly to this memory for me. Many of those nights were wild and very much like a carnival, including all the beautiful performers as well as the entire freak show!
Shana has a great eye and has been providing unique and iconic designs, illustrations, and even brands to the graphic design industry for years. An FIT alumnus, she focuses mainly on branding & illustration for fashion/beauty, women, and children. She also helped to build our brand from the ground up. Shana has graced us with her awesome art since deck 1.
Four of Cups by Anja Uhren
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A harlequin clown sits alone in the darkness, gazing downwards in contemplation. His expression is apathetic, almost bored, his posture is defensive, almost hostile, arms and legs crossed. He has distanced himself from all distractions, keeping everything and everyone out. All around him, hands reach out to him, offering cups of cheer. These cups, which feature the suits of playing cards, symbolise the many different enticements that the outside world has to offer. But he is completely unaware of them, ignoring them and remaining focussed only on his own thoughts.
This card heralds feelings of dissatisfaction, and the desire to look deep within yourself and re-evaluate, without being distracted by trivial matters - the need to make some meaningful changes. It also warns, however, against being so introspective that you end up oblivious to what is right there in front of you.
Artists Interpretation: The Four of Cups card stands for contemplation, apathy and missed opportunity. I placed the harlequin in the center of the card to symbolise his self-centered meditation. With his bored, annoyed almost, expression and repellent body language he doesn't pay attention to what's going on around him and might miss important possibilities that are being offered to him. On the other hand his absolute focus prevents him from being distracted and potentially misled.
Anja Uhren is a German illustrator and writer, currently based in the UK where she studies Illustration at the Arts University Bournemouth. Her greatest passions are drawing and traveling and she loves nothing better than combining the two.
Five of Cups by Kim Sokol
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A conjuror gazes sadly, her cape billowing in the wind, blocking out the light behind her. She is lost and alone. Before her lie three cups, spilling out and emptying, the despairs of her life. In her grief she can't see that two cups remain behind her, upright and filling the sky with hopeful light. These two cups represent everything she still has and could cherish. Will she decide to turn from the sorrow and see the light that still lingers, or is she cursed to stand and watch as her life ebbs away?
This card represents loss, disappointment and grief, and how we face these. Are they an obstacle that stops us in our tracks, or a challenge to be overcome? While natural, wallowing is only cathartic as a temporary reaction. Dwelling too much on the past prevents us from moving forward.
Artists Interpretation: The common interpretation of Five of Cups contains a black-cloaked figure looking at 3 fallen cups in despair, ignoring the 2 upright cups behind him. Here, a magician mourns a failed spell that summoned only darkness, ignoring the bright light shining forth from the other cups behind her, ignored.
Kim Sokol draws really cool stuff and we are incredibly honored to have her join 78 Tarot for our third deck – 78 Tarot Carnival.
Six of Cups by Tara Fly
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Inside a dim circus tent, a performer gazes into her mirror as she prepares for the show. Her face reflects back as she sits pondering her past. On her dresser lie mementos - a brooch, a small locked box, a letter, and family pictures. Happy memories fill her heart as she gazes wistfully at a scene she sees play out in her mirror - a juggler entertaining three small children as he throws five cups high into the air, the sixth stands with the memories on the dresser, now containing flowers from an adoring fan. Though she reflects upon the past, as every good artist knows, the show must go on.
This card suggests that nostalgia can comfort and inspire us to get past current misfortunes, while warning against using the past to escape the present - it may be nice to visit, but we can never go back.
Artists Interpretation: This is what I'm seeing for the Six of Cups, which is a card reflecting on happy memories and playful childhood.
My main character is seated at a large mirror, in her dressing tent - maybe she is preparing for tonight's act. On the vanity in front of her are mementos: framed photos of loved ones, a letter, a jewellery box, and a bouquet of flowers (in one of the cups)... possibly sent by someone special.
The mirror's reflection shows what is happening outside her tent: an entertainer on stilts is juggling the remaining 5 cups for a group of children.
Tara Fly is a Crazy Cat Artist! She is a full-time artist who paints anthropomorphic images of cats, often dressed in colorful costumes from the Regency, Victorian, or Tudor eras, and sometimes as characters from classic literature. Her paintings and merchandise sell to enthusiastic collectors all over the world. Tara has been in every one of our decks.
Seven of Cups by Raheli Starr
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A performer stands before an old wooden board - like it, she is a veteran of the act, nonchalant enough that she idly daydreams while knives fly. But her imagination has led her astray - a cup she drinks from is just an illusion, the snake winding around it symbolising her wisdom and experience. Six other cups, all figments of her imagination, show different desires, treasure on one by her ear representing wealth, a shrouded figure on another standing for enlightenment.
Each “prize” shown has a darker side – the snake is a dangerous creature, the shrouded figure a ghost, illustrating that dreams help us explore our shadows. But this card warns that there is an inherent danger in dreams themselves, inspirational as they may be given their rightful time and place, you can get so caught up in your fantasies that you remain immobile, unable to achieve your goals.
Artists Interpretation: The knife thrower’s assistant sits in the face of danger as the knives and projectiles around her pin 3 cups, mystery, power, and the supernatural to the bullseye. Meanwhile, two cups serve as her earrings; companionship and fortune, the laurel cup sits on her head as a symbol of victory and the cup she drinks tea from represents wisdom.
Her face has a defiant smile as she conquers her thoughts, fears and wrangles her wildest dreams. Within all of this, the metaphor of the carnival is present; an idea that envelops all of the elements in this painting
Raheli’s art is inspired by a variety of topics, from food, to science fiction, to music, and fall into two different styles. She creates distinctive portraits incorporating vivid landscapes and scenes, and simpler illustrations depicting a playful narrative, sharing the worlds and dimensions that exist in her mind. Raheli graced us with her art for the first 3 decks.
Eight of Cups by Alexandra V Bach
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A harlequin balances on a ball as she walks away from her past. For years she worked in the circus, dreaming of better times, becoming more withdrawn from her fellow performers. Now she has cut those ties, but it doesn't fill her with any joy. All around her, energy flows from cup to cup, but it doesn't empower her. Instead she is fatigued - this is the last of the energy she once had for the carnival that she now pours away, making necessary changes to start moving toward a new life.
This card represents a choice - dissatisfaction with a situation that is draining, rather than encouraging you, but the decision to leave is a hard one, and may mean you lose material possessions. This is an emotional tie - you have invested your heart and soul, but staying will hurt you more in the long term.
Artists Interpretation: I am a dark/fantasy/surreal artist so I have set a Dark Carnival mood for my card, and my model is a pretty surreal and gothic Harlequin performing on a moving ball.
Alexandra V Bach is an award-winning French digital artist. Inspired by the Gothic and Baroque traditions, she creates beautiful vampiric and fantasy art for book covers and CD covers for bands like Stream of Passion. She also became a character designer for the Legend of the Cryptids game in 2013.
Nine of Cups by Marlon Teunissen
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A clown sits on her unicycle, balancing three spinning plates in her hands and on her nose. This is no mean feat in and of itself, but on each of these plates sit three cups. She is so close to reaching perfection - these cups are stable, only one starts to fall. Her smile is wide, though, her face happy and enthusiastic. She is not taking this as a setback, realising that all her hard work and practice has paid off, this is just one tiny slip. She basks in the spotlight, her dreams have come true.
This card congratulates you for all that you have achieved and suggests you have all but completed your task and gained the happiness and contentment you seek. The only issues now are minor tweaks to the final outcome that you will be able to deal with very quickly, given all you've already learned.
Artists Interpretation: The nine of cups is a card that stands for hopes and dreams, and is one of the most happy and positive cards present within the tarot deck. It means that your wishes will be fulfilled, that you are feeling satisfied and are content with your life. The cute female clown in the picture somewhat resembles the original and traditional character from the 9 of cups card. They both wear red hats and blue/white striped clothing and both have blue curtains in the background. She has a happy expression on her face because she finally is able to ride a unicycle while balancing 3 plates with 9 cups on them after a long time of practice. Finally her hard work has paid off and the spotlight is on her.
Marlon is an artist focused on character design, concept art, and illustration, but she is always interested in other forms of art like graphic design, web design, comic art, etc. She enjoys trying out different techniques to create images that express character and mood and is always looking for inspiration. Marlon joined us for Carnival and continues to Space!
Ten of Cups by Molly Harrison
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A circus family stands a distance from the big top, enjoying the sunset and the chance to spend some quiet time together. The happy couple can't bear to be apart, arms wrapped round each other, as their playful, affectionate children stand with them, hand in hand, the elder daughter reaching up to her parents. Above their head the sunset has lit up the sky in a rainbow of colours, and a crescent moon appears through the clouds. Ten golden balloons fly past, resembling goblets in the sky, suggesting that this happy family is blessed by the very heavens.
This card epitomises a happy ending - your emotional journey has resulted in a comfortable life, with a harmonious family. It is not an ostentatious card, suggesting riches, instead showing a different, more personal wealth. It is now time to stop and enjoy the many blessings you have been given.
Artists Interpretation: The Ten of Cups card signifies happiness, contentment, joy and fulfilment especially in the area of family and personal relationships – feeling emotionally secure and blessed with all that one has achieved and all that one has. In my card, I chose to use golden hot air balloons to represent the ten cups. The little circus tent is the family’s home. The family stands close, holding each other representing attachment, commitment, love and emotional fulfilment. I did not include some of the typical elements of this card, such as the rainbow, river, and trees because I wanted to focus on the characters in the family. The colorful balloons being held by the family members represent the brightness and opportunities that life has to offer. The mother holds a decorative heart on a ribbon, loosely wrapped around her fingers, to represent the committed love of family.
Molly Harrison is a versatile artist whose emphasis is on fantasy art, but also creates beautiful wildlife, whimsical and abstract art. She works mostly in watercolor, adding inks and acrylic to her work. She has fantasy art fans across the globe and has been published, and licensed for various merchandise. Molly has graced us with her whimsical and cheerful art since Nautical.
Page of Cups by Gila von Meissner
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A child tries to conjure a rabbit out of his hat, but to his amazement, he conjures up a little dog. Nose to nose, some unheard conversation occurs between them, as the dog inspires this young illusionist to dream and aspire. The idea has been brewing for some time - his mobile is full of circus performers, and a past virtuoso proudly hangs on a poster in his room. A royally-attired page sits beneath the poster, and a toy dog, identical to the one speaking to him from his "cup" - the top hat, sits behind him. All he needed was to give into his passions, and play.
This card suggests the need for a little fun - allow yourself to indulge in your emotions, and let them show. Be creative, act on a hunch, and allow the inspiration to flow, without being penned in by adult cares.
Artists Interpretation: When envisioning the Page of Cups, I immediately had a strong connection with the notion of creative beginnings. When your muse tugs at your sleeve, luring you along untrodden paths and possible detours - it usually pays to just run along and frolic in the endless possibilities.
Making the switch to carnival came natural, with a little boy playing magician in his bedroom - and instead of the expected bunny, a dachshund pops out. The traditional symbolism can be found scattered around the circus-themed room, down to the classic dress on a doll.
Gila von Meissner Fröhlich is a vector illustrator that specializes in Graphic design from good ole Germany… usually cute, smart, or retro.
Knight of Cups by Nelleke Schoemaker
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A masked Venetian knight rides through the evening, valiantly brandishing a glistening gold goblet. The light of the sun as it sets lends the scene a nebulous, mysterious quality as he travels. His steed is a white unicorn, a stark contrast to the red cloak he wears, bringing to mind old fairy tales of Snow White and Rose Red. The red cloak symbolises his romantic, passionate nature, the white steed the purity of his heart. Roses bloom as he passes, reinforcing his status as a charming guardian.
The figure in this card is a chivalrous, enchanting hero, the embodiment of the knight of old romantic tales, riding in on his faithful steed, sweeping you off your feet and winning your heart. Not necessarily because he is the strongest champion, but he is a gentleman, in touch with his emotions, using them to guide him on his way.
Artists Interpretation: My card is the Knight of Cups, and I've made a Venetian themed version of this card, I wanted to stay true to the original card of the knight on his white horse, but give my own twist on it. The horse I've kept white, to keep the "purity", "Light "and "spirituality" symbolic, but made him as a unicorn with armor to fit the knight. The red colors symbolises the romance part of the card, as do the roses. For the background I chose a dusk scenery with nice golden colors, with castle ruins in the back. I also wanted the cup as a central focal point in the artwork, so he's holding it up high. Overall this was a magical a new experience, and I've enjoyed every minute of making this piece.
Nelleke, also known as Hollow Moon Art, is a traditional artist, who works with pencils, paints, ink and chalk. Her goal in life is to leave something behind, something that will remain many many years after she is gone to dust, and what’s better than art. She wants people to enjoy her art as much as she does making it. She graces us for Astral after joining us on our journey for Carnival.
Queen of Cups by Carrie Hawks
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A fortune teller sits in her tent, offering you a vision of the future - the still waters of her chalice reflect back at us our own hidden depths. Behind her, the carnival goes on, its life and energy in contrast to the peace and tranquillity of her marquee. In front of her are all the tools she needs to guide us through our vision - crystals, cards and even a crystal ball. She is swathed in a robe of blue with her neck, fingers and headdress adorned with jewels of various colors as she sits on an ornately carved throne with a shell for a headrest and cat-like cherubs at each corner.
This card personifies a character who is compassionate, but restrained. She is a sensitive and mindful, one who understands without being told that something is wrong, but knows when to comfort, and when to keep her distance.
Artists Interpretation: The Queen of Cups represents compassion, empathy, intuition, dependability & discretion. At a carnival, who else would have all of those characteristics but the resident fortune teller? So I decided to portray my Queen as a fortune teller inside her eccentric wagon at the carnival. The carnival tents and Ferris wheel are visible through the window behind her. The Queen of Cups is holding an ornate gold goblet just like in the traditional card - her water filled scrying goblet. She is surrounded by the essentials needed for her craft - tarot cards, candles & Emerald healing crystals. She is dressed all in blue to represent her water element & her crown is her headdress, covered in gold and jewels. Also like the traditional card she is sitting on an elaborate throne with a shell shaped back and cherubs on the sides, however my fortune teller's throne is an elaborate dark wood chair and of course I painted kitty cherubs.
Carrie Hawks often incorporates elements of fantasy within the feline art that she creates. She works primarily with acrylics, using bold colors to create mystic, vivid cats, with “feathered eyes” which has become her trademark. She pulls inspiration from her own cats, which are often models for her work.
King of Cups by Brenda Lyons
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A Venetian King of old, now ruler of the circus of the sea, sits on a great stone throne, surrounded by a school of brightly colored fish as they dance around him like acrobats in a big top. All about him is motion, yet he sits unmoving, calm and serene in this tumultuous performance. His face is warm and controlled, expressing his wisdom and generosity of spirit. Water foams and froths above his head, illustrating that the King is aware of the power and intensity of emotion, but he remains unruffled - he is in control and his emotions are kept in check.
This card represents a figure that accepts and appreciates his emotions, using them to guide him but they never take control - they are subject to him and not the other way around, allowing for a balance of intellect and sentiment in all things.
Artists Interpretation: The King of Cups represents emotional control, the calm of the soul even among a tumultuous sea of emotions and feelings. Even among the battering waves, his stone throne sits unmoving, and his arm holds his cup with unbreakable steadiness. He is generous, offering guidance, love and compassion. Gentle, calm eyes gaze from behind his cup, which swirls with all that can be given, through wisdom, intuition, and the creative force. A mentor, the King of Cups will listen and guide as one strong in creativity and nurturing.
Brenda Lyons is a professional illustrator who creates beautiful paintings, alongside leather jewelry and masks, all inspired by nature and fantasy. Birds of prey are a great inspiration to Brenda and play a significant role in her artworks. She paints primarily with watercolor but also uses ink and acrylics too.