Meditate by Kayti Welsh
The first card of the Nautical deck - this card is meant as a card to meditate on as you get to know the energy of the deck. It was hand illustrated by Kayti Welsh, Founder of 78 Tarot - and we love the concept so much we keep it in all of our decks now. Some people actually use it as an oracle card in addition to the others in the deck.
Kayti is a veteran of the art community, and the founder and director of the 78 Tarot Project. Before she embarked on the 78 Tarot Journey in 2014, she was a graphic designer with a focus on illustration. She created The Sun for our first deck, a meditation card for our second deck, and will be creating the back of the cards for 78 Tarot Carnival. She also has a deep obsession with frogs and scandalous love affair with coffee.
Whimsy by Amy Brown
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Whimsy shows two gentle seahorses helping her to rise free of kelp roots, which might bog her down. The water too, supports her, and helps her being and very spirit lift, even her hair adornments are gently lifting and swaying in a gentle current. We’re reminded of the freeing sensation of floating in water, a chance to lose the daily cares and worries that drag us down.
Artists Interpretation: Whimsy is an important ingredient in a happy, fulfilled life. It feeds our soul and reminds us of our younger days when we still believed in magic and knew anything was possible. Whimsy loosens the mental and emotional bindings that keep us feeling stuffy and serious. It encourages us to see the silliness in life and revel in it. It dares us to dream of impossible things and seek the paths less followed. Whimsy opens our inner selves and allows childlike energy to fill us and renew our spirit. With Whimsy in our lives, everything becomes possible again.. - Amy Brown
Amy Brown is a popular fantasy and fairy artist, painting primarily in watercolours. She started painting Faeries in 1992, while working in a gallery. Twenty years later, her artwork has been the subject of two books, and featured on more t-shirts, calendars, cards and other licensed products than we can count!
Curiosity by Michael Banks
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A curious kitten plays on the beach. A candy fish lies within his easy reach, a pearl is in a partially open oyster right in front of him – life is good, full of easy opportunity. But a storm gathers, waves crashing on the beach behind him, and a dangerous hook lies close enough that he should be careful. He seems oblivious, but the starfish beside him is a reminder to keep going despite any adversity, and this kitten, like all cats, has 9 lives if things turn out to be too dangerous…
Artists Interpretation: This curious, carefree little kitten is living his life on the edge. Enjoying candy fish & the pearls in a wide sea of opportunities, paying no attention to the dangers that may lie ahead. The candy fish and pearl represent a sweet life and riches while the hook and water’s edge represents danger. My trademark broken star painted as a starfish represents perseverance on his journey. Luckily this sweet little cutie has nine lives and doesn't have to give up on his dreams after one try. - Michael Banks
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.
The Fool by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The Fool is wonderfully innocent of danger ahead and below. Unburdened, she steps, determined but delicate, across the path of lily pads and weeds that lie before her; open to the adventures and joy that her journey will bring. Her path becomes more precarious the further she goes, but she is unaware, or simply uncaring. The next pad is floating free, but her attention is elsewhere, on the dragonfly before her, a companion, possibly a guide. Will she heed his warning? Will the lily pad support her? The only way to know is to take that step…
This card represents a new beginning, with the potential for great personal growth. The knowledge you have gained so far may help you in the future but it has taken you as far as it can go for now.
Artists Interpretation: The Fool walks across the roiling surface of the ocean. She wears a white shift, sea foam and purity. She is unafraid, or perhaps just completely unaware of just how precarious her path is. Such blithe trust in the surety of her footing must either be true innocence of the unknown dangers the world can present (the lurking Leviathans, and the shadowy, watery depths), or a wilful desire to flaunt her faith in the face of such knowledge. She strolls across the waterweeds, one foot before the other, eyes cast to the vault of the sky and the endless possibilities she sees before her. A dragonfly gazes back. It knows a bit of the path she has chosen, for it is a creature of both land and air, and it carries wisdom of transformation and adaptation. Perhaps it hopes that she will notice and hear its silent words. The fish swarm and roll in the waves, nibbling at the waterweed stems, casting her pathway adrift and unmoored. - Stephanie Pui - Mun Law
Stephanie Pui-Mun Law is an American artist and illustrator, published by the likes of Wizards of the Coast, for Magic the Gathering, and HarperCollins. She is also the author and artist behind the wonderful Dreamscapes series of books and the best-selling Shadowscapes Tarot deck. She graced us with her talent for the Nautical deck as The Fool.
The Magician by Patricia Ariel
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The Magus stands in concentration, tentacles of an unseen sea creature springing up around his head…not yet surrounding him or pulling him down to the depths. Do they mean him harm? His hands rise up, fish and the four elemental symbols spring forth as he draws upon his own power and magic to prepare himself…either to defend against an unseen foe, or to welcome a yet unknown friend. All the power of the world, all the power of the elements are within his will, to draw upon as he wishes and needs, to achieve everything he desires.
This card is a welcome sight in any reading, predicting success in your endeavors, and encouraging you to achieve your goals by harnessing your own personal power, and using the skills and knowledge that you already have.
Artists Interpretation: "The Magician" is the soul who has already awakened to the higher truths. In my depiction he appears as a mature man, stoic and focused, covered by a dark hood and mantle, while sea anemone tentacles almost "crown" his head. At the command of his hands two fish seem to move in opposite directions. The glyphs of the four elements appear on each side. The association of the tarot theme with the sea make it a perfect foundation for the symbolism of the card. "Water" is the element of intuition, of spirituality and rebirth. He has his eyes fixed in the "above", or the higher planes. The man who has already dominated his potential and can manipulate the elements. -Patricia Ariel
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 High Priestess by Tanya Bond
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The High Priestess stands before a nautical veil suspended between black and white pillars. She is the guardian of the mysteries behind the veil, and stands between the darkness and the light. Her necklace is a compass suspended in a planchette, symbolising guidance – she invites you to learn the mysteries of the sea and your own intuition, if you are worthy. She looks welcoming, but the spikes on her dress remind you of her power, and to carefully consider all before you. Listen to your inner voice before you proceed, because all is not always what it seems.
This card is a reminder to trust your intuition, and to pay attention to it. It symbolises an understanding and acceptance of the mysteries of self, and where they can lead you.
Artists Interpretation: The High priestess card is strongly connected with intuition; she is knowledgeable of mysteries that lurk behind the veil. She speaks directly to our subconscious mind; she knows of our inner strengths and helps us achieve our best potential. She clears a way for unencumbered progress in our creative endeavors, spiritual transformation and inner growth. - Tanya Bond
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.
The Empress by Larry Elmore
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A beautiful mermaid floats in the foreground, while a myriad of fish swim serenely behind her. But this is no defenceless maiden in need of someone to save her. The Empress of the sea, armored and armed, stands ready to protect the natural abundance of her land, the creatures of her world. She is the embodiment of feminine, maternal power, in perfect balance with her surroundings and nature. She comes to you, part human, and part fish, to bridge the gap of understanding, to encourage you to engage with her world and achieve all that she has dreamt for you.
This card advises you to embrace all aspects of the feminine energy within you, maternal, sensual and protective. Connect with it, and draw upon the creative elements of your soul.
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.
The Emperor by Delphine Lévesque Demers
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A dominant, greying man sits on a sandstone throne, on a beach stretching as far as we can see. He has long, flowing, grey locks, symbolising his experience and age. His face is weathered and scarred, a patch covers one eye, and his hands hold an ankh and a globe. The ankh represents his authority, the globe represents his dominion. His throne is adorned with shells forming the shapes of rams’ heads, representing his strength of will. He has fought hard for the land he rules, the power he now wields, he has seen much, and deserves respect and obedience.
This card heralds a well fought victory - success and stability brought by working within the rules and becoming wiser and more focussed in the process.
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 Hierophant by Krisgoat
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The Hierophant is a teacher, sitting on a throne between pillars of Law and Freedom. Her triple crown represents the three worlds, her triple sceptre symbolises her dominion over these three worlds. She is a benefactor, her hand raised in blessing; she is bathed in light, which then filters through the water to two kneeling hippocampi. These are her willing students of the crossed keys lying before them. They are ready to be initiated by her into a realm of knowledge, rules and tradition. To unlock the mysteries of spirituality and religion, and earn their conventional roles in her tradition.
This card represents a need to play by the rules and pay attention to detail – this is not a time to think outside the box, but to pursue knowledge, and achieve goals in a traditional way.
Artists Interpretation: The Hierophant represents knowledge and learning. The right hand is raised in blessing, with two fingers pointing skyward and two pointing down, thus forming a bridge between Heaven and Earth. The Triple Crown and scepter represent the three worlds - the physical, the astral, and the etheric. The two pillars symbolize Law and Liberty. The crossed keys are a symbol of balance between the conscious and subconscious minds and the unlocking of mysteries. They are also the keys to the kingdom of heaven. The Hierophant is typically shown with two initiates. The Hierophant’s task is to bring the two initiates into the church so that they can take up their appointed roles. - Krisgoat
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
The Lovers by Shana Cinquegrana
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A couple enjoys each other’s company on a beach, the sun slowly setting, but still casting a warm glow over them. They are secure in this warmth, in each other, the choice that they’ve made to take this journey together. He watches her, playing guitar, wooing her, as she both gazes up and reaches for the sky. The interaction between them represents the different qualities of love, and the journey of love itself - from lust and desire to an emotional, even spiritual, connection. The choices we make, and the importance of these.
This card reminds us that love exists on a variety of different levels, and in many forms, that you have to stay true to yourself in all of your decisions and relationships, whether they are romantic or platonic.
Artists Interpretation: Traditionally, the LOVERS card represents the journey of love or a partnership. He lusts after her while she searches for a more spiritual love as she reaches toward the sky where she sees an angel.
My inspiration for this illustration came from a sailing trip to Catalina Island before my husband and I were married. This marked the beginning of our journey, and is one of my favorite memories. - Shana Cinquegrana
The Chariot by Melanie Starr
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A chariot is driven through a moonlit night by a calm, peaceful woman. A massive nautilus shell, it is pulled through the ocean by two polar bears. Despite the dark, she is confident and in control – over the bears pulling her chariot, and of the situation. The moonlight, and outward facing crescent moons on her chariot illustrate celestial forces at play, the square element decorating her chariot hints at her strength of will and determination. This chariot keeps moving forward thanks to the will and effort of this beautiful woman.
This card is an indicator of success and victory, brought by hard work and courage – a reminder to be bold, assertive and give your full focus to the situations you face, in order to create success.
Artists Interpretation: The Charioteer peacefully balances the polar bears and concentrates her energy into keeping them in control. She stands in a nautilus shell beneath four glowing fish in the sky, representing the four earthly elements in balance. I created polar bears to pull her chariot, as they are powerful creatures that can navigate from one plane to the next, in water and on land. The face of the chariot holds two gold crescent moons symbolizing ups and downs in life, the square above them represents the 4 corners of the earth. The fish in the sky help guide and light her way through the vast ocean into the cosmos. The polar bear's positions suggest they can move together in one direction, despite how much they struggle, with the charioteer's control and purpose. - Melanie Starr
Mountain girl and artist, Melanie Starr is a lover of photography and mother of a baby girl who is inspiring her to create a children’s clothing line. Having eight years professional experience in Graphic Design and Illustration, she revels in bringing concepts to life and designing to make an impact. Melanie helped with graphics and marketing for the first two decks, but her mommy duties have kept her unable to continue her journey with us.
Justice by Monika Ptok-Byard
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A sea goddess bears a Narwhal horn in one hand and shell scales in the other. She is flanked by two pillars of kelp rising to the surface. The feeling of this card is balance. The blade is held in her right hand – logic is at work and the scales in her left show an even counter-balance of emotion. Both are at play here. She is sightless – she cannot judge on appearances, only by determining the truth. The scales are evenly balanced, the future will be determined by the decisions you have made, and the fairest outcome will prevail.
This card advises that everything happens for a reason and that each action has a consequence. These may not be immediately apparent, but you should trust that they will.
Artists Interpretation: I decided to paint Justice as an Octopus woman. I know Justice uses the number 8 or 11 and since an Octopus has eight legs I thought it would be fitting. I used a Narwhal horn for her sword which she holds on her right and shells for her scale (which are balanced) which she holds on her left. I used the seaweed as pillars. I wanted to keep this card as natural as possible.
The Justice card deals with Karma, balance, fairness and justice. I know sometimes she is depicted blindfolded, again I wanted something more natural, so she is not blindfolded but her eyes are white... trying to show blindness in a more natural way to represent fairness.
I actually had quite a difficult time with her in the beginning but by the end I really enjoyed working on her. - Monika Ptok-Byard
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.
The Hermit by Tanya Ross
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The Hermit has achieved all he can in his world, so far. Now is a time for introspection, contemplation, even soul searching - he has chosen to live a solitary existence for now, leaving his past and all distractions behind him, stepping out of the ocean with only a lantern staff and a few decorative trinkets. But the lantern represents the wisdom that guides him, the staff, carried in his left hand, symbolises his power over his own intuition. He will use this isolation to achieve the answers and move on to even higher accomplishments.
This card represents a time to look further than the external world, full of distractions and look within, moving forward only when answers present themselves.
Artists Interpretation: My Darwin fish is the hermit, adorned with 9 nautical trinkets, driftwood staff, compass lantern, sea foam snowy mountains, cloak of fish netting and nautilus shell, fish hook from careless oceanic days, smile of contented wisdom, looking forward to explore the world outside his ocean shelter, moonlit walks on the beach, and a flask of Jäger in his back pocket. -Tanya Ross
Tanya Ross aka TanDoll has been a professional artist for over a decade, having created her very own signature medium using an intricate method with oil pastels and colored pencils. Most of her artwork is drawn in a lowbrow/kitsch big-eye style that is colorful, spunky, and occasionally a little silly. Tanya was one of the founding members, and has been in all our decks. Sadly, mommyhood is preventing her from coming to Space with us, but we hope to see her next year!
Wheel of Fortune by Megan Buccere
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The Wheel of Fortune shows things are changing, and while change is often good, the darkness of this card, and the monster rising from the depths, remind us that it is sometimes traumatic. Even the act of change can hurt. But life is constantly moving. The use of a compass here as the wheel shows us that it is all one journey, with challenges and rewards along the way. You can work hard to be at the top of the wheel as often as possible, or not - how you act on the journey is up to you.
This card represents the ever moving cycle of the universe – where everything is constantly changing, and advises you to get used to the ups and downs.
Artists Meaning: Wheel of Fortune refers to the fact that life runs in cycles. You must accept the duality of good and bad in life. The Wheel of Fortune provides perspective into both and suggests that adaptation is the key to success. For the nautical version of this card the main themes of the traditional card were given a watery twist. The blindfolded woman represents the life force descending into the material world while her third eye represents wisdom. The wheel is shown as a compass. Wispy kelp forests in the background symbolize stability in an ever moving ocean. - Megan Buccere
Megan Buccere is a versatile painter, ceramicist, and teacher, who creates beautiful, sometimes unsettling work influenced by 1960’s pop art and the juxtaposition of fantasy and reality seen in surrealist works. Her work has been featured in national gallery shows, online publications, and private collections. Megan graced us with her gorgeous art for the first two decks.
Strength by Meredith Dillman
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A huge, leonine sea serpent rises out of the water toward a young girl on a rock. Beneath the water, other sea creatures swim - potential predators and dangers lurking below. But the girl is calm. Rather than reacting with an ignorant, passionate response, she reaches for this awesome creature and treats it like a beloved pet. Her caress is met with gentle care - she is not in any danger. An infinity symbol floats above her head, symbolising spiritual power and balance. The serpent’s power is tempered by the understated, inner strength of the girl.
This card is a reminder, that with truth, compassion and understanding, we can exert our strength of will over a situation, gently shaping things to our will, rather than meeting them head on with physical prowess.
Strength appears to be a quiet and gentle girl, but she uses her inner strength, patience and compassion to tame the sea serpent instead of physical power. She has the ability to harness the chaotic animal nature of the beast through calm persistence, understanding, and love. The serpent’s tail shows there is more than what appears on the surface, while the girl sits upon a solid foundation of stone. - Meredith Dillman
Meredith Dillman is known for her colorful fairy tale paintings, which combine a love Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelites and Japanese art. She is the author of “Fantasy Fashion Art Studio” and “Watercolor Made Easy: Fairies and Fantasy”. Her award-winning art has been licensed for variety of gift products available worldwide. Mere has graced us with her incredibly delightful art for all of our decks.
The Hanged Man by Shelby Nichols
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Ghostly, skeletal pirates fight at the bottom of the sea, while a flesh-and-blood sailor hangs from the bowsprit of a sunken ship. At first glimpse this card appears to be one of despair, but the sailor’s face is serene. He is unaffected by the chaos and conflict around him. His arms are behind him, but do not appear to be tied, and light shines through the sea to illuminate both him the skeletal angel masthead. His surrender is not to the scene around him, but a voluntary suspension of his self, to gain enlightenment.
This card suggests that inaction, reflection, even self-sacrifice, are needed, in order to see things from a different perspective and follow a path that is right for you, even if it’s not right for others.
Artists Interpretation: I became excited to work on the Hanged Man Card when I found, in my research, that it was one of the most enigmatic cards in the deck. The card generally speaks of martyrdom or making a sacrifice now for future good. The Hanged Man himself is normally featured as serene, even as he is suspended, and in my piece, even as he is surrounded by chaos.
I've often had to make important and sometimes heart-wrenching sacrifices to reach goals. This card speaks to me in that if you trust in yourself and your creative power, the ghosts will clear and the rewards will come. - Shelby Nichols
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.
Death by Travis Anthony Soumis
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The Grim Reaper comes to collect his next soul. This soul belongs to a man who has drowned in dark and stormy seas. Behind Death, however, is bright light. A new day, a new beginning, past the storm. As one door closes, another opens - a brighter future lies ahead, a rebirth from the dark into the light. A massive change looms – inevitable, uncomfortable, possibly even scary, but necessary - this change will show what is truly important.
This is a gateway card. It can refer to an actual death, but more often represents the end of an era. This can be a worrying time, but you are ready, and it is an important transition – reach out and grab it with both hands.
Artists Interpretation: I just wanted to portray the death card as a looming obstacle you have to get by to achieve change. There's a pinnacle and color in the background representing the goal. A body in the water representing the death of the old self. And of course, the reaper, his scythe filling the sky, guarding the way to change. In other words, let yourself die and embrace a new self, over-looking your past. - Travis Anthony Soumis
Travis Anthony Soumis’ art is dark and eerie and things of your nightmare. He works with a multitude of media from traditional to digital, often combining the two to produce a work of art with many many layers.
Temperance by Tiffany Toland-Scott
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A woman stands in a flower field. She appears to be standing on land, but the flow of her dress and hair suggest she is underwater. She is a part of the real, world and the land of dreams and intuition, bridging both - the eternal diplomat. Her hands form the shape of a scale, a nautilus shell in each, water flowing between them, but not necessarily as you would expect one from the other. Instead the water flows between the shells, over her head, forming an arc above her, where fish seem to swim in the sky – the surreal made real.
This card advises that by respecting and achieving balance, ignoring distractions, you can master the trials and challenges you face, and allow the impossible to become possible.
Artists Interpretation: Temperance is usually depicted pouring water from one cup into another, sort of like balancing a scale, but I wanted my piece to have some magical and surreal qualities, and I wanted to paint the water in a way that would bring the viewer's eye up and around the painting instead of moving from one hand to the other and then slipping off the page. The longest flower will stop just short of touching the woman's right hand, and the flowers curve upright pointing back to the figure. This should keep the eye moving in a circular fashion around the painting. - Tiffany Toland-Scott
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 Devil by David Van Gough
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Central to this image is a horned demon, with naval vessels where wings should be. Before him, a man and woman stand, bound by fuel pipes pumping oil into a green, acidic ocean, but they are not chained, the pipes twisted loosely around them. They could easily escape, but they do nothing. Relaxed, they gaze at their smartphones, absorbed in their own worlds rather than facing reality. A torch suggests illumination, but it is another trick that hides the truth.
This card warns that we do not see things as they really are. We focus on material, temporary pleasures and care little for the world around us, rather than dancing with these pleasures and moving on. We concentrate on restrictions and negativity that we believe hold us back, rather than pushing forward.
Artists Interpretation: With this piece, I wanted to take a traditional, secular avatar and revise it to a set of recognizable boundaries in a culturally and politically relevant sense. We are beholden to established power structures, to our acquisitions, our narcissism, to the illusionary deception of fear through the media, the physical bondage of materialism, to superficial totems, to our endless distractions, our disconnection of each other through a Wi-Fi connection, our addiction to fossil fuels for the plundering of our environment, for our love of oil is the true adoration of the serpent. - David Van Gough
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.
The Tower by PeeMonster
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A burning tower smoulders on top of a girl’s head, as she sinks into the water, powerless to prevent the destruction. The inhabitants of this tower, multitudes of birds, dive out of the shell that is left, fleeing to safety. Her ambitious, but flawed, masterpiece was built on shifting foundations and has been blown to smithereens as a result. But there is light behind the destroyed tower – hope. The change to her life is dramatic, even terrifying, but not lethal or harmful. She can start again, rebuild on stronger foundations, move forward, and succeed.
This card can be fairly shocking because it suggests that our safe, secure existence is false. But this revelation is liberating – we can admit those nagging doubts and rebuild in those areas, either thoughts or deeds, that need work.
Artists Interpretation: When I was given this card, I knew exactly what I wanted to convey- the turmoil and pain associated with a sudden change in one’s life, perhaps anticipated prior. The tower card illustrates the destruction of the unstable foundation upon which we as individuals piece together the bricks that form our empire.
The tower on the girl’s head symbolizes her own empire and all aspects of her life, and where she had most recently invested the nutrients of her soul. She built her empire on something, only to see the universe bring it down around her. At some point in the process, she begins to feel a helpless sinking... like she is drowning. She can only watch as everything comes to an end.- PeeMonster
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.
The Star by Carla Morrow
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A dragon sits, composed and serene, on a calm beach, plucking starfish from the sand, infusing them with light and placing them in the sky. She brings hope and a guiding light for others on their journey. She has recently emerged from the sea, moving on to the next stage of her own journey, leaving her troubles behind. Water flows off her, from one wing, back to the sea, replenishing the never-ending life cycle, and falling from the other onto the dry beach, showing the balance she maintains between her everyday activities and her intuition.
This card represents a new phase – having faced the challenges you have endured so far, you are entering a time of hope and renewal – this card is shining a light on you to guide you on your way.
Artists Interpretation: The star card represents Hope, spirituality, renewal, inspiration, and serenity. The dragon has just emerged from the depths of the ocean. The place where inspiration comes from. The sound of the calm waves bringing her to a place of absolute serenity. Water pours and drips from her wings, one back into the ocean, giving back to renew, replenish, and refill the well. The other pouring into the earth in five rivulets, one for each of our five senses. There are eight stars in total, one for each of the major chakras. She is picking up star fish from the beach and placing them into the heavens as stars to help guide our way, offering the first inkling of hope in a normally dark sky. - Carla Morrow
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 Moon by Luca Federici Carey
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A huge orb hangs in the sky, lighting the scene below - two cities with a path between them to the horizon. But the sky is dark - this is the Moon, offering a muted light over a dream world, full of shadows and monsters. Two of these, one brutal and savage (our untamed nature) the other, defensive and more civilised (our disciplined selves), are at the start of the path, in conflict before it has begun. A crayfish emerges from the sea, symbolising the start of a journey from the subconscious.
This card is regarded as an indicator of your subconscious mind – a need to give reign to your intuition, the elements at play behind your actions and feelings. Your dreams and visions are trying to tell you something and you should listen.
I wanted to emphasize the core element of madness, which, strangely, seems lacking in popular depictions. The dream world is the essence of insanity and even the crayfish (which symbolizes consciousness) appears strange and unsettling in this world. It's a rapturous, violent place and the crayfish, despite its pivotal role, can do nothing but watch in awe. Malevolence of every kind is oozing from the tall monster and yet his relatively benign foe is also alien and unfamiliar; the crayfish scans the landscape for familiarity and comfort but finds neither.
The architect of this chaos is the moon, which, ironically, is itself illusory. Like the god of a false religion, it has only as much power as that bestowed upon it by its beholder, and in this world it reigns supreme. - Luca Federici Carey
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 Sun by Alex Garant
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Against a clear blue sky, two young merfolk bask under a large statue, which rises out of a strong, brick wall. The statue doesn’t cast any shade – its solar face smiles down upon the children, with a halo of wavy hair and straight rays shining out. They are naked and innocent, open as only children can be, and they frolic at the top of the water, within the sea-foam – both indicating their purity. From behind the wall, four sunflowers watch over the children, symbols of the joy and abundance granted by the sun.
This card heralds success and joy. You have toiled and suffered, and come out the other side smiling. Your life is full of positives, and your warm attitude, confidence and vibrancy attracts people and success to you like moths to a flame.
Artists Interpretation: The Sun represents the source of life itself, it also symbolizes happiness, joy, energy, optimism, accomplishment, the light after a dark night. The mermaid children playing joyfully in the foreground represents the happiness of our true self. The represent the innocence and purity of childhood. The orange ribbon shows that control has passed from the conscious to the subconscious; The sun rays represent action and vibration, sources of all life on earth. The flowers in the background represent life and the fruitfulness of the spirit under the nourishment of the Sun. There are four sunflowers, representing the four elements. The sun card is a sign that you are likely to find yourself feeling more free than you ever have. - Alex Garant
Queen of Double Eyes, Alex Garant’s paintings offer a graphic quality, combined with traditional portrait techniques. Her inspiration: early ink printing, vintage pop surrealism, baroque tapestries and retro kitsch. She uses patterns, duplication of elements, symmetry and image superposition to engage the viewer.
Judgement by Brynn Elizabeth
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Against a blood red sky, waves rise up in answer to the trumpet call of an angel. Within these waves are shadows, souls reaching up, joyfully looking for cosmic, spiritual judgement. This is a means of starting afresh - as with everything in life, what seems like an ending, is a new beginning, as those worthy, reach a higher plane following their judgement.
This card suggests an epiphany following a vital time of reflection upon your life and actions. That water plays an important part of this card is no coincidence - intuition and logic both play a part in this introspection, and following it, you can come to terms, even be absolved of past sins, and move on refreshed and renewed.
Artists Interpretation: Judgement is the card of realization, epiphanies, awakenings, and laying the past to rest. Traditionally this card is depicted with nude men and women opening their arms to a mighty angel with a trumpet in the sky calling for their judgement. In the background, a wall of crashing waves symbolizes the impossibility of moving forward in life without judgement and absolution.
This card was fairly easy to fit into the nautical theme, as the waves are almost always an element present in the card. But instead of painting actual people, I used bright colors and loose paint strokes rising up from the sea floor to symbolize the souls being called forth for judgement. The angel is peaceful but strong, providing the final step in moving on from the past. - Brynn Elizabeth
Brynn Elizabeth is a talented 20 year old artist from Oregon who’s been drawing and painting for as long as she can remember. She started painting fantasy and faeries when she was twelve years old. Now she paints everything from ethereal faeries and goddesses to anime and Lolita girls.
The World by Jasmine Becket-Griffith
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A maiden stands between the dark and light of a stormy scene, in a turbulent sea, with monsters on either side of her. Within her hands she clutches the world to her chest. This is the end of the journey started by The Fool – after the trials and challenges that she has faced, this girl has achieved victory – the world has been given to her, just not quite on a silver platter. This is not the end – there are still storms and monsters out there, but that is a new journey for another time – they’re not approaching her (yet).
This card is a celebration – the culmination of one phase, and a major accomplishment, you should be proud. You have gained experience and resilience along the way, and are now prepared for the next phase to start.
Artists Interpretation: I've chosen to interpret "The World" as a beautiful maiden standing in the sea, cradling the world in her hands. There are dangers afoot - sea monsters inspired by antique old world maps. This is my own original acrylic painting, hand painted on panel. This was a particularly interesting piece to paint - the lighting in it is very surreal, and the composition begs the question - if she is holding the World, where in the universe is the sea in which she's standing? - Jasmine Becket-Griffith
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.
Ace of Pentacles by Maigan Lynn
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A young mermaid sits on top of a rock in a clear lagoon, holding a large gold coin to her chest. The rocks behind her are verdant and fertile, sea flowers grow around her. Just below the waters where she sits, an open treasure chest lies, treasure starting to spill out. Fluffy white clouds float above her, in a clear, blue sky. Her face is happy, but serene, rather than smug and self-satisfied. Better times are ahead of her, a new material world is opening up to her.
This card suggests that you will be more secure and healthier – possibly a gift, but more likely is that you will find new opportunities to achieve your goals. This is a start, not an end.
Artists Interpretation: So, the Ace of Pentacles is generally an earth card so incorporating earth elements like sand, flowers, and rocks were important. However, most depictions of this card are of a hand coming out of a cloud, cupping the pentacle. I have the hand cupping the pentacle but also wanted to add the clouds....so they're there...just not in the traditional sense. This card is about prosperity, growth, and wealth. It's a wicked card for me to illustrate - right up my alley! - Maigan Lynn
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 Pentacles by Jodi Horne
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: In the middle of a stormy sea, a naked woman stands on a rocky outcropping, an octopus reaching out of the sea to entangle her. Despite her nakedness and apparent defencelessness, her arms are braced against it, successfully fending off the attack, a pentacle hanging from each hand. To make matters worse, the turbulent ocean is managing to buffet two ships on the horizon, but there is no panic on her face. She is in control of the situation, and her arms hold the key to this success – they form an even balance, as well as fending off the attack.
This card advises you to achieve balance and ensure that other areas of your life do not suffer from the instability created at the start of this new venture, by getting your priorities straight.
Artists Interpretation: My card, the two of pentacles, is all about maintaining balance in an otherwise not ideal situation. Traditionally, a figure is shown juggling two pentacles surrounded by the infinity symbol; the figure is shown surefooted in a stormy sea. I have also used similar imagery. My female figure is naked and vulnerable, while not only balancing the two of pentacles; she is also surefooted while battling a giant octopus in a stormy sea. I have incorporated the infinity symbol into the tentacles of the octopus. She is calm and nonplussed in the face of certain danger. - Jodi Horne
Jodi Horne has always been “the girl who could draw”. Believing that “…To be able to come up with such fantastic creatures and other worlds, you just have to look at THIS world differently”, she immerses herself completely, working until morning to finish one of her watercolors or acrylic artworks.
Three of Pentacles by Stephanie Sturm
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A young ship designer sits with a blueprint in front of her, the idea brought to life in a 3D image that she shows to two older designers. Their reactions are good, both are engaged with the project, respecting the work and ideas of the younger designer – a true collaboration, regardless of experience and perceived hierarchy. Behind them, various sketches are pinned to a board, showing the ship from a variety of angles, with slight changes – this one is the final draft, with the approval of all.
The journey told by the suit of Pentacles has reached an important point – there is a completion of sorts here, reason to celebrate. Initial work has been done, creating a clear pathway ahead for the rest of the task. The plans are set; the material work can take form.
Artists Interpretation: I chose to illustrate three individuals, naval engineers, working together on the design for a ship to be built – a nod to nautical.
With teamwork and appreciation for equality, the Three of Pentacles often depicts two older, or more experienced, individuals letting a younger, or less experienced, person take the lead – and listening to their input. Showing this I have the youngest of the three sitting and presenting her concept to her peers, who are eagerly discussing the resolved ideas.
Being a three, the card speaks about synthesis and parts becoming a whole, making this card laced with trinity symbolism. Touching on the mind, body and spirit specifically this card has influences of the creative process – from concept to initial fruition, and a sense of accomplishment. - Stephanie Sturm
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.
Four of Pentacles by James Priest
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A pirate stands on the sea bed, a pistol in one hand and a sword in the other. A key hangs around his neck on a chain, and his eyes are dark - he is tired from work, but alert, and poised. At his feet lie four pentacles, and these are what he protects, with force if necessary. He stands guard over them, unwilling to move and risk someone taking his treasure.
This card is a warning – that while it is understandable, even admirable to be happy about your success, too much of a good thing can be harmful. Your work should be rewarded, acknowledged, and built on, rather than becoming obsessed by what you have achieved and the wealth that you have accrued. That way lies greed, miserliness and misery.
Artists Interpretation: So my card meaning is about being over possessive, or obsessing over material objects. With the nautical theme i immediately thought of how pirates are fascinated by gold/ treasure and are willing to die to defend or obtain it. The fish skeletons swimming about are a symbolism of the amount of time he has/will stay underwater to protect his prize.
James Priest is a talented and original British comic book artist working out of his home studio.
Five of Pentacles by Raheli Starr
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A woman sadly looks down, weighed down by a heavy rope knot around her neck. They only thing she can see is darkness below her, engulfing her and dragging her down more. A winged seahorse hovers next to her, bringing her comfort and hope, in sight if she chooses to look up, but she does not. Above her head is a blue sky, with white fluffy clouds, and surreal jellyfish floating high, free from the darkness.
This card represents a current adversity, typically financial in nature – pulling you down and making you wallow in self-pity. But it reminds you that all is not lost – you still have hope, if you can only look up from your troubles enough to see it. A friend to bring you comfort and help, better times ahead.
Artists Interpretation: I decided to create the Five of Pentacles as a surreal narrative. A young girl’s hair frames five jellyfish, flying in the midday sky to freedom and liberation, while she is weighed down by a sailor’s knot around her neck. Her seahorse friend tries to provide comfort as she’s engulfed in her sadness by a liquid night sky. The knot represents the emotions of self-doubt, lack of faith and loss that can weigh us all down, at times. The liquid night represents the negative situation, which is always temporary. I chose bright colors to provide a contrast interpretation when the card is dealt and to compliment the card when it is reversed.
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.
Six of Pentacles by Lindsay Cheesewright
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A mermaid rests on an anchor, surveying the fruits of her labour – an eclectic collection of sailors’ compasses and pocket watches, and a ship in a bottle on the end of a rope. Clinging to her is an octopus, which seems to be helping her to keep her possessions together. Her work has been successful so far – she has collected wealth while seducing a variety of sailors, from shipwrecks and ships that she has lured to their destruction. In the background, a lighthouse looms – she may need to rethink how she achieves her goals.
This card illustrates the need for evaluation as well as determination and hard work, in order to keep improving and progressing. Adapting as well as investing time and energy – making sure you work smart as well as work hard.
Artists Interpretation: The mermaid is the mistress of the deep. She is the symbol of beauty, hope and fantasy. She is the bearer of joy and sorrow. The giver of life and death. In her hands she holds the rope that binds the souls of the sailors who are lured to their deaths. Whether she is smashing the ship in the bottle against the coral or keeping it from harm, the power lies within her hands. She holds a treasure trove of sailors’ timepieces or compasses. Her trusty companion helps her keep her hoard of compasses safe. The mermaid uses her tools to reap her rewards from her hard work. The seahorse represents the souls of the dead seaman lured to their watery fate. - Lindsay Cheesewright
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.
Seven of Pentacles by So Ma
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A mermaid rests on an anchor, surveying the fruits of her labour – an eclectic collection of sailors’ compasses and pocket watches, and a ship in a bottle on the end of a rope. Clinging to her is an octopus, which seems to be helping her to keep her possessions together. Her work has been successful so far – she has collected wealth while seducing a variety of sailors, from shipwrecks and ships that she has lured to their destruction. In the background, a lighthouse looms – she may need to rethink how she achieves her goals.
This card illustrates the need for evaluation as well as determination and hard work, in order to keep improving and progressing. Adapting as well as investing time and energy – making sure you work smart as well as work hard.
Artists Interpretation: The mermaid is the mistress of the deep. She is the symbol of beauty, hope and fantasy. She is the bearer of joy and sorrow. The giver of life and death. In her hands she holds the rope that binds the souls of the sailors who are lured to their deaths. Whether she is smashing the ship in the bottle against the coral or keeping it from harm, the power lies within her hands. She holds a treasure trove of sailors’ timepieces or compasses. Her trusty companion helps her keep her hoard of compasses safe. The mermaid uses her tools to reap her rewards from her hard work. The seahorse represents the souls of the dead seaman lured to their watery fate.
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.
Eight of Pentacles by Regan Kubecek
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A mermaid sits in concentration, painting a sea shell. Other shells hang drying, displayed proudly, but not ostentatiously - she is hard at work, her contribution to the ocean is using her skills to add colour and beauty to the sea. In the background, a more shells sit waiting for her attention. There are no grey clouds in this scene, no storms on the horizon, no worries or distractions ahead – the world is rosy.
This card shows that you are aware of the need to work, diligently and productively without getting bogged down. You have learned from your past trials and successes and are applying that experience to your life and work. There is still progress to be made, but you will get there.
Artists Interpretation: So here is my card, the Eight of Pentacles. This card is all about being productive, working hard and using your skills. My busy little mermaid has the task of painting all the shells of the ocean, her task is large but she knows she has the ability and skill.
My pentacles are represented by shells hanging to dry behind her and one that she still works on. - Regan Kubecek
Nine of Pentacles by Lily Buth
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A beautiful mermaid sits in a garden of sea plants and sand dollar shells. She rests, content among her finery - her garden is all that is visible. All her hard work so far has come to fruition, and it is time to relax and enjoy her accomplishment. One of the sand dollars adorns her hair – she enjoys her good fortune, but doesn’t flaunt it. Feathery scales on her tail symbolise her wisdom - she will maintain control over her wealth. Her garden will continue to grow under her care.
This card represents a chance and time to live life well, reminding us that we work to live, and not the other way around. Money is best enjoyed, rather than hoarded. Because you maintain this balance, your life will be fertile and abundant.
Artists Interpretation: To represent the falcon I painted the scales on her tail to look like feathers. The seaweed swirling around her is like the vineyard, while the pentacles (represented by sand dollars) float quietly towards the surface reaching the sunlight. The mermaid looks downward calmly with her eyes closed, content and comfortable with an inward sense of fulfilment and satisfaction.
Lily Buth creates strikingly beautiful paintings and drawings with a mixture of different media, often utilizing graphite, watercolor, acrylic, oils and pastels. She finds that the diversity of media that she chooses brings new contrasts to her unique artwork. Lily joined us for the first two decks.
Ten of Pentacles by Tammy Pryce
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Flanked by pillars of kelp that slowly grow towards each other to form an archway, a merman swims with a family of seahorse close to him. He is showing an open treasure chest, with ten pentacles beneath it, to them and a starfish family. His tail is a mix of purple and gold, symbolising his wealth, and he wields a trident in his hand, illustrating his power. A vast, towering city sprawls behind him; he has built an empire that he can share.
This card symbolises the fulfilment brought not only by wealth, but by security of mind. Your journey is complete, you have worked and toiled, and regardless of what happens to you now, you have created a legacy that cannot be taken away.
Artists Interpretation: Many of you know the meaning of the 10 Of Pentacles so I won't go into all of that here. In my Nautical version of it, I tried to incorporate several of the key elements. The city and his home in the background, a chest of gold sitting off to the side to indicate wealth. Families of ocean life all around him, which are in fact also part of his larger family and his friends. He's also holding his trident or his version of a staff. - Tammy Pryce
Tammy Pryce originally worked in a glass factory; hand painting on glassware, but now specializes in fantasy and portrait work, working in a variety of media to suit the subject, from digital to pencil. She is also creates intricate, cute and quirky hand-made clay sculptures. Tammy was in the first two decks.
Page of Pentacles by Brenda Lyons
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A gryphon osprey dives into the clear blue water, literally head first, toward the fish swimming in seaweed below. Within his grasp is a pentacle – his goal is material in nature – food for his belly. As he dives in, the fish scatter in fear, but they get caught in a net that he is dragging behind him, rather than catch them one by one. The young and impetuous Page is impatient to get his fish.
After the Ten of Pentacles, the Page is like opening another book, starting fresh at page one. This card represents your dreams and goals, invigorating them, and showing your enthusiasm to make them real. A call to action, to begin the hard work and learn the skills it will take to amass your fortune.
Artists Interpretation: The Page of Pentacles uses his brain and his hands (or, in this case, talons) to achieve his goal through hard work and by coming up with solutions to a challenge. This gryphon could catch fish one at a time, but instead he takes the effort to weave a net to gather more fish. He's not greedy, though, and he is realistic with his goals. He's not going to catch all those fish in just one dive; he'll have to plunge in again and again, working hard to gradually collect his wealth through perseverance and effort. But with enough hard work and commitment, he will reach his goal, and enjoy life all the while.
The page is a youth. This young osprey gryphon - a raptor who lives its life diving head-first into the sea after its prey - is growing in mind and body and is always open to learning and discovery.
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.
Knight of Pentacles by Jenga Garcia
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A pirate knight stands on the beach, his ship behind him on a stormy sea. In his hands he holds a treasure chest with a pentacle emblem. He is still, contemplative for now. His task is to bury the treasure himself, rather than trusting it to any of his crew, and then return and find more. The chest is full – this is not a frivolous knight who spent it already. He has a plan and he will keep to it meticulously.
The Knight of Pentacles works steadily to achieve the Page’s plans - this card represents a methodical worker, who puts his work first. It may not be the most exciting, or original work anyone has done, but he has a good reputation, well earned, and is to be trusted and respected for his effort and determination.
Artists Interpretation: Known as the Lord of the Wild and Fertile Land, the Knight of Pentacles is all about hard work, dependability and pragmatism. Traditionally this card has a yellow sky and green rolling fields, which are the evidence of the triumphs of his labor. Green is the color of the suit of pentacles, and so I felt there should be a lot of green in the card. A green sea, like an abundant harvest, can be unpredictable and sometimes very difficult to navigate successfully, but with devotion and hard work it can be done.
I put a little nod to Venus in the sky, which is the planet for the suit of pentacles, and an elecampane flower, which is the flower for this card. His ship is his trusty steed, and so I put a horse head on the main sail. You will also notice his choker has the symbol for Earth. Earth is the element for the suit of pentacles, and though the knight card is usually fire within the element of its suit, I felt Earth fit my knight much better.
Jenga is a talented artist, who often utilizes a mix of historical icons and symbolism within her artworks, so that each piece tells its own story.
Queen of Pentacles by Jessica Douglas
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A beautiful woman with lush, red lips sits on an opulent throne. On her lap sits a large coin and a jewelled crown adorns her head. She sits within an abundant kelp forest, teeming with life and sheltering her, and she is at the very heart of it. She is successful, not only materially and financially, but also in terms of family and love. Her lips give a hint of the sensuous nature of this Queen – she has a full life and she loves every minute of it.
This card represents a figure that has it all, but it has not come easy. Her life is a constant juggle, her mind is constantly whirring, but she embraces it. She is dedicated to her family and team, eager to share the spoils of her work.
Artists Interpretation: This card really struck a chord with me, I've always felt a kinship with mother type figures (being a mother of three myself), and had a fascination with the concept of Mother Nature figures throughout different cultures.
The importance of the figure is that she is holding the coin, as though holding a child. Said to represent her material wealth. One thing I have learned in art history, is the *positioning* of the figure is just as key. She's cradling that wealth, it also represents her motherly love. So I placed the coin not just in her lap, but mimicking the placement of a pregnant belly, her hands resting on it the way mine often did when I was very round with my babies. Because that, too, is a form of wealth.
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.
King of Pentacles by Carrie Hawks
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: On a vine-decorated balcony, stands a feline Pharaoh, decked out in trappings of wealth. He wears a large coin around his neck, with red lotus flowers adorning his headdress. Behind, and far below him, a land of wealth spreads as far as the eye can see, and opulent trading ships moving on the River bring more wealth to him. The sun shines on his world, but his gaze is solemn – the work of ruling his land and providing for his people is serious.
Success flows to success, money to money, and the King of Pentacles is a perfect example. This card represents a figure that has worked hard, for and with his people, be they family, colleagues or team, and has prospered. Now success comes easy, but he doesn’t take it for granted.
Artists Interpretation: The King of Pentacles is a card of power, success, and material satisfaction. I felt an Egyptian Pharaoh embodies those characteristics. So decided to paint an Egyptian theme with boats and the Nile, putting my own spin on the card. The Pharaoh wears the pentacle on his necklace. The Bull is included as Egyptian bull god Apis seen in the boat. The red flowers on his crown are represented as red Egyptian lotus flowers. The grapes and vines are on the balcony behind him and the sky is at sunset. The pyramids and Bast statue take the place of a castle to show wealth & abundance. The main color yellow is the gold in his Nemes crown and green is in the palm trees and shrubs growing along the banks of the Nile.
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.
Ace of Swords by Zindy S D Nielsen
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A beautiful warrior queen holds her sword high. She is victorious, but this battle was not won through strength of arms or physical prowess. As her crown, wreathed in seaweed and adorned with a shining sea star, symbolises, this battle was won with clarity of mind and force of will. Her sword, upright and strong, indicates her focussed mind and intellect. But the sea beyond her is barren and devoid of life, illustrating the truth that logic can be cold, even harsh at times.
This card heralds a major change, the start of a new, spiritual journey. This journey will take courage, as it will be life-changing. But you’ll need to exercise caution – a sword by its very nature can be dual-edged. It is a lot of power to wield, sometimes more than necessary.
Artists Interpretation: The ace of swords is a very powerful card with a deep meaning. The card to me is the card of strength, inspiration and about being prepared for new challenges. I wanted to portray this with a powerful, beautiful and strong looking woman. I created the crown with beautiful sea items, the seashells and the little starfish in the middle. The traditional wreath is made out of seaweed to match the sea theme.
I wanted to do something original and special and I was very happy with the card given to me. I created the drawing with my favourite medium, charcoal. I love the contrast and softness you are able to achieve with this medium.
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.
Two of Swords by Alexandra V. Bach
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A woman stands, defensive, braced to take what life throws at her. Two swords are held, crossed against her heart to protect it, but also blocking her emotions - she has closed herself off from the world, in order to make a balanced, logical decision. But she is inactive. Seaweed creeps across her eye, preventing her from seeing clearly. Behind her, a stormy sea crashes against the rocks, keeping possible solutions from reaching her. But the storm is starting to fade; light is fighting through the gloom in the form of a shrouded moon above her.
This card represents a balance or peace that has been achieved by avoidance. Avoidance of the world, of facts, even of a necessary decision. It is temporary, and reminds us that hiding solves nothing, that we must face the bad and the good.
Artists Interpretation: We see a young woman with a barrier of swords across her heart. Her rigid posture tells of her struggle to keep her feelings under control. She is fending off any approach from the outside. "Nothing comes in, and nothing goes out," she seems to say. Parts of the card that I’ve included into my artwork are the two crossed swords, the sea and moon. However I turned everything my own way and tried to propose something a bit surreal.
I did two versions: first very close to the traditional card, static in some ways, it was not that easy to add nautical elements and to stick to the deck’s theme. As I was not completely happy with it I drew a completely different, more dynamic and dramatic card.
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.
Three of Swords by Ash Evans
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The heart is a fragile thing, illustrated as a precious gem, to be treasured. But this gem has been cast aside, has sunk to the bottom of a murky sea. Three swords hang behind it, threatening to pierce the heart, representing the power of cold logic to hurt us if not tempered by other emotions. Three seahorses, heads bowed, add to the mournful feel of this card. But they are together, and faint glimmers of light can just be seen in the turbulent, grey sea, reminding us that pain is a part of life, but we move past it.
This card warns of loss, not a physical, material loss – but emotional or intellectual – heartbreak or betrayal. Tears will flow, but you will not break. You can use this pain as a catharsis, and speed up the healing process.
Artists Interpretation: It was really important to me to make sure the appropriate emotion and symbolism was conveyed in my card. The Three of Swords is a powerful card. The original iconography depicts three swords piercing a heart in a stormy background. It conveys heartbreak, betrayal and deep sadness. There is a lonely air to it so I wanted to do something that was sunken deep in the bottom of the ocean. The background is murky and swirling to symbolize the turbulent time. Deep in the sea bathed in salt much like tears; the seahorses reflect silently heads bowed. I wanted to make the heart a glittering jewel, like a long lost sunken treasure. - Ash Evans
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.
Four of Swords by Enys Guerrero
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A maiden by the sea clutches four swords to her chest as she rests after a hard battle. She has come here for respite, and distance from her troubles. The sea behind her is calm, but grey clouds on the horizon show us that new trials will arise. Even at rest, she clasps one of the swords in her hand, a bloody sword that has already seen her through tough times and will do so again. But with time to regain a sense of self, she can face those challenges on her own terms.
This card shows a temporary respite, before you have to get back to the task, or battle, at hand. A time to rest, to contemplate and recharge your mental and spiritual batteries before you get right back to it.
Artists Interpretation: Since the beginning, I felt the symbolism of this card that fits perfectly with the type of things that inspire me, so I fell in love right away on the meaning behind it. In the card we can see a girl lying down on a coast, carrying on four heavy swords; this represents a period of rest and recovery. The blood on her face and in one of the swords, tell us about a past period of challenges. I´ve tried to draw a calm ocean that symbolizes the meditation and the need of spending time in a calm atmosphere. However, she's also holding one sword in her hand, preparing herself for her next step. This denotes that the challenges will come back to our lives as soon as we're prepare to face them. - Enys Guerrero
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.
Five of Swords by Ben Larsen
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A contemporary pirate stands at the front of his ship, defeated enemies bound and blindfolded in the back. In one hand he holds his sword, the instrument of his victory, in his other the swords of the conquered. Two others have been tossed aside. This battle over, he looks ahead to his next, not seeing the towering waves dangerously rising up behind him. His entire focus is on his ambition to overcome, not on the truth that the war is not over. He has won the battle, but at what cost?
This card illustrates a conflict where winners and losers are not clear cut – winning isn’t everything. Did you win the victory, but lose the moral high ground? Did you win an argument with brute force and ignorance, ending up alone because of the way you dealt with it?
Artists Interpretation: My card is the five of swords. I read into the meaning and symbolism in the card and decided to use pirates as my subject matter. I was working on a mural at the time which was for a pirate themed water park in Northern Virginia, and didn't want to have similar pieces. I went with a more modern pirate and from there the rest just fell into place.
The figure in the foreground is standing proudly holding the swords of his captives while two more swords sink to the bottom. He is gloating and prideful. He has risen victorious, but as he stands proudly the waves behind him are forming and the clouds are moving in. His victory may prove to be short lived. - Ben Larsen
Ben Larsen uses bold and vivid colors on small and large scale canvases. His artwork has appeared in local galleries, private collections, and murals on commercial buildings. In addition to painting he also likes to play with clay.
Six of Swords by Tammy Mae Moon
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A Viking shield-maiden stands, shipwrecked, upon a rocky outcropping. The lone survivor of stormy seas, she carries only the weapons of her lost comrades – a shield showing her symbolic guide, and six swords, pointing down, indicating that their bearers are at rest. She mourns her loss, but knows she must move on. On the far horizon a ship approaches, representing her journey to safety, rescued from the grief she feels. Calm waters lie beyond the storm that brought her here, and she can see peace in her future. But first she must let go of that which she held dear.
This card represents a sad, but necessary transition. A hard choice for a better outcome. While the change itself will be tough, things will get infinitely better, and you will feel much better for it, mind, body and soul.
Artists Interpretation: Usually the card has sad looking people in a boat being guided along by a creepy looking oarsman. Themes are moving away from hard times into better times/smoother sailing ahead, and letting go and allowing others to take care of you or allowing for divine forces to see you to a safer shore, etc. The cool thing about the minors is they often tell more of a story and I have always wondered what happened to the people in the boat to make them so downtrodden. So I decided to tell the story of what happened in a sense. I am drawing a sort of Viking Shield Maiden lady. I think her and her 5 comrades got caught in a storm and they all drowned but her. She managed to make it to a rocky outcrop in the middle of the sea along with the washed up swords of her comrades. The storm is now breaking and another ship is in the horizon to come and carry her to safety. - Tammy Mae Moon
Tammy Mae Moon is an acrylic figurative painter, whose art lives between the realms of Pop Surrealism and Fantasy. Her emotive art often incorporates elements of shamanism, occult symbolism, and myth to portray various feminine archetypes. She has been featured in several periodicals and exhibited her art all over the US. Tammy graced us with her talent for our first two decks.
Seven of Swords by Ralf Straaberg
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A face stares out – one half is a beautiful pirate, with two swords for earrings, the other side shows a death mask. Her bandana is tattered and torn on this side, there are five swords on the patch over her eye and her blonde hair is tangled and blackened. This is the dark face of betrayal and deception showing through the beauty. Her face looks sad – but sadness that she has been wronged, or that she has been found out?
This card advises that trying to get away with deception never works - the truth will out, the thief will be caught. Keeping secrets will come back to haunt you, the easy path will eventually create more work, even that you should ask for help rather than go along a path you can’t come back from.
Artists Interpretation: Being two-faced. My meaning is the duality - betrayal and face the fear, mental challenge. I especially had the reverse meaning in mind, when I did the card. It spoke to me and was something I could relate to. The dark side is the fear and the voices saying you can’t - and the girl is the positive side, believe and you can. You can read a lot into this card, from being afraid to face the music, being a lone wolf or covering your tracks. I added the lunar symbols associated with the card in the head chain - Sun, Moon, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury and Neptune. - Ralf Straaberg
Ralf Straaberg has created art all of his life. Music is a great inspiration to this artist, alongside emotions and people around him. “Do what you love and feel like, and let what’s inside speak to you – let the creativity flow and keep it real – stay true to yourself.” Ralf graced us with his talent for the first two decks.
Eight of Swords by Pierre Carles
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A woman is bound and blindfolded, eight swords surrounding her like a cage, suspended above the water, in air that blows her hair and dress. Behind her is a pathway to an island town, but she cannot see it. Grey clouds above her symbolise that she has lost all hope. But she could get free from her bondage, remove the blindfold, and there is space between the swords, for her to escape. The sea swirls below her, but her feet never get wet - this is not a physical or emotional prison, but a cold and dry prison of logic.
This card reflects a mental cage of your own making – there are options to free yourself if you only look. You may feel that you are alone in the world, but you’re not.
Artists Interpretation: In my representation, symbolism of Japanese shibari immediately struck me as having a strong connection with the meaning of the card. Like the lady, the bounded person is restrained only through her own acceptance of the situation, she really retains full control over the process and can decide to leave freely at any time.
The air element, generally associated with the suit of swords, is hinted at by the wind in her dress and her long, black hair.
Isolated, trapped between the sea, the land and the sky, Mont Saint Michel diffuses a powerful sense of spirituality. Using this image in my representation suggests that the city in the distance is a symbol of spiritual elevation, that can be reached only by shedding the bounds of one’s own fears and preconceptions. -Pierre Carles
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.
Nine of Swords by Joanna Nelson
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A masked mouse sits in a paper boat, surrounded by swords, a black cat looming over him. Despite the mask, there is anguish on the face of the mouse as it looks up at the cat, from an eight -bladed cage, a ninth sword hanging over it like the sword of Damocles. The cat is concentrating on his intended meal, unaware of a black shark, swimming among the clouds that hang in a stormy sky, ready to feast on him. An important message is held within the paper boat – which carries the headline: “Wake Up”.
This card is one of surreal, nightmarish visions, but that is all they are – symptoms of mental anguish, rather than impending physical harm. If you are ready and willing work through this pain, your peace of mind will return.
Artists Interpretation: Since the card is about waking from a nightmare and mental anguish I wanted the card to have a bit of a dream like surreal feel. Side note: The cat eats the mouse and ironically the fish... Shark eats the cat in my mind, ha!!! A dream within a dream, or a nightmare with in a nightmare. There are a lot of ways to explain this image... the mouse feels trapped! The mask is to hide. The candle shows hope. The surreal feel is to say that ""this anguish is all mental, not physical"". Wake up!
I have added symbols to the newspaper boat - the sword fight (like in the wood carved night stand of the original card image), some astrological signs (just as the quilt has in the original card), the number nine, the words ""wake up"" and thought that although it will be small in ""tarot card size"", that it will be a nice little hidden gem and fun surprise for the viewer to discover! " - Joanna Nelson
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
Ten of Swords by Holly Broxson
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A pirate stands defeated, betrayed and injured by those he called his comrades. Head bowed, he is draped in a cloak that is red with his own blood – the pain and sadness in this crestfallen soul is clear to see. The sky is dark and foreboding; perhaps he should have seen this coming. But beyond the mountains, dawn is breaking; bringing with it the light of a new day, and the sea behind the pirate is calm.
This card represents an end, a hard and painful one – one sword could have killed this pirate, let alone ten. The pain screams victimisation, deliberate cruelty, but it is over now. Light brings a new dawn to chase away our darkest time, and with every loss comes a new beginning. This card tells us “The only way is up.”
Artists Interpretation: A Pirate captain has been betrayed by his crew. He managed to make it to shore. Is he dead? Is he dying? He is so full of woe. This is the worst it ever could be. Nothing could be worse than having ten swords in your back.
Things aren't as bad as they seem, though. Off in the distance, peeking from behind the mountains is the sun. It is coming to light the dark sky. There is hope after all. You just have to wait for the light. - Holly Broxson
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.
Page of Swords by Daniel Steven Marconyak
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A young pirate stands on the beach, against the backdrop of a blue, but cloudy sky. Birds circle in the sky above him. Palm trees are bending in the wind behind him, suggesting a strong storm is on its way. His sword is raised, his hat is new, worn over a red bandana, symbolising a new promotion. This pirate is ready and eager to get moving, to face his next challenge. So far his education has been theoretical, and now he wants action.
This card represents the idealism and enthusiasm of youth – ideas and plans that require action now, even if there is much to learn. The Page of Swords wants to learn along the way, take action and share those ideas with others.
Artists Interpretation: The Page of Swords represents a passion that is undeniable to me. My love for the art I create and where I want it to lead. When asked for the write up of my interpretation of the card, this was the fortune in my cookie and it's ever so fitting. Grand adventures await those who are willing to turn the corner. Ahoy maties… - Daniel Steven Marconyak
"I’m a very humble mastermind; you just don’t know it yet."
Knight of Swords by Stanley Morrison
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A knight, charges forward under the sea on his hippocampus with a speedy swordfish at his side. His sword is raised, but there is an element of danger here – the knight cannot see, his helmet covers his eyes - hopefully his armor will be enough to protect him if necessary. The tip of his sword is also hidden from view – maybe whoever he is charging towards will never see him coming. His hippocampus is white, the entire party dappled by light through the water – their plans and minds are pure.
The Knight of Swords embodies the energy of inspiration – that lightbulb moment, the idea or sketch that just needs to be on paper. Rushing in with pure heart and intentions, sometimes he fails to understand the consequences of his actions.
Artists Interpretation: My assigned card is Knight of Swords. I tried to put as much nautical symbolism as possible. The knight’s shield is a sea turtle shell, the sword has carved seahorses with a shell in the handle, the blade has a slight fish shape, and he needed a swordfish companion. I went with a white hippocampus, which has a mixture of lobster tail pattern in it, to symbolize the purity of the intellectual energy that motivates the rider. Using a sea dragon helmet to hide his eyes to convey obsession of an idea that often blinds us by desire for its fulfilment that we fail to see the difficulties we may encounter or the consequences of our actions. It is kind of the way a painting idea comes to me sometimes, I need to charge forward and get it done; I put in the flowing seaweed on the rope to help symbolize this. - Stanley Morrison
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!
Queen of Swords by Becca Turner
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A dark haired mermaid sits on a stone throne; an upright sword adorns her crown. A swordfish jumps out of the water to greet her, her only companion. The sky is clear, apart from a couple of wispy clouds, above which a bird soars, symbolising her purity of intent, and her focus on matters of the mind over matters of the heart. She is distant, but not cold. A butterfly floats close to the mermaid, she reaches her hand towards it, offering her wisdom to it, and the swordfish with her.
The Queen of Swords represents the need to experience emotions but not let them affect decisions or judgement. She roots out all the facts of a situation in order to best decide a course of action, and she is not easily fooled.
Artists Interpretation: The Queen of Swords sits on a stone throne. The blue colouring of the card suggests a cold, stoic character-almost detached. She is not without emotion; rather she blends emotion with mentality and is compassionate and understanding in her judgement of others. This is depicted by the sky meeting the sea. The clouds on the horizon of a clear sky symbolise the ability to keep her head above confusion. The bird flying high in the sky represents the high ideals of the Queen, her desire for freedom and the need for a break from obligations. Her jewel adorned crown carries a double edged sword pointing to the sky, symbolic of her razor-sharp mind. The swordfish leaping out of the sea relates to the Queen's relationship with others. She is well respected, authoritative and independent.. - Becca Turner
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.
King of Swords by Ellen Million
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A “barbarian” king sits on a stone throne, a sword in one hand, a book in the other. Behind him, waves crash, but in front of him, they are calm - his rule is absolute, even over his emotions. Clouds in the sky separate and clear around his sword, the blue sky symbolising his mental clarity and control, and he cannot be moved on a decision - his throne is one of ancient rock. Butterflies, symbols of air and transformation, rise from the ground next to him – his intellect has transformed him, fundamentally and spiritually.
The King of Swords represents the need for wisdom, for actions and judgements without emotion. He is distant, but pure, and blunt with it. The voice or friend that will not suffer fools and tells you not to be an idiot.
Artists Interpretation: This fatherly monarch is depicted on a throne, with an upraised sword, with symbols that represent his will and judgement. The butterflies are real here, to strengthen the air aspect of the card, and his throne is a sea rock adorned with subtle barnacles.
Behind him are crashing waves, chaotic and untamed. Before him, the sea is smooth and uniform, controlled by his will. The clouds are split by the two-edged blade of his sword, revealing serene sky. Flying fish in the foreground represent the ability to rise above emotional turmoil and make sound decisions, and the book and blue vestments remind us that he is an intellect. The owl pin shows us his wisdom, and the rubies in his sword, crown, and pin are signs of self-confidence and strength. - Ellen Million
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”.
Ace of Wands by Stefania Russo
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A young man stands, light and energy pouring from his hands, toward and into a wand. The light is silvery white, symbolising inspiration and intuition. Betta fish swim around in the water at various points in the image, but all are single – there is no conflict here, no lusty males challenging each other for territory. The aims and dreams of this young man are bold, creative success rather than war. Behind him, huge mountains loom, suggesting the great heights that he might reach on this venture.
This card is less an invitation, more a demand – a lightning bolt of inspiration just struck you. Every creative power in the universe is telling you to go for it, lighting fire under you to get started on your new project. If you keep this focus, there is no way you can fail.
Artists Interpretation: I was immediately inspired by the tarot. I created a male, because Ace of Wands is also a symbol of masculinity. I image this boy walking during a lonely night, in his decadent city (here why little details of graffiti), when he finds the Wand, and it takes magic to take his most beautiful and positive moment of solitude and transform what he has around him, into what he loves. He dreams of the sea, he loves the water...
I represented the betta fish because is my favorite fish, and a symbol of strength and success (in the world of tattoo). Fish are also a symbol of promiscuity, in this tarot. Another detail - his corset; I know that in years past, the sailors used to wear the corset. Another thing related to your Nautical theme. -Stefanie Russo
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!
Two of Wands by Jayde Hilliard
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: In a sea teeming with fish, a huge kraken eyes a ship from below. He has the perfect vantage point from where he sits – between the pillars of an ancient ruined city, over which he appears to rule. A pearl is entwined within one of his tentacles - his endeavours so far have been successful. Now he needs to move on. Five of his tentacles are raised towards the ship, the red of this kraken lusts for adventure and to continue on his path, while two remain wrapped around the pillars, keeping him here for the time being.
This card represents the importance of making plans and acting on them. The fires of inspiration from the Ace of Wands have taken root, now is the time to build upon that momentum and turn these plans into reality.
Artists Interpretation: A boldly colored kraken peers up from his underwater kingdom. He spies a ship that is his for the taking. Although he is already successful in his endeavors, as evident by the pearl wrapped up in his tentacle, he must decide how far he wants to expand his grasp on ruling the oceans. Should he stay beneath the water and rule where he is most familiar, or rise to the surface and rule the world above?
I wanted to push myself to mentally be in an ambitious state of mind, as that is mostly what this card is about. I had to make some very important decisions to make sure I could successfully convey this card’s meaning. - Jayde Hilliard
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.
Three of Wands by Svetlana Ava
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A man stands on the edge of a cliff, looking out over the vast ocean to the horizon, where the sky and sea seem to merge into one another. Three wands are in his hands. Further along the coastal path, there is a simple, but secure castle. He has made a success of his creative endeavours, but is intent on building on them still further. He has built his home, created success, now looks further afield to more opportunities across the sea.
This card represents taking pride in a job well done, and using it as a momentary pause to boost your motivation to continue. To consider how best to reach the next stage of your plan, possibly training, expansion or travel.
Artists Interpretation: The Three of Wands - This card was intriguing to me - in some way it symbolizes new knowledge and insights. I imagined somebody observing the sea with the great strength, determination and optimism - starting some important mission!
Serbian artist, Svetlana Ava mainly creates fashion illustration and logos, working for and with clients all over the world. Fashion is her passion! She also loves portraits and watercolours, and has been illustrating, drawing and painting since she was old enough to hold a brush or a pen. Svet graced us with her talent for the first two decks.
Four of Wands by Chelle Destefano
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: On the roof of a beached ship, two women dance as though they haven’t a care in the world. Four poles, decked out with blue ribbons, lanterns and a wreath form a square around them as they dance. Their joy and air of celebration is infectious, as around them, three dogs join the party. One dances on his hind legs, a second rolls around in the sand on his back and a third watches from the prow of the ship, panting, mouth wide open as though grinning.
This card represents celebration – work is going well, your venture is succeeding, home and hearth are happy and harmonious. It is the kind of joy that comes from effort paying off – a rewarding feeling that makes you happy to be in the moment.
Artists Interpretation: The four of wands are standing up like a doorway of some sort to good things coming, excitements, and celebration. Celebration can be of a new life, new chapter, a marriage, a change, a positive thing coming your way, and anyone can celebrate this together be it friends, family, dogs, animals etc. The wands at the front have lamps to celebrate with lights, the life changes and the two wands at the back have decorative tops. Now when I have started inking, I will be adding in a garland of seashells and the like on them somewhere. The tugboat is a symbol of fun and excitement, a light hearted way of enjoying life. The sun will be almost setting; a yellow orangey sky is the plan. - Chelle Destefano
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.
Five of Wands by Tara Fly
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: On the horizon, a pirate ship is waiting, visible through the mouth of a dark cave. Inside the cave lies an open treasure chest, full of gold and jewels. It was recently unearthed by a band of pirate cats, but faced with the treasure, conflict has broken out. Not a bloody conflict, their torches are held aloft, apart from each other, not striking each other. This is more of a verbal tussle – a lack of trust among thieves, as one cat sneaks his hand into the treasure chest while the others are distracted.
This card represents a temporary setback, but as with the other fives, it’s potentially a setback of your own making. Yes there is trouble and chaos, but did you expect any less from a band of pirates, working together to fuel their greed?
Artists Interpretation: The card usually represents being at odds with others, and is often attributed to struggles and competition over riches and fortune, so I envisioned a band of pirates fighting over a treasure chest.
Originally bound together on their quest to find gold, the success of their mission led to opposition over how to split the spoils. Their individual greed prevents them from coming to an agreement, as each pirate feels he deserves a bigger share than his mates. One pirate is even sneaking his paws into the treasure while the others are busy arguing.
The figures were drawn in similar poses to the Rider-Waite deck and I chose to use torches to represent the wands, a suit associated with the element of fire. - Tara Fly
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.
Six of Wands by Molly Harrison
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A woman rides a sea serpent as it comes out of the water. She carries five wands in a quiver on her back, the sixth in her hand, with a small laurel wreath on its stem. In a boat nearby, figures stand, watching her ride to victory, spectators to her success. Her serpent steed is so pale that it is almost white, symbolising the purity of this endeavour. Above them is a clear black sky – she has emerged from the water into crystal clarity as she achieves her immediate goal.
This card represents the need for occasional public recognition of a job well done. Not to bask in it, or be smug, but to have your moment in the limelight, to know that your endeavour is appreciated, giving you the motivation and strength to dive back in.
Artists Interpretation: The sea serpent is a powerful creature representing the feeling one has when accomplishing great things but pastel, almost white, to represent purity and positivity. The girl is riding the serpent as it ascends – the ascent portraying the uplifting feeling of being recognized for something and rising to a level of accomplishment. Emerging from the depths into a clear, starry night represents the feeling one has when emerging into clarity after possibly being muddled or weighted down by lots of hard work. The people in the boat in the distance are in awe, recognizing her for her success... The girl is confident while not being smug or arrogant. I used bold, bright colors to represent the feelings of strength, optimism, and joy that come with success. -Molly Harrison
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.
Seven of Wands by Santanu Hazarika
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: In the darkest part of the ocean, a deep sea diver stands, lamp in hand. He has made great progress so far on his journey, but now faces a hard challenge that will test his courage and strength. The monsters of the deep approach him, massive leviathans with hooked tentacles and multitudes of stingers, ready to drag him to his destruction. The high ground may not help him as it would on land, so he must use other tools in his arsenal – a monstrous lantern to dazzle them and seven harpoons.
After the public recognition of your deeds comes a tough challenge, as others try to tear you down. Now is the time to shine, to draw upon the tenacity and confidence within you, to hold your ground and defend your rightful place at the top.
Artists Interpretation: The seven of wands! The vastness of the sky is measured by its height and the depth of an ocean lies within its depth, a dark abyss. Seven of wands usually shows a man standing above the world, he is at the top, above all, he stands and holds his position, and he protects his horizon with the wands. He has reached the sky, crossed every hurdle and achieved everything. Same way 'the man' has reached the depth of the ocean; his quest is downwards into the light consuming under sea where he stands his ground with seven harpoons! - Santanu Hazarika
Indian artist, Santanu Hazarika, is an award winning doodler, who started out drawing comic book characters as a kid. He has since honed his skills all over, including in lectures, and his magnificent doodles have earned him global recognition, as the Red Bull Doodle Art Global Gallery winner for 2014. Santanu was winner of our wild card contest and graced us with his art for Nautical.
Eight of Wands by Alexandria Sandlin
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Across a clear, moonlit sky, eight jewel-tipped wands of various colors shoot across the sky. A flame-haired witch grabs one and uses the momentum to propel her along at great speed over a black lake, towards her destination. Her dress is blue, suggesting that she is driven by intuition. The clear sky across which she speeds, and the lake, while dark, is calm and flat, both indicating that nothing now stands in her way – she will arrive at her objective sooner than she thinks.
This card suggests that all obstacles, such as those in the Seven of Wands, have been overcome, and this catapults you forward faster than you were expecting – your long journey is nearing its conclusion. This card also signifies travel, so make sure you’re prepared!
Artists Interpretation: The traditional imagery for my card is eight blossoming wands flying through the air with nothing standing in the way. This card is about being focused and making swift progress toward reaching your goal. For my card I decided to go with a witch flying along with her eight wands over a dark lake in the middle of the night. Of course the witching hour, midnight, is the best time for spell casting and mischief. My little witch is obviously on a mission! Instead of blossoms I chose different colored crystals which can have their own properties if you are into that sort of thing. - Alexandria Sandlin
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.
Nine of Wands by Helena Reis
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A sea maiden stands, clutching a trident, her head tilted to one side, showing tiredness, but not defeat. Behind her, eight wands stand, traditionally forming a wall around her, here they are green, indicating obstacles that she has overcome –a cage from which she has recently escaped. This is a momentary rest, to catch her breath, before going back into the fight. Her trident symbolises her power – the power of spirit to keep on track, keep fighting and get through this battle.
This card represents the draining feeling of a setback right before you hit your goal – taking the wind out of your sails, but you have to keep fighting, you’re too close not to. You take a moment, to tap into levels of resilience you didn’t know you had, and get back to it.
Artists Interpretation: This card is about upcoming struggles and the power within us to overcome them, so I painted a girl surrounded by eight sticks/staffs, they were supposed to keep her captive, but she used one of the nine wands to escape and carved a little trident with it, turning her captivity into something positive, overcoming it! - Helena Reis
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.
Ten of Wands by Ellen Wilberg
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A woman crawls across an icy lake. She is dressed in yellow, her hair is red, symbolising fire and energy, but she has a harried look upon her face. Roots grow up her arms and form several branches sprouting up on her back – her harvest. She has tended to her crop, she has travelled far with its bounty and now she is tired. Her dream has become her burden, she can no longer see the joy in it, and all she can see is the work, the destination she must get to. The end.
This card represents the end of a journey, as all Tens do. Your venture is successful, more than you ever imagined, which looks great on the surface, but now you’re facing the dual edged blade of that success - the joy and the responsibility.
Artists Interpretation: She is on an icy lake. This card is a fire sign, so I wanted the figure to have warm colors, and they also contrast well with the ice. Nine wands grow on her back; the other wand (a branch) grew around her arm, preventing her from reaching too far. The very last one is encompassing her now but when she reaches the shore it will sprout from her like the tree she is... - Ellen Wilberg
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.
Page of Wands by Poul Dohle
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A tidal wave approaches, the Page of Wands standing on the only barren, dry area of sand in sight. He is well dressed, his clothing red, symbolising fire and energy, and he wears a protective helmet, but for all his fire, he stands, staring at his staff – his creative energy is still inactive for now, but the scene is hopeful, he is on the verge of taking the plunge.
This card represents the potential of youth, full of new opportunities, and new challenges. A flash of inspiration that teases your creative spirit and makes you restless to begin a fun project. It may not be the most earth-shattering work you’ve created, but it will be fun, different, and keep you busy.
Artists Interpretation: We see a richly dressed young man, as if in a trance, holding a rod in front of him - the connection between heaven and earth, as well as wisdom, knowledge, and power. On top is a deep sea fish with a glowing lure. His clothing is richly decorated with ornaments of fish, sun, and waves. On his head is a golden helmet with long tentacles, its visor open. The helmet refers to the Acheloos mythology, a shape shifter. In Greek, Acheloos is the synonym of water.
The sea (the great unconscious within us) and the fish (an archetype of the Self and in Chinese a symbol of luck, wealth, and deeply spiritual expression of the nourishing capacity of the unconsciousness and the manifestation of the soul) are surging in expectation of what may come. - Poul Dohle
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.
Knight of Wands by Misty Benson
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: At the bottom of the sea, a skeletal seahorse rears up, ready to charge off with the Knight of Wands on his back. His armour is an antique diving suit with two hummingbird skulls on his helmet. Between the skulls is the spark that spurs this Knight on. In the Page it was an idea, the Knight will make it reality. The sea surrounding him is clear blue, no obstacles in his way – just companions, in the form of gazelles, a creature who will be able to match his speed as he charges off, determined, on a mission.
The Knight of Wands is on fire, he rushes in without always thinking things through first. For him, life is one giant adventure, whether it’s to a far off land, or to the local park.
Artists Interpretation: The steed of the wide-eye Knight, the Skelly Seahorse, transports this whimsical rider to fantastic new realms. Also making an appearance in this story is the Octo-Worry Wart. The Worry Wart is the unvoiced fear of the adventurer. As the Knight charges fearlessly ahead, Worry Wart already knows the dangers of this world. His missing eye alludes to some trying times. If the Knight stopped to think about what could go wrong, he might be paralyzed. It’s best to let Worry worry about that! The funny, furry creatures at the bottom are the Capybara, the world’s largest rodent! Their smiling demeanor and hippo-like features enliven any water scene! They love a good swim and are the first to alert if something is amiss! - Misty Benson
Misty Benson loves all things sweet and spooky, morbid and adorable! Big eyes fit all those categories and have influenced both her faery and skelly art. She is inspired by the art of Gig and big-eyed dolls such as Pullips and Dollfies. She paints with acrylics and sculpts in paperclay. Misty graced us with her adorably unique art for the first two decks.
Queen of Wands by Selina Fenech
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Two lions face in different directions, flanking the queen on her throne. They’re decorations, illustrating strength and fire within. The queen is beautiful and warm; her hair flows up between the lions, creating a whirl-pool underwater. The stem of a flower winds its way around a wand in her hand, and she is surrounded by yellow lotus flowers. They glow with otherworldly energy, as black fish swim between them. At the feet of the queen sits a black cat, the universal symbol of magic, showing another side to her – an interest in the unknown, and the occult.
The Queen of Wands is a determined leader, and independent thinker who uses creative energies to bring abundance. A good communicator, if at times a little blunt. The lions and flowers either side show that she knows how to maintain balance.
Artists Interpretation: In creating my concept for the Queen of Wands, I kept pretty much to a fairly traditional interpretation of the card. I knew the queen needed to be seen on a throne of some kind that has two lions, facing each direction. There also needed to be a black cat, warm colours, and sunflowers. The queen is normally seen holding a sunflower, and a wand which is starting to blossom. Instead of sunflowers I changed to yellow lotus blossoms in keeping with the nautical theme. The queen’s hair rushes upwards as though she were underwater, and also as a symbol of her energy and intensity. The black cat traditionally symbolizes magic and occultism, and to make it more mysterious and bring further aquatic elements to the painting, I camouflaged the cat amongst black goldfish. The fish also represent some of the darker aspects of the card, while the rest is positive, determined, creative, and warm as the Queen of Wands traditionally is. - Selina Fenech
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!
King of Wands by Eli Neugeboren
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A powerful sea king sits on a throne that looks as though it has sprung from the rocky sea bed for him. The only suggestion that this is carved are the intricate images on the back, decorations to illustrate his fiery strength. The largest of these is a sea serpent eating its own tail – an infinity symbol representing the ocean, and this king – ever moving forces of nature, overcoming all. In one hand he carries a ball of blue flame, in his other a massive trident, symbolising his power and fiery temper. His foot rests on a salamander, the symbol of fire.
The King of Wands is a visionary, ambitious figure. Instead of creating a monument to the world, he more likely to shape the world the way he wants it to be.
Artists Interpretation: Many interpretations mentioned a cloak of flame so I decided to make our King wear a cloak of sharkskin. One early visual I stuck with was having the nautilus arms on his throne, and I’m happy with how they turned out. For the flame I included the mysterious blue blaze emanating from his hand. Most references I found to this card emphasized that his throne should extend out of the frame of the card to imply a larger scale to the rule, an extension of his powers. I used an extreme perspective to really play up the angle and force of this. Other animals associated with this card included salamanders, which gave me a great opportunity to draw one, but also to have a bright orange counterpoint to all the greens and blues. -Eli Neugeboren
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.
Ace of Cups by Deanna Davoli
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A beautiful mermaid holds out her cup of secrets – a nautilus shell full of life and light. She is welcoming, extending an invitation, to reach out and grab this experience, as more mermaids swim behind her. You are being offered a chance to dive into a new emotional journey, to grow in compassion, happiness and love. The journey will be a welcome one.
This is an inspirational card - allow your emotions to come to the forefront in a creative endeavour, give back and share your journey with others, give happiness, as well as receiving it. It heralds a time of fulfilment and joy, emotionally and spiritually, where your very soul feels at peace.
Artists Interpretation: This card signifies compassion, creative expression, offering and a symbol of fulfilment. I instantly saw in my mind a lovely, exotic mermaid offering the viewer positive emotion and energy from her cup. The cup in this case is a nautilus shell. The glowing light emanating from the cup/shell signifies the offering of life, love and any positive energy. Her crown is made of shells, star fish, coral and other sea elements. Made by the mermaid herself, it is her creative expression. It was a pleasure to create a card of giving as that is what the 78 tarot project has been for me. - Deanna Davoli
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.
Two of Cups by Marlana Adele Vassar
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Against a backdrop of maps and charts, two mermaids raise a cup to each other. But these are not just two mermaids, they are identical, possibly sisters, possibly twins. Definitely two halves of the same coin – opposite, but equal in every sense. A union of two that share a deep bond of love and, while it is not a romantic love it is heartfelt and pure. They toast each other with cups of gold to celebrate their connection, yet each is weighed down by an anchor, representing the commitment that comes with binding love, not to be thrown away lightly.
This card represents the bonds we want - to feel whole, to be loved, and respected - that feeling of a “meeting of the minds”, where everything just fits, in perfect harmony with another – lover or friend.
Artists Interpretation: For my "Two of Cups" design, I decided to concentrate on symmetry and give digital coloring a shot. I also wanted to experiment more with layering, so I collaged maps and other nautical drawings of mine into the background. Since this card can symbolize different types of partnerships, I decided to go in the direction of the two characters acting like colleagues instead of lovers. In my own life I have more professional relationships than personal ones, so the theme is a reflection of my current status. - Marlana Adele Vassar
Marlana Adele Vassar’s art is concentrated on symbolism and surrealism; and more recently has shifted in focus from the figure as the main subject to being part of a fantasy environment instead. Each of her pieces is a journey, ending in a deeply personal artwork full of meaning. Marlana graced us with her gorgeous art for the first two decks.
Three of Cups by BK Lusk
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Three sea maidens raise their cups high in a toast of friendship and an unknown accomplishment. Each mermaid’s tail is a joyful color, their clothes and adornments complimenting them, and each other perfectly. Golden bands on their tails and at their waist symbolise their togetherness. Their laurel wreaths represent a recent victory. The sun rises behind them, bringing more light, and a conical shell forms a cornucopia of abundance. Flowers hang from the trees showering them with beauty. There is harmony here, a sense of being together and a sense of what can be achieved when unity is found.
This is a card of celebration, the joy of harmony, and the feelings that a loyal friendship creates - inspiration, security, and freedom to be you, cast off daily woes and go a little wild among a trusted circle.
Artists Interpretation: In a beautiful grotto, filled with color and light, they sit as one on a large rock, toasting their achievements and friendship as the sun rises behind them like a symbol of hope. I used symbols of three throughout the painting, the seashell lanterns, the flowers in the trees, and the large spiral shells. At their feet, a large cornucopia-like shell overflows with fruit and flowers. Each woman has a decorative gold band on their tails, to symbolize their close relationship, connection and unity. They also wear laurel wreaths, which signify victory. Overall I wanted to create a scene that was uplifting and colorful, that gave one a sense of hope and good fortune as well as conveying a sense of unity and love between the three. - BK Lusk
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.
Four of Cups by Lindy Van den Bosch
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A young mermaid lies daydreaming at the bottom of the ocean, oblivious to all around her and lost in her own thoughts of the future and what it has to offer. Above her, a large cup floats gently down offering another option. Three alternative cups lay beside her, but she pays them no more attention than she does the first, for she is looking inwards and ignoring the outside world in an attempt not to be distracted by external forces as she concentrates on the self to find that which she seeks.
This card represents the need to look inward and re-evaluate, rather than be distracted by things that don’t matter. Maybe it's tiredness, burn out or a case of feeling bored, but something is just “off” and you need to recharge your mental batteries.
Artists Interpretation: The four of cups shows a mermaid deep in thought, as if searching the depths of the ocean. There are three cups in front of her, but she does not appear to be interested in them all that much. The cups symbolises the different things the world has to offer, but she is looking past them, searching for more. She is also not aware of the bigger cup being offered to her. She is ignoring the external offerings so she can see her inner self and what she really wants in life.
Much like Buddha she is contemplating under the shade of the seaweed tree until she has come to her conclusions. By ignoring the cups though, she might be missing out on great gifts, such as love. - Lindy van den Bosch
After a small hiatus, Lindy van den Bosch returns to the fantasy art scene just in time for the 78 Tarot Project. She seeks to bring some inspiration and color into your life through her whimsical and magical watercolor paintings of fairies, mermaids, vampires and characters in all forms . Lindy graced us with her art for the first 2 decks.
Five of Cups by Edit Farkas
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A mermaid sits alone by a river, a black cloak wrapped around her, her demeanour suggesting she is lost in despair – certainly she is lost in her thoughts. Around her lie three overturned cups, their contents bleeding away to symbolise the loss she feels. Beside her, two full cups sit upright, but she does not see them, all of her focus on the fallen cups. Does she mourn them or study them. Ahead of her there is a bridge over the river towards the safety and security of a walled castle.
This card shows us that how we deal with feelings of loss or disappointment is as important as the loss itself. Wallowing will not help us, but understanding that the cup is not always half empty, we will escape our losses and see a future ahead.
Artists Interpretation: Going thru a very difficult time we often see the empty cups in front of us, and fail to notice the treasures we still have. I tried to make this feeling of loneliness and hopelessness present on this image, still using the essential symbols tarot decks use. The shape of the tower I used is based on a fortress here in Transylvania, so it relates to me in this way. - Edit Farkas (Ditty)
Edit Farkas is a professional Graphic Designer and Illustrator from Romania, who specializes in vector artwork. Her design is intricate and focuses on femininity and elegance. She uses fine lines and vivid colors to create logos and branding for business all over the world.
Six of Cups by Gila von Meissner
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A sailor boy and mermaid share a happy scene as he hands her a small paper boat. Four more dot the scene. The young mermaid signifies the younger self, the joy of youth, as the boy represents the older self. Coming together this way, they embody nostalgic walks down memory lane, remembering past relationships with friends and lovers. Indeed the last of the paper boats, the “Cups” of this scene is named for a dear friend, Suzie, corresponding to the older figure in traditional scenes.
This is a card of innocent pleasures, reminding us that our memories are a treasure trove of emotions, often inspiring us to use the past to better our futures. At best it may lead you on a fulfilling path, at worst; it will bring a smile to your face.
Artists Interpretation: When reading up on the Six of Cups, what struck me most how well it fitted me - I would go for carefree childhood days over career-oriented tough adulthood any day. The card represents the fantastical, endless options of childhood, where it is totally acceptable to ride a paper boat and meet mermaids in the pond behind your house. Well, castle. Just remember that the boat might turn soggy and sink, and the mermaid could just as well turn into a monster or hag - fantastical worlds might not survive the harsh reality of everyday life.
The boat, of course, is the MS Suzie - for our wonderful friend who has not only been a part of our tarot journey since day one, but also happens to share a birthday with me. Love you, Suzie! - Gila von Meissner
Gila von Meissner Fröhlich is a vector illustrator that specializes in Graphic design from good ole Germany… usually cute, smart, or retro.
Seven of Cups by Sara Lau
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A diver is offered a plethora of choices, in a dream-like scene, filled with strange images. Positioned on a stone table under water, each gift is housed in a beautiful shell of various shapes and colours and they represent the temptations and decisions we face as we go through life. Some are good, others are not and we must learn to choose wisely – the beauty of some belies danger under the surface, like the snake, symbolising wisdom, but also poisonous sea krait.
This card shows a dreamer who is so caught up in their fantasies that they don’t actually do anything about them. It advises that dreams are wonderful, allowing us to explore hidden desires and feelings, without risking everything, but that, like everything, they have their time and place.
Artists Interpretation: Taking the card's meaning, I combined the fantasy part with a nautical twist. Turning the dragon with the seahorse, the 'head' with a cameo portrait and so on. The diver was created as a unisex character so it relates to either gender placed in that position.
I have strong connections with this card. The card is described as 'Imagination, wishful thinking and choices.' Being a visual learner, my mind has always focussed on the creative side, using art as messages. The magic and the fantasy are prevalent in my work. I find this card symbolic of my life. I'm constantly faced with many tempting choices pushing me in many directions. There is risk in what I place myself into and hence why this card fits my personality well.
Sarah Lau’s inspirations range from a mix of western and Japanese animation influences such as Disney, Don Bluth films to Full Metal Alchemist. She wrote her first comic in school. She started 2D animation studies and shifted into comic illustrations – currently she attends annual conventions and comic festivals. Sarah graced us for the first two decks.
Eight of Cups by Mary Layton
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A lonely figure stands on the pier, walking away – leaving the lush sea in favour of a barren landscape. In the water a mermaid sings a song of inspiration to help him turn his back on the past and move on with his life. The mermaid revels in lost treasures of his past as he walks into the dark night. The moon creeps out to light his path, symbolising the spiritual nature of his journey, but also that the reasons for this decision may not be as simple as they seem.
This card represents a sense of dissatisfaction tempting you to give it all up and walk away - often with a desire to discard material possessions in favour of a more spiritual contentment. It is time to consider what will bring you greater joy and fulfilment.
Artists Interpretation: The Eight of Cups represents a turning point, or change of heart. Generally, moving on from the past, or from an undesirable situation. Leaving behind past issues and searching for new beginnings. Perhaps the blonde mermaid sang an inspiring song, encouraging the man to leave behind a troubled past and embark on a search for a better future (and, in the process, she'll gain some golden goblets to add to her stash of treasures). The card's astrological associations are Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio – all water signs, which made it easy to fit them into the nautical theme. I've represented the signs in my painting by using the mermaid's fish friends for Pisces, the crab in the mid-ground for Cancer, and I have depicted the constellation Scorpius in the night stars.
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.
Nine of Cups by Faye Osman
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A woman floats, weightless beneath the waves, her red hair representative of her active mind, her content face showing her focus and drive. Light shines down on her through the water, signifying her blessings. She is surrounded by nine jellyfish; each of them is a single cup. The woman reaches out her hand to grasp one of the jellyfish, usually poisonous, in her hands, a visual representation of her chasing her dream. She cups it tenderly, gazing at it, an almost spiritual contentment on her face, for this is a dream fulfilled.
This card represents completion – personal, and spiritual. You have been through the wringer, emotionally, and are coming out the other side. Satisfaction is now yours for the taking. This is often considered to be Tarot’s “wish card”.
Artists Interpretation: The keyword associated with the card is "dreams come true, happiness, fulfilment, pleasure". Basically, the whole premise of the sketch shows a woman underwater surrounded by nine jellyfish, the cups! She smiles in happiness as she holds one of them. Jellyfish are notoriously dangerous creatures, so the fact that she can hold/touch one of them symbolizes the fact she has conquered her fears/challenges. - Faye Osman
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.
Ten of Cups by Anastasia Smith
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: A loving family scene is shown with two beautiful leafy sea dragons, entwined above their young, still to be born. Beyond them lies their home, a wreck to some, but to them a safe haven in the stormy seas of life, which protects them from outside dangers. Their habitat is teeming with life, showing us that their home is as bountiful as their lives. The light from the sun above streams down onto the scene, blessing it with divine light. Ten cups lie strewn on the floor, treasure spilt from their home.
This card illustrates “happily ever after”. You have faced all the trials, your poor emotions have withstood everything that has been thrown at them and now is time for joy. You feel at peace with yourself, secure in your relationships, all is right with the world.
Artists Interpretation: I used two leafy sea dragons to represent the happy couple and two eggs take the place of children. A sunken treasure ship becomes the home in the background with its abundant kelp forest around it. A lively run of Bluefin Tuna take place of a river. The dragon on top arches gracefully over the scene while the streaming light from above glints off the scales in a rainbow of colors. The dragons’ placement hints at an eternity symbol for unending familial love.
I have scattered ten cups around the nesting area to represent the wealth of a happy home, all upright or upright angles so that they can catch and hold all of the blessings that a happy home brings. - Anastasia Smith
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.
Page of Cups by Deanna Bach
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Underwater, a young mermaid looks amazed as a parrotfish pops out of her golden cup. Bubbles float between them, suggesting that the parrotfish is talking to her – sudden inspiration appearing in an unexpected place. A necklace places a golden poppy above her heart suggesting this idea is not coming out of the blue, but has been germinating within her – it sprang after all, from the cup she was holding. The mermaid’s hair is braided, but tendrils of hair escape, showing the flow of water and her ever-moving energy.
The Page of Cups represents inspiration, creative energy breaking free from within you, asking you to look at the situation with the eyes of a child – full of emotion, imagination, compassion and freedom, without the cynicism of adulthood.
Artists Interpretation: I tried to keep traditional imagery but placed it under water, a young mermaid as the recipient of the message. I opted to make thick braids laced with dark blue pearls, indicating the youthful and carefree nature of the page, and I put a golden poppy necklace on her which symbolizes a dreamy mystical state of happiness. The golden feather bracelet she wears symbolizes communication with spirit energies and higher thought. The large golden cup she holds represents her emotions, which are very important to her.
The photo reference I used was one I took at the Toronto Zoo and that Parrotfish was zipping by the glass back and forth in front of me it felt like he wanted to tell me something. The rainbow aspect of the fish brings home the creative aspect of the message.
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.
Knight of Cups by Brenda Saydak
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: Within a swirl of tumultuous water, two otters frolic around a stationary androgynous youth – the Knight of Cups. His hands form the shape of a heart, through which a seahorse swims. One of the otters holds a message in a bottle, the other holds a shell. The Knight wears no armour – he is a lover, not a fighter. This is a knight of hearts and chivalry, in touch with his feminine side and his emotions; he is ruled by them, but not a slave to them.
The Knight of Cups is a messenger of sorts, and he brings romantic news, also taking the creative journey of the Page of Cups to its next level. His message is an invitation that will allow emotional needs to be fully met.
Artists Interpretation: His mount is represented by a seahorse, which he launches on with a romantic gesture of his hands. The "heart hands" gesture is so trendy right now, and represents the continuing relevance of Tarot in modern life - it's always good to stay in touch with our intuitive side in the face of the universal appeal of technology. His whimsical side is represented by cavorting otters, one wears a necklace representing femininity, the other a bears a shell, the cup, and also a representation of the Divine Feminine in Wicca.
I felt this card was a perfect match for me. I wanted to capture the beauty and whimsy of this card, and represent the importance creativity has in my life. This card reminds me of the importance of striving toward my dreams, and making sure my spirit is nurtured. - Brenda Saydak
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.
Queen of Cups by Natalia Pierandrei
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: At the edge of the water, a queen sits, a huge leviathan threatening to surround her. But the ocean rises up to meet it and protect her, giving us a glimpse of the cloudy sky above. She is unfazed, shells float around her, and she reaches for one shell in particular. Her cup is not open, sharing her emotions with the world - her conch shell is lit with a golden, warm glow. Fish swim peacefully around her, symbolising the unconscious mind and intuition - the thoughts of this Queen come from within.
The Queen of Cups is influenced by intuition and intellect, but decides with her heart. Because of her deep connection to her own emotions, she has great compassion and understanding of others.
Natalia Pierandrei is an art and comic book illustrator living in Italy. She creates beautiful, whimsical art, which she sells around the world, as well as offering stickers, postcards, ornaments, prints, bookmarks, OOAK art-dolls and jewelry. Natalia was with us for the first two decks.
King of Cups by Anja Uhren
Card Meaning by Author Trish Sullivan: The sea is dark and turbulent, but the King sits on his throne, unfazed and unruffled. A fish amulet hangs from his neck, and another is carved on his marble throne. A full, large cup sits in his hand, a trident in the other. Despite the turbulence of the water around him, the water in his cup is still. The fish represent emotion, spirit and creativity, the amulet at his neck illustrating that he harnesses these and is in control of them, his trident is another symbol of his power.
The King of Cups is in complete control of his emotions, using them rather than letting them make his decisions for him. He can connect to them when necessary, giving him compassion and understanding of others, but remains calm in the face of any crisis.
Artists Interpretation: It's one of those cards that already has such nautical associations I didn't really have to get that creative with him. Usually very composed, floating on his throne in a turbulent ocean holding his cup and sceptre in both hands. The fish is a very important element for this card as well as the fact that it is so calm and composed which I tried to emphasize with the composition.
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.