“All journeys begin on a Fool’s footing.” – Sharanya Manivannan.
In a dream two nights ago, I followed a trail to the sight of four moons in the sky, reaching a tent in a festival where a woman insisted I must have this tarot deck she was selling. The woman, nearly losing her temper with all the background noise, couldn’t decide whether to gift or sell me this deck. While I sat in front of her, wondering whether I could even pay for it, someone handed another card to me, smaller and blurry in print. It was the same card. I remember its colors and lines most of all. I carried these details back with me in the waking world and found its closest resemblance to be The Hermit from the Linestrider* deck.
I thought a lot about The Magician since I drew it in a spontaneous three-card spread a month ago at a cafe, with a deck from their games shelf. I held on to its image for balance as I entered the second half of the year, so full of stuff. Then The Fool started popping up everywhere, jumping out at me from articles, newsletters, and online reads. I understood that, this year, I have been starting something new. But there were still some anxieties I needed to let go of.
Weeks later, I’m squeezing out whatever free time I have crafting a DIY sketchbook and wondering if I have enough time to start a writing blog, now, amidst all the work that’s finally coming my way. I talked myself out of it at first, citing timing as a reason and, really, do I even have the spoons for this right now when my plate is a-buzz with things coming and going. It’s festival season here, in more than one ways.
But I kept coming back to this idea of creating a space for my writing that wasn’t just a notebook. I love the physical act of writing but after 8 hours of painting, the last thing my wrists want is to wield a pen around. And what happens to all these drafts that I collect in my notebooks anyway? Could they be more than one-off drafts? A record of thought, process and interactions, maybe, a documentation of growth.
It took some years for me to re-connect with writing, after five years of my creativity suffering from not embracing both the artist and writer in me as one. I am less fluent in language than I am with the visuals, but with anything it is practice that’s crucial.
My friend Caitlin wrote in her blog:
“Recently, I was thinking about how maybe my writing can save someone, make someone feel less alone. Maybe someone can read my words on this blog and feel a connection or feel inspired to write what is inside them. I sometimes feel we are too caught up in labels. Words are words, whether you read them in a book or on a blog or spray-painted on a wall. Maybe I won’t write a book. Maybe this blog is my book. I’m okay with that. At least I’m reaching people, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted. To make contact, to be heard, to be known. Maybe that’s what I dream of most: The dream of connection.”
It is this dream of connection that has kept me in online spaces through the years, sharing works and harnessing language to reclaim my own narrative, so I can make the works I need to make.
I’ve found important conversations though this sharing, inviting viewers to be audience to my process. Through my art, I have built meaningful friendships and connections, something I realize I can’t do without. And now I feel ready to commit myself to becoming more at home with my writing.
Last night, after a full day’s work as a documenter that left my face buzzing from caffeine and my finger-bones softer than they usually feel, I thought about The Hermit.
“Meditating on the Hermit tarot card teaches you to honor the wisdom within yourself. You must find your own light, shine it on your soul and create your own special path.” (Biddy Tarot)
The Hermit is a bear in the Linestrider deck, a lantern adorned with a six-pointed star hanging from its neck. Flora grows out of it, creeping up from a cavity in its body showing three loops of ribcage bones. A skull sits at the base of its form.
The Hermit of the Raider-Waite deck is a cloaked figure standing on top of a mountain – the landscape traversed, a challenge conquered. The bear, though, is the mountain. The lantern indicative of a journey spent reaching this stage where it’s now one with the landscape, a full embrace of the cycle of things – life and death – and everything in between.
* I don’t actually have a tarot deck of my own but of course I had to dream about one made by a visual artist! The Linestrider deck was made by Siolo Thompson, crowdfunded on Indiegogo, and illustrated in a gorgeously expressive yet minimalist look.