As I work on the Gaian Tarot, I fret too much about how long each card is taking me to do. But I’m beginning to think that perhaps it is the length of time spent on one piece that contributes to its depth and spiritual power.
I know that when I sit down at my drawing table, I get lost and “time” just evaporates away. (Isn’t this called “flow”?) Later when I come out of that sacred space, I’m surprised that I haven’t finished more in 2 or 4 or 6 hours. But what is there, is more than (in my case) colored pencil pigment on paper.
It’s everything I’ve been thinking about while working on the piece, memories and random thoughts and the pleasure taken in the form and shape and color of the image itself. It’s all the study I’ve done on that particular card while preparing to create my own version of it — and it’s all the versions of that card in all the decks I’ve worked with over the past 25 years.
Mix in the heron flying north past my window, the full moon set in early morning, the sunset in the evening, the sparkle of sunlight on distant water.
Add a dollop of sage or nag champa incense, a candle of appropriate color burning for inspiration and sustenance and . . . most important of all, the music playing that moves the piece forward. World beat, Goddess/pagan chants, rock, folk, classical, trance/meditation music — each card demands a different soundtrack, which feeds the image.
Sometimes I have a DVD on while I’m working on the piece — I watched (listened to, really) the film Whale Rider twice while working on the Chariot (in my version, the Canoe, with orcas in the background). And sometimes I listen to an audio book.
All of that makes its way into the final piece.