I met Danya Smith online last year, when she joined the Gaian Tarot Circle as a charter member. As I got to know her, I became more and more impressed with her gentle spirit and her commitment to what she calls “Contemplative Tarot.” I was very happy to get to meet her in person at last year’s Readers Studio. I’m looking forward to hosting her as a guest teacher on tonight’s teleseminar for the GTC.
What do you love most about the Tarot?
Although the mainstream perception is that tarot is a fortune telling tool, I love the fact that Tarot has unlimited practical applications and that you can work with the cards in any way that appeals to you. A Tarot deck is a collection of 78 pieces of portable art with an underlying symbolic framework. Art teaches, inspires, challenges, and transforms. Symbols communicate, reveal, define, and represent. Symbols and art unlock a great deal of power in our lives. Tarot offers a way to explore and tap into that power in a personal way.
Tell us a story about one of your experiences with the Gaian Tarot.
My first reading with the Gaian Tarot was a personal wake up call. I received my deck on March 10, 2010, and I did a three card Past, Present, Future spread. I pulled the Nine of Air, the Eight of Air and the Child of Fire.
In the Nine of Air, I could see the darkness that had become so prevalent in my life. I was having some significant health challenges and they had me feeling like I was just holding on. I had retreated into a lonely space with almost no socializing or interaction with others outside of work. The wake up call was that yes, this card shows me clearly that I have been in a dark place. It forced me to acknowledge not only where I was physically, mentally and emotionally, but also the toll it was taking in my life. But on the bright side, it put that squarely in the past. It told me, “This is over… Let this go”. In the Child of Fire, I saw myself embracing and expressing the wonder-filled and fiery spirit that had been buried during that time. I remembered feeling more alive and dynamic and playful and energetic before the health challenges, and truly being that way personality-wise. The message was, you will be more yourself again. Today as I look at this reading, it is so clear that Eight of Air in the present position spoke of the arrival of my Gaian deck as the beginning of the new circle of friends and like-minds that would enter my life through my relationship with the deck. It really foretold the supportive and loving community I would find in the Gaian Tarot Circle.
How do you best love to express your creativity?
Throughout my childhood and teen years I was an artist, a writer, and a musician. I loved taking drawing classes, practicing calligraphy, writing poetry and short stories, performing, singing and playing the piano. Through working with the Tarot and studying my Birth Card (which happens to be the Gardner/Empress) I have come to understand just how important creative self expression remains for me to this day. I may never make a living as an artist, but I will always have a need to explore and express my creative side.
What is your relationship with Nature (aka Mama Gaia) like?
I was a nature child who always kept the elements around me. Nothing could quite match an afternoon alone on a beach with my walkman. I burned candles all the time and collected shells and river washed stones.
As I entered working life and my daughter grew too old for playgrounds, my time with nature diminished to the walks to and from my car in the parking lot until quite recently. When I joined the GTC, I had to acknowledge how much I had become an “indoor girl” and how much my connection to the natural world was lost to me.
How does Nature inspire, impact or heal you?
These days, I find that I pay more attention to nature and I’m more conscious of it than ever before. I’ve developed a relationship with the Moon that keeps me mindful of the passage of time and the natural cycles. I recently went for a walk down a nature trail at a local cider mill. The birds were singing, the water was rushing, the leaves were rattling, the air was crisp, and I realized how much I need that time, that connection, and how much I’ve missed it.
Danya Smith is an IT Professional from the Metro Detroit area. She participates in the Tarot community as a member of the Gaian Tarot Circle, the American Tarot Association, and the Detroit Area Tarot Guild.