Thursday, December 27, 2012

From "The Daily Draw"

Hi everyone!

I wanted to let you in on another blogger who has posted some well-wrought insights on a couple of the Golden Moth cards. Her name is Tierney Sadler, and she posts almost every day on "The Daily Draw" blog, pulling from her vast and varied collection of tarot decks. Llewellyn is publishing her Tarot Toolkit called "The Deck of 1000 Spreads" in March! Check it out. Even if you are not a tarot-enthusiast, her posts are insightful enough to get anyone thinking about life and the choices we all make.

You can read her Golden Moth interpretations here:

Card #17- What do you see in this card? Does your interpretation relate to something in your own life right now? What message does it hold for you?

Card #58 - What value and import do you place on community? How much do you give to your community? Do you feel there's room in your life to kick it up a notch?

What I love about Tierney's readings is her ability to cut through to the heart of a matter in a sometimes brutally honest way. She also provides historical background information about the cards - something I've never had much patience to do, which is why I created my own card deck in an intuitive way rather than spending a long time on research. So be sure to check out her blog for her individual spin on the cards!

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays. For me, it is a time of stress as well as joy, so I'm now making a very pleasant effort to rest and relax. That means reading lots of books, watching television, and not leaving the house much. Ah, such a nice break. In my head, I am also working on a review of the year which I plan to post soon. I wish everyone the ability to enjoy some peace and fun whenever you can!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Man in the Moon

About a month ago, friend, illustrator, and Golden Moth Deck owner Katie Green asked me to write about Card #21, or what I consider "The Moon" card. Forgive me if this post gets a bit rambly, because it has been on my mind for awhile now. It is also serendipitous because when I checked out Priscilla Smith's blog Spirit Speak 444, I discovered that she had pulled this card today! Priscilla is pulling one card everyday this November and writing about it. You can read her Moon/Star post here. It has been interesting to read Priscilla's interpretations of the cards because it further reinforces my decision to keep the symbols simple and in a single color (which was also suggested by Katie Green - double thanks!) I think these artistic decisions make the interpretation of each symbol much more open and free-flowing. With simple line drawings and no color cues, people are able to see what comes to their unique minds without too much outside influence. Priscilla's posts have also shown me that how someone literally sees an image is so very personal, based on their history and personality. It all continues to fascinate me, as both an artist and the creator of this deck. When Priscilla first mentioned this card in her Golden Moth Deck Interview, she called it "The Man from the Moon." Upon seeing this, I realized that when turned upside down, the object in the center of the image does look kind of like a person! Crazy, I did not picture this when I was drawing it. Actually, I meant the object to look a bit like a castle or a weird plant. I left it purposely ambiguous. The image actually came to me many years before as I was doodling some designs for T-shirts and this strange castle-ish image came out onto the page. I certainly didn't think I would end up turning it into a divination card.

When I created this symbol, I was highly inspired by the Moon card of the traditional Rider-Waite tarot deck and the interpretation I found on

The Moon card is often seen as representing fears, anxieties, heightened fantasies and imagination, intuition, and creativity. I thought of this card as a ghostly imagination-castle growing out of a lake reflecting stars. However, the reflections are not total mirror images, which makes them a little less cut-and-dry. In fact, for a long time this card still remained ambiguous, artistically and interpretation-wise. I had some idea of what it meant through studying the Moon card in tarot tradition, but it still eluded me a bit when it came up in readings. Now I can see the symbol of an upside-down Man in the Moon is very fitting for this card as well. It reminds me of the Hanged Man card in the tarot tradition.The Hanged Man is one of those paradoxical cards. While the words "Hanged Man" can sound ominous, the man in the card is very calm and the ring of light around his head makes him seem as though he is enlightened in the spiritual sense. (And isn't it further serendipity that my Moon card is #21, and the tarot Hanged Man card is that number reversed - #12? Woo...believe me, I didn't do that on purpose.) From  
"The main lesson of the Hanged Man is that we "control" by letting go - we "win" by surrendering. The figure on Card 12 has made the ultimate surrender - to die on the cross of his own travails - yet he shines with the glory of divine understanding. He has sacrificed himself, but he emerges the victor. The Hanged Man also tells us that we can "move forward" by standing still. By suspending time, we can have all the time in the world."
I see the influence of this paradoxical and mystical energy in my Moon card. In readings for others and for myself, the Moon card will often come up during times of uncertainty. But I also think it is about trusting the moment and allowing unknowing to function in your life. The moon appears when the clear light of day is absent and we are left with a different kind of light - bright in its own way, but softer, more mysterious and magical. I think that this card often appears in times of life when events, thoughts, or actions have this sort of mysterious quality. Perhaps we are building a castle out of moonlight, letting the castle grow out of the water like a strange plant with its own life-force. Maybe we are simply dreaming, letting ourselves float through the night because we know the dream won't last. Or maybe we are dreaming so that we can figure out how to build the dream during waking life. The light of the moon is our testing ground, a time when we can create, drift, imagine, explore what we don't know. This all sounds pretty ambiguous and mystical, I know. But I do believe that is what the Moon card is about, at least to me. A time of transitions, a time to see our world in a different light. What does the Moon mean to you?

This card also has personal significance for me because I believe it is my guiding force when doing readings for other people. Since self-publishing the deck, I have done many more readings and I think that I have grown as a reader because of it. There have been many instances when people have told me they felt better after a reading, and I could feel it from their smiles and the lightness in their demeanor. But there are times when I feel nervous or unsure of what others are getting from the readings. Sometimes I go into anxiety-mode and start talking much more than is necessary, trying to fill the nervous space by leaving no stone unturned. I've come to realize that reading cards is very much about being in the moment, responding to people's needs as well as knowing what it is in my power to offer them. I can't always tell people what they want to hear. As much as I want to help people who are going through difficult situations, I have decided that my role as a reader is one of facilitator for people to understand themselves better. I try to remind people that they do know themselves and what they need to do, the cards are just there to help them see it in a more conscious way. I am not an all-knower, all-fixer, or there to placate them just so I feel good about myself. I don't think anyone really expects that of me, but it is tempting to wish that I could make people's lives better through my readings.

I am constantly floored by the mystery of life. Who is to say what effect - subtle or larger - that the readings will have on a person? Maybe I helped someone become more conscious of a negative pattern. Maybe talking through a reading helped lightened a burden for someone. Maybe the burden will come back, maybe it won't. I can't know or control it all. All I can do is try my best to be open to what is needed in the moment. Whenever I shuffle the cards, I've come to ask in my head "What does so-&-so need to hear right now? What does he/she need?" which amusingly makes me think about the Oracle in The Matrix movies. And it is amazing when I allow myself to be open to the cards and see them fresh each time. I definitely have personal interpretations for each card, but lately I've been trying to truly be in the moment and trust my intuition. It actually makes a card look different each time. Certain aspects will appear more strongly to me. I also am more open to other people's interpretations. When I am unsure of a card's meaning in the spread, I will ask the Querent what they think. And this is always the "right" meaning for their situation. I have learned so much more about my cards and their possibilities through the thoughts and suggestions of other people.

Whenever you feel confused or unsure, remember the Moon. Don't try to understand right away. Let it be. Let it be scary, let it be crazy, let it be the wrong thing for you. Or the right thing. Maybe they are the same thing. Let it ramble just as much as this post about the Moon. It is your nightmare, your dream, your mysterious and sacred life.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sprout Head Sale - Hurrah for 2012!

To help kick off the holiday season and my new linocut prints, I am starting early with a SALE in my online shop, Sprout Head! Use Coupon Code HURRAH2012 upon checkout to receive 10% off your entire order - hint: that includes Golden Moth Illumination Decks! Sale runs from Friday, November 16 - Monday, November 26. The first 10 orders over $10 (not including shipping) that use coupon code will receive the zine "We Carry Each Other" for free with your purchase! IMPORTANT: You MUST use the coupon code or else you will not receive the discount or bonus zine.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


NaBloPoMo is National Blog Posting Month, where bloggers set a goal to blog every day for a whole month. I've been lucky enough to have Priscilla Smith of the blog Spirit Speak 444 choose my Golden Moth Illumination Deck as the theme for her NaBloPoMo! Starting on November 1st, everyday she will draw a card and post about her thoughts and interpretations. Get a preview of what is to come with her awesome and insightful "Interview with the Golden Moth." This will be exciting and fun for me to read and I hope it will be for you, too. Thanks Priscilla!
Also, you may have noticed a new tab at the top of the blog called "CRAFT SHOWS & EVENTS." You can click on it anytime for an updated schedule of craft shows where I will be selling my art and Golden Moth Decks, as well as events where I will be doing Intuitive Card Readings.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Who's Behind Blue Elephant?

As some of you already know, I've started to give monthly Golden Moth Intuitive Card Readings (like tarot readings, but using my own deck of cards) at Blue Elephant in Richmond. This months readings will take place on Sunday, October 21st from 1-4 pm - coinciding with their weekend Sidewalk Sale which starts tomorrow! 

Blue Elephant is a fantastic boutique that sells vintage housewares and artwork by local artists, and I always feel inspired after I visit. I've gotten to know Patsy and Jessica, the owners, but thought it would be neat to interview them to find out a little more about the mysterious women behind Blue Elephant. Enjoy!

Here's Patsy on the left and Jessica on the right.

Hello Patsy and Jessica! Would you please tell us a little about yourselves?

J: I was raised in Northern Virginia, and came down to Richmond to attend VCU. I definitely wasn’t thrilled to move here at first, but now I can’t imagine living anywhere else! I have a cute row house in Oregon Hill that I share with great roommates and one fat cat, I ride a scooter everywhere and refuse to get my driver’s license, and I love all the great local shops and restaurants. The amount of creative talent and friendly people make Richmond one of my favorite places. It’s a beautiful, but unpretentious, city.

P: I come from a military family, and moved around often while growing up. My mother (Jessica’s grandmother) is Japanese, so my father would take assignments in Japan so my mom could be close to her family. I’ve lived in Japan twice in my life, and been back for visits several times. Japan and all things Japanese hold a special place in my heart and soul.

I worked in Northern Virginia at a large telecom company for almost 20 years, while Jessica and her brother, John, were growing up. When I first started working in telecom, I had no idea that I would do so for so long. While working in a corporate environment has its good points, it certainly didn’t make me feel fulfilled in a creative sense.

How did you become interested in vintage items and what made you decide to open a shop?

J: My mother, Patsy, was the one who always wanted to try her hand at owning a store. When she decided it was time to give it a try, I talked her into opening in Richmond, because I thought a vintage housewares shop in Richmond would make a great fit. She was still working in Northern Virginia, so she asked me to help set up the store. And things kind of just went from there!

P: As time went by in my telecom job, I found myself thinking more and more about leaving my current life behind, and doing something totally different. So in 2010, I took a large part of my savings, and opened Blue Elephant.

Jessica is a huge part of why I opened the store in Richmond. She loved this city, and, in all my visits to it, I found that I loved it, too. As I was still working in NoVA in 2010 and 2011, I also needed someone in whom I could trust to be my business partner, and whom better than my own daughter? J

It’s hard to say how I became interested in vintage items, as it seems like I just always have. I like things that have a history to them, and I like wondering about who owned them before me. I like new things, too (well, some new things), but given a choice between a new couch and a cute vintage one, I will almost always choose vintage!

How do you acquire your items, and what sorts of things are you particularly on the lookout for?

J: We take things on consignment from people and we also source things from auctions, estate sales, etc. Generally speaking, we look for things that range from the 1940’s through the 1970’s or vintage inspired pieces. Small pieces of mid-century furniture are always popular. I’m forever searching for dressers, side tables, etc. Things that fit into small Fan apartments.

P: When I go shopping for the store, I just look for things that I like. End of statement! I think people sometimes think we’re experts or curators and know a lot about this period and that particular designer and whatnot, and, over the past couple of years, that certainly has become more of a true statement as we’ve learned a lot. Jessica especially spends a large part of her day researching items, and can generally give our customers a much more informed history of an item in our shop than me. But as for me, I just look for what pleases my eye and what strikes a chord inside me.

What are some interesting/non-traditional ways that customers use objects from your store?

J: just had a customer that bought a wooden crate and mounted it to the wall for a shelf. He also came back and bought a giant wooden spool to try and turn into a side table. We also sell vintage luggage and people do all sorts of things with them; tables, storage, pet beds.

P: We’ve had people buy mid-century china cabinets and sideboards to use as dressers, and people buy dressers to use as sideboards. I think non-traditional uses of furniture and accessories make a space interesting.

What is your favorite item currently in the store, and why?
J: My favorite piece of furniture is probably the gray mid-century sofa that we had reupholstered at u-fab. It has the greatest lines with wide arms and original brass tapered legs. I’m also a sucker for tiny animal figurines. I have a lot of bookcases at home and I like to add the animals in with the books. I tell my little sisters they come alive at night to have tiny animal book club meetings. 

P: I love the gray sofa, too, but just recently someone brought in this blue clay bowl with three blue clay heads inside. It’s odd, it’s whimsical, and for some reason, it just delights me. I think I’m going to buy it for myself and take it home! 

You two are the main owners of the shop, but other members of your family are also involved. Can you tell us how each of you helps in the running of the business and what it’s like to work with family?

J: My brother, John, is a senior Crafts and Materials major at VCU. He comes in frequently to do the windows for us. I assist him when we do them, as there’s usually a lot of work that goes into our window displays. John also will come and rearrange the store for us. He has a great eye for visual merchandising.

My mother’s husband, Ron, also helps us. Unfortunately for him, it’s usually the un fun part that he helps us with. Delivering furniture, helping us with the accounting. He’s a good sport about it, thankfully!

P: As Jessica said, John has a great eye for arranging a space. Have you ever watched that show on HGTV where a designer comes into someone’s apartment and rearranges all of their own furniture and makes it look like a thousand times better? Well, that’s John! I love when he comes to the store and rearranges everything!

I don’t think that without the support of my husband, Ron, I would have been brave enough to venture out and start Blue Elephant. It’s true that he does help with a lot of the un-fun things, like moving furniture and fixing things. But for the past two years, he also played a really important role as our bookkeeper, and helped us make sure all our accounts and taxes were in order. 

What is the best part of running your own business? The most difficult?

J: The best part? I like when I have someone buy something that I know they are excited about. Most everything in the store is something I would like, but I am not a hoarder. So it’s the next best thing, finding things for other people that make them happy!

The most difficult part for me is the stress of owning your own business. When things don’t work out, or something you are trying to do fails, you have no one but yourself to blame. I think people have a misconception that what I do is fun all the time. I love what I get to do for a living. But it is hard. There are a lot of responsibilities involved, and I put myself last.

P: One of the best parts for me is that I get to work with my kids. I like that we have a common goal, and I feel it has brought us closer. The relationship between parents and their adult children is a lot different than when they’re little. I really like where I am with them at this point in their lives. J

One of the most difficult is exactly what Jessica said. It sometimes seems that we sacrifice a lot to maintain the store.  It’s not a job that you work 9 to 5, and then forget about when you go home. It’s integral to us, and it’s really important to us to be fair to our consignors and our artists and crafters.

What has been your favorite experience with a customer?

J: Recently, we sold a beautiful blue mid-century sofa to a young couple that had just moved to Richmond. They were both very kind and I knew the wife had her heart set on the sofa. When her husband came in later after work to see it himself, I worked with him to get to a price we could both work with and had it delivered for free. It made my day when they sent a text telling us how thrilled they were with the sofa and thanked us again. When people appreciate the things we do, it makes everything worthwhile.

P: I have so many it’s hard to choose! Generally speaking, I just love when someone buys something that they’re super excited about, and that’s a good deal for both them and us.

How do you like your current location in the Fan?

J: We just recently moved from Strawberry Street to Robinson Street. The old location was smaller, and when the opportunity to be next to Halcyon Vintage Clothing opened up, I couldn’t say no. And so far, it’s worked out great! The space is larger and brighter, all the ladies next door at Halcyon are wonderful, and having Deep Groove a couple blocks down is awesome too! We’ve kind of made a little trifecta of vintage stores.

P: Ditto to that!

What kinds of items do you think will be popular this coming holiday season?

J: The things that I think make great gifts are vintage items like aprons, books, embroidered linens, and cute kitchen items. I also think work by local artists such as yourself make wonderful gifts. Small prints, paintings, or pottery by local artists are great one of a kind items that support the creative community within Richmond.

P: I think anyone who has someone they’re getting a gift for who appreciates something not mass-produced and that’s different and unique as well as thoughtful, will be able to find something special at Blue Elephant!

Anything else we should know?

J: I can’t think of anything else. Just, thanks!

P: You ask a lot of questions, Aijung! I’m tired now. ;) But thank you so much for taking the time to interview us!!

Thanks, ladies!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Golden Moth is on Facebook!

I created a Facebook page for The Golden Moth Illumination Deck:

Please "like" my page to receive updates about events, sales, blog updates, and anything else Golden Moth! Feel free to comment about the deck or experiences you have had with it, too. I'm still trying to create a dialogue on the Golden Moth blog, and would love it if people shared their thoughts here or on Facebook because I've already heard some great stories from some of you.


Shedding Masks and Seeing New Faces

There is a definite chill in the air these days. It's still t-shirt weather for me here in Richmond, VA, but more often than not I will wear a light hoodie while I wait for the clear afternoon sunlight to warm my skin.

I love this kind of weather. I love watching the transition into fall, anticipating the day when I will bundle inside layers of clothing, coats, scarves, and hats that make me feel protected and cocooned against the cold. Being an artist, it feels only natural to sit at my desk and work during these days. While I do want to soak up the perfect autumn days, there isn't the same pull that summertime has with its restless energy.

As we pass the autumnal equinox, the daylight recedes earlier each evening and humans follow the habits of the sun. Our thoughts and inner wanderings become more pronounced as we recede inside of ourselves. I think of October which is coming soon, and the holiday that is the hallmark of the month - Halloween. The modern-day celebration for masked tricksters and glowing pumpkin faces began long ago as a Celtic pagan tradition called Samhain. It was the Celtic New Year, a time to celebrate the gathering of the harvest, honor relatives who had passed, and look towards what the seasons ahead would bring. It was a time of magic, of transitions, when the skin that separated the living and those who passed was very thin.

It is wonderful to feel at peace with transition, with the unveiling of things hidden.

A couple of weeks ago I gave readings at the Blue Elephant (which I'm excited to say will now be a monthly event!) Often when I give readings to many people in a short amount of time, a handful of the same cards will come up again and again - in the same or different positions - within the spread. This is after shuffling, cutting, and having the Querents randomly pick out individual cards that are spread out on the table, so it's not just a matter of the same cards clumping together within the deck. I'm not sure why this happens. Perhaps people intuitively pick up on the energy of cards that have been recently touched. One friend suggested that maybe people go through similar life-themes during certain periods of time, like a cosmic effect. Either way, seeing the same cards over and over again can be disconcerting at times because it's like repetitive deja vu. But it teaches me to be flexible with my interpretations and often alerts me to dimensions of the card that I hadn't noticed before. It's funny to me, and rather amazing, that even though I created these symbols and had specific ideas about their meanings, the cards continue to morph and reveal layers of complexity. These seemingly simple images are so open and inviting if you allow them to be.

One of the cards that came up repeatedly that day is #14. While I advise that no card is inherently positive or negative, I can't help associating this card with unhappiness - which to me is a negative characteristic. However, through the readings I discovered qualities I had not previously recognized, such as judgement, criticalness, and discernment. In themselves, these qualities can be used for beneficial or hindering effects, depending on what the Querent needs in their life. One Querent pointed out to me that #14 is male and the left side of his face is frowning, while #15 is female and her right side if smiling. Not to get too gender-stereotypical, but traditionally males are associated with more analytical, left-brained thinking and women with more intuitive, right-brained thinking. (Although if you want to get really technical, I believe the right and left hemispheres of the brain control the respective opposite sides of the body...) I hadn't thought of these things consciously, but the symbolism had come through intuitively while I was drawing the symbols.

Oh, how I love it when things turn out to be more than they appear.

Can you think of a time when things turned out to be different than you had previously thought? Do you notice transitions in yourself or others more clearly during certain seasons? 

For those of you who use the Golden Moth Illumination Deck, which cards have come up repeatedly in your readings? Which cards' meanings have revealed multiple dimensions to you over time?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Giveaway Winners!


I thank everyone who left a comment on the Giveaway post - it was great reading all the comments and hearing about your perspectives. And thanks so much for your patience waiting for me to pick out the winners.

I put your names in a mason jar, swirled them around, closed my eyes and fished out the winners.

One Golden Moth Illumination Deck set plus one Intuitive Card Reading goes to...

Michelle Cornelison!

One Intuitive Card Reading goes to...


And lastly, I decided to throw in a little runner-up prize for a third winner. You will receive a set of two notecards. That winner is...

 This is the peev!

A little more info is needed now. All e-mails can be sent to:

Michelle, please e-mail me your address and information to receive your Intuitive Card Reading. Follow this link to find out the information required for your Reading.

Jeanie, follow this link and e-mail me the information required.

Thisisthepeev, e-mail me your address and follow this link to see your notecard choices. You may choose 1 of each card, or 2 of one design.

Thanks everyone who entered, and congratulations to the winners!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

All Eyes on Me

One way that people can become better acquainted with their cards and interpreting the symbols is to do a "Daily Drawing" - choosing one card to meditate on for that particular day. I'd seen it suggested before in Tarot workbooks and blogs, and I was reminded of it again when I read a comment from a reader on my Giveaway blog post and I saw that she devoted her blog to daily readings of cards.

I've never done it before, so I shuffled the cards and pulled this one at random from the deck:

My personal interpretation of this card is that it is one of "playing a new role." Generally in readings for other people, I see this card come up when someone has had a change of circumstance (be it a conscious decision or thrust upon them) and must take on new responsibilities or display aspects of themselves that they aren't used to - for example, they have made a change in their career or they are no longer in a certain relationship that defined them and they now see different meaning in themselves and to the people around them.

I always think of the woman in the card as reaching for a garment or costume, something to clothe her in an outward facade that matches what she feels (or wants to feel) on the inside. Something struck me about this card today - her nakedness. That might seem obvious, but I'd never considered it in quite this way before - keep reading...

I've been teaching art workshops to kids all summer. While I've had some very focused and creative kids in my classes, I've also had some rambunctious ones that have been the cause of some very draining moments. I'm very sensitive to noise, and last week I started to develop a low-grade headache during class because of children that wouldn't stop talking or playing around when I tried to call them to attention. Yesterday, I had a sinking feeling that my new round of 6 - 8 year-olds was going to be even harder to handle than the last. I still don't feel totally comfortable being an authoritative figure. When I first started teaching children three years ago, I hated telling kids, "No" or "Stop that." I do it freely now. But there are still times when kids ask me questions and there is a grey area in the answer. I ask myself, what would an "adult" say in this situation? Or times when I don't know exactly how to react to what a child does or says. How do I teach wrong from right when there are so many larger issues at play? Teaching has taught me many things, and one is that I must be fully present and responsive, or I can let an opportunity pass and be unchallenged. I can now understand why teachers get lazy and pretend not to see what is going on. It takes so much responsibility to absorb and react to every single moment.

I thought about what Card #29 had to teach me about my present situation. When someone goes through a shift and has to play a role that is new or uncomfortable to them, they experience a moment of transition where they must strip themselves of former notions and reach for the garment that will clothe them in the confidence required to "play their part." Within that transition is a moment of nudity - of utter starkness and vulnerability. As humans, we go through these kinds of shifts everyday. In the very practiced, that shift may be imperceptible. In others, it may be empowering as they choose to see and present themselves in a new light. And in others, the shift may seem clunky and even embarrassing. It can be painful to watch others' uncertainty. We don't always have to be comfortable with the roles we play. But if it's important enough to us, we need to at least give it a try - even if that means merely pretending until we feel that we can embody the part.

This morning before I set off to my class, I thought about the freshness of such shifting roles. That I can choose play the role of "Teacher" and take it off more easily than I used to when I first began teaching. That within that role there is a multitude of variables and factors in every moment - in myself, in my students, in our relationship to each other. It reminded me that each day is new and full of possibilities, and that I don't have to weigh myself down with my own expectations. I can allow that nakedness to clear the slate.

Today during class, my kids seemed more focused. I still had a little trouble getting them to listen to directions, but I got a tip from one of them. While helping Logan glue bits of "grass" - green paper paper that he had fringed on the edges - onto his pop-up card, he gave me a tip: "You should say '1-2-3, eyes on me!' the way our other teacher does. Then all the students will look straight into your eyes like this," and he proceeded to give me a wide-eyed, mesmerized stare. I agreed that I would try it out.

When I next needed the class's attention, I called out "1-2-3, eyes on me!" I got about half of the kids to look up at me quietly, which was more than normal. I looked over at Logan. He beamed and nodded his head at me. I guess I'd done something right.

What does Card #29 mean to you? Were/Are you in a situation where you had to take on a new role? How did that feel? What role do you fear? What role do you desire? What role liberates you?

Sunday, July 29, 2012


This will be the first in what I hope to be many dialogues sharing our experiences using The Golden Moth Illumination Deck. For many, using the deck is a very new experience, since I only made them available last month. But you must remember that creating and using the deck is also a relatively new experience for myself.

Three years ago in August, I was preparing for my first craft show since moving to Richmond, Virginia. I had just moved earlier that summer, and was having trouble finding a job. I really didn't want to work at the same food service chain that I had left when I lived in Portland, Oregon, yet I also didn't have much luck finding places who were hiring (or would hire me, at least). After making a few feeble attempts to transfer to said Food Chain, I decided to stop trying. I had more time on my hands, and less money. However, I had been so unhappy working in food service that I decided I would use my time by diving into anything art-related I could find in Richmond. I volunteered for three months at The Visual Arts Center of Richmond (where I would later teach). I made a new zine about my observations of being in Richmond. And I scouted out for any craft fairs I could be a part of. My first was the annual Jonny Z Fest, organized by Art 180.

A few days before the fest, I decided to make a very quick rendition of my own "tarot" deck. But instead of traditional tarot images, I would use my own imagery. I was never a very skilled reader of tarot, but I was fascinated by it and other forms of divination such as I Ching and Runes. I had learned from my limited encounters with these forms that there are many ways to express similar sentiments and concepts, and that each form has its own special slant based on the culture and time period it was devised in. I decided it would be easier for me, as an artist, to create my own imagery that I felt could speak on a personal level to me, but also be highly relatable to others.

I sketched out tiny little rectangles in my sketchbook and quickly filled them with images and corresponding "titles." The drawings and concepts poured out of me as if they'd been incubating for years and just needed the opportunity to be released. After two short drawing sessions, I think I had about 60 cards sketched out. I cut up pieces of cardstock and drew the images onto tiny cards in the same simple, bare-bones fashion I'd made the sketches. I figured I would work on perfecting the drawings at a later time. After consulting with my sister and then-boyfriend, I decided I wouldn't title the cards. I always found it difficult in tarot to separate the meanings of the cards from their names. Some cards like "Death" or "The Devil" immediately inspired negative connotations to me that were hard to shake even when I knew that their symbolism was deeper, more subtle, and at times opposing to what I thought they were. My decision to not title the cards was also inspired by a deck called "SoulCards" which had images without titles or predefined meanings, meant to evoke creative expression and interpretation from the reader without any previous experience.

I was excited and nervous about bringing my cards to the craft show. I had never done a reading for a stranger before, and certainly never asked for monetary donations for doing one. But for some reason, I had confidence that the cards would "work." I had done "readings" in the past for people that were nothing like tarot readings. It's hard to explain without giving it away (which would defeat its purpose), but it's a visualization exercise that I found in a young adult novel years ago. I asked people to describe what they saw when given a certain situation and objects to visualize. I would draw these things and make notes about them that they could look at later. From their descriptions, I interpreted what each thing meant about themselves and their personality. I found that people almost always responded in a surprised fashion at these interpretations, amazed at how well the interpretations seemed to represent them. I realized I was good at those kinds of readings because I am an artist and I am highly drawn to symbolism and visual representations of what goes on "under the surface." For that reason, I believe my visual language/intelligence is more finely-attuned and one of my strongest assets.

I did three card readings at the Jonny Z Fest. Honestly, I can't remember too much about the readings. I knew I had to be confident and trust the cards in order for them to work. I had to have faith. One person responded in a sort of neutral fashion, but I remember that one lady seemed really excited about her reading. All I remember is that it was enough for me to feel gratified about the whole process myself. I had helped a few people gain some clarity over situations or problems they were facing, or at least gave them another way to look at things. The cards related to their questions in a way that was not purely coincidental or random they way some newspaper horoscopes seem to be. I had dialogues with strangers about their personal matters, connecting in a way that seldom has the opportunity to flourish under normal circumstances.

For the last three years, I have honed my own reading style more and more. That is not to say that I am an expert. There are times when I lack confidence and feel that I am not giving the Questioner the experience or answers they had hoped for. However, I've found that it's impossible to please everyone. The majority of the experiences I've shared with others make the process of reading cards to be enjoyable, enlightening, and satisfying to me. I used to think I was "telling the future" for others. But I am not a psychic. At best, I can be highly intuitive, at worst hesitating and doubtful. I've found that reading cards for others is part divination/part healing process - allowing others to share their uncertainty and view situations from a new perspective. I've observed people become emotional, shed tears, release unhealthy expectations, and express joy. I've seen an emotional shift in a person who sat down next to me, from slightly skeptical to elated. To put it visually, it's as if a door opened inside of them and they became filled with light and energy.

As I continue to read the cards, I find that I increasingly ask for input from the Questioner. I find that they have a lot to teach me, in terms of how they interpret the cards and how the images apply to their situation. I think that having a conversation about the cards is an important part of the process, as opposed to me giving the interpretations and not having any input. However, I've read for people who would only nod their head or look at the cards with a bemused expression, who would say things like "this card makes a lot of sense to me" and not  elaborate any further. I've respected their silence as well, for everyone processes experiences differently and sharing should be a purely voluntary response.

What is your experience using the cards? Did you purchase the cards yourself, or are they a gift from a friend? Have you read tarot before or worked with other forms of divination? How does reading these cards compare? Have you never read cards before? How do you feel as a beginner? Any stories you'd like to share? Questions?

I can't wait to hear all about it! Please leave your comments here and feel free to "talk" to others who respond. I do believe that we can all learn from each other, and I plan to keep writing posts that inspire an active dialogue and friendship among the Golden Moth community. Part of the reason I was so excited to release this deck to the public was seeing how the use of the cards would grow and change through the collective experiences of others. That includes you!

xo aijung

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sprout Head Sale and GIVEAWAY!

After taking a couple of weeks to relax from the project, I have finally listed "The Golden Moth Illumination Deck" and other related products in my Etsy shop, Sprout Head! In celebration of my 5-year anniversary, I am offering a 10% discount on all items in my shop through the end of July! Simply use Coupon Code: 5YEARS upon checkout to receive your discount.

As part of the celebration of my shop anniversary and the official release of the deck, I am also offering a GIVEAWAY of:
- One Golden Moth Illumination Deck (includes the deck, handbook, and spread sheet) with one free Intuitive Card Reading
- One Intuitive Card Reading to another lucky winner!

In order to enter, simply make a comment to this post about why you are interested in the deck and/or reading. I will put all names on slips of paper and draw a name at random to decide the two winners. You have until August 19th to enter!

You can increase your chances of winning by doing the following (your name will be added one time per activity, so you can increase your odds up to 5 times including just leaving a comment):
- Become a follower of The Golden Moth Blog
- Become a follower of my art blog:
- Tweet or post about the giveaway on Facebook
- Post about the giveaway on your blog


Thanks everyone!

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Hello and Welcome to The Golden Moth Illumination Deck blog!

The character of this brand-new blog will be shaped by those who read and use it. My intention is to allow this blog to be a place for people to learn and share ideas about using the Golden Moth deck, to ask questions and spark inspiration. So if you have any ideas, please share them in the comments section!

For those of you who don't know what the deck is, please visit my Kickstarter page to see the original campaign launch to raise money to have the deck of cards printed, and I promise I will post more info soon.

For now, take care!