by Yasmeen Westwood, award-winning author of The Tarot of Enchanted Dreams.
It’s going to be two years in November since my first tarot deck — The Tarot of Enchanted Dreams — was released. What an amazing moment it is, to see your work being sold all over the world! The deck was named runner-up in the CARTA Awards and won the Bronze at the COVR Awards, too.
Not bad for a deck that was created by someone who doesn’t know how to draw!
How that deck came into creation is covered in a separate blog, which I wrote at the beginning of 2020. Little did I know what a year 2020 was going to turn out to be…but really, did any of us? Aside from COVID, which brought the world to a standstill in a way never seen before, 2020 was also a year that I will never forget. In October 2020 I suffered a huge personal loss, with the death of my husband, David, who took his own life (the inquest is still pending — but all signs point to suicide). Thank goodness for the beauty of art, which is magical and meditative. At the same time, I was trying to protect my four-year-old and working on two new decks scheduled to be published by REDFeather this upcoming Autumn of 2021.
When I was asked to write my second guest author blog for REDFeather, I had no idea what it was going to be about. I really do not like writing, but since I had been asked so nicely, I simply could not refuse. How, what, and why could come later — or so I thought!
But then I was sent the final cover images for my two newest decks, The Tarot of the Enchanted Soul and The Hummingbird Wisdom Oracle, and I knew precisely what I would write.
The Tarot of the Enchanted Soul depicts the Six of Cups on the cover, and I knew what I had to say. Just a bit of background, my wonderful editor really, really wanted this image for the cover, whilst I was set on the Queen of Swords, as this is the card I most identify with right now. I am glad I listened to Peggy (that’s why she’s the expert!) and went with the Six of Cups.
The Six of Cups on the cover of the Tarot of the Enchanted Soul is a deeply personal image to me. Peggy wanted this image as she felt the woman in it looks like me, and she is also aware of my story. Shall I tell you a secret? It is meant to be me. I created this card to depict myself, caught between two time periods. The clocks in the image are the two periods of my life, one representing the past (the clock going backwards) and one representing the future (clock moving forward). I am sitting in the present with my memories of the past, and gently letting them go into the river.
It’s so easy to want to stay in the past, especially after a traumatic event. It’s understandable, you want to dwell on the memories, the good times, but the Six of Cups asks us to take the time to remember the memories, just as long as we do not end up dwelling on them forever. I remember the good times I had with David, our son Arran and my two daughters, who were a huge part of David’s life. They are the kids playing in the background. We had a lot of fun times, the five of us! However, the Six of Cups also reminds us not to see the past through rose-tinted glasses, as we wished it had been, but to rather to see it for what it really was.
As much as I sit with the good memories, there are unfortunately quite a few memories that overshadow the good; with International Women’s Day this week, I feel empowered to admit that I was married to a man who was controlling, as well as mentally, emotionally, and financially abusive toward me and our son. When it turned physical, I left. Our soul contract was coming to an end, as he took his life four weeks later. I did not want my son to think violence towards women was acceptable, as it never, ever okay. I resolved that seeing this abuse would not be my son’s normal! I was determined to fill his childhood with fun, joy, and laughter.
Right now, we are having fun by exploring and creating wonderful memories doing all the things a young boy should be experiencing, so that one day, he can look back at the amazing childhood his mother provided for him.
We are both transforming, just like the butterfly in the image, hovering at the future clock. Watching a young child grow and transform in front of you is probably the most beautiful thing to see. I love spending time with him and getting to know him. We are no longer the same people we were a year ago, and I wonder what exciting things await us, what exciting memories we will create together so that one day he can look fondly at the Six of Cups and think…ah, those were good times.
My second deck. being released in October 2021, is the Hummingbird Wisdom Oracle. This is a collaboration with an amazing soul sister who came to me via synchronicity – Ellen Valladares. A couple of years ago, I came across a post on Facebook in a group where Ellen was looking for an artist to help her create an oracle deck she had in mind. I responded and created an initial image for her – it’s the Hummingbird image on the deck cover. I don’t think Peggy knows that it was the very first sample image I created for Ellen! I think Peggy is psychic…she just seems to know everything.
Ellen, my fellow writer, fell in love with this cover image, and so began a beautiful journey for us together in the land of the Hummingbirds. It has now become a friendship that spans the Atlantic Ocean (Ellen being in Florida and me in Scotland) and one I dearly cherish as Ellen is now one of my closest friends. It’s very rare to come across someone who is so in sync with you.
The deck was created without any stress. She would send me a message for a particular card and then allow me the creative freedom to come up with the image. I swear I heard her gasp across the ocean when I would send her the finished pictures. A message would follow saying, “OMG…that’s exactly what I wanted. You have captured it so perfectly.”
We are very excited to bring you the labor of love we have created, for that is truly what it is. What started out as a response to a request on Facebook has resulted in one of the most beautiful decks I have seen (not just because I did the artwork). I am extremely proud of what we have created. I learned new techniques for the artwork, and there is a definite difference between my first deck and these two new decks.
I am extremely proud of how far I have come, both personally and professionally in the past year. I cannot wait for all of you to hold in your very own hands these two new very unique decks into which I have poured so much of my heart and soul into creating, and start discovering your own special magic!
About the Author:
Yasmeen Westwood is a self-taught photomanipulation artist living in West Sussex in the United Kingdom. She had always wished to be an artist but could not paint or draw. Then she came across Photoshop. Her passion for playing with images led to the creation of her first deck, The Tarot of Enchanted Dreams. She sees magic in both the people and landscapes she photographs. She loves taking images and manipulating them to create magical, fantasy worlds and it is this magic that she has tried to depict in her decks. She holds a BSc (Hons) degree in biochemistry and MSc in immunopharmacology — both achieved in the UK. Prior to being a photographer, she worked in the oil and gas industry, training and coaching in health, safety, and quality management. She is also trained in NLP, hypnotherapy, and life coaching, as well as being a Reiki master. Her first deck, The Tarot of Enchanted Dreams, was created in 2018, awarded a publishing contract, and was released worldwide in November 2019, by REDFeather Publishing. A limited number of the decks were self-published and they were highly reviewed by many tarot bloggers, such as Bellben, TABI, Angelorum, etc., as well as the Hummingbird Wisdom Oracle. She was a finalist for her artwork, for the MPower, Mums in Business National Business Awards. She lives on the South Coast of England, by the sea, with her son, Arran.