From Chickens to Dances: Tarot as Biography and Story
My Tarot decks are visual stories. Many, if not most, are biographical. They celebrate life through development and guidance, showing us all how we continue to rise and strive to be better than we were the day before. The art I have created for my Tarot decks whimsically moves throughout each series of my personal life lessons and world events, unfolding imagery about the many narratives of how we experience living as a united world.
Tarot as Biography: When Life Handed Corona, I handed back the Kilted Rubber Chicken.
Friday, March 13th, 2020.
It was the official last day of in-class sessions for my school district. By day, I am a high school art educator. I told the students to gather their supplies, folders, and artwork to take home for what was originally just a two-week hiatus. Normally, I would have never sent their portfolios home, but I decided to listen to my intuition.
Then two weeks turned into one month. I grappled with the loss of my favorite assignment of the year: when we design a cartoon character to represent us and use it to tell a story.
As I sat at home in solitude, I began to draw my own Kilted Rubber Chicken alter-ego, a.k.a. “KiRC,” sitting on a couch, drawing board upon his lap while the words “Breathe” emerged in the trunks of trees behind him. The following weeks as stay-at-home orders were extended, people began to come together across the internet, connecting in a multitude of ways, and I began sketching out a Tarot deck capturing this unprecedented moment in history…our history…their history.
The Tarot suits shifted a bit to help reinforce the resounding emotional, financial, and physical circumstances of the ensuing Pandemic; the Swords as Hatchets, Wands as Clubs, Pentacles as Coins, and my personal favorite, the Cups as Martinis — with an olive, of course!
Little instants of both light and dark humor emerged in KiRC’s social distancing days to bring a chuckle and connection with how each moment has transpired in all of our lives throughout this incredibly salient moment that will define each one of us and our entire nation for many years to come.
Tarot as Story: The Tale of Ravyness and Drakon
Let us step back in time to just over four years earlier…into the Tarot as story.
Ravyness glanced across the dance floor at Drakon. He stood in the center with a fellow instructor for the beginner’s dance class, elegantly dressed for the occasion. His steps were swift and clean as he took the lead, sharp eyes quickly assessing the needs of those requiring a bit more assistance.
The instruments began to play, lulling dancers to the floor, spinning and swaying to the music of the late Victorian era.
Ravyness approached Drakon to ask for a dance, and Drakon — ever the gracious host dancer — accepted. As they cut across the floor, exchanging names and other minutiae, they immediately discovered a calming energy in each other. All Ravyness needed to do was follow Drakon’s lead. They barely touched, yet Drakon’s control of the steps ensured they were safe from crashing into fellow dancing pairs until the music resolved.
But, as the next song began to play, Drakon looked immediately to Ravyness, who stood a few feet away; he held out his claw to indicate interest in dancing once again.
Drakon’s inviting arms drew Ravyness like a moth to a flame.
“Would you care for a cup of tea?” Drakon asked.
Yes. A single word spurring significant repercussions, both positive and negative. The potential for their greatest happiness or their greatest sorrows. The story of taking the chance to say “Yes,” and enjoy the adventure, knowing that you were at least willing to risk finding your bliss.
Ravyness Drakon Tarot is a Tarot deck that tells the story of learning to trust and to love, to live fully and present in the moment. To simply say “Yes” to those opportunities that come along, remove fear of what is not, embrace what might be through consistency of mindset, and to make a plan to help move you forward toward your dreams.
People and opportunities will come into your life to help you move toward your own happiness. But you must be willing to take the risk of saying, “Yes!”
Ravyness Drakon Tarot is set to be published by Red Feather in 2021. I hope you will say “Yes” and enjoy the journey of Ravyness and Drakon.
May my biographies and stories of Tarot — from the Bleu Cat Tarot to Tarot Leaves to Guardian Tarot to Dream Raven Tarot and, finally, my newest Ravyness Drakon Tarot — unite you and me and the world with the “Yes” that makes living worth the risk!
Beth Seilonen began her Tarot journey during her formative years of college when her mother presented her sister with a Tarot deck. Intrigued by the images and symbols therein, Beth spent the following decade studying Tarot and how the symbols interacted to create a deeper understanding of the self.
In 2006, Beth began to design her first Tarot deck, the Theban Tarot. Her work was followed by one watchful Tarot collector, who encouraged her to continue, and then prompted her to print her work.
Through the years, Beth explored Tarot as a means to capture the experience of living. Often disguised through humor, the layers to her images offer an unabashed level of honesty for one to meditate upon and develop themselves.
Beth has now 100 decks that include a mix of Major Arcana, Tarot, Lenormand, and Oracles. Her mass-produced works to date: Tarot Leaves, Dream Raven Tarot, Bleu Cat Tarot, Guardian Tarot, and Tarot at the Crossroads (written by Shannon MacLeod), all available through Schiffer Publishing/Red Feather.
Beth’s work can be found by visiting www.bethseilonen.com or you can follow the progress of her current works on Instagram www.instgram.com/bethseilonen, Facebook Fan Club page, and Twitter www.twitter.com/bethseilonen.