IDR: What about that deck made you want to stick with tarot?
EG: Because I identify as a medium/channel, I actually no longer use card decks as much when giving a reading to someone else. I generally just sit with that person and channel directly. I generally only use tarot or oracle cards when I’m looking for clarity, answers, guidance or direction for myself. I find I can read for others easily but getting guidance for myself is really another kettle of fish. Gaining knowledge of one’s own timeline can allow one to alter their own timeline and change their path or course drastically. Even though I created my own tarot deck, I am super passionate about tarot and esoteric art! I often have to remind myself, and others, that deep down the power of the tarot is not and never will be in the cards. It’s in you, the reader! I’m enjoying the Aquarian Tarot at the moment, and I think it’s beautiful and I love the style it was drawn in. It really matches that 70’s vibe, and it reminds me a lot of my favorite sci-fi novel “Dune” by Frank Herbert.
IDR: How did your Gateway Deck influence your tarot preferences and reading style?
EG: When I used to use the cards more often, I would often pick and choose from my collection of decks based on the person I was reading for. Sometimes I’d go for a more feminine, or soft, decks like “The Wild Unknown” which I find very gentle and airy. Other times, I would use the “Steam Punk” Tarot or the “Dark Grimoire” Tarot. I learnt tarot in the RWS system, but I am interested in Alistair Crowley’s work lately and I’m now wanting to explore the Thoth system. I do like to shake things up, so I keep my “go-to” handy, but on heavy rotation. I’m a Scorpio, but I have a Gemini rising, so I can’t do the same thing all the time. I have to keep breaking it up, as routine with a tarot deck can get complacent and that doesn’t push me to grow further.
IDR: Do you still read with/have that deck?
EG: I keep all my decks stored on a shelf, and I am looking at getting a more personalized cabinet to fit them all in as I really treasure my decks and like to keep them safe, yet still on display in my house. They are an expression of who I am. I often re-visit them if I feel like it, but there have been some decks that have come and gone in my life. Sometimes I realize that I have out grown a deck and I’m no longer connected to it so much. I have been known to do a deck swap with another reader, or friend, or deck give away to another mystic who I feel may enjoy it or connect with it more. The other day I saw the Devil card from the “Lo Scarabeo” Tarot deck by Mark McElroy online and I immediately felt a pull to it. I tend to not watch other people’s walk-throughs because I want to have the raw experience of seeing them for the first time in my hands and connecting with them myself. I do not seek guidance in what I look for in a deck or look at other people’s interpretations of tarot because I don’t need their interpretations, I need my own. And I truly encourage others to look deeper into what they organically feel drawn to in their gut. Don’t just buy something because it’s in a style or because its trending on social media.
IDR: What are the pieces of you that you’ve imprinted in your cards and/or book?
EG: Wow, this is a great question. I would say the whole thing. From the concept design, the writing of the book, right down to the packaging and the box that I designed. The “El Goliath Tarot Deck” was started towards the end of 2015 and was launched last Halloween (Oct 29th, 2018), so all up it took nearly 4 years, from start to finish. Creating a deck takes a long time! Depending of the complexity of the guidebook and the art work – any deck creator out there that has ever attempted to create a tarot deck could attest to that. The Deck was all illustrated and written by myself, and I channeled a lot of the imagery from walks in the forest, visits to the zoo and I had no external help in the creation of the deck. It all came from myself, and it was like a top-secret thing that I didn’t want to show any one until I was certain and ready to. The perspective of the art work and book is made and written very much though my own reflections and interpretations. It is really very much like a personal diary, and the artwork was like sketches I worked on, all based in nature and on animals. Creating a deck is a very personal thing because someone else is looking at the artist’s interpretation of the work as they are mixing their own energy with the deck. There is no separation between the artist and the art work – because it wasn’t made on a conveyor-belt in a factory, it was birthed out from a person’s mind and heart. So, when you purchase artwork, or any form of art, you are buying a piece of the creator’s heart and soul, thus a piece of them. When I made the deck, I know what I wanted to create from the get-go. I was very obsessed with it, and never let anyone else’s opinions or preferences in to influence me. I knew from the start that I didn’t want to include humans in the artwork, and I wanted it to be strong, deep, primal and shadowy. At the same time, I didn’t want to draw animals doing human things either, as I wanted the energy of each card to focus more on the energy of the animal in its natural state doing its natural thing and the narrative.
IDR: If your friends were tarot cards, who would they be?
EG: Hmmm, I think they would all be different archetypes at different points in their journey, much like I would be to them. I would say that the moment I would be the Strength Card, my Mum would be the Empress because she birthed me out into this world Alchemically, my Dad would be Judgment, and my Twin brother would be the Chariot, an opposite force to myself both set in motion at the same time but yet pulling in different directions.
IDR: What is your favorite/most learned from/most drawn to deck?
EG: I don’t have a favorite deck, but I’d would have to be boring and say just the old traditional RSWS deck. Simply because of its history, commonality, color pallet and imagery. I am going to be doing a channel walkthrough of my “El Goliath Tarot Deck” where I go through each card in depth, talk about the artwork, and then look at the RWS side by side and dive into the shadow side of each card. This is happening on YouTube in the first week of Feb so look out for that. And stay tuned!
IDR: What prompted you to create your own deck/book?
EG: Great question! For years and years, I had always wanted to create my own deck, but I felt the heaviness and pressure of creating and publishing something that would excite me and make me proud. I would often pick up other decks and hold them in my hands, but they just didn’t feel like me. Didn’t feel like home. I was sick and tired of decks that are all about being pretty, and simply do not address the totality of both shadow and light. I knew that if I wanted to create a deck it would have to have elements of both light and shade in it. Plus, in the guide book for the majors and certain heavy hitting cards, like Death and The Devil, I really wanted to talk about them in depth and on a spiritual level. A way that looks at them much more deeply, and how these constructs and archetypes are really applied in our society, systems and daily lives. Also, actually having the time to make a deck and self-publish was a major factor, as there was no crowd-funding or any other support. There was no marketing, I just launched the website and then it was out there for pre-order sales. As an artist I wanted to make something that would put myself out there so I could support myself financially. It isn’t an easy life being a full-time artist. I won’t lie, it was also the “Wanting to change my life” and really harness the Magician Energy and bring something in from the non-physical to the physical, that would uplift myself and provide a platform where I can share my work and vision with the World. When I make up every morning and see the number of people purchasing my deck in just the past three months, it really makes me so happy that its being received and that people are supporting it. Its like coming full circle. Proving to myself that the hard work and precious care I put into something really worked and I see proof of that.
IDR: What is your favorite thing about your creation?
EG: Honestly just the fact that I made this! There are some of the card artworks that I now look back on, and think that even if I was to go back and revisit that card again, in a higher perspective, that I wouldn’t change a thing! That’s my favorite thing!
IDR: Where do you go for inspiration?
EG: During the creation of this deck I would pull form everything and anything I could. Because this is a hand drawn deck, I would often go to the zoo to sit, observe, and get reference photos that would go on to become the building blocks of the animals in the deck. But as far as inspiration goes, I would channel and do what I called “Remote Scribble”. This is where I would sit with a tarot archetype and try to tune into it as best as I could as “The Tarot has its own collective consciousness” and it was scarily uncanny how certain things would happen in my life that were very much connected to the energy of that particular card I was drawing at the time. Plus, I never really drew them in any specific order. I did the majors first, then moved onto the minor and court cards, but as soon as I would finish one drawing, the next one would just drop in. As an artist I know what I’m capable of, and my ways of expressing myself are becoming stronger. I trust myself to know that whatever messages come through, or whatever imagery I download from spirit, or where ever, is the correct one for me to follow. I go with my gut, and quite frankly whatever turns me on! If I’m not excited about a piece of art I’m working on, then I know that this is not the direction that I want to go in, and I scratch that direction and start again. Also, I try to look at other people’s artwork because subconsciously I like to stay in my own lane and style, and I don’t want to look back as see my work correlating with theirs unless it was intentional.
IDR: Tell us about your favorite card, please.
EG: Wow hmmm, the answer to that question can really change in me like the wind! It depends on my mood, my situation, and the forces at play around me that are constantly changing. I would say I have a very hardcore relationship with The Devil card. I have struggled with many aspects that this card is all about, and it still haunts me to this day. Being in codependent relationships and sadomasochist relationships and struggling with all types of addictions my whole life. Plus, just the simple fact that energy needs and feeds off energy, and just being a mystic and living in a capitalistic world is also very hard for me. So, either The Devil or Death because death reminds me constantly that everything has a cycle, a time, a place and a rise and fall. The Death card for me is like the undoing of the Emperor, as nothing in the emperor’s number 4 can last forever and all pillars that hold structure will come at some point crashing down, or will fade and become new again, on a loop.
12. What deck is at the top of your wishlist?
EG: A remastered copy of the “Visconti-Sforza” tarot deck, simply because it was painted in the mid-15th century for the rulers of the Duchy of Milan. It is so beautiful, and a unique piece of history and art all at the same time. And I am also interested in “The Spirit Keepers” Tarot by Ben Wen, because she really knows her tarot! There is also a Dark Art artist that is currently making his own tarot deck as we speak. His name on Instagram is kerb_crawler_g, and he is a chill-based gothic artist that does some very beautiful and very dark art. He is currently working on his own tarot deck called “The Ominous Tarot” but please note this is really for a mature audience.
IDR: If a Deck granting Magic Being appeared at your door, what is the deck you’d ask them for?
EG: Hahaha, yeah probably still the Visconti-Sforza but the original! Hey, you said this is a magical question!!
IDR: What is the most difficult card in your deck, and what is the most difficult card for you to read for yourself?
EG: Wow, I would have to say of course The Devil, for the obvious reasons I’ve already mentioned, but sometimes the 5 of Cups can be difficult if I’m dealing with the regret I hold in my heart and I’m looking back at things in my life that just didn’t turn out the way I had hoped and imagined. The Three of Swords is a big one for me as I’ve had a lot of heart break in my life. And the 9 of Swords as I struggle with the challenges of just being me, being an artist and trying to support myself and also just the fact that I identify as “Woke”. Now, just like most people in life, I’m trying to find my tribe and trying to find people that can actually truly understand, hear, see, integrate with me (shadow and all). In terms of the most challenging card to create, I took the longest with the Empress because I really wanted to get it right, as the Alchemical Mother for me is one of those cards that really speaks to me and means so much to me. So, there were many different designs and scribbles before I opted to go with a white ethereal peacock.
IDR: Which card do you most identify with?
EG: At the moment it would have to be the Magician, as I created something in my minds melting pot, and brought it bear into the physical. I’m still doing that to this day, because I am a creative being. I just love making art! And Judgment keeps coming up for me a lot, as Judgment of self and the one being judged by others as well. We all are inevitably, and it’s kind of pre-programmed into us I guess, and I’m trying really hard to work with this transcendence energy of that card at the moment and come to peace with it.
IDR: Do you find that tarot pops up in unexpected places?
EG: Yep it sure does! Even in movies! I see archetypes of the tarot, even if it was intentional or not. I see tarot constructs everywhere!
IDR: What is your favorite part of the creation process?
EG: The first entail stage where an idea is swimming around in my head and its starting to grow. This is the thing that gets me high. It could start off as a shape, a feeling, or a cloud. Anything really, and then the excitement creeps in as I try to capture it and try to get what is in my head out onto the paper in front of me! Sometimes it works, while other times not so much, but it’s the getting of my own way enough to just let it take me where it wants to go, and trusting that where it ends up is the right place.
IDR: Where do your interests lie outside of tarot?
EG: I love spirituality and I am a male solitaire witch and shaman. I am also a big believer of “Healthy mind, Health body” so I try to keep myself fit and active. I love my dog, my art and reading.
IDR: What are some things you’d like us to know about upcoming works?
EG: Well I am now currently working on story-boarding a kid’s book series called “The Tale of the Two Witches”. I am also working on a coloured “Majors Only” deck that is moving away from the animals and is heading more into the human side. It will be very dark, beautiful and full of energy. So far, I have already completed the Tower, The Devil, and the Empress. The deck name and details will be posted on my Instagram feed at #elgoliathtarotdeck, so please stay tuned and check it out!