Interview: Artist Amy Zerner and Author Monte Farber Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of ‘The Enchanted Tarot’

December 1st, 2017

The Enchanted Tarot” has sold more than 250,000 copies since its release in 1992. On the 25th anniversary of the project that defined their lives, the creative couple – collage artist Amy Zerner and author Monte Farber – took the time to answer questions for PaganPagesOrg.

 

PaganPagesOrg: How did you two meet?

Monte: My first prophetic dream when I was 14 years old was really my best, for that is where I first “met” my gorgeous future wife, soulmate and artistic collaborator. I actually felt the then-indescribable feeling of being in love with her! It was a harbinger of the total and complete love that is my present daily experience.

Amy: In “real life” we met at the party for the filming of a movie in 1974. At the time, my friend Sharon and I would sometimes go to parties. Though she was kind of ditsy and had some serious personal problems, she was fun. She would often mention her friend Monte. She liked him, but not as a boyfriend. For a reason unknown to me at the time, every time she mentioned his name, a bell would go off in my head. I wondered, “Why?” That had never happened to me.

 

PaganPagesOrg: What was your first project together?

Monte: The Enchanted Tarot! Until then, we had worked separately, me as a musician who did readings on the side, and Amy as a fine artist who was pioneering her own fabric collage tapestry style after a lifetime as a painter. Although we had always been completely supportive of each other in our efforts, The Enchanted Tarot allowed us to work together on the same project for the first time and that, in turn, redefined our lives as artistic collaborators.

 

 

PaganPagesOrg: Tell me about how the Enchanted Tarot came to be.

Monte: I’ll never forget that fateful day back in 1986 when we attended the American eller’s Association convention, now called the BEA, in New Orleans. While I was acting as my own agent and securing a publishing deal for my astrology flash card fortune-telling game, KARMA CARDS, Amy was doing the same for The Enchanted Tarot. The stars must have been aligned spectacularly that day for we were, literally, coincidentally securing our places in the history of the divinatory arts with what turned out to be our first two classic, “evergreen” (books in continuous print for years) publishing phenomenons.

 

PaganPagesOrg: What led up to it?

Amy: We wanted to make an original and unique tarot system to use to do readings and be restored, stimulated and energized by my art and Monte’s words. The tarot inspires us and its archetypal language came to be Monte and my language of love as we matured individually and as wife and husband. We found that it not only helped us learn about ourselves, each other, and other people and events, but also helped us to make better decisions and otherwise improve our lives.

 

PaganPagesOrg: Amy, what inspired your images?

Amy: I am a collage artist. My imagery is very romantic, layered and lush. I create what I like to call “dreamscapes” using lace, vintage fabrics, antique prints, and embellishments of all kinds. As a designer and an author for over 35 years, I have always been drawn to multi-cultural myths. My talents became rooted in the healing process of envisioning images that protect and affirm, so I incorporate spiritual stories and symbols to convey those qualities. I have studied metaphysics for several decades and collaborating with Monte, who puts words with my visions. We are both passionate about bringing insights, art, creative solutions and intuitive messages to a world that so obviously needs it.

 

PaganPagesOrg: Is there a reason the cards are longer than other decks?

Monte: We wanted to make sure that the cards of “The Enchanted Tarot” were big enough for Amy’s art to be seen and all of the detail and symbols appreciated, which is also why “The Enchanted Tarot” book includes color images of all 78 cards. Plus, we are celebrating 25 years of “The Enchanted Tarot” and we thought bigger cards with a beautiful velvet bag would make the kit even more special.

 

 

PaganPagesOrg: What about this are you most proud?

Monte: We tried to brush away centuries of ignorance and superstition that surround the valuable ancient wisdom that can be found in the tarot, a tool to be used for contacting the divine within us all. The tarot is a sort of sacred machine devised to respond to your question and freeze your answer as a picture of it in time so that you may decipher it. The trick is to know how to derive meaning from your deck of tarot cards. In the book, we teach you how to do it. We are proud that with the publication of this most beautiful new edition, “The Enchanted Tarot” is recognized for its enduring power and beauty.

 

PaganPagesOrg: What was most challenging?

Amy: I worked so intensely on this project. It took a tremendous amount of energy and focus. Nearly every day and night was completely devoted to making sure each piece was true to itself while fitting in with the rest of its suit. My work area lies beneath a cathedral ceiling twenty feet high with skylight. It was here that I would lay out all of the individual background fabrics for each suit. The creation of one piece would bring inspiration regarding another and so I would move from one to the other like a bee in a flower garden. In this way I was able to give each suit a look of continuity and make sure that all issues relating to each were symbolically represented by either the human figure(s) portrayed, by the images, shapes, and colors surrounding them, or by the card’s border. It was only after I had completed each suit that Monte would write down the messages, symbols and stories he saw in each piece.

 

 

PaganPagesOrg: How long did it take to complete?

Monte: It was truly a labor of love, as one can see in every one of the deck’s seventy-eight tapestry images. It took Amy two years of intense concentration involving finding all the right materials, immersing herself in the journey of the tarot, and perfecting the techniques that she had developed in her fabric collage tapestries that had evolved over the previous twenty years. She considers “The Enchanted Tarot” to be the first masterwork of her artistic career, since all of life is contained in its imagery.

 

PaganPagesOrg: How did Monte devise the meanings? We’ve seen a lot of decks and none of them have offered information in such a format: Quick Read, The Dream, The Awakening, The Enchantment. Can you speak a little about this?

Monte: Until “The Enchanted Tarot,” decks and their books seemed to revel in being “occult,” a word that means darkened, hidden, or obscured. Many felt, and some still do, that keeping the tarot as a seemingly impenetrable jumble of esoteric symbolism would be a barrier to entry, that would keep out those who were not serious or otherwise not worthy to learn the tarot’s secrets. This was the old ways of what they used to call the Mystery Schools.

Amy and I, however, wanted as large an audience as possible to share in and benefit from the guidance we knew to be contained in the tarot and so we planned to make our deck beautiful, to ensure the widest audience and to avoid the harsh and garish images that we believed to be so off-putting to so many. Rather than make the text the usual medieval sounding word salad, I tried from the beginning to use the tripartite metaphor of The Dream, The Awakening, and The Enchantment to convey the essence of the tarot: it is a symbolic language that speaks to us in the same language as does our dreams.

The Dream is the gentle fable that reveals the fabric of each card’s allegorical meaning by weaving a tale of explaining the action and symbols portrayed. The Dream entertains as it penetrates the psyche to fulfill the card’s intention. The stories are full of the innocence of youth yet they also contain the wisdom of years. They can be seen as engaging fantasies that speak directly to our subconscious.

The Awakening brings the lesson of each story into our conscious mind for evaluation and assimilation, so it may be used as a tool for guidance and personal growth. It is a straightforward explanation of what each card signifies when it appears in a specific reading.

The Enchantment provides the link between our waking world and the land of dreams. The use of healing rituals, charms, chants and spells reinforces our awareness of the existence of the magical world and reminds us of our ability to draw on its power. These enchantments aid us in casting out fears, drawing in love and abundance, and healing emotional wounds.

 

PaganPagesOrg: What deck(s) did each of you use before beginning to make your own?

Amy: The Rider-Waite Deck.

 

PaganPagesOrg: Since you both appear to be living an enchanted life, do you see your own story in the cards?

Amy and Monte: In our lives, tarot is such a friend and ever-present intriguing and reliable adviser that we can’t imagine how it was to live without it. Our life, our story and our love is reflected in all of “The Enchanted Tarot” cards. The best thing about even our worst days is that we are together – we are very rarely apart, and it is very beautiful where we live. We have our mission, and that and our many wonderful and interesting friends are what gets us up in the morning – actually, that’s Mr. Zane’s job (our cat!).

 

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

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About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.


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