We are off to a great start with the Patella Tarot Kickstarter! We have reached 2% of the goal with 1/45k raised and 27 days to go. I don't have money or resources to hire people for marketing so I am relying strongly on word of mouth to communicate about this project. Here is a poster I designed for use within Alberta. I know it's a bit overwhelming, but that's the fun in it. I have no shame. We are being bold & loud & brave with creation.
I have also added a new reward level for allies to contribute to cost of a deck as a "Chaotic Gift" , the contribution goes towards the printing of a deck specifically for gifting, so that this project can fall into the hands of some people who may benefit but wouldn't be able to afford a deck for themselves. It also comes with a reading as a thank you and an invitation to the live-stream event where all contributors are welcome to join in as I go through the final product and explain the influences and symbolism behind some of the cards. There is a guidebook for the deck as well, but this live-stream will be a chance to get to know me better as a creator and it will help in the use of the deck moving forward.
I noticed that a reasonable chuck of people who have supported my deck so far may not know that much about me. I have lived in Alberta my whole life and moved from a small town to Edmonton when I was 16 with my family. Disability has always been a strong area of interest for me because of how it has affected my family and how we struggled to get services in the past (this was probably also in part, due to the fact that I was also living a disability that was not clearly diagnosed). I was also interested in anti-racism initiatives at a young age from growing up in a mostly indigenous community and slowly learning of the systemic inequality and injustices in how people are treated. I strive to do my best as a white ally to indigenous people, immigrants and people of colour. With my deck, I wanted to avoid cultural appropriation and also explore a deconstruction of whiteness and colonialism as best I could. I rely on my own bodies narrative and my own spiritual journey (Hellenistic paganism/gods & chaos magic, which has roots in Norse practices) to do so, as well as leaning into my heritage. It is my intention however, that anyone can work with my deck regardless of their specific spiritual path, that it allows us to converse in a way deeper than words will allow and to convey emotions that are difficult to express. I am also designing aspects of this deck with neurodivergence & adaptivity in mind.
There is the unavoidable influence of the time we live in. We are worried about the environment, unsustainable ways of existing as well as the rates of hate crimes and suicides against & among trans and other LGBT or queer folks that is far too high. I have lost friends to this, on more than one occasion. This project actually started after losing one of my friends, as I found myself unable to work when I was hit by grief, frustration, anger. I have a lot of things in common with the friend I lost, we talked often of our disabilities, identities, and roles as allies while also facing our own forms of marginalization. His death really pushed me to realize that I couldn't keep avoiding or hiding from my own truths about what I've been through and the knowledge/insight I am capable of sharing to help others on their own journeys. I was able to access short-term disability coverage through my work to take time off. In this time, I was not just grieving, but accessing multiple psychological services, working with a new psychiatrist to bring myself into a functional and stable state after "running on empty" for years, as well as reaching out to doctors and demanding the answers I have needed about my own body & disability for so long. Towards the end of my time off, I started drawing with the encouragement of my doctors, therapists, family & friends. I realized it would be detrimental to my long-term mental health to try to return to the ways I was functioning before.
It wasn't my intention to make a Tarot deck, it started with me trying to explore polyvagal theory in relation to trauma and also expressing the trauma work I have done spiritually with the goddess Hecate. Suddenly though, I found the narrative of my battle to stay alive, use of magic & resistance to control over my identity and expression weaving itself through the Tarot archetypes and that is what launched the Patella Tarot. I renamed the suits to match what I feel is important to express about the world right now. (Which I explore in the spoken word introduction to the project).
Four years ago, I was also the target of a focused hate campaign by far-righters, transphobes & anti-feminists. I was doing some arts locally, but I was not a particular person of influence nor was I doing any sort of meaningful activism or advocacy. I was just a random person who enjoyed existing and expressing myself online that was targeted because of my appearance. This actually was a tipping point for me to seek out more help for my trauma and seek better conditions in my life, as it was also one of the lowest points in my life after surviving a domestic violence situation I was only in because of my identity, a near death assault & the loss of a promising career path in communications & social media. The harassment was unjust, terrifying, exposing & hateful.
This experience and online culture in general inevitably also influences my deck, as I portray "the Burned Witch" superimposed with a dislocating kneecap in lieu of the "Hanged Man" in the Patella Tarot.
I'm ready now. I'm ready to be myself. I'm ready to use my voice to give from my heart while still protecting and taking care of myself.
The Patella Tarot: a spoken word introduction
background music by Molar M
words, art & project by Paint AF
Spoken Word Transcript:
To make the invisible, visible
Do we verbalize it?
How do we convey a feeling beyond sensation, that has no colour, yet is a colour?
I have spent hours curled in my own emotions begging that they make sense.
Primal feelings that are innate to human existence,
yet we are detached from our own and so therefore,
unable to see them in others.
Being obsessed with kitsch and sonder,
the denial of humanity and the wonder of diversity,
there is no where else to go but in and the harder I try to run from it, t
he more I am pulled into it,
The truth at the center of the blackhole,
The void between life and death.
(image with words: if ideology won't save me all I have is bones)
It must start from the simplest of emotions, love, who fractals out.
Becoming an intensity of burdens,
possibility, abundance, suffering.
I share with you these feelings as a tool, for people who seek their own invisible struggles be known to themselves and if they desire, shared. I wish to be impossible to erase, to be impossible to be forgotten, to let magic fall from my fingers as we craft a future we can all take joy in.
I am seeking help for this project:
The Patella Tarot, using my own body as metaphor, my invisible disabilities, my neurodivergence, my battles with mental illness, my struggles to get the care I need to survive. I have turned to old Gods & Goddesses to use as guides or metaphors as I face trauma, as I seek to challenge a disempowered existence, as I long to create a more delicate world yet still acknowledge the trials of now.
I am bringing this forth because I know I am not the only one like me and I know I am not the only one who has used tools like this to encourage ourselves and survive. There are no kings or queens in my cards, only ages of wisdom. The cups have fallen as emotions are no longer contained in our broadband world, it is full of tears. Keys have held the source of my wisdom & healing as I am no longer interested in fighting with swords. Pentacles turn to leaves just as we must return to the Earth, redefining wealth & prosperity as an emotion and not something exploited from us.
We no longer hang, we burn anyone we accuse of hearsay to our own ideals. We light candles in quiet solitude to connect with ourselves and our spirit, to mourn what is lost, to know ourselves, to fight. I use the brightest colours I can find to try to convey what I have experienced in the darkness, to make the unapproachable seem slightly less scary. I have fallen hundreds of times because of my dislocations, I have experienced this pain and terror at my own body over and over and yet somehow, this has given me strength to keep going and get up again.
There is no choice but to fix what is broken if we want to move forward. But it is not fair to us or anyone to expect a certain level of suffering to survive. With this deck, I honour the past behind us, the troubled present we live in and call on a future we can create together. I hope that this decks falls into the hands of those wanting to make change in the world but struggling to know themselves or how they can help.
We must know ourselves, we must grieve, we must love, before we can create anything. I am inviting you into this process as I bring forward this gift, not unlike the many gifts locked inside all of us so that we can create a brighter future together.
end title pages:
The Patella Tarot
a modern queer eclectic tarot exploring invisible disabilities and empowering for activists.
SUPPORT THE KICKSTARTER
follow the artistic process on Instagram: @moustachewitch
background music by Molar M
words, art & project by Paint AF