When I was asked to write a piece about how The Tarot of Enchanted Dreams came about, my first thought was… yikes! How am I going to do this, I am not a writer! Yea, those crazy voices in your head that tell you, you are not good enough. Sometimes we listen to them and take them as the Truth. Other times, we set out to prove them wrong.
I always thought I was not an “artist”, as I could not draw or paint to save my life. But what I could do was play around on Photoshop and make ordinary pictures look magical – well, that’s what I was told by others – I loved nothing better than being out with my camera, up on the mountains and capturing what I felt and saw. I am originally from Scotland and when I lived there I was an avid hiker. I would be found up a mountain most weekends. I found that being up a mountain was my kind of meditation. I simply cannot sit still and meditate. The image in the camera was never what I saw, but coming back home and playing with the image, I was able to paint perfectly what I had felt. It was different to what others saw. I saw magic in the mountains, in the world. I was connected to the Universe and all the mysteries it had to offer.
Until, I lost it all. I could not bring the magic to me. I just could not find it. Why? You see, I had just had a baby and was struck down by the most awful post-natal depression. I was missing Scotland, missing the mountains and felt stuck in the house with a baby. I put my husband and friends through hell. It was so severe, that I remember writing an email to my husband telling him I was useless and the world would be a better place without me. I was serving no purpose. You get the gist. I did not send it. In fact, after I had written it, I re-read it and that was the wake-up call I needed. I had gone as low as I ever had and was shocked.
I always used to think therapy was for weak people and that strong people dealt with their emotions themselves. I am a very private person – which drives my husband mad – but that’s how I have always been. I had to seek therapy. I needed help. At the same time, I started looking at YouTube videos about Photoshop techniques and as I learnt the new techniques, I was able to convey exactly what I was feeling and I found that doing images became therapy for me. Creating this deck helped me heal so much.
It wasn’t meant to be a tarot deck. It’s just that as I started creating the images, a deck began to form and I loved every single second of it. I spent many an hour working on the deck, getting the laptop out as soon as our wee boy was asleep. I guess it became an obsession to keep going. I had so many ideas in my head.
I believe I had “help” in creating this deck, as many a time thoughts would pop into my head about what needed to go into each image. Just random thoughts, but they made sense. I would have an idea of what I wanted to create for a particular card but then it would end up completely different, as I listened to those thoughts – I learnt to trust my intuition a long time ago. Some cards were very easy to create, such as the Three of Swords. That image came to me whilst I was in Bruges, celebrating our wedding anniversary. I could not get the image out of my head and soon as I came back home, I had created that card within a couple of hours. It depicts severe heartache, but out of that death comes transformation. There is always beauty to be found in pain. We just cannot see it at the time due to our tears. The Death card, is my favourite though – being a Scorpio! There is no death, just transformation.
The Tarot of Enchanted Dreams, is a very personal deck to me. I definitely feel these cards were guided by magic and creating this deck turned out be a great form of therapy for the PND. I could put what I was feeling into the deck – especially in the Swords – Yes, I have created it, but I have put a lot of me in there. My fears, my dreams and a lot of my past. I do hope you like it and the cards are my interpretation of the tarot. I see the world as enchanting again and this deck hopefully will give you a glimpse of my magical world. Oh, and you may notice almost every card has a Full Moon – yep, I love and adore full moons and they affect me emotionally, plus I was born on a Full Moon! I believe in magic and through this deck I am hoping you can feel the sense of magic from the world I inhabit in my dreams.
So, now I can proudly call myself and artist and this deck is just the first of many others that are jostling about in my head. I love creating magical places.
PS – It felt great to put “artist” as my occupation in a form I recently completed! Who would have thought that something like post-natal depression would lead to the creation of this deck. See, what I mean about there being beauty in pain?!
Yasmeen Westwood lives in West Sussex with her husband and two year old son, Arran. You can find out more about Yasmeen, her art and the gorgeous Tarot of Enchanted Dreams deck at www.yasmeenwestwood.com.