In staying with the theme that kicked off this week of influential and inspirational figures, today’s Artist’s Corner is dedicated to the mystical and incredibly fascinating Pamela “Pixie” Colman Smith. I shared this blog over three and a half years ago, but with new friends and followers, along with some profound insights this past weekend about her, I felt to resurrect this blog again. It seems no coincidence this week’s Whimsical Wednesday’s series aligns with the New Moon in Scorpio today, as we delve into the world of such a complex and deep soul who felt at home exploring the Otherworlds and Underworlds of creativity and magick. Pamela illuminates the seen and unseen from a unique perspective that indicates a blurring of veils and her ability to dip in and out of realities and dimensions that disintegrates the illusion of separation. It also seems synchronous that this share aligns with the day after elections, as her life’s work and passions are a way to honor women’s creative contributions that have gone unnoticed or devalued, and a reminder to step up things to shift into a new paradigm that no longer suppresses and hides the Sacred Feminine’s value.
A rebirthing opportunity is available to the collective and Pamela was one of the influential leaders helping to shift realities. It is quite common for visionaries to go unseen during their life’s work, but the wave of their efforts lives eternally as the seeds to new generations and the greater ease to which a domino effect gains its momentum.
Another woman of my heart who creates “life as art.”
I’ve never known anyone else who sees their art in music, which you’ll learn in the article. I also love how she stressed intuitive talents when teaching art, was passionate about immersing in story-telling and surrounding herself with other creatives, and created a “mad room out of a fairy tale” with her work space.
You can read the full blog here:
As we prepared to leave this incredible little mountain town haven, known to some as the Switzerland of America, nestled between the snow capped San Juan Mountains (a mountain range within the Rocky Mountains) in a river valley at nearly 8,000 feet, I’m feeling the rooting of another shift and the opening of that new door that has invited me in.
This is the first time I feel a bit of sadness to leave a place (yet full in heart), as although we’ve only been here three days, Ouray has been the epitome of our nurturing Mother Earth reflecting the realm I adore that is most reflective of the world from which my roots grow.
It has definitely been a place of relaxing and purifying, as well as opening to receiving the communication and inspiration from that magickal otherworld I needed.
The natural hot springs that feed the town pool at center, offer the therapeutic cleansing and renewal to wash away and release so that one can receive more clearly the messages and callings.
Ouray is named after the Ute Indian, Chief Ouray, who is said to have visited the pool often, holding ceremonies in the local vapor cave.
The area is surrounded by quaking aspen and evergreen scrub oaks, which I can only imagine would be amazingly brilliant in autumn, so it’s no wonder people would be drawn here in each wonderfully shifting season.
Since we came in between seasons (seems fitting to the in between worlds I will speak of more), arriving just as things opened – May 1st was the official RV park opening – it created a sanctuary of solitude to renew in and explore all to ourselves. Not to mention, was a perfect transition from one reality to another.
And with the on and off rain, river, and waterfalls, it has been pure flow that matches my Pisces nature, bringing me more into alignment with my essence.
As we keep a mental, heart, (and actual paper) note of the things we love and how we feel in each area, this place helps me to know clearly what I am looking for and needing in our home landing spot at the end of this journey.
There is definitely a sacredness here in Ouray that speaks to that other worldly part of me that felt closer to that realm with doorways all around to slip in and out of.
And that in fact happened on several occasions, but most tangibly when Black Fox slipped through.
I mentioned her in a previous post, and shared photos in yesterday’s photo blog, but I feel to draw attention to her once again here briefly, as she ties in to the messages received and a Tarot card I pulled yesterday that summed things up for me.
Seeing and connecting with Black Fox was a mystical encounter that still brings chills to me each time I look at the photos I was able to capture of her.
She ran directly across our path – a path, mind you, that we had first taken, but then doubled back to take a different one, as the one we were on we discovered would have added another hour or two, to our already 6 miles, that we decided we couldn’t do in order to get back for things. The trail says it’s only 4.2 miles, but that turned out to be misleading, as it wasn’t the full loop.
Anyway, we had started ascending again to the last part of the loop when we decided to turn around and right before getting back to the other trail where it forked, that’s when Black Fox caught our attention by crossing our path. A meeting created by our shifting paths at precisely the right moment.
I figured she’d run off, as they normally hide and camouflage themselves. And being night creatures, usually are seen at dawn and dusk, so in the middle of the day was unusual.
But when I looked to the right, there she was by a tree, curiously hanging out and not in the least bit interested in leaving. The more we looked at her and connected, the more she sat there and peered into our eyes.
She was so magickal and hauntingly beautiful with those piercing eyes peering from her all black body with only a white-tipped tail. Her fine features and large pointed ears stood out, as she watched from the shadows of her tree.
As mentioned in my earlier post, they are very rare and said to be a genetic flaw that dates back hundreds of years where the red fox stays black (pups are darker when born).
She was mesmerizing and definitely other worldly with a subtle aura glow all around her.
This was no chance experience, but a deliberate encounter from this shape shifter who had emerged from another realm, indicating a cross over between worlds and dimensions had opened, and was accessible – bringing me back to the Dwarf door in the mountain that was inviting me in the day before.
The world of magick and every day realities had crossed paths and this creature of the in between times and places is a guide into the Faery realm and beyond.
Her black coat spoke of deep mysteries and the hidden shadows revealed, of the Cosmic Abyss, shamanism (which has been at the forefront these days), working with the benevolent powers of both light and dark, and knowing oneself in the truest of ways.
The message she had was, and still is integrating, but when I pulled my Faery Oracle card yesterday, things became more clear.
Here’s the card and message:
Well, that was so on point with what I’d been experiencing and feeling, not to mention Unicorn has been around a lot too.
And things are not always what they seem, as our “eyes” can be deceiving.
Black Fox was a counterpart to Unicorn…her white tipped tail indicating the cross over and connection, not to mention the small white orb that appeared in one of the photos by her white tipped tail.
When we see with our true inner eye, the answers are there.
I’ve read that many see the Black Fox as both an omen of misfortune/”bad” luck AND an omen of “good” luck and magickal things.
One must look in their own heart to receive the truth, as all things edge on the reality of your perception.
This also felt connected to Cosmo, his being black and white, and his feeling to be the integrating factor needed also for what is channeling through.
He’s an integrating energy connected with Nestor and Joy as a Trinity as well….and a Trinity of energies between me and Joy too.
His recent illness of pneumonia has also been a timely process of sharing the message of not forgetting our parts in order to take in the full breath of life…to nurture and cultivate the feminine within is to also nurture and cultivate the masculine, and vice versa. It is not an isolated journey.
Cosmo has been like a missing link I needed, as he personifies the new Sacred Male in Divine partnership with the Sacred Female, reminding us not to forget his importance in this Great Cosmic Romance.
I have had my own built-in challenges and judgments over time with the Male, but it was from the old conditioning and DNA programming, but not from a place of true grace and reverent understanding.
After coming to know the true Sacred Male through my relationship with Cosmo and his to Joy and life itself, I have seen HIS power in how he brings forth and supports the Sacred Female into HER true power.
It is NOT just about the feminine, but the harmony dance and sacred song sung together with the masculine…it is both and beyond both, but to know the beyond one must know each in their true and pure power.
Back to the Faery Oracle card, it talks about how Unicorn is going into the etheric realms to ask the creatures too long in hiding to come forth (Black Fox) and let themselves be known again and that they are safe with the “maiden” – me – and vice versa…so that we may share in the work together and meet in the in between places to communicate.
I also had mentioned recently that my creative project – writing – had taken a pause for a while, as there has been a lot to integrate and receive, and I’d felt challenged with the message, unable to do it justice, feeling I was still needing to go through my personal experiences in order to access what’s next, and unclear until a new door appeared where I would be led and then back in writing flow from this new unventured place of pure channeled inspiration I would only know when I was there.
It didn’t feel right in Utah to continue writing but I had this sense that somewhere in Colorado would provide the doorway, which it has.
An initiatory process has been taking place and after the time spent at the ruins in Mesa Verde, a vision quest had resulted in retrieving a key to that door.
And opened it has, here in Ouray…and like the waters flowing abundantly all around me while staying there, I can feel the inspiration flowing and I’m ready to receive the channeling of insights and communication from my magickal friends near and far.
The card shares that the Unicorn brings the power of the written word and communicates the tale to be told and that their original language is pictorial – which is how I work in visions and creative windows of artistic expression.
The card continues to say that if it has appeared to you while embarking on a creative project like writing and had felt a hindrance that Unicorn will help if asked, to fill you with inspiration and guidance, as well as is help to connect with your magickal free spirited self. Unicorn is a symbol of ancient magicks rising and I did say that magick was afoot with Black Fox appearing, not to mention the ancient energy experiences at the Anasazi ruins.
And so this reiterates what I’d felt so strongly in Mesa Verde when I had the crown chakra expansion and opening (likely preparing me for this new line of communication for another level of channeling needed) that change was upon me again.
It had been slowly building, but hit me with that deep cellular release as to what was going to be necessary for this next leg of the journey.
And the card continues to share that a purification is taking place within and without…that has been unfolding indeed. And increased with the crown chakra opening and my time in cleansing Ouray.
A detoxifying of my environment, which to me feels to speak to needing to withdraw some more to follow my life path. This also connects with the message of being a peaceful activist for change that the card heralds and this journey we’re on in the Magick Bus as a way to spread that peace and healing to the Earth in the way that I can.
The card’s message includes helping and purifying the environment, which is something I do energetically, with sound and Reiki, as well as creatively by creating tangible works and more aligned personal embodiment that reflect the reality I want to experience and a beautification process of returning to natural origins and harmony.
Synchronously, yesterday we took a stroll along the river walk just out front of our RV. It was raining and the river was rolling. We walked about two miles, although it extends longer, feeling refreshed, and by the end our outer clothing completely soaked with that cleansing.
Along the walk there were interpretative placards that shared about the river restoration that the city of Ouray has been implementing to bring it back into abundance and harmony for the wildlife and surroundings.
That reflection felt symbolic of my own soul restoration back into natural harmony taking place.
We each have our roles and parts to play and mine is definitely as an “as within, so without” process in constantly holding that mirror up to Nature and the world at large to make those adjustments in reflection.
The doors between worlds are growing wider and wider, the message continues in the oracle card, and that feels accurate, as where the veils were thick and life seemed a struggle, there is greater ease in walking between those realms, not just through dream and meditation time, but as a tangible reality.
This card literally speaks to what is unfolding and felt to be a messenger of reiteration and support that my feelings were accurate on what is next.
I’m going to be a little more “in between” worlds myself now again, as I am needing to go to places more fully to receive what the open door is ready to channel through.
Ouray felt for me to be the symbolic and literal reflection of this in between world, transitioning me into a new and unknown, but familiar realm in order to receive knew learning and wisdom I will be humbled student and channel to.
And like the Sibyls, from which the ancient heritage within me is rooted, who lived hidden and out of reach in order to filter the energies that accessed them so they could remain devoted to the sacred purity of their connection with Mother Earth and the Cosmos through sound, there is a place within me calling for that path….
moving in and out, at times unreachable, and yet ever more connected.
While I am not fully removing myself, like I did on my 3 month sabbatical, I am removing myself much more than I’ve been in the last several months since returning and do feel I’m in a form of sabbatical indeed with this Magick Bus journey in totality, but the form just keeps shifting as to how that looks.
I have been sharing a lot of the journey to assist, inspire, and reflect any resonance and support for others on a pretty much daily basis, but this will be shifting to a limited sharing.
I do not have any official number of times I will post or not, but likely will be something like one – two times a week only so that I can spend more time in the other world for the time being in order to create what feels soul necessary.
But know that while I am here or there, I am fully present.
Which reminds me of a quick conversation via text I had with Laura this morning where we were reflecting on how our physical forms have shifted from our waif forms and partially-here-presence to much more solid, heavier bodies of natural form that enable us to truly be in this world and richly Earth connected, yet still not of it.
I commented that we were not fully embodied, although ancient and knowledgeable…the wisdom through integration is only now starting to truly shine forth, as it does for everyone who deepens into what it truly means to actively know and live that knowledge. And it will continue to deepen and shine the more it is fully integrated.
She said it was like we were “seeds with unlocked potential” to which I replied, “yep, seedlings into trees, grounded and rooted, but also expanding out and beyond.”
And isn’t that what we all are and how this journey is unfolding for us all?
As above, so below.
And so in my own life I have seen how the energy needs to shift and while I am not removing myself from connection and communication altogether, in many ways I will not be as responsive and do have to place more boundaries on my time and energy exerted in answering all the emails and messages received. As well as need to monitor my energy and time diligently.
I love you all dearly, so much so that I know this is what is most supportive right now in the bigger picture to do and so even though at time it feels odd since it is different than what others or even I might think this time of my life might be like, especially in terms of being in a personal #1 year, I in fact am doing what that is about, which honors the essence of new beginnings in all ways.
So while I’m not cutting things off, I will be more silent and I will not be as accessible physically/visually speaking for an unknown period needed.
I will still post blogs, but on a limited basis.
I will still share video inspirations and sound channelings on a limited basis, as well as still be offering the personal sound channelings I shared are available to those who are called.
But I’ll only be available on a limited, as needed basis, and will limit blog shares.
For anyone on Facebook, the same applies there, although will seem more dramatic, as the only shares will be blog updates that post there automatically and only important updates.
I thank all of my beautiful friends and supportive community for your continued understanding and love. I know I do things a bit differently and not logically so I appreciate your compassionate hearts you’ve always extended.
This morning before we headed out of Ouray to our new location in Montrose near Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the sun rose lighting up the tip of the beautiful snow capped peak outside my desk window, with little peach clouds above it in the baby blue sky.
The tip of the peak lit up between the dark mountains beside it, creating a valley or chalice-like effect (vessel of life both empty and full), and also two triangles overlapping (like the Merkabah) felt symbolic of light within the darkness and darkness within the light…and the healing waters that pour into this valley via waterfalls – the creative impetus and spark of new life and essence purification.
There is much hope and much promise….and the door has opened to let the floodgates of newness in.
I was reminded of this path I chose for our journey in the Magick Bus.
I didn’t need a catastrophe, health crises, break down, or shove up against a wall this time to know what my heart and soul needed and what changes were necessary in the bigger picture of things.
You can choose a different more aligned path at any moment with heartful trust in every part of the unfolding.
Support and expansion is there when you do.
So while it might seem more logical to make changes when there’s a challenge, I say it’s quite empowering to make them when there aren’t.
For this reason I have understood why some people thought I might be going through a challenge of some sort to make decisions like I have, but the decisions are based on choice alone from an inner knowing only I can feel.
On our ride to Montrose from Ouray we passed an old bus parked in the yard of a house along the road. We passed too quickly to stop, plus that’s not so easy in a big RV, but it was long enough to see the bus said “Magic Bus” on it.
Was it a sign post that all things are in flow and alignment and symbolic of leaving an old reality behind, as we walked through the door of new potentials opened to us in Ouray?
It felt to be an indication of a new reality and moving in between worlds…in mine there is Magick – the new reality…in the other there is Magic – the old reality, but they are counterparts to the whole…the water of the chalice.
It didn’t seem surprising that we literally pulled in to our new spot at 11:11 am. That portal of 1’s keep showing up big time recently at the 11:11 and 1:11 hours.
While I do share a lot, there is much unsaid and much I am not able to share, but what I do share is done so others don’t feel alone and crazy, and so that you might find some thread of connection in your own experience, or receive an “a-ha” to light the way where you might have also felt lost, as I have at times.
Feeling so much love for you.
Don’t forget this Thursday is the last day to send in your stories for the Friday Give Away where anyone who enters will receive:
~ a one card Tarot reading provided via email including photo of the card
~ everyone will be entered in a drawing to receive one free – one hour Individual Clarity & Guidance Session with me over the phone
~ plus you’ll receive a 33% off voucher toward a 5-Week Intensive of Intuitive Energy Guidance Sessions
~ AND, I will also feature your story, in an upcoming blog, granted you’re okay with that, supporting you for the courage you’ve embraced and highlighting your gifts for others that you may be sharing in terms of your path and work.
How it works:
If you’ve joined on one of my retreats over the years, taken some of my workshops, worked with me in intuitive coaching sessions, have received Reiki support, experienced shifts and changes because of a sacred tattoo design we co-created and you now wear, or went through energetic changes because of a crystal I supported into your care or a painting that has helped you through your processes….I’d love to hear your stories.
You can either message me sharing how your life has changed because of the experience or thing, where you were, where you are now, and the steps in between that were part of the process.
Or, you can send me a video sharing the same.
This needs to be sent in to me by 3/3/2016 – that’s this Thursday.
The recipient will be announced on Friday, March 4th.
I’m a bit behind due to my birthday this weekend, on the Tarot readings, but will be getting those out this week. Thank you for your patience.
Just a little sparkly message from Cosmo to support those creative nudges you’re feeling.
Yes, this is the perfect time to listen to your inner nudges and begin anew.
You know what is calling to you…trust that inner voice and encourage your soul child.
So many synchronous alignments take place right before our eyes, but go unnoticed if we aren’t paying attention….if we aren’t present.
I was doing a quick little Tarot reading for myself outside yesterday and pulled a card from two of my decks.
From one I received “Spring Equinox”.
From the other I received “Into The Woods”.
Right off the bat, in the images, do you notice anything?
There is a rabbit in both of them.
In the first, she is holding the rabbit. In the second the rabbit is walking along with the Faery, hidden behind her gown.
There also happens to be a butterfly and owl present, which are both symbolism and guides that keep showing up for me as well.
Before I get to the message I received, you might be asking why I posted the first photo of my plants from the mini garden?
Well, look closer to what may seem not obvious and hidden.
Right after I pulled these cards and reflected on their message, I looked up and saw from the same viewpoint as is in that photo and immediately said, wow!
There happens to be a caterpillar cocooning (hanging from the pot in the background – hard to see in photo because the background stuff is out of focus, but look at the little green thing hanging from some gauzy white).
There also happens to be a hidden strawberry blossom in the foreground (under the dark leaf in the front). The only one.
When I pulled back the leaf I saw the beautiful red blossom with strawberry center that is emerging.
How perfect is all of that in combination with the message?
A direct reflection, confirmation, and manifestation.
All mirroring what is going on in my life currently.
All mirroring the reflections, messages, and support that is all around all of us, if we are present enough to “see”.
So what of the messages?
Well, everyone may interpret things in different ways, but what I received from the cards and all of the reflections was that I’ve been and will continue in a cycle of rebirthing right now…I got that this will continue literally through Spring Equinox in March.
I seem to be really following Nature’s cycles more than ever, which is why everything in my life aligns with the Moon phases, seasons, and Sun. And why I’m living more in a variety of Nature settings at this time, which are guiding the way.
So this will continue to be a time of clearing and simplifying, while redefining and recreating myself.
Rabbit, butterfly, and owl have much to share from the wisdom they embody and are helping me with doing the same.
Rabbit being my close familiar who shares my heart’s path. The image in “Spring Equinox” reminds me of me holding Cosmo.
And alongside that, “Into The Woods” shares that this is also a time of new experiences during much transition. (The card reminds me of the “Faery me” photo in Sequoia National Park I posted earlier today)
This is a time of moving between worlds and from one realm to another – great change that will take me farther beyond my usual realm of experience – if you can imagine that. 🙂
Time to take big leaps and go into unknown places that may feel uncomfortable and challenge me further, but all leading to greater strength and fulfillment. It’s a time of vulnerability and greater transparency with great rewards and blossoming of gifts from the courage I embrace.
There is no turning back from this point….only forging ahead, but with great care.
The image reveals a flowering forest lit with magickal star dust that assures me the journey is well worth any awkwardness of transition and is divinely guided and supported.
The card shares:
“And as she walks, something happens to her fears. In their place grow her fallen dreams; her shattered purpose begins to reshape itself. As she faces each guilt, each fear, in their place springs hope and faith, and she understands that her dreams can be recreated. She will walk on, and the world will cease to be fearful, but full of joyous potential.”
The rabbit in the card is her companion, much like in my life, and the rabbits assure me that I am headed in the right direction and are encouraging and supporting me to continue forward into what I’ve felt guided to do.
All of this would make greater sense, if you knew the work I’m being inspired to create…for the rabbits are my guiding force behind everything.
Amazing the alignments that reveal themselves when we really decide to show up in life.
While this may have been my personal message, it definitely could be one for the collective too, since the cycles of Nature and life are shared by us all.
Where do you feel called into greater depths of yourself?
Know that you, too, are supported when you commit to forging ahead, move forward without knowing the how’s, and follow what you know in your heart you must do.
This is a time of transition, but with great rewards if you take the steps and keep courageously believing.
Just a quick little gratitude post for this day – a long time in the making, but so well worth the patience for perfect alignment.
We are off in just a few hours here to kick off the journey.
Although we’re only headed to Malibu for now (where we’ll be for a week), just shifting our location will be a huge energy game changer, and since we’re in the wake of the New Moon, it’s just all feeling divinely guided for the new beginnings.
There’s been so many wonderful signs, messages, and gifts leading up to this in the past year, but also including just this week and these last couple of days.
These recent things included:
- Enjoying amazing sunrises yesterday and today to see us off
- Tons of cleansing downpours of rain to refresh and release
- An earthquake to shake things up
- Wild lightning and thunder to dramatically shift and rock things like “The Tower” card in Tarot
- Waking up to check on the bunnies a couple of nights ago and the clock read 11:11 the moment we came together
- A cool dream where a docile and tender falcon was letting me pet and play with him on the ground then he jumped on my shoulder softly for a while before flying off on a gate where a bunch of other birds of all varieties met him and they peered down at me while I was in an outdoor setting of trees and plants, which mirrored the Nine of Pentacles card in Tarot where she has a falcon on her, she’s in solitude, in her element, and enjoying the abundance of the garden of life around her – super awesome
- Coming home to the current rv park last night to be greeted by 5 wild rabbits on the New Moon. This mirrored being greeted by the one rabbit when we first came to live in this park, which was also on a new moon. And since 5 is my favorite and lucky number, and is connected to Nestor, as well as symbolic of big change and surprises, I’m even more excited and grateful right now
It has definitely felt like a wonderful conspiring of support right up until the end here.
I can’t express how happy I am that this is all coming together.
And I also want to express my deepest gratitude for everything that has made it possible, for the wonderful and growth-inducing experiences we have been able to have while living here, for all of the amazing friends and clients I/we’ve shared a lot with here and had the opportunity and honor to see go through their own shifts, for the wonderful house that supported it all for us, for the garden that enchanted our lives and added another layer of enrichment for me, for all of my friends from the other realms here that have been a huge support, for the challenges, heartaches, and endings that provided the potentials for change that were embraced, and for all of the inspiration and guidance received while experiencing it all.
I am grateful for what life here has provided…the hard, the easy, and then some.
There have been some pretty major changes that have happened while living here…some of the biggest.
And as always, there’s more to come.
Thank you for sharing this journey of life with me.
I’ve been meaning to share about this soulful creatrix and today inspiration led me to do so, first in an article by Beth Maiden, honoring her works and spirit, followed by my own collected shares below.
This is a wonderful article and tribute to the artist, Pamela Colman Smith (also known as “Pixie” or “PCS”) of the most widely known Tarot deck in the world, the Rider Waite Tarot – now referred to by many as the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, as people have come to honor Pamela’s name, where for a long time it had been omitted.
The article is a celebration not only of Pamela, but also of the creative arts (which she lived her life constantly immersed in and channeling), of the contributions of women, and the value and honor both are deserving of in helping to shape the world and the foundations it is built upon.
Pamela not only led a richly creative life following her passions, despite not receiving equal financial compensation for her skill, gifts, contributions, and devotion during her life (in fact she died penniless and in debt, unable to have her last wish carried out – that of leaving her estate to her dear friend), but also strongly supported women’s suffrage, and brought a depth of mysticism and whimsy to everything she contributed that was intoxicating and precedent-setting.
In the article, Tarot Reader and Writer Beth Maiden shares her appreciation for this eclectic and complex soul stating:
“Pamela Colman Smith will never know how beloved she now is in the tarot community, how many decks of her cards have been sold, how her artwork is the most often-seen in the tarot. The boss of US Games, who continue to publish her deck, says she could have been a millionaire today. As it is, her tarot deck and many of her other works are an example of women’s work and art and contributions being continually brushed under the carpet, continually undervalued, unpaid, taken for granted.
But Pamela Colman Smith was awesome. She never sold out and perhaps she had the chance to. She was a woman of colour who forged her own path in life at a time when few women were. She was an amazingly original person, a creatrix, a boundary-pusher and a mystic, and from where I’m standing, it looks like she lived an amazing life of adventure and passion.”
You can read Beth’s full article here:
I have a personal interest in this creative and kindred faery-loving soul, enjoying researching and reading about her life and her life’s work.
Some of the wonderful books I’ve delighted in include:
The Artwork & Times of Pamela Colman Smith by Stuart R. Kaplan
And two of her own original published and self-illustrated stories:
Susan and the Mermaid
Annancy Stories – inspired by her love of Caribbean colors from her time in Jamaica growing up and the folk lore there deep in spirits and sprites
Pamela Colman Smith (February 16, 1878 – September 18, 1951) is one of the most remarkable yet most underrated artists of the 20th Century. Her mother was Jamaican and her father was an eccentric and sensitive traveling salesman from Brooklyn, New York. When her mother passed, her father placed her in the care of a troupe of traveling actors in England that looked after her until she was 15 and able to join her father in New York.
Her father enrolled her in the Pratt Institute of Art, which is now long gone, but in its day had been a pace-setter for avant-garde philosophy of teaching art that stressed intuitive talents (something I myself prefer and cultivate) over mechanical memorization and repetition of traditional art techniques. This raised eyebrows at the time with its promotion of “Symbolist” style of art, which permeates Pamela’s work.
Her life continued to be filled with colorful artists, actors and actresses, authors, poets, composers, and occultists whom she would entertain at her eclectic studio (one person described its decor as “a mad room out of a fairy tale”) with story telling – everyone gathered around her in a circle, as she sat on the floor in animated excitement, sharing her favorite tales and songs with twinkling eyes.
“Miss Pamela Smith tells her little stories so naturally and simply that one cannot think she would have told them differently at the other side of the world, or a thousand years ago…” – W.B. Yeats
Pamela was a complicated and introspective soul. Sometimes her art suggested a fragile and often lonely person, the eerie side of the supernatural, but also the lighter, enchanting side filled with water sprites and elfin figures. Indeed her works were mystical and fantastical, especially her “musical paintings” – also known as synesthetic art or synesthesia (something we both share). She could “see” music and her gift was in translating the music she “saw” into images.
When asked to explain her “peculiar psychic gift” she replied,
“You ask me how these pictures are evolved. They are not pictures of the music theme – pictures of the flying notes – not conscious illustrations of the name given to a piece of music, but just what I see when I hear music – thoughts loosened and set free by the spell of the sound.”
As Stuart R. Kaplan writes in his book, The Artwork & Times of Pamela Colman Smith:
“Waite’s choice of Smith for the execution of his tarot indicates that he thought highly of her work, yet he may have underestimated her intellectual and spiritual depth. It is unlikely that Pamela treated Waite’s ceremonies with utter seriousness (she was to say of being a Catholic, years later, that it was “such fun”), and her playful attitude may have led others to feel that her appreciation of the ritual and symbolism was shallow. However, Pamela’s conscious awareness of the elements of religious symbolism and ritual is indicated by her paintings and her writings. Her letters provide evidence of her familiarity with music and theater, her long involvement in the Order of the Golden Dawn and, later, her dedicated activity in the Roman Catholic Church. What Waite and others may not have realized was that Pamela’s apparently simple approach to he metaphysical was not due to lack of depth or of intellect. Her writings indicate that, for her, ritual and symbolism derived the power to illuminate from the senses, emotion and the imagination, not from the mind.”
When she returned to England she delved into the theater with all of the connections she had to some of the most well known artists/actors of the time, working as a set and costume designer, making quite a name for herself on the London stage. She became close friends with literary giants like William Butler Yeats and Bram Stoker, both of which she did illustration work for.
Stoker introduced her to occultists and they would meet at the then popular Watkins Books, a newly opened book shop and first of its kind specializing in occult literature, which was the meeting grounds for the London esoteric community.
Pamela was very spiritual, mystical, a true believer, and fully into faery lore, which is no wonder she was nick-named “Pixie”. Her mysticism and spiritual depth no doubt is what drew Waite to her and her art and why he commissioned her to illustrate a Tarot deck of his own.
It’s unknown how much of the final deck is Waite’s or Smith’s own inspiration, but it’s thought that the Major Arcana cards may have been drawn to Waite’s more stringent specifications that reflect the official Golden Dawn principles, whereas the Minor Arcana cards were derived from Smith’s inspiration.
No one had ever illustrated the Minor Arcana cards before, so it’s thought Pamela proposed this and was given leeway in illustrating them. A lot of people find these Minor Arcana cards to be the most memorable, brilliant, and often nearly plagiarized by artists that use variations of her exact scenes.
“Although she may have been disillusioned with the art and publishing establishment, Pamela never ceased to believe in her abilities or in the worthiness of her art. Her personal effects contain many scraps of paper covered with drawings and doodles, and even her church missal is sketched on its margins and flyleaves. Smith was always busy with pencil and sketchbook.”
‘The unbridgeable gap between the intense visionary inspiration expressed in her art and the security of commercial success seems to have been puzzling and painful to her.”
– From The Artwork & Times of Pamela Colman Smith by Stuart R. Kaplan
I think this is something many artists struggle with and I hope one day will be resolved in the form of value for creative contributions and creative energy in general.
Pamela “Pixie” Colman Smith’s work has continued to inspire millions of people across the globe. As more of her paintings, writings, illustrations, and esoteric contributions have surfaced over time, people are recognizing and revering her for her full body of work, calling to mind what a brilliant artist she was.
She will always be remembered for creating a work of “enduring Sacred Art” and I hope her spirit will live on in the hearts of all who create from the well of imagination.
I leave you with some excerpts from an article written by Pamela Colman Smith for the July 1908 issue of The Craftsman Illustrated Monthly Magazine titled Should the Art Student Think? :
“…Learn from everything, see everything, and above all feel everything! And make other people when the look at your drawing feel it too!”
“…Keep an open mind to all things. Hear all the music you can, good music, for sound and form are more closely connected than we know. Think good thoughts of beautiful things, colors, sounds, places, not mean thoughts. When you see a lot of dirty people in a crowd, do not remember only the dirt, but the great spirit that is in them all, and the power that they represent. For through ugliness is beauty sometimes found. Lately I have seen a play, ugly, passionate, realistic, brutal. All through that play I felt that ugly things may be true to nature, but surely it is through evil, that we realize good. The far-off scent of morning air, the blue mountains, the sunshine, the flowers, of a country I once lived in, seemed to rise before me – and there on the stage was a woman sitting on a chair, her body stiff, her eyes rolling, a wonderfully realistic picture of a fit…”
“…I wish here to say how grateful I am to the writer of an article in an American magazine (Putmans’ Monthly for July, 1907). ‘An Appreciation and a Protest.’ An appreciation of Albert Sterner, and a protest against the ‘ultra-sweetness and oppressive propriety admired alike by the publisher and the public,’ and ‘individuality discreetly suppressed.’
O! the prudishness and pompous falseness of a great mass of intelligent people! I do not hold that ‘the incessant roar of high-power presses’ is alone to blame for the stifling of life, but for a lack of inspiration. For it is a land of power, a land of unkempt uproar – full of life, force, energy.
Lift up your ideals, you weaklings, and force a way out of that thunderous clamor of the steam press, the hurrying herd of blind humanity, noise, dust, strife, seething toil – there is power! The imprisoned Titans underneath the soil, grinding, writhing – take our strength from them, throw aside your petty drawing room point of view.
I do not want to see riotous, clumsy ugliness suddenly spring up, but a fine noble power shining through your work. The illustrations that I see in the magazines by the younger people are all dignified and well, carefully and conscientiously drawn, but their appalling clumsiness is quite beyond me, – their lack of charm and grace.
I do not mean by charm, pettiness, but an appreciation of beauty. Ugliness is beauty, but with a difference, a nobleness that speaks through all the hard crust of convention.
I have heard it said that half the world has nothing to say. Perhaps the other half has, but it is afraid to speak. Banish fear, brace your courage, place your ideal high up with the sun, away from the dirt and squalor and ugliness around you and let that power that makes ‘the roar of the high-power presses’ enter into your work – energy – courage – life – love. Use your wits, use your eyes. Perhaps you use your physical eyes too much and only see the mask. Find eyes within, look for the door into the unknown country.
‘High over cap’ on a fairy horse – ride on your Quest – for what we are all seeking – Beauty. Beauty of thought first, beauty of feeling, beauty of form, beauty of color, beauty of sound, appreciation, joy, and the power of showing it to others.”
How cool is this?! Thank you Amythyst for offering this gift. A fun way to trust your intuition and see what it reflects. My card reading for the day was Card #2. I won’t share what that is so that you can see which card YOUR intuition is drawn to.
I’m delighted to have added a new feature to my Tarot Website– “Today’s Reading: Pick a Card”…this page will be updated 3 or 4 times a week with different tarot decks and cards that are chosen randomly. Some days I might have quite a bit of time to write and be able to add in-depth insights, other days it could be short and sweet and to the point. Be sure to stop by (click on the link above) and choose your Tarot Card for the day!
This is a wonderful and insightful post for anyone interested in learning to work with the Tarot, already an avid Tarot reader and lover, or simply wants to understand more about this insightful tool and what a reading involves. Thanks to Laura Bruno for reposting and for the mystical Amythst Raine-Hatayama for her insights. From someone who loves the Tarot herself and has a personal connection that goes way back, I really appreciate Amythyst’s share.
What is the role of a Tarot Reader?
I’m going to start by telling you what a tarot reader is not…A tarot reader is not a mystical mysterious person who’s going to tell you precisely what your future will hold, set in stone, on a particular day or date. A tarot reader is not someone who will give you instant solutions to your problems. A tarot reader is not someone who can instantly cure your financial ills or physical disease.
What a tarot reader is…A Tarot Reader is someone with the gift of intuition (clairaudience, clairsentience, clairvoyance– sometimes one or the other, sometimes all three), who will use the esoteric connections and images on a set of cards to look into your life. It’s a window of your past, your present, with a hint at future possibilities.
Now…What is the role of a Tarot Reader? Her role is…
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