Interview with Isha Lerner
by Remi Daily
Isha Lerner is the creator of several Tarot decks including the Inner Child Cards, Tarot of the Four Elements, Triple Goddess Tarot, and Power of Flower Cards. Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to ask questions of this celebrated Tarot deck creator. In tribute to her work, the following is the long awaited interview with Isha Lerner:
What originally brought you to the world of Tarot?
Isha: My experience with the tarot happened in an organic and natural way. I didn't go out looking for the tarot nor did I make a conscious decision that I wanted to study and learn tarot. It appeared naturally in my life in my late teens and continued to grow as an interest and a passion in my life ever since. I had a profound dream in my early twenties that invoked a deep curiosity within. In a way this dream confirmed to me the reality that I had worked with the tarot in other lifetimes. I do not profess to know the exact way in which past lives effect our present life, but I have come to believe that there is a chord or thread that connects a soul journey from life time to life time.
I dreamed I was a little gnome or tree like being, gnarly old with very crooked fingers, short, a bit fantasy like. I was with a male partner of the same origin and we were sitting behind a large wooden slat, perhaps a fallen tree, working with the tarot cards. There was a line miles long of little people waiting to have us look at their cards. It was quiet, mystical, and full of nature and bird song. I awoke with a deep truth within that this dream was a vision. It resonated deeply and showed me one of my lifetimes with the cards. I hold the dream dear to my heart.
For over thirty years I have studied, created, and played with the archetypes within the 78 card deck and I continue to learn and expand my understanding of the cards. They are an endless source of wisdom and teachings for me.
In general, when using your decks I always feel that I've taken a tour not only around the world but also through history. What of your personal background do you believe contributes to this sense of journey as one use your decks?
Isha: My hope is that the decks I have created may expand one's understanding of archetype and the mystery of humanity as explored within the cards. They are endless teachers and the wisdom held within the context of the 78 cards is endless and I believe is infinite. My truest belief is this: The tarot is encoded in our DNA as a source or a guideline to follow as we progress as a living being on earth. I believe the tarot has been passed down perhaps from other planets and is a perfect representation of the individuation process, the same process found in folklore and fairy tales. This is the passion behind the Inner Child Cards: A Fairy Tale Tarot.
What separates the first edition of the Inner Child Cards from the latest edition?
Isha: Very little. We decided to create an update with the information in the first two chapters and to change the cover on the box as a way to perfect the deck. We did find that it might have confused people but it is fulfilling to have attempted to bring the very best of the cards and imagery to the public. I prefer the new box with Little Red Cap on the cover, however, the pink cover with the Child of Wands is still adored by many.
My favorite of the Inner Child Cards is Wishing Upon A Star, before that it was Little Red Riding Hood. What card would you consider as your favorite from this deck and why?
Isha: My favorite card has always been the Earth Child known as the World Trump 21 in the traditional tarot. I love the image and the idea within the image as a soul returning for rebirth, full of love, and devoted to a new cycle of service on planet earth.
Kat Black, creator of the Golden and Touchstone Tarot, mentioned that in finding the images to be used for her cards she felt like a casting agent, mulling over art images in her mind for the perfect faces for each card. Did you find picking the right fairy tales for your cards an easy process or one as equally occupying as Kat's experience?
Isha: Once the concept of the Inner Child Cards fell into our hearts the co-author, Mark Lerner, and myself, felt as if each Major Arcana card was blessed with a falling star, a fairy tale, that came from the sky, right into our heart and mind. They all fell into place very quickly and easily and it all felt so pure and perfect. It was a joy.
Do you plan to create another deck, if so will you be in the process of experimenting with different color hues and pallets than that of the Inner Child Cards?
Isha: I have created several decks since the Inner Child Cards which includes The Power of Flower Cards, The Triple Goddess Tarot, and the Tarot of the Four Elements. I am in the process of completing another deck, The Castle of the Soul, which is a sequel to the Inner Child Cards. This deck puts the individual in the castle where true love is found. We explore what it is like for us to live within the context of this divine love. Do we accept it or reject it? The cards will help us see.
I found that the book that comes with the Inner Child Cards to be quite illuminating and would like to know how the Inner Child Cards workbook is different, or can add more insight than the LWB included with the cards?
Isha: I wanted to add more information about the mystical meaning of fairy tales and so the workbook extends my study and includes within the first three chapters a repertoire of research regarding fairy tales. Each card is given key notes from which to study.
Just recently I've used the Rainbow Layout in a reading and I was astounded by how well this spread works, especially when using Thoth interpretations in conjunction with your interpretations. Do you consider The Inner Child Cards more of a RW deck or does it have its own feel?
Isha: I would say both. If a person is familiar with the tarot, any deck can be used and understood. This is why I feel it is important for a person to learn the basics of tarot and ground a deep understanding of the cards from a historical perspective. From there the individual can learn and extend the experience with tarot and individualize it.
In using the Rainbow Layout to uncover past issues, do you find using flower essences after an Inner Child Card reading helps the querent ease into the needed transitions/transformations as indicated by the spread? If so, how? What/which of your flower essences you feel work well with the nature of the Inner Child Cards?
Isha: I am a huge fan of using flower essences as a follow through with an astrology or tarot session. They assist with so many blocks whether emotional, spiritual, mental or physical. I recommend several different flower essences depending on the specifics a person's needs and challenges.
Why is it that you prefer to read the cards only in their upright meanings?
Isha: I respect each individual's choice and preference regarding this subject. For myself, I prefer to avoid reversals. Perhaps it is my own personal need. Reversals create duality for me and I am seeking in this lifetime to avoid duality or fear. Each painting was created upright, and within this fullness, the whole story of its nature is revealed. If we know the cards well and look deeply enough, we will find whether the cards chosen is a challenge of a gift, and whether or not there are parts of our own psyche in need of help, healing and deeper understanding. This process works for me and when teaching my classes we discuss this thoroughly and I am not biased as to what an individual chooses to do.
This is the final part of the interview when I ask for you to pick a deck or a card from a deck other than the one's you've created to reflect on (preference would be something from my collection but can also be a deck from your personal collection). You may comment about the things you like about the deck or things about the deck or card that is also emulated in the Inner Child Cards.
Isha: I have a trusty relationship with the Mother Peace Deck which is hands down my favorite tarot deck besides the Inner Child Cards and the Aquarian Tarot. I have a very old Mother Peace deck that I have used since the early 80's. I feel it captures the essence of the feminine in a profound yet simple way and I love the interpretations of the cards. I respect the work of Vickie Noble and Karen Vogel. I use this deck when a woman is in crisis and in need of a very serious look at her situation. The cards never fail me and this deck in particular is extremely close to me and special.
Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my experiences and thoughts regarding tarot. Much love, Isha Lerner.
© Remi Daily