Conversations with Creatives – An Interview with Lisa de St. Croix
by Joanna Powell Colbert
I met Lisa de St. Croix online a few years ago through mutual friends in the tarot community. I loved the vibrant colors of the deck she was working on. We met in person when I visited New Mexico in 2011, and I’ve had the pleasure of being a guest in her beautiful Santa Fe home.
Now the deck is finished and out in the world, and it’s a beauty. I adore the lush colors, the vibrant New Mexico landscape, and the mix of mythic and contemporary imagery.
As an artist and deck creator myself, I love having conversations about the inspiration and creative process behind projects like this one. Listen in while I ask Lisa about the Tarot de St. Croix!
JPC: What is the story behind this deck? Where did the initial idea come from?
LdSC: On the winter solstice five years ago I did a shamanic journey. I travelled to a small black and white temple in the Upper World. On the throne lay a tarot card of the High Priestess: Isis. She instructed me to paint a tarot deck. Shortly after the journey I began painting Tarot de St. Croix.
JPC: Tell us about your intuitive process for choosing a card to paint, and how the meaning of the card was mirrored in your personal life.
LdSC: I painted this tarot deck as if it where a tarot reading: receiving divine wisdom. Each time I pulled a card to paint I was amazed how perfectly the meaning of the card related to the world I inhabit. I opened my senses to messages. Synchronicity was my guide. I painted intuitively, having faith that I would convey through the visual medium of the tarot, a message that would have meaning and wisdom.
The first card I painted was the Nine of Pentacles. I painted what I hoped to harvest in my life: a home of my own a garden filled with flowers and water. I painted a falcon sitting on my shoulder. I now am in that home, with a view of the Santa Fe mountains, a fountain and sunflowers and a falcon visits on occasion!
JPC: I know there are scenes from Santa Fe in the deck, as well self-portraits and portraits of the people in your life. Can you tell us about a few of those cards?
LdSC: For the Five of Pentacles I painted a scene I see often in Santa Fe that creates much anxiety for me. Outside the Sanctuario de Guadalupe, there are always a group of day laborers waiting in all extremes of weather, hoping to be hired. There is a feeling of desperation, as they try to flag down passing cars. While working on the painting I reflected on the loss I was experiencing at the time; it was my deceased mother’s birthday and I miss her. As I painted the giant statue of Guadalupe behind the men I realized that the archetype of the Great Mother is always there for us when we need her. She in her thousand manifestations, watches over us.
I appear in several of the cards as my experiences while painting the deck were so filled with wonder and magic I just had to record them. In the Nine of Cups I raise my cup in a toast to my new home, the one I had wished for in the Nine of Pentacles and in gratitude to the Powers that Be that had blessed me with it.
My sons Noah and Simon appear as two young Pages. My lover Tony joins me in the Two of Cups, the Lovers and is the Chariot, helping me move this deck from paintings into card format. Friends and family also take residence: my father the King of Cups, my brother the Four of Cups and my dear friend Duija as the Queen of Cups.
JPC: Tell us a little bit about your background as a painter, and about the medium you use (oil paints). Why oil and not another medium?
LdSC: I studied art at the School of Visual Arts in New York. My paintings have been exhibited in galleries and non-profit spaces in New York, Santa Fe, Boston and across the USA and in several international exhibitions in South Africa, Portugal, France and Mexico. I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico where I paint and teach a variety of art workshops in my studio.
Oil paint over a venetian red gesso background is the medium I have used for several years. I wanted to make this deck feel more like paintings than illustrations. I love the rich luminosity and vivid colors that oils give.
JPC: What was the publishing process like?
LdSC: I ran an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to raise money for printing and was thrilled that I raised $6,677.00. I offered a deck in return for support. I am extremely grateful to Devera Publishing who assisted me in self-publishing this deck.
JPC: How do you personally use this deck, in your own spiritual practice?
LdSC: I pull a card everyday as a meditation. When I have a specific question I do a reading for myself. I have also really been enjoying doing readings for others, seeing my deck come alive and be of service to people.
JPC: What do you most want people to know about this deck?
LdSC: There is a full color booklet of meanings and spreads included in the box. However I think the images which are unique, carry the essence of the archetypes and are easy to understand visually. It is a multi-cultural deck that embraces all of humanity in our many experiences.
JPC: What’s up next for you?
LdSC: While working on this deck I kept a visual journal – I would love to publish it as a kind of workbook. I also have a “Natural Wisdom” oracle deck of animals and plants that created a number of years ago, I would like to add to and publish it.
Thank you Lisa!
© Joanna Powell Colbert