What's it like to make your own tarot deck?

PM starter deck.JPG

It’s been eight months since I launched the PM Starter Deck and by far, one of the most common questions I’ve gotten from curious minds, tarot enthusiasts and local designers from the Philippines is: What’s it like to make your own deck?

Because this year, I set out to create more intentional and useful content for the blog, I thought this would be a good topic to start with.

  1. Fun. I’m a creative person at heart and feel really lacking when I’m not making something that isn’t work related. The PM Deck started because I was bored with my job. I realized I took a huge creative nosedive into nothingness because most of my energy was spent on work. I needed to play around, get my creative juices flowing again and that’s why I started to collage. It was exactly the fun, no-pressure exercise I needed to make me feel good again.

  2. Soul-baring. As with any personal project, the first time you share your deck with others is kind of nerve-wracking. I was lucky that I shared it with Aurora, who was super supportive and actually urged me to publish and sell it.

    The thing about any art you produce is how personal it can be. Putting it out there is like revealing part of your soul, which can make you feel very, very vulnerable. Not everyone’s going to like my style, agree with my meanings (there are some days I wake up and wonder why I used this word or term), or think what I’m doing is okay… and THAT’S OKAY.

  3. Like performing logistical gymnastics. I had to figure out how to get my cards printed the right way, how to house the deck (I originally wanted to sell it with a Glossier pouch, which proved to be very impractical), how to pack and ship everything properly. I’m still figuring these things out!

    PM is a one-man show kind of thing and everything is very DIY. One day I hope to reach super professional levels where I can just print out shipping labels (that is the dream, lol) and have everything packaged really beautifully.

  4. Makes the world infinitely smaller. I am amazed everyday I get to ship out my deck to someone who lives on another island here in the Philippines, much more to somewhere across the globe. The first time I received an order from Brazil, Sweden, and even New Zealand, I could hardly believe it. This little brain fart I had one night has ended up connecting me with so many beautiful souls. It’s something I’m grateful for EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

  5. Has me fielding questions that sometimes don’t come with the best intentions. Highly intuitive people will know when they’re getting messages from people who don’t always come clean about why they’re getting in touch with you about your deck. While PM has certainly connected me to wonderful people, it’s also put me in touch with less-than-trustworthy folks. Keep your eyes open, people. Always be smart about your work and the value you put in it and in your process. Don’t give everything away.

  6. Puts a bit of pressure. I never thought my deck would wind up being sold online or at pop-ups (or soon in actual brick and mortars, can you believe?!). But the inevitable question is, what do I do next? I was lucky enough to be approached by my friend Mikko to create the #nofilter Oracle Deck, but now that I’ve done x and y, I’m always wondering what else is out there for me.

    I try to tell myself to always remember the FUN that initiated this little project of mine. Everything I produce should come from that same wellspring of inspiration and intention.

  7. Humbling. While I try not to downplay this big thing that’s happened to me, it’s humbling to know that my deck is only a little piece of the whole indie deck tarot puzzle. I have so much respect for everyone who’s done this before me, and who have already built such awesome businesses and communities from their work.

So there you have it. I think I’ve mentioned everything so far… but my deck is still in its infancy and I’m sure more insights will come as the months and years go by.

The thing about the creative process is that it evolves and transforms as we do too. And that, I think, is a great thing. <3