Five years ago, Tara Logsdon and Naha Armády started a creative tradition.
The two have been friends for more than 20 years. They met in Seattle, where Tara was an artist and made fliers for parties that Naha was throwing and DJing. Years later, when Naha moved to Los Angeles, Tara returned to her hometown – saying she loved Phoenix and the desert too much to leave again.
Tara and Naha have kept in touch, and they say their lives have unfolded in similar ways. Today, Tara’s known throughout Arizona for her bright designs and bear-centric creations, and for more than a decade, Naha has been a professional reader, healer and teacher, with her own school of Hermetic Science and Magical Arts in L.A.
In 2013, Tara and Naha created their first tarot deck, and five years later, they’ve collaborated again to create The Desert Bearot Deck, a limited-edition, desert-themed collection.
They describe the project as a result of their shared history with divinity, as well as a tribute to an art form that’s over 500 years old.
As early as the 15th century, Tarot cards have been intricate collections of art used by the upper classes for games and amusement, and soon became tools for divination and truth-seeking.
In the early days of Tarot, European royalty commissioned unique decks by renowned artists – decks that were reserved for the owner and seldom shared. As decks (and the means to replicate them) evolved, Tarot decks were studied, shared, and produced on a much wider scale.
The make-up of a Tarot deck used for divination has remained the same throughout history: 56 cards divided into four suits make up the Minor Arcana and 22 cards without suits that make up the Major Arcana.
These cards can carry a different meaning, depending on how they’re read and who’s reading. “If the right person is reading and you’re open to things, the cards will speak to you,” says Tara.
Tara says she’s always been interested in the visual and spiritual sides of Tarot. For years, she’s studied Sahaja Yoga and Theosophy, as Naha built her own practice in Hermetic Metaphysics, crystal healing and tarot reading.
They both say their process in creating the deck was simple – Naha would send Tara a few words for each card. Tara would then create a visual, from her own experience with and research of Tarot, as well as cultural and environmental inspirations from Arizona. And once the visual was sent back to Naha, she authored a deck guide.
The result is a 78-card deck with a full guide. Its unique, triangular cards were Tara’s idea, and the triangle-inspired spreads were created by Naha.
Tara says her designs are deeply rooted in Arizona and desert culture – the four suits being Bolts, Horseshoes, Feathers and Eyes, the characters inspired by southwest and Native symbols, and the colors all coming from desert elements.
After finishing the deck, Tara and Naha have made a promise to create another deck in five years. And while neither has a specific audience in mind for the deck, Naha says she hopes people of all levels of experience with Tarot take a look at their deck.
“There’s something really exciting going on in the world right now where Tarot is becoming popular and people are excited about it,” she says. “I think some people will get it because they’re into magic, and some people will get it because they love the artwork. It’s like having a little art gallery in a box, some people will want it for that reason.”
You can pick up your own Bearot Deck at Phoenix General and see Tara’s artwork in person through the end of March.
If you’re new to Tarot, Naha has a few tips for using the deck:
- Take your new deck with you and spend time looking at it. It’s the only way you’re going to learn how to read it.
- Pull a single card every day and meditate on it. See what comes up.
- Read books on tarot, or treat your own deck like a book. The cards are like loose-leaf pages. Take time to look at each card, notice the symbols, and use them to connect with your own mind.
Tara Logsdon is a Phoenix-based graphic artist whose artwork often addresses commercialism, her environment and bears. She’s been practicing Theosophical Chel and Sahaja Yogi for over a decade. You can see more of her work at www.bearmy.com
Naha Armády is an LA-based Tarot reader, crystal healer and hermetic metaphysician. She’s the founder of 22 Teachings School of Hermetic Science and Magical Arts. You may have seen her on the television series The Doctors or in Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups. For more of her work, check out her YouTube channel, 22 Teachings and www.22teachings.com.