Recently I announced on my socials that I would be reaching out to call for picture submissions to help me create The Dark Luminology Tarot, using the faces and bodies of this community. However, for some of the tarot cards I have selected specific people as I feel they embody those tarot cards; most of which are friends.
I met Alicia, the creator of The Embroidered Forest Tarot, on Instagram and though I can’t tell you exactly how we met, we soon became fast friends. We have supported each other in our business but also on a more personal level and it was through one of these instances that I got the idea to ask her if she would allow me to illustrate her as the Strength tarot card. See, she had opened up to me about some body-image issues that she struggled with in the past, more specifically, punishing herself with intense exercise and lowering calorie intake to extremely low levels in order to achieve the perfect body where she would feel loved and accepted.
Alicia supplied me with two photos to use for this project. The version of herself to the right is her past self and I have accentuated the anorexic visuals on her body to make the message more clear. Rather than include a Lion like in the traditional RWS tarot deck, I decided to turn Alicia’s current self into the Lioness that she is; with flowers surrounding her as a metaphor of her growth. I wanted to illustrate that while Alicia isn’t the same person she once was, she is still connected (by the infinity symbol) to that older version of herself in a compassionate way; loving that girl that sought validation in harmful ways and standing in strength for both of them.
Often times the Strength card in tarot is glazed over as just symbolism to be strong, or that you have been strong in regards to some situation you have experienced but the Strength tarot card is more about the inner strength you embody when you not only face your demons, but when you absorb them, lovingly hold them, make space for them, and build a spiritual armory with them. Strength isn’t about taming the Lion but actually becoming the Lioness; a perfect specimen of grounded strength and ferocity molded by harsh terrain and experiences.
I asked Alicia if she would film her reaction to this card as I was deeply honored to be able to illustrate her growth but also further aid in that healing process. Alicia wanted me to share that with all of you in the hopes that her story will help others who struggle with body-image issues or eating disorders like anorexia and orthorexia.
Take a few minutes to applaud her bravery, her strength, and the raw vulnerability that she has shown here and cry with her, as I did — even the Fire signs need water to heal.