In her book, the Intuitive Tarot, Cilla Conway says:
“The Intuitive Tarot had its beginning one evening in 1973 when a doodle of the Fool appeared unbidden on my page. His eyes, strange and compelling, invited me to follow him into his world. I have been following him ever since. You may not find him appealing; he overthrows our comfortable convictions, making us question our values and those of society; but if you want to recover joy and innocence in your life, the Fool is the figure you need to connect with.”
If you are familiar with the classical tarot decks such as Raider Waite (which I adore), you will be able to read and use The Intuitive Tarot easily. Cilla gives guidance on both traditional meanings and intuitive interpretations she developed. The Major and Minor Arcana cards are introduced in turn and there is space for the reader to record their own impressions of each card. The information Cilla provides for each card in the book, is enriched with a blend of Jungian, Greco-Classical, and Mythology.
In Cilla’s book information on each card is sectioned into: aspects of each card, how to work with it, to dialogue with it, starter interpretation, and reversed interpretation. The dialogues are thought-provoking and can be used as visualisations to help familiars yourself with each image. The first thing I learnt from my friend and teacher Merryn José was how to communicate with each card, and find out what it means to me, as it appears in various positions, or houses, in a spread; upright as well as reversed. The Intuitive Tarot and its accompanying book allow you to do just that.
Art and Intuition
While one can be subjective about art, Cilla Conway’s Intuitive Tarot is about releasing one’s intuition. And, there is something for everyone – if you allow the images to `communicate’ with you. Each card’s image is unique and dynamic, swirls, spirals, flowing lines, and stylised elongated figures with alien-like faces seem to move and leap across the cards with such energy. If you listen well, you can hear nature’s elements too!
The colours are often serene allowing the Intuitive Tarot’s energy and movement to whisper something to you as you study each card. At times the images seem retro, at others glimpses of Ancient Egypt appear – other moments the cards have a `galactic’ feel. The figures are often nude, daring, and honest taking the reader beyond the usual interpretation.
Cilla’s decision to paint every `scene’ or image within the construct of an egg; left a great impression on my mind. For her, the oval shape reflects the Divine Feminine, an area she was drawn to early in her studies. This is echoed in the packaging of the cards too. Form the outset, you know that you will `crack that egg’ and release your imagination.
For me, the oval shape seemed to resemble a magical concave (sometimes convex) mirror, where I `step out of the frame’ and observe what the magical mirror is about to reveal. Each time, new impressions are awakened in the reader’s mind.
Using the Intuitive Tarot
My favourite images of the major cards are the Sun, The Moon, The Star, Temperance and (yes) the Tower. The distorted base and image of the building really gives the feel that the image is being reflected through a convex mirror – as though one is scrying into it.
For me, the bolt of lighting and the image of the tower itself are about use of technology, the Internet, and the speed of spreading information or communication (Broadband). I found her interpretation of the Tower particularly modern and contemporary; and that of the Chariot really intriguing.
I found myself particularly drawn to Cilla’s artistic interpretation of the minor cards, namely the wands (or as she prefers to call them, rods) and the pentacles (discs), where I felt her artistic ability as well as intuition were truly free and inspired. Among my favourite ones are, the one of Rods, the eight of Rods, and the three of Discs. The words `disc’ triggered a new interpretation for me, and I experienced a unique aspect of `pentacles’.
The more I work with Cilla Conway’s cards, the more I appreciate the originality of her art and interpretation. I find the images stimulate the mind in new directions. It took Cilla nearly twenty years for her dream to manifest – and the results are a delight. She now conducts workshops on the subject (see below); I strongly recommend that you participate in one.
Cilla is a London-based artist using a variety of media: video, installation, photography and painting. She is also the author and creator of the Intuitive Tarot and Deva Cards. She also teaches at the College of Psychic Studies.
For a list of recommended books please click here.