Creator & Author of The Rock n' Roll Tarot
and The Circus Tarot
by Cynthia Tedesco
CKT: Would you explain how the writers' journey began for you and how you would define the writers' journey?
CHRIS PARADIS: The writers' journey began for me in a free writing manner — writing in journals, doodling on napkins — sketches of concepts — like the fool heading toward the cliff nothing really formed — but the first step toward making a leap nonetheless. I would define the writers' journey — as one of trusting words to do their job and hold the magic and music that we imbue with them within our conscious and subconscious minds.
CKT: So your Tarots are your stories and novels etc. in manifold visual and mental forms?
CHRIS PARADIS: Yes.
CKT: What music do you like to play when writing, if you do, and is it different from your Rock n` Roll Tarot?
CHRIS PARADIS: I like incidental music incidentally …
CKT: Do you paint/draw etc. when listening to music?
CHRIS PARADIS: Yes — I got an iPod just over a year ago — the 30G model holds so much music that my iPod on random is the best DJ — The two artists I have the most work from are David Bowie — Tori Amos more than likely … and piano etudes and comptines …
CKT: Several Tarot Authors have suggested a variety of ways Tarot can be used by writers. Do you have a way of using Tarot to write? What kind(s) of writing do you find you do with Tarot Cards?
CHRIS PARADIS: Tarot is the pattern for all stories — or as I've heard it said — tarot is a map of human experience —
The Archetypes are always on the edge of my thoughts waiting to jump into my concepts and frame them with their presence. When I look at a painting in a gallery or watch a film — I see the Tarot Archetypes there.
As far as using Tarot to write — it is the same instincts involved — the difficulty comes in seeing similarities — wondering about originality … it's like when I go to the piano and make up little compositions those pieces invariably remind me of other compositions — though the notes are set — the possibilities are endless.
But with the writing, I generally free-write and keep journals to document ideas and days. I have not formally written any stories —
Perhaps this exercise is daunting to me because I have fears of formally creating a story or set composition —
Because I am perpetually fascinated by the writing — words and music in the raw free-form style.
CKT: Could I ask you to draw a card & just play visually or musically or in writing if you choose?
CHRIS PARADIS: I drew the 4 of Pentacles — Which means to me — in this context — that I am 'at home' when writing but that I am sometimes too reserved and formal — which only comes from my fears and in-experiences. I need to 'lighten up.'
CKT: Are there specific decks , your own wonderful tarots included, that you use? Why?
CHRIS PARADIS: Oh I use the Thoth Deck to read with mostly — am reading the Gerd Ziegler book on that deck called, Tarot: The Mirror of The Soul.
The decks — if anything — are the only formal writing I have done — but they represent layers of ideas of text on images — it is a meta language that we sometimes ignore in the power of our culture. The late Will Eisner understood in creating graphic novels when he made the profound statement — 'text is an image' we see letters first then our brain places them into the accepted words and forms for communication.
CKT: I'm checking out Will Eisner — wow, Chris: how did I 'miss him?' I loved Neil Gaiman's 'Sandman' series but this seems a whole cut above from that: way above! What other giants can you share with readers?
CHRIS PARADIS: Dave McKean ( the Sandman's Series main artist ) integrated the digital with the spiritual very effectively and has been greatly imitated and emulated.
CKT: Do you have any other tarot deck concepts in mind? As a digital — age writer and deck creator how does the writing process interact in the creation of your decks?
CHRIS PARADIS: I think visually first — I knew the 'Rock n` Roll' cards represented a form of entertainment — and I feel the 'Circus and Sideshows' were the dominant form of entertainment — then the rock and roll and concerts took that place —
So I'm traveling backwards with the circus posters --- and doing things a bit more freely without the known faces and music lyrics …
CKT: Do you plan to write a definitive study of Rock and Roll to go with the Tarot or have it illustrate the text?
CHRIS PARADIS: The cards are meant to represent that in their own medium — is it desirable for someone to do a book that is fascinating … desirable? But the true way I feel is to make your own Rock and Roll Deck with YOUR songs and artists …
CKT: Ah! The iPod Generation! What about oldies like myself? You'd be doing us a kindness! How has music, comparative mythology and literature influenced the creation of your tarots?
CHRIS PARADIS: Comparative mythology is a way of recognizing the archetypes that we are bound to no matter how many arms our gods have (which to me, represents physics and omnipresence.)
CKT: I just thought of Kali in a whole new way Chris! Thank you!
CHRIS PARADIS: Om Namaste
Or no matter how terrible the monsters — there will be always be change and transformation available to us even in the most 'stuck' places in our lives. Meaning that a stuck place or a stagnant place is a type of transformation — a chrysalis — e.g. death and the hanged man cards in the tarot —
CKT: Is there a 'standard Golden Dawn' or 'Clone' you use at times?
CHRIS PARADIS: The Thoth Tarot.
CKT: Do you collect tarots?
CHRIS PARADIS: Yes, I have a few — Lately I look at packaging I like and submit The Circus Tarot to those publishers — no luck so far on that — it is a tough deck to get published … Just submitting to Quirk Publishers — if anyone wants to send an email to them telling them you'd like to see it published:
I love the look of their 'Housewife's Tarot' — the full package.
CKT: If you do readings for yourself and/or others what spreads do you like to use?
CHRIS PARADIS: 3 Card Readings are good — more formally I do a 'Norse' reading with 7 cards and The Golden Dawn Tarot Reading with 15 Cards.
CKT: Since you use the I Ching, do you use the one with the intro by Carl Jung?
CHRIS PARADIS: I use the one given to me as a gift, and on www.facade.com
CKT: And speaking of Jung: do you enjoy reading him? About him?
CHRIS PARADIS: Yes — I want to write a play about his relationship to Freud
CKT: Would you share your initial inspiration for the 'Rock n` Roll Tarot?' and 'The Circus Tarot?'
CHRIS PARADIS: It was years of impacting images and learning to be aware of my perceptions —
CKT: How do you feel your Web Site fulfills you as an artist?
CHRIS PARADIS: My live journal — it is a fun way to share — I particularly liked being able to post the music video I made there — I hope Tori Amos gets to see it — I think she would dig it.
CKT: I sense you're a poet as well, there's that special rhythm & choice of words that is unique to you. Do you write poetry?
CHRIS PARADIS: The only poems lately are the words on the Circus and Sideshow Cards — not really a poem but not easy to write and make it work — not like song lyrics …
CKT: Remind us, who is Death and who is The Hanged Man in your 'Rock n` Roll' Tarot. Querants are terrified of those cards popping up and many readers have issues as well.
CHRIS PARADIS: Death is John Lennon and Imagine the Hanged Man is Kurt Cobaine — All apologies — 'Summoned or not the Gods will come,' written above Carl Jung's door!
In the Circus Tarot Death is called the Sleepwalker — and the Hanged Man is a female performer hanging from a thread.
CKT: How do you plan to depict them in your future tarots?
CHRIS PARADIS: Always in motion is the Future.
CKT: Art Therapy is a big draw as a major in our colleges and universities. How do you view Art Therapy?
CHRIS PARADIS: I feel that I study art therapy every day of my life — as I focus on the archetypes and use them in a direct way to learn and grow in my human experience. I have not read a great deal on the subject — but the Stephen Mitchell translation of The Tao Te Ching changed my life in college particularly his translation of 'verse' 27. I've been meaning to look at his new work — rings true to me. My definitions of art therapy as far as writing goes brings us back to the fool's circle: 0 to the journal keeping and free writing. As far as blocks go: I guess 'block' is more of an archetype in itself in my mind. Why am I stuck on this point? How can this stuck place transform me and what am needing to learn from this moment? There are layers upon layers — but you must see that I am a beginner and endings frighten me: though we have little deaths every day and put our perceptions into welcome caves or paradigms — hope that's a good little chat for you!
Cynthia Tedesco is the author of, Letters Found After ... a book of poetry published by Sesquin Press, `97. Her work has appeared in such literary journals as Apex of The M, Barrow Street, The Columbia Poetry Review amongst many others. A short story, Suitcases is archived within the on-line Review, Archipelago. She has edited for Barrow Street and other journals as well as co-hosting a poetry reading series in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Cynthia is currently working on building her tarot practice, 'Intuitive Arts Entertainment' and foresees being a life-time student of The Tarot School.
the Rock n' Roll Tarot, and the Circus Tarot, Copyright Chris Paradis