My lovely friend Monicka Clio Sakki is the creator of the self-published Sakki-Sakki Tarot (2004), and she's also a self-described “self-starter artist, illustrator, designer, educator, author, inspirer, tarotist, publisher, and a professional color whisperer and creativity courier.” Indeed! As many of you know, the Sakki-Sakki Tarot is one of my all-time favorite decks. Over time, I’ve discovered that the Sakki-Sakki is especially well-suited for artistic, creative, and business questions, so it fits my life perfectly at the moment. Therefore, it was a dream come true for me when Monicka agreed to do this interview.
We began corresponding back in 2004 when she first published her deck; I had to reach out to her because her deck resonated with me in a way that no other deck had up to that point. As I pointed out in my last post, my first deck was the Thoth Tarot. My discomfort with it led me on a quest to find a deck that felt right to me and spoke to me, and that deck was the Sakki-Sakki Tarot...
Q. We were both inadvertently ‘inspired’ by the Thoth deck, in that we were both afraid of it. For myself, I was inspired to find brighter, more welcoming decks that had a sense of humor but still a strong sense of symbology and tradition. Eventually, it led me to your deck of course! Did you have this sense of playfulness and humor when you were designing your deck?
A. Oh yeah...Thoth. I found it incredibly magnetic and scary at the same time. I think that if I had found a deck then that fulfilled my needs, maybe I wouldn't have created mine. So I am very happy this deck scared the hell out of me!
Humor and play can't hide. I don't know if I looked for them intentionally as I didn't aim for a cartoon-like or humorist deck. The truth comes out anyway, especially when you don't take yourself too seriously! I love to amuse and surprise myself in the process of my work.
Q. How long did it take to create your deck from start to finish? Is there a time of day when you’re at your creative best?
A. It took me three years to complete. I can be creative at any time when I have peace, quiet and no distractions. Yet, many times I worked on it at Starbucks...
Q. You created a 79th card for your deck called The Artist. What does that card mean to you?
A. The Artist card holds the theme of the deck and it seems to be the theme of my own life too. That was not the intent from the beginning though. The Artist card was born through a sequence of events and it gets more meaning every day. As you know I have looked into, and identified the three creative powers and one of them is the Artist-Creator. This does not refer to the occupation of an artist, but in the way we see our inspiration for everything we create: Artists-Creators need to first birth their creation to be able to see what that is and looks like. There is no definite knowing, no preview or sneak peak before the doing takes place. So while working on the deck, things started emerging in a way they could not be ignored. I have gone through a long journey of denying and embracing this identity of mine, and it still goes on. It always will. This is my personal theme and my message, too. There are no accidents...
(For more on this, please click here: http://sakki-sakki.com/the-artist-the-79th-discovery/ )
Q. Are there cards that you would go back and revise now if you were to publish a second edition?
A. The deck is a limited edition, so there would never be a second edition, only something related, if it was to happen.
And I definitely have my dreams about that–-I’d love to play with the heads: to switch some of them, and add a few to headless bodies. Maybe then I’ll have to take off some others to still keep the headless people philosophy. On the other hand, maybe the next evolution is to put heads on everyone, making them whole in a new way. This is something I have been thinking a lot about.
This is where self-publishing is most powerful. I get to decide!! Definitely a big dilemma...which may be the reason I will create something completely different and not related altogether!
Q. Your personal Sakki-Sakki deck shows signs of being well-loved…how do you like to use your deck these days?
A. Oh, you have a good eye that you noticed that! The truth is that it only recently started showing the work it has done. Sometimes I think to crack open a new one, before I have none left, but you know how it is with well-used ones: they carry history, memories. They have seen what you have seen...you want to keep their patina and wisdom.
I usually draw a daily card, and occasionally for additional insights on matters I am debating about. I do readings for myself mostly on my keyboard. This is my creative shrine!
Q. You once had me read for you with the Sakki-Sakki, which was simultaneously amazing and intimidating all at once! I’m so grateful that you gave me that opportunity. Do you personally use any other Tarot decks, or are there others out there that you admire?
A. There are many I admire but not so much use. Since my kids were born, all my decks are hidden somewhere safely. I don't get to open them, look at them, use them, or expand my collection. In some ways I am completely “out of the game,” but I feel it's calling me back...the Spirit Speak Tarot, the Circo Tarot and the Oracle of Oddities have recently grabbed my eye.
My top favorites are what I call “First” decks where you feel the creator's search and process to mastery, card after card; where their uncompromised vision and evolution unfold together. You need to see every card in the deck to really see it! The first edition of The Tarot of Prague gave me that feeling and was a huge inspiration for mine.
Q. I immediately fell in love with your deck for its colors, humor, and playfulness. And I want to point something out that's also very important to me for its practicality: the size of the cards! I have small hands, and I find it so much easier to shuffle and work with your deck. Was this a conscious choice on your part?
A. Hehe...once in a forum I read a comment about "small hands" and it stuck with me. The cards are not really smaller only narrower. It was a decision dictated by production issues–the width of the very special card stock it was printed on. I was happy to shrink them a bit, and I thought they looked more elegant that way. I enjoy their size too, and I have my dad's huge hands, if you know what I mean!
Q. What does color mean to you?
A. Everything. It is the heart of my work, of everything I produce. Besides being a color lover, and a colorist in my work I am also color minded, which is an entirely different thing. I don’t look at a color only for looks and energy, but also at its symbolic meanings, and at the relationships (and additional meanings) created between colors that live within a certain system.
I am currently working on a book, Colors of Creativity, where I map my insights about the creative process, and through that the evolution of my creative space. I am happy to follow this thread of continuity to wherever it takes me.
Q. Why do you think play is so important for us? What does ‘play’ mean to you?
A. Ahhhh...without knowing, you know where to shoot your arrows TarotMama! You are extracting all my essence words. Play.
I have a long history with Play. I was always fascinated by it, although I myself wasn't playing that much. For example, I created an epic chess set but I hardly ever play chess...my role was more about “creating play.” Nevertheless, it's how I approach my creative work. This is what the process feels like to me, and it’s beyond “having fun.” Play brings joy, pleasure, amusement and invites you to try things without commitment. It lets you taste the possibilities. While at play, risk is not an issue. Play allows for expansion without taking yourself too seriously. It invites laughter and imperfection. Play is essential for every creative and developmental work. No play, no fly.
These days I play with colors, I play with cards, I play with Lego, I play with my kids' collectible figurines, and I play out characters as I am creating my self-portraits. Play takes off the edge and delivers magic!
Q. Which card is your favorite one in the deck? Which card would be your significator, the one that represents you in a reading?
A. My fave card is the World, which is also my number, 21, but I have more favorites....
My significator? The Artist, of course!
Q. Which card is your least favorite? Which one makes you groan when it turns up?
A. Well. Least favorite for a creator is one thing, and makes me groan when it turns up in a reading is another...let's just say that both would be from the suit of swords, and leave it at that...
Q. You've inspired me to want to create my own deck someday. What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking about creating their own deck?
A. This is the most exciting news!!! So honored to have inspired that in you. I now know that this WILL happen…
Advice? Don’t make the creation of a deck an item on your bucket list. Start playing, try different imagery and different meanings, and keep doing that till you reach the point of no return.
If you are not already a seasoned reader, don’t feel intimidated by the need to know the meanings. By committing to study the Tarot and to develop your own interpretations, you discover yourself through it, and this is how you contribute to the collective wisdom. You can’t go wrong with this one!"
Please leave a comment or question below, and I also suggest that you visit her website because it's full of goodies: http://sakki-sakki.com/ Enjoy!
Monicka, thank you for being my guest and for sharing your wisdom so generously with all of us!
My thoughts on Tarot...
Written especially with the beginner in mind!