Carmen Loup is a non-binary humorologist, illustrator of Tarot in Space, and creator of The Audacity sci-fi novel and comic book series. They hold a BFA in animation from SCAD, Savannah, but they promise not to use it. Carmen has been writing seriously since 2007 and funnily since 2015. They grew up on Monty Python, Douglas Adams, and Red Dwarf and then grew young on Alan Watts, Suzuki, and Tao te Ching. They write Technicolor speculative fiction with a dedication to optimism and good humour that shines through even ridiculously horrible situations. Tarot in Space: Cosmic Zen, A striking celestial alien deck with layers of story, symbology, and secret codes.
Kickstarter: Tarot in Space: Cosmic Zen
Ever feel like you don't belong to this world?
May is a human found in space. Join her on her journey of self discovery through the cosmos in this final iteration of Tarot in Space: Cosmic Zen. Taken in by Xan, alien disaster queer, May finds through the Fool's journey that the best way to get to understand yourself is to be flung into outer-space and given a racing rocket. You, of course, get to do this vicariously through her!
• Share a little about yourself
Where do you rest your head at night?
I’m in Savannah, GA. I graduated SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) in 2017 with a BFA in Animation, and I love the historical buildings and small businesses in Savannah so much that I decided to stay and start a business of my own!
• What was your first ever Tarot deck and how did you come to own/use it?
The Halloween Tarot was my first ever deck, but I had borrowed a RWS deck from the escape room I worked in. We used to do party readings for the guests, and it was a quick way to pick up a few extra bucks. When I got my own deck, I fell in love with Tarot and started to illustrate cards for myself which taught me a great deal.
• Why Tarot?
What about this modality calls to you most?
Tarot is like a grid on the wibbly-wobbly unknowableness of existence, and I love a good grid. It’s the spiritual equivalent of a spreadsheet! I am predisposed to logic above intuition, and Tarot helpfully eases my logical mind enough for me to tap into the intuition. It was the first thing I really understood on my spiritual journey, so it will always be special to me!
• What is/was your most recent Tarot project?
I’m currently running a Kickstarter to fund the printing of Tarot in Space: Cosmic Zen, a deck which blends cosmic wisdom with story-telling and code-cracking. Each card is hand-drawn and full of symbology, both traditional and new!
• Tell us about the cards: the technical and specifics?
Tarot in Space is very carefully modernized, because I adore the RWS deck so much, I didn’t want to change too much. The Osho Zen is a very inspiring deck for me, so I have taken a few cues from that deck and combined them with a more traditional RWS set up. Instead of strictly gendered cards, I’ve focused on the Yin/Yang terminology, so all the Queens become Night Captains and the Kings are Day Captains. You’ll see lots of subtle references to sci-fi classics, from Metroplis to Star Trek and even some science-fact such as Laika, the real-life space dog, in The Moon!
• Can you share a little on the process of your deck and its creation?
Each card is drawn by hand in Procreate on an iPad. I start with a few thumbnails, tiny sketches that get the ideas out onto paper, then I begin to draw a clean under-sketch, lay down solid “ink” lines, then layer upon layer of colour and fine details. This process takes 5-7 hours for each card!
While you’ll see all the traditional imagery you’re used to, the subject of every card is one of many complex characters who show up in more than one card, so reading the guidebook will open another level of understanding to each card and give more depth to readings!
I also created an alien code to be cracked! Each card contains a hidden message and the guidebook has a chart to translate the alien lettering into English.
• What decisions were made when deciding upon the aesthetic and design for your deck?
I’ve been honing my personal art style for over a decade, taking a wide array of influences such as The Jetsons, She-Ra, and several comic-book artists and blending them into one. Colour is extremely important to me, so I have sued it to separate the suits from each other. Every suit has its own colour pallet that makes reading the cards quick and easy. I believe colours are extremely intuitive and can immediately spark feelings and connect with intuition.
• Do you have a favourite card from the deck - and why?
In this deck, I’m very partial to the Two of Comets (Cups) because its subject is my main alien communicator, Xan. It really captures an energy that I just love to work with!
• What message do you hope your deck will convey to its audience?
The journey of the Fool is very dear to me, the twists and turns of the Fool’s Journey as they go through the Major Arcana, always pushing towards enlightenment in The World (The Universe in this deck) card and then circling back around to be the Fool again. This deck is very focused on mental health in that it encourages us to move through each card, avoiding stuck energy, accepting where we are, and letting it all go. A lot of Taoist philosophy sneaks into the guidebook and the symbology in the deck, promoting balance and gentle movement. There’s also a lot of humour, because I believe that if life is taken with a bit of humour, it’s much more enjoyable.
• How can people find you and your deck?
It will be available for pre-order on Kickstarter until April 15th, 2022. After that, if it gets funded, I will have it on my website at CarmenLoup.com!
Here is the link to the Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lauraloup/tarot-in-space-cosmic-zen?ref=bzb1s5
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