Thea Wirsching grew up with Tarot cards as playthings, specifically those from the Tarot of the Witches that was featured in the James Bond film, Live and Let Die. She didn’t begin to study Tarot seriously until she “accidentally” signed up for a Tarot-intensive tour of Egypt that was co-led by Mary Greer. Thea’s graduate work in literature at the University of California paved her path to the Egyptian mysteries. One book in particular, the Afrocentric fantasy, Of One Blood; or, The Hidden Self by Pauline Hopkins, seemed to open the door to the repressed history of American esotericism, and it was on this idea, of books that open secret doors, that Thea based the argument of her PhD dissertation. She spent many years of her life researching ritual brotherhoods in strange libraries, and perhaps an equal number of years doing “field work” in Hermetic philosophy in her private life.
One day, when Thea was busy not having a job following the completion of her doctorate, she was reading the cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s book about the Tarot and the “spiritual teacher in the cards.” It was Jodorowsky’s description of the archetype of the High Priestess that opened the door to the waking vision of The American Renaissance Tarot that unfolded over the next three days. Thea recorded the vision and then conducted the research and writing for the project while working variously as an astrologer, natural perfume rep, adjunct professor, and new Mom. She fervently desires to awaken you to the epic weirdness of America’s spiritual history. Inquiries about The American Renaissance Tarot may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A midwesterner by birth, Celeste graduated from North Central College in Illinois with a major in English and a minor in Studio Art. She recently received national media attention for an illustrated series that imagined 90s animated TV characters as adults. Much freelance work and several high-profile gallery shows have followed upon this burst of fame. Her gift for portraiture and a special interest in iconography make a Tarot deck a natural next project, and she brings to each sketch a strong graphic style that yet incorporates an array of fine art elements. Her artistic inspiration flows from contemporary fashion and costume design, and she particularly enjoys the genre of graphic memoir. Her favorite American novel is Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Keep up with her most recent work at celestedoodles.tumblr.com.