Rebecca Schoenecker is a colleague I’ve enjoyed following for several years, and whom I’ve also hosted on the blog before (if you haven’t checked out the post Five Tarot Experts Explain How Tarot Works, definitely bookmark it and have a look). Rebecca is not only a tarot reader; she is also a talented musician and artist. She is the creator of the Laughing Eye Weeping Eye Tarot. So I was pretty excited when I recently learned she’s releasing an oracle deck after “four years of painting, writing, perfecting”.
Her new deck, Creatures of the Moon, is beautiful to look at but also intriguing, as it is double-sided and uses creature totems and cycles of the moon for divination. I wanted to know more, so I asked. Take it away, Rebecca!
Can you tell us a little about Creature totems? What are they, why are they helpful in divination, and how did you come up with the ones you used on your deck?
Totems are personal emblems that identify areas of spiritual growth. I use the word “Creatures,” because insects, animals, and mythical beings all appear in this deck together. Someone using this deck can select a Creature totem blindly, or purposefully if there is something specific they need to work on.
Like people, Creatures have their own strengths, weaknesses, and talents which we can learn from. Divination means awareness of the unknown, or exploration of what is uncertain. Creatures can show us ourselves, but also others surrounding us, situations, and what energy we are dealing with; just as the tarot does.
I have found Creatures to be incredible guides and teachers. My interest in creating this deck grew from my own interactions with various Creatures. I found certain Creatures appearing in my life persistently, and each echoed my present situation and had a message to share. These Creatures led me back to magic, a door I had been looking to reopen after many years.
Where did the idea for a double-sided deck come from? Are the sides mutually exclusive or do they correspond to each other?
I worked with an amazing project coach, writer, and editor named Jamie Morris when I finished the paintings for the deck. Originally, the deck was a one-sided Creature and Moon deck. The idea to make it double-sided came after talking with Jamie about how Creatures and Moon work together. I realized that while they worked together, (we are all influenced by the Moon), both Creature and Moon had so much to say! Moon told me it wanted its own card side, so it could be fully honored and heard for its own message.
I did a lot of research and thinking about the Moon’s energy throughout the full cycle. In deciding how to pair each Creature with one day of the Cycle, I thought about the energy of the Moon between new, waxing, full, and waning. I chose to pair Creatures with a Moon day that I felt corresponded with their energy. Numerology for Moon day numbers was also a consideration.
So, in a reading, you can read both Moon and Creature card-sides as two layers of information and advice for one inquiry. Deck users can also choose to focus a reading on using Creatures or Moon only.
Tell us about writing the so-called “little white book” for this deck – which isn’t actually little or white at all! Seriously, 308 pages is amazing! What was that process like?
Writing this book was an amazingly beautiful, inspirational, and insomnia-ridden experience. Sometimes I felt it wasn’t my book at all, that the ideas were coming from Moon and Creatures and Goddess and I was just the servant. Sometimes I got so excited about new connections and insights that I couldn’t sleep. Or sometimes I had a problem to work out about Moon and I couldn’t stop thinking about the solution. It was a wonderful experience but it was also challenging.
My original concept for the book was for it to be more of an illuminated manuscript with original fairy tales. But, once I got deeper into thinking about Moon, I realized I needed practical information for the reader. I also decided to add rituals, reflective prompts, Moon and Goddess info, and mythology and cultural information for Creatures. So, with all of those things the book quickly turned into a massive project!
For anyone who is totally unfamiliar with the cycles of the moon, what do you mean when you say this deck can “allow one to fully tap into the lunar cycle and harness its power”?
We have all heard something said about the wildness that can be felt on full Moon nights. Moon affects the earth’s gravitational pull, which is most obviously seen in the ocean’s changing tides. Our bodies are filled with water, and we are impacted, too.
So, there are physical changes in our reality because of the Moon, but also, this fluctuation in energy impacts us on a personal level. This project takes into account the fact that Moon has power and influence. I explain what the different aspects of the Moon are throughout its phase. I also have rituals and phase information that allow the reader and deck user to see how the cycle of the Moon reflects not only a shorter period of fluctuation in one lunar month, but life’s larger cycles. Like Moon, we experience life, death, and rebirth physically and also symbolically throughout our lives.
How does this deck complement your work with tarot, and how can it complement the work that tarot readers do with their clients or for themselves?
I love tarot, but sometimes it’s good to bring in new tools to readings! I have found that a lot of people resonate with Moon and Creatures. Most people have a personal experience with Moon, or an animal that resonates with them. It’s something familiar. The tarot has a lot of complex symbols and card names, and sometimes, challenging or darker imagery. I find that the Creatures and Moon soften the reading and provide added inspiration and insight.
Multiple Moon and Creature cards can show various people or aspects of a situation. Seeing how Creatures interact (or avoid each other altogether) tells us something about the circumstances. Moon energy in opposing versus complementary aspects of the phases is also revealing. And Moon also has its own advice to give, too.
You can do a full reading from the deck, just as you can with tarot cards. There are signature spreads for the deck, and additional ideas on spreads you can create. I have found this deck to be great for people of all ages and wonderful to use in lieu of, or in addition to tarot readings.
My thanks to Rebecca for her insights here and for her contributions to our community. You can pre-order the deck now at Rebecca’s shop.