Why the Sugar Tarot is called the Sugar Tarot?
There was a time when I did not even dream of becoming a Tarot reader...
It was fine to read for myself and my friends, even when I knew sometimes they did not want a reading. My deck will come with me everywhere and, at the first glimpse of an opportunity, I will take it out. Only with friends I trusted, of course. For the rest, I was still in the infamous ‘woo woo closet’, a closet crammed with people from the whole, amazing witchy spectrum. The ones that listened to what Lisa Lister calls The Call in her book Witch. Oh yeah, the call that makes you learn Tarot and you tell everyone you are just researching for a book you are writing. Oh yeah, that Call.
I am a very visual person, intensely so, and I decided to start drawing a deck to deepen my knowledge on Tarot by drawing it. Secretly I dreamed of being able to print it one day to sell a few copies or just give them away as Christmas presents to all my friends and relatives. But I needed a theme, a subject matter for my deck that just wasn’t like everybody else’s. I wanted something different, something which would not feed in the hierarchy of feudal societies, fixed archetypes of gender binary etc. of traditional Tarot decks. I wanted genderless approach; I wanted only symbols – the same symbols I craved to make my own, absorbing them till they became part of my blood.
I don’t know how I came up with the idea. It was winter and winter memories always look blurry to me. But I had the ideas to base my Tarot deck in the Mexican ‘calaveras de azúcar'. I did not want to make a Mexican theme deck or appropriate myself of their traditions. In honest truth, I started drawing this deck for myself and, for myself, I called it ‘The Sugar Tarot’ or ‘El Tarot de Azúcar'. The name just came to me, and I did not question it. The skulls provided me with a blank and genderless canvas to go deeper with Tarot. Not only were they genderless, but they were also exempt of age, class and even ‘beauty’ - the culturally constructed concepts of beauty of course.
My friend Barb said she liked the name. To her, it presented Tarot as something far more open, sweet and welcoming, away from the misunderstood extended notion of Tarot as something ‘scary’.
I opened an Instagram account to force myself to not abandon my little project, to continue showing images and, therefore, making them. But that Instagram account grew into something else, I found my tribe, a supportive community of people going through a very similar journey. I found my path and, after studying and practising Tarot for a long time, the Sugar Tarot became a reality in the form of a new enterprise. From September 29 (2017) I will start offering professional tarot readings. In other words, I will be full out the closet, shamelessly, openly and fiercely.
What exactly are sugar skulls?
Carved in sugar since approximately the 17th century, skulls or calaveras are given as gifts or place in altars as an offering during El Día de los Muertos (November 2). Sugar skulls will be carved to represent and honour family members who have passed away. Also, other sugar skulls are eaten. The origin of this tradition started with Mesoamerican cultures. They believe in death being just a transition into a new cycle, and they will place skulls (real or cranes- depending on the source) in an altar called Tzompantli. With the Spanish Conquista, all the prehispanic traditions were banned. But many traditions resisted by being disguised within Catholic holidays. El día de los Muertos happens during the traditional Día de los Difuntos o de Todos los Muertos (All Saints). It's believe was a Spanish technique to work the sugar into Candy, alfeñique, was introduced to start using this ‘sweet’ alternative to the original ritual.