This week for Tea and Tarot, where I chat with some of my favourite Tarot people over virtual tea and cake, I was joined by Pamela Steele. Got a question you'd like me to ask my next guest? Email me on email@example.com.
Born when the earth was still cooling, in what is now Oklahoma, has given Pamela time to accomplish very little. Her primary passions involve her children, grandchildren, family, horses, dragons, art and of course, Tarot though not in any particular order. She has worked as a horse trainer, bar tender, oil field worker, farm hand, graphic artist, fine artist, event organizer, professional tarot reader and a massage therapist. She has also taught art, tarot and tribal belly dance through the local college and the public library.
Pamela founded and ran a local street fair for 5 years in the early to mid-1980’s until the local merchants pissed her off and she shut it down. She is one of the founders of the local Brooks Medieval Faire which is in its 14th year. Pamela currently resides in Brooks, Alberta, Canada with her favorite husband and Boo, her cat. She is a citizen of both Canada and the US. Pamela is not fond of, and avoids at all costs, clowns, garlic, wheat bread and obnoxious people. You can book a reading or check out her decks at steelewizard.com
Hi Pamela! Thanks for joining me today. Let’s get the most important question out of the way first shall we? What’s your favourite cake?
Good choice! You have been an artist, author and Tarot reader for many years. Which interest came first for you?
I have to go with art for this one. I’ve been drawing since my earliest memory. It was always something straight out of my head and 90% of the time involved a horse or horses and dragons. Yes, definitely dragons.
Ah yes, who doesn't love dragons! What was your inspiration for Steele Wizard Tarot?
From the first (RWS) tarot I obtained, it seemed to me to be incomplete. In fact, when I mentioned the deck seemed to be missing some cards, my cousin, Maya Heath, had a bit of a hissy fit until she’d gone through the entire deck and pronounced it whole. I wasn’t buying it and started naming off the cards that were (IMHO) missing. She glared at me and told me to “just read the damned cards!” So I did. Twenty years later she called me to say her (then) publisher wanted to print a tarot and suggested I get the one in my head out and onto paper or canvas. Again, I did.
I'm glad you did! I have to ask though, what led you to choose to add the extra cards that are in the deck, bringing the total to 88?
Going on my original impression of my first tarot, I knew I needed “more” information. I always felt a bit like I was guessing at times. It evolved with adding the Weaver, The Universe, Truth, Soul Twins (No, not another card for Lovers. Soul Twins represent your Shadow Self. It’s all about embracing the Shadows. ) Evolution and I AM were the most obvious choices to me. It was all about moving beyond duality into the realm of pure Spirit. At first I stopped at the Universe. But it didn’t feel finished. I met another reader shortly after and out of the blue she turned to me and said “You need 4 more cards. You need 88. It’s a master number.” Then she suggested the elements, which I found redundant at best. Three nights later I woke up at 2 am with the final 4 in my head. So I got up and giggled for about an hour while I sketched and took notes.
As for the Maidens, my first impression was “What? No card for young women?” And no, I wasn’t buying the Page being able to fulfil that role. So Maidens were added to the Courts. Once I started writing the book I realized they represented the potential of each suit, therefore the Seeker’s unfulfilled or ignored potential. You get the idea.
The Maidens are a refreshing change from Page or Princess I think. Are you planning on designing any more decks in the future?
Actually, I released the Wizard’s Pets Tarot-The ABC’s a couple years ago at my granddaughter’s request for a tarot. It’s a RWS clone using cartoon dragons and characters I started in 1984. All the ‘scary’ has been watered down to “Aw, that’s so cute!” so no one (including her other grandmother the Mormon) can accuse her of dabbling in witchcraft. As well, I’m working on the Eternal Seeker-Tarot Inspired Oracle. It will be released as a 33 card oracle until I can get the rest finished…if I live that long!