I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Mindy Sommers, creator of the The Dreaming in Color Luman Deck.. In this oracle, both the images and card meanings are divinely channeled--serving as a multi-dimensional tool for awareness.
Janet: Hello Mindy! How did the Dreaming In Color deck come about?
Mindy: I have wanted to create an oracle deck for a long time. I have long been fascinated with tarot, having started to read as a pre-teen. It came very naturally to me; in fact, I remember reading for strangers at a restaurant (just working for tips) and more than one person pointed a finger at me and said, "you're scary." I don't remember the exact moment I decided to shape my art into a deck of cards, but I do know that the reactions that people had to my art had a great deal to do with it. I kept hearing how the imagery actually made people feel better--more serene, less stressed, less sad; after so many people told me the work had healing properties, I decided I should start to believe it. The rest was a natural progression.
Janet: How long did it take you to complete your deck?
Mindy: The artwork represents about four years; the meanings a few weeks, and the actual logistics of putting together the deck, about four months.
Janet: How does your creative process work? Are those fractals I'm seeing?
Mindy: Yes. Since I use fractals as a jumping off point, I often (but not always) start with a fractal, or a couple of them. I play with my fractal generator until I am entranced by a shape, or color, or a series of them. At that point, I can see in my mind where I want to go with the image, and what I want to do with it. I hone in on what has grabbed my attention, and then start a process of what fractalists call "zooming" or coming in closer--almost as if you have a magnifying glass or microscope. I can literally spend hours just zooming--and then cropping--the image before I even start to work with it in earnest. I then take the "raw" fractal into Photoshop, and I may spend anywhere from 6 to 60 hours changing the image until it looks almost nothing like the original fractal, but is consonant with my own vision. I do this through a personal process I have developed over the years that includes hand-painting, filtering, distorting, etc.--applying and reapplying these techniques until what I saw in my mind initially appears on my screen.
Janet: I admit some of my favorite cards in your deck, aesthetically speaking, are the red and black ones that deal with what many consider "negative" emotions: hate and anger. You seem to have unusual spiritual insight into these emotions--especially to make their cards so beautiful. In your opinion, what are the "gifts" inherent in the states of hate or anger?
Mindy: Anger has a lot of personal baggage for me. I have considered anger a luxury for most of my life because I was taught that I should never get angry--that it was an ugly and destructive emotion and should be avoided at all costs. And it did cost me. My mom was like Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, so my father didn't want to see any displays of anger or drama. Because of that, I grew up swallowing anger and not letting myself express it or even feel it. That's not healthy, and that's probably why I over-ate...but that's another interview! Anger should never be a luxury; it's a very normal and healthy part of being human. I think this is a big issue for me because I was never allowed to have normal human anger; I had to thwart it, and when you thwart emotion it finds other ways--nasty ways--to seep out. Like that writer once said, "when one is not true to oneself, the body rebels". Everything rebels, and anger is part of being true to oneself. The same goes for hate. We all hate. Few of us are saints. It's just a matter of how we process the emotion that counts.
Janet: I read you took a trip to the well-known psychic community at Lily Dale, NY. What happened there?
Mindy: Lily Dale is a magical place. Everything is purple, which, of course, made me feel at home! (My whole house is comprised of different shades of purple.) Even the critters at Lily Dale are unusual; they have squirrels that are actually unafraid of people. A squirrel came right up to me and it was as if it wanted to be patted on the head. I had a reading with one of Lily Dale's best-known and highly respected matriarchs, Sherry Lee Caulkins, who I kept in touch with after my trip. Like Doreen Virtue (and Sherry Lee was responsible for bringing Ms. Virtue to Lily Dale), Sherry Lee is well-known for her channeling work with angels. She draws an image with pastels during your reading, creating imagery she is given by the angels or she sees in her mind--images that are pregnant with meaning to the seeker for whom she's reading. In my case, the first thing she sketched was happy little green peapods, and boy, that got my attention because my main business and website is called Peapod Design.
After I told her about the deck I was working on, Sherry Lee strongly urged me to channel the meanings myself. I had, in fact, decided to have a professional medium do it. But she insisted the angels wanted me to do it, and that it was, in fact, a necessary part of my spiritual growth and that the cards were meant to have special healing properties. These cards were going to help people, she told me, and I had to open myself up to get the meanings through channeling. Sherry Lee assured me the angels were very involved with these cards, and that they were getting frustrated with me because I wasn't hearing them. Even after this advice, I was still unconvinced, doubting in my ability to channel. So I continued with my plans to have a professional do it. A few intense astral projections--events where I was gently but firmly scolded--were enough to convince me that Sherry Lee was someone I needed to listen to.
Janet: For those unfamiliar with channeling, would you explain how it works in your case?
Mindy: I think a lot of people assume that in order to channel, you need to go into a trance and start speaking in tongues. It's not like that. It's a question of clearing your head and waiting for the "click." Okay, that sounds crazy, but that's how it is. The "click" is when you're in what my husband calls, "The Zone", or, in other words, when you are calm and receiving. It's sort of how you know the guy you're dating is the one you're going to marry; it's a quiet, serene knowing. The "click" is the knowing. When I channeled these meanings, I first heard all kinds of discordant crap in my head-- my regular rooftop chatter--and I realized that I needed to quiet down and clear my mind because nothing I was writing seemed inspired or special. The words just come, I type them, and I know right away they're from someplace outside myself.
Janet: I find your two card spread fascinating--and incredibly powerful. Would you mind sharing how this works? For example, let's say I draw the Indulgence card and the Journey card.
Mindy: The two card spread is approached by melding the two messages intuitively. When I have the two cards in front of me, it's almost as if they are telling me a little mini-story. In the case of Indulgence and Journey, I would probably be more apt to take the message figuratively than literally (the way I interpret it would ultimately depend on who I was reading for, and what other impressions I was picking up from the person's energy). But as a hypothetical example, my kneejerk reaction to those two cards together is a message geared toward someone who is finally (and maybe for the first time, in a serious way) dealing with issues of indulgence in a head-on fashion. In other words, an addictive behavior (food, drugs, alcohol, an unhealthy relationship addiction) that caused long term or even lifelong pain is being finally confronted head on, and more in a spiritual way (sating spiritual hunger, so to speak) than in an intellectual or therapized way.
I would also sense a kind of loneliness in this process, because even though this person may have loving support around them, this is not an issue where another's input can really impact, because it's such a personal process or journey, and the individual has to go it alone to achieve any growth or wisdom or change. Nobody else, unless they have been there themselves, can really understand what this particular kind of pain can be like, so to a degree, there is a sense of isolation...but not in a bad way, just in a solitary way that empowers and strengthens....even though that "aloneness" may seem scary at first. I would take those two cards as a very powerful message, a heads up that my life may never be the same again because for whatever reason, my self-destructive or defeating behavior is finally going to be peeled away at its very core and I am going to be able to for the first time control what is inside.
Janet: Mindy, what is the highest compliment that someone could pay you regarding this oracle?
Mindy: Oh, that is such a great question! You know, as an artist, usually nothing is as satisfying as when people tell me how much they love my art. That really makes me feel great. But that's not what makes my heart glow inside. A woman who lost her husband very recently wrote to me, and she is in a tormented grieving process. The pain is so fresh, and you could actually feel the agony in the words she wrote. She told me that the deck gave her comfort and hope, and that the messages resonated with her on a very core level. That was the highest compliment someone could pay me, because that is the most precious part of this whole process: having an opportunity to help people--maybe even soothe them and give them comfort. There's nothing more rewarding than that.
Janet: There is no doubt in my mind, Mindy, that your deck will do exactly that. Thank you so much for sharing with us!
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