This article was first published on Canvas Rebel on June 15th, 2023
We were lucky to catch up with Sasha Graham recently and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Sasha thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. What’s been the most meaningful project you’ve worked on?
My new deck “Tarot of the Witch’s Garden” is a deeply meaningful project which took shape during the turmoil of the 2020 pandemic. Gardens reflect the universe, it's cycles, rhythms,
and patterns. Gardens, even new ones, are repositories of ancient knowledge due to the human relationship to cultivating food, flowers and herbs. “Tarot of the Witch’s Garden” takes place inside a witch’s secret garden.
My mom loved wild weather and thick forests. She immersed me in nature, pastoral landscapes and her gardens no matter how much I kicked and screamed to go back inside. I rejected gardening until my own daughter was born. Suddenly, I longed to root around in the dirt and watch my daughter’s bare toes in green grass. We planted our first rows of vegetables when she was 4 years old. It felt like coming home.
My daughter and I had profound conversations inside the garden. We talked about life and death as we transplanted seedlings and pulled weeds. Time slowed down. I felt like a garden was the perfect landscape in which to craft a tarot deck, a place of magic, healing and manifestation for all those who walk through her gates. The perfect landscape for a witch!
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
Sure! I am an author, tarot deck creator, speaker, and actress. While I’m most known for my tarot books and decks, I am also known for the indie horror movies I made back in the 90’s (“Addicted to Murder,” “Polymorph,” “Bloodletting,” etc.) and indie horror films I continue to make today. I star as a deranged, Bob Barker type, game show host in a new movie called “Trivial” coming this fall. I play a doctor in a new JR Bookwalter movie called "Side Effects May Vary." I also created and host a live monthly, spooky story share in NYC called “Ghost Stories by the Fire.”
My work encourages people to dive into supernatural mystery because power resides inside of the unknown. Everyone wants to know what’s behind the curtain. Why are we here? Where did my grandma go after she died? Where was I before I was born? What’s the difference between being psychic and being intuitive?
Divination, witchcraft, horror, all give us hints of what we feel is there but don’t yet understand. Exploring the unknown is exhilarating!
In a tarot book like “Magic of Tarot,” I’m offering up every way the reader can use tarot in their life with spells, rituals, writing, journaling, yoga, contemplation, meditation, and readings. Tarot can be incorporated into all aspects of life. My tarot deck “Dark Wood Tarot” brings readers into a mythic forest landscape with dark creepy things like vampires and trolls so they can engage in powerful shadow work.
Unfolding mystery isn’t about getting definitive answers. It is about adventure and discovery. We grownups like to act like we know what we are doing. We pretend to ourselves and others that we have it all “together.” Truthfully? We have no idea what we are doing, how we got here, or where we are going. We are just oversized little kids still running around in the dark chasing fireflies.
My tarot decks, books, films and live shows offer space for a person to learn and share. Maybe it is a profound truth about themselves, a communal jump scare, or an immersive experience at one of my classes or retreats. It is always based in learning something new and always fun!
In your view, what can society to do to best support artists, creatives and a thriving creative ecosystem?
People can stop banning books and intimidating librarians! The media can stop promoting fear and anger which destroys creativity and enthusiasm. You can’t be curious if you are angry. This is why fear and anger are used as a weapons and distraction. Fear, distrust and lack keeps us locked in repetitive patterns.
Creativity isn’t just about painting or dancing. The innovation of art, humanities and science is expressing something in a new way and discovering fresh possibility. A thriving creative ecosystem offers real life solutions making life on the planet better for everyone. In a practical sense, we can begin within ourselves. Everyone’s life, no matter your job title, is a creative act.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
Being true to myself while touching other people is the best! Storytelling and tarot reading is intimate even when done communally. My work allows me to expand the boundaries of who I am, to live, taste and experience the world. Writing and speaking reminds me I’m not alone. We are all interconnected. I never want to stop playing and exploring life's mysteries.
Image Credits Bill Brady Photography
Read how Sasha combines tarot & horror in this article from Rue Morgue.