Healing with Art from the Hand of ‘Mari in the Sky’
The creator of the The Gentle Tarot, Mariza Ryce Aparicio-Tovar, will present her new oracle deck, called Fire, next February. Additionally, she is creating a musical album exploring colonialism called 600 Years, with support from the Rasmuson Foundation. Mari resides in Anchor Point, with her husband. Sol de Medianoche talks with her.
Tell us a little about your origin?
I was born in Santa Paula, California. My family emigrated from Zacatecas, Mexico, and I am part of the first generation to be born in the United States. My relatives worked as farmers in Ventura County, California.
How does being an artist come about in you?
My family is very artistic. It is made up of painters, poets, and musicians. To be an artist allows you to create, in any form, always. It’s like medicine for the soul.
What type of art do you make?
The art I make is mostly digital art. I utilize an iPad using the Procreate app. I started in 2019 when I was 33 years old. This year, I started my art business, while working for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, on the weekends I sold prints, postcards and magnets to tourists arriving on cruise ships to Unalaska. The museum (Museum of the Aleutians) supported me a lot also and they continue to support my work.
What is The Gentle Tarot?
It offers a new tarot experience, with changes to the traditional form. These changes invite a meaningful connection with our environment and, in a subtle way, decolonize the practice of tarot. Eliminates all patriarchal and colonial symbolism while it encourages the individual to feel confident in their power and their ability to improve themselves. The physical details of texture and very vivid colors, as well as the intellectual and poetic details in the guide, were carried out prioritizing mental health.
Why did you decide to do this type of tarot?
I never found a deck that truly reflected my practice, without violent images and colonial symbols. I had also never seen decks with a diversity of skin colors and for me representation is very important.
Are you a tarot reader?
No, it’s a question I get asked a lot. For me, tarot has always been an intimate practice of self-reflection. I read it with friends or with my partner, but I never use it for divination.
What benefits does your Gentle Tarot offer people?
People have told me that it helped them during very difficult times such as the loss of loved ones or very serious changes where they needed support and hope. Also, I’m told it helps them connect with themselves and their own mental health maintenance practices.
What musical work are you currently doing?
I am recording an album called 600 Years. Thanks to support from the Rasmuson Foundation. After almost seven years of not creating and healing with sound, this album explores how colonialism and displacement have impacted my immediate family. It is a solo album where I use my voice and various acoustic, ceremonial, and digital instruments. I hope to share it publicly this summer.
What plans do you have in the short term?
I am working on a new deck that is an oracle to accompany The Gentle Tarot. I am going to create an oracle inspired by each element. The first is fire and the topic is how to navigate times of internal and external change. I am very excited about this new work, and I hope to complete it in February or March of this year.
The ‘Gentle Tarot’ guide is available in Spanish.