Today, we're talking about one of the newest additions to the Two Sides Tarot stable, the beautiful and powerful Nature Nurture oracle deck.
If you've been around here for more than a few minutes, you probably know that I'm a big fan of artist and intuitive, Marcella Kroll. "Big fan" probably doesn't quite cover it; maybe over-excited fangirl gets a little closer!
A few years back, Marcella created the iconic Sacred Symbols oracle deck (I talked to her about that deck here), and since then she's been reading cards, changing lives, and working her ass off to raise funds and awareness for several vital environmental and social justice concerns. Marcella is the kind of spiritual leader who walks her talk, always ready to speak up in service of love and justice, and this shines through as much in her divination work as it does in her work as an activist.
Yes, ok, I am fangirling. But look at this beautiful, radiant angel!
Earlier this year, Marcella created a new oracle deck, Nature Nurture, a sort-of follow up to Sacred Symbols, but very much its own beast. Of course, I wanted to hear all about it, and so Marcella kindly offered her time to tell us the story of how Nature Nurture came to be.
Brace yourself, there are psychic crystal skulls!
Congrats on the publication of your new deck! Could you tell us a little about what the Nature Nurture oracle is and how it works?
The Nature Nurture Oracle is a divination deck featuring animals, nature, and archetypes that might soon be extinct if humanity continues consuming and abusing our resources, as well as forgetting where we come from.
So the cards have a dual purpose. While one might get a personal reading and benefit from the messages, the subjects painted in the cards will also be given some recognition and healing as well.
I've heard that you had an unusual champion for the creation of this deck! Could you tell us a little about how the Nature Nurture oracle deck came to be, and what the process of creation was like?
In the spring of 2016 I received a psychic hit (aka message) informing me that I would create another deck. I had no idea at the time how it would happen. So I just let go of the idea since it wasn't something I had been planning. Also since I was having some health challenges that needed to be addressed, it hadn't become a priority.
That summer I was psychically pulled to a metaphysical shop in Los Angeles (where I live). It felt like I was energetically summoned to go to this place, even though I had no intention of going there that day. When I arrived I was greeted by an ancient crystal skull 💀 named Einstein. He was there giving readings with his guardian Carolyn.
In the reading they informed that I was to not give up on my creation because it would help contribute to the Earth's healing. It was powerful to say, but it took me another 6 months to get to work. After a gruelling few months of getting my health on track, getting sober, and becoming heavily involved in organising raising funds for a couple of key political movements I crashed.
Over the course of January and February 2017 I hand drew all of the cards, wrote the booklet meanings, and taught myself photoshop to graphically lay them out and design them. To get them printed I applied for a loan through Kiva.org which is a fantastic non-profit that allows others to support small business and creators all over the world. Through that generosity I have been able to print the first edition and get them out into the world. A magical and humbling experience.
Your previous deck, Sacred Symbols, is very much a favourite here at Two Sides Tarot! How would you say your art and your ideas have evolved between Sacred Symbols and this new deck?
Well for one, I'm not homeless. Sacred Symbols happened without intention really. I was homeless and bouncing around trying to figure out my purpose. I never imagined it would be something that would completely change my world. Part of creating that deck was to get these symbols that I would see repeatedly in my psychic readings out of my brain and onto paper.
I knew it was some kind of language that needed to be translated but wasn't sure how or why. Also because with the growing revival of the mystical and the current fashion trends of all things witchy, I felt it was important to offer some kind of educational aspect to the symbols and those connecting to them. The booklet is very simple, but I wanted to include a source of imagery. So folks knew what they were connecting to on a more conscious level.
Has working with Nature Nurture influenced or changed your personal spiritual practice, or your work with clients? If so, what has it brought to the table?
I have found that the Nature Nurture deck has become a staple in my readings with clients and my daily practice. It commands me to give it my full attention. Not in a bossy way, but just in a "please respect this energy message" way.
It allows me to connect in a way with clients and they connect with the cards in a more relaxed way. Most folks can recognize the imagery and have an instant sense of how to work with the energy. Allowing them to stay present moment and get the information they really need for their growth and evolution.
How would you recommend that readers work with the Nature Nurture oracle? Any pro tips?
Take your time, court it, or dive right in. I would say connect however the hell you want. Honestly I'm not a big traditionalist when it comes to divination or anything for that matter. I mean I'm self taught and don't play by rules. So do what works for you. Yes by all means read the booklet but find your own connection, and meanings if that resonates more. After all you are the interpreter.
The only other advice I would offer would be: Respect the cards, Respect your practice, Respect the space that comes with offering insight, and Respect yourself.
Now that is some good advice!
Marcella Kroll's Sacred Symbols oracle deck only recently popped onto my radar, but as soon as I saw it, it was as though a lightning bolt had struck some deep, dark part of my brain. The cards are deceptively simple, and the symbols they depict are so resonant, it's evident from only a glance how powerful they are! Diving in to the cards is for another day, though - a full review to come. Today, we're going back to the beginning and chatting to their creator, Marcella Kroll, about her work with the deck and beyond!
Photo by Diana Zalucky, for the Modern Mystics Project.
Hi Marcella, thanks so much for stopping by! By now, I think we know that you’re here because I’ve fallen head over heels in love with your Sacred Symbols oracle deck, but before we talk about that, could you tell us a little about yourself, your background, and what sort of work you do?
Hey! Thank you so much, I’m so happy you dig them. My full-time profession is my Spiritual Healing Practice. I’m a professional Empathic Medium, Metaphysical teacher, host of the podcast Saved by the Spell, and Artist.
I’d love to know, what’s the story of the Sacred Symbols deck – where did the inspiration come from, what is your intention for it, and what was your process of bringing it into being?
Over the years, I have kept sketch pads, and journals of random symbols that I have encountered during sessions I have had personally, and have given. Several years back I attempted to create a tarot deck. It was so much work and kept running into blocks when trying to draw or paint. It never flowed. After a series of gypsy caravan style, moving all of my belongings across Southern California, the Southwest, and Northern California I found myself back in Los Angeles. When I finally stood still long enough I just started painting these symbols in my notebooks.
The process of bringing it into being was certainly a channeled one. Once I started drawing and painting I didn’t stop. I should also mention I didn’t have a computer or tablet at the time, just my iPhone 3. So I did all my editing in apps. Yes apps. HA! From start to finish of writing the booklet, it took a total of 40 days to complete. Then with the help of a generous backer and graphic design friend the first pressing was created.
Once the cards were printed it was important to me to really give them a personal touch. So with each pressing I create a grid with crystals, sacred objects, and other tools with the cards in the center. On the coinciding New or Full Moon I charge the cards within this sacred space, reiki charge, anoint, and smudge each deck with the highest intention of their purpose.
How does your own oracle deck fit into the broader context of the work you do? Do you integrate the deck into any of the services you offer, whether readings, or your work with ceremony, shamanism, healing circles, teaching, your podcast, and so on?
I use this oracle deck more than I ever imagined, and not just because I created it. In combination with Tarot, in workshops, healing circles, personal ritual, and daily reflection. I feel like they continue to shift and change how I use them weekly.
Backtracking a little, could you share with us a little about your artistic background, and how that has informed and influenced the way you envisioned and created your deck?
I am a high school drop out. I was fortunate to grow up in a city (Providence, RI) where the arts were encouraged and supported. Immediately ushering me into a professional (i.e.: getting paid) artistic career. My early twenties I was professionally represented and selling illustrations, and silkscreened posters by commission. I did some painting but my style was heavy on the illustrative side. I’ve never played by the rules of how you are supposed to create or go about having a career. I guess that’s how the cards came to being too. By just following my gut and going for it when my psychic channel opened me up to do it.
As much as you feel comfortable sharing it, what roles do tarot and oracles have in your own spiritual practice, and how has working with your own art – both making the deck and reading with it – influenced and shaped your personal spiritual and creative journeys?
For the first 27 years of my life, these two worlds (the psychic and the creative) were completely separate. I never imagined my spiritual work becoming ya know, my work. So marrying the two has been a feat in and of itself. They were different aspects of myself. Often the creative representing my Shadow, and the Spiritual repping my Light. To bring the two together in this way has shifted the idea of separatism on my path, and continuing to challenge my former beliefs that they couldn’t coexist. It’s often challenging but at the same time I thoroughly enjoy. I feel that it’s another aspect that I’m learning about to help others have the same kind of understanding of all their sides, to help find fulfilment in this lifetime.
Apart from your own inspired creation, are there any other decks you love to work with? Have they been an influence on your own deck creation process?
I currently love working with the Golden Dawn Tarot. Other cards I find influential and fascinating are the Medicine Cards, Thoth deck, Sacred Rebels, Tarot Nefetari, the Greenwood Tarot, and on and on and on…I could keep going really.
Finally, do you have any advice, guidance, or insider tips for working with the Sacred Symbols oracle?
Treat the cards well and they will treat you well too. It’s really an energetic tool and relationship that can grow alongside of you. Also don’t be afraid to go outside the meaning of the booklet inside. The book of meanings is brief for this reason. So you can develop your own personal system. Also, allow yourself to have fun with them.
As well as being the mastermind behind the Sacred Symbols deck, Marcella is an artist and spiritual healer, with an impressive resume that ranges from mediumship to shamanism, reiki to curanderismo. You can find out more about Marcella at her website, or follow her on instagram.