Claire Goodchild is a tarot goddess. She creates her own tarot decks under the brand Black and the Moon that have a mix of original illustrations and restored antique medical images to create just the right look. She features a combination of elements, astrology, and a little science in our favorite form: the skeleton.
Her three decks include Arcana of Astrology, Antique Anatomy, and Oracle of Oddities. If their names alone aren't enough to lure you in, each has a unique focus. Arcana of Astrology features celestial phenomena such as constellations, zodiac, eclipses, asteroids, and moon phases. I love the simplicity and color of this deck.
Antique Anatomy features a scientific study of the human body with exquisitely detailed illustrations. Last but certainly not least, (this one might be my favorite!) Oracle of Oddities features components of the human form, bones, and flora and fauna all coupled in a beautiful arrangement.
Claire has been the recipient of much recognition for her unique work. She was kind enough to grant us the opportunity to learn about her work and process. Read on to learn what she has to say.
Elizabeth Mikutowicz: This might be a chicken first or egg first scenario, but what came first, your interest in art and illustration or your interest in tarot and astrology?
Claire Goodchild: My interest in the occult and all things ethereal definitely came first. It's hard to pinpoint the actual moment, but I was obsessed with this JJ Swiss Tarot deck my mother had purchased when I was a toddler. I insisted on carrying cards with me everywhere and sleeping with them under my pillow. I ended up losing a lot of them, drawing on them and doing what children do. She's never really forgiven me for it.
I didn't have an interest in art until after High School, and my plan was never to start my own business or work as an illustrator. I am actually a classically trained photographer and my background is film and television production.
EM: How interesting that you were drawn to the cards and imagery on the cards even as a child though!
Your Antique Anatomy and Oracle of Oddities decks are both totally unique, and both integrate skeletons into the arcana. What has influenced and inspired this combination?
CG: I always enjoyed doing collage work in my off time, and I was having trouble finding Tarot decks that really spoke to me - so that's how they were born. There was no "A-ha" moment unfortunately, which doesn't create some fantastical backstory. Maybe I should make one up? Really that's how my entire company started, I disliked a lot of what I was seeing in art and I figured other people were feeling the same.
EM: That sounds like a pretty magical genesis to me! I immediately appreciated the imagery in your decks because it are so unique and such a departure from what we see in most tarot decks.
Where did you first learn to do readings?
CG: My best-friend Cindy is who turned me on to doing readings actually. My focus was more Astrology based, so I would say the initial credit has to go to her as my teacher. Over time I was able to incorporate the two worlds in my personal readings and it's exciting to see others starting to do the same.
. image by @ritual_provisions .
EM: That is exciting, that you're starting to see your imprint on something that is so important to you.
Do you have a favorite or go to style of reading?
CG: I do! I always check my current Astrology transits for my birth chart before and sometimes after doing a reading. It helps me set focus for what I need guidance on, but also helps me pinpoint what they are trying to tell me when I'm just not connecting to a reading. As for spreads, I am really into the Celtic Cross or making them up as I go.
EM: I never thought about making it up as I go, but I love the idea of letting the cards speak to you and just going with the flow.
How does integrating tarot into your life impact you; what does it represent or provide for you?
CG: I would be pretty lost without my tarot practice. I suffer from PTSD and waves of a disorder called Cyclothymia (a type of minor bipolar disorder). I use it as a form of personal therapy (important to note, it should never be used in place of traditional therapy) and a way to start my day. I was a very rebellious child and teenager and I still often act without thinking, so it helps keep me in check.
I think Tarot has actually helped soften me a bit and allowed me to understand themes and feelings that are universal for all of us.
EM: Remarkable that you've been able to leverage tarot help you grow as a person and balance your daily life. I think this speaks to the fact that to some extent, we can create our own forms of therapy, religion, meditation, or whatever it is that we need in our daily lives, by making meaning connections with things that hold value for us.
You have 3 tarot decks and and numerous prints available, what's next for Black and the Moon?
CG: I think my main focus for the foreseeable future is The Arcana of Astrology. It's such a personal project for me and I want to see how far I can take it in terms of a new system and way of doing Oracle reading. I have a laundry list of things I want to accomplish, but I would also really like to write a book on incorporating Astrology, Tarot and other spiritual practices into daily life.
EM: Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your passion with us Claire!
. image by @mothsandscorpions .
Here's a question to our readers: How do you integrate tarot into your lives now, or how would you like to integrate tarot into your life if you haven't already?