If you follow me on social media (which you can be clicking here and here), you'll know I've become slightly obsessed with The Starchild Tarot, a hotly-anticipated deck by Canadian artist, designer, and modern-mystical goddess Danielle Noel. I don't believe in love at first sight, but the second I opened the gorgeous box and placed my hands on the deck, I fell pretty hard. Everything from the subtle colors to the mystical imagery to the size and card stock resonated with me in a way I hadn't felt in a really long time. After some powerful New Moon readings and one too many Instagram shots, I reached out to Danielle for a Tarot-view and she so graciously accepted my invite. Read on to find out why this deck has already stolen the hearts of so many Tarot readers, including mine!
For starters, where are you from? Where are you now? How did you get there?
I am originally from Victoria, located on Vancouver island, British Columbia (Canada), but now live in the small surf town of Tofino, located on the west coast of the island. In 2007, after attending school and traveling around Scotland for a year, I returned to Canada to continue working on my art degree, then decided it would be best to travel again (in the middle of it), so my partner and I moved to the small town of Petchaburi in Thailand, where we both taught and explored the surrounding countries for one year. Traveling quickly became a love, and I found myself returning home as a changed person. From there I completed my art and teaching degrees, taught for three years, and now find myself going back to pursuing a career as a full time artist and designer, which has been the most satisfying and soul searching journey of all.
What’s your artistic background?
I have been getting my hands messy with creating things for as long as I can remember. I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by an array of wonderful artists and family members as a child, who constantly inspired me to create. My grandfather was an extremely talented portrait artist, who was the first person to teach me how to draw and understand perspective. My mother’s closest friend is also an amazing expressionist painter, so I have a lot of fond memories of sketching and painting with her, surrounded by wildflowers and natural landscapes when I was still small enough to barely reach the easel. Making art and taking art classes was always my favorite pastime and it hasn't changed since then. For the most part, I was self taught, but as an adult I completed a Fine Arts degree with a focus on visual art and design, and also dabbled with experimental film and documentary production while attending film school in Scotland. I would say I am strongest with illustration, photography, and design, as these are the outlets I love the most.
I have also been working as a graphic designer for the past few years, and have a metaphysical jewelry company with my closest friend, entitled, zaleska. Digital illustration and collage have always been my main areas of focus with working, so when I realized I could integrate my own photography and design, I started creating magical dreamscapes and portraits of friends and family members. From here, I made individual Tarot art prints, but hadn’t fully realized that I was planting a seed that would eventually become The Starchild Tarot. This was close to several years ago, and as I now look back on the body of work I have created, I can see that my style and inspirations haven't changed very much. I’ve just become more versed in the softwares and tools available to designers, which has helped me translate the images and ideas that are constantly filtering through my mind.
What lead you to Tarot? Is it something you’ve always done or were you called to it later in life?
I have been interested in the tarot since about the age of twelve, when I found my first deck at a local flea market. This was The Aquarian Tarot by David Palladini. When I first looked through the images of the cards, my mind was blown! His illustrations were magical, beautiful, and stirred a new passion for magic within me. This deck was the catalyst that also made me fall in love with Art Deco and Art Nouveau illustration and design, which is something I have integrated into the cover of The Starchild Tarot box. Since then, I have been collecting various decks, learning their inherent meanings, and educating myself on reading for others through course work and practice. I love the process of reading the cards, and the self empowerment that comes with this magic. So I guess you could say, the Tarot has always been a familiar friend in my life, and I have watched my relationship with it transform and grow over the years.
Tell me about The Starchild Tarot. How did you come up with the concept?
The Starchild Tarot represents the culmination of many years of experimenting with a variety of artistic formats. I have been creating tarot card images since I was a young teenager, with the constant desire and plan to complete an entire deck of my own when the time was right. I first started off by illustrating a deck by hand with a blank tarot I had purchased, but didn’t have time to finish this since I was distracted with life, working, and trying to get by in my early twenties.
The years went on, but I always knew that what I really wanted, was to create a unique deck that touched on the themes and topics that really interested me, which I hadn’t really seen expressed anywhere else. It was to be a tool for transformation and self-healing, with imagery that translated certain messages that were poignant and true to the energetic shift that I believe is occurring at this time. With The Starchild Tarot, many of the visuals were channeled - these working closely with the accompanying book that I wrote for the cards. Sometimes the words for the interpretations would come through at first, while at other times, I would create an image then add the words shortly afterwards. It was extremely important to me that I write the book myself (which is what caused the deck to take almost a year longer to produce), as there were certain concepts I wanted to explain throughout the card descriptions and chapters. Some of these include information on Starseeds, your Higher Self, self-healing with the tarot, and how to use the cards as a tool for meditation. The art touches on a lot of my own illustration, photography, and painting styles, with the background images developed from my own photographs throughout my travels to various magical and sacred locations around the world.
I also have a strong love for portrait photography, and a fascination with the human form, so I included many of my own photographs of friends and family members to create the characters, as well as the integration of images from models and light workers who sent me shots of themselves to be transformed into the cards. This was a blessing, because I was able to make some amazing connections with some wonderful people throughout this process, who I am also working with for my next upcoming decks. The style of the cards also touches on my own love for analog and polaroid photography, and the techniques I have used over the years with hand tinting prints. I was very specific about the color themes, as these were to also connect with the layers (sometimes hidden) of sacred geometry and energetic and mystical symbology that correlate with many of the cards. The retro-futuristic style for many of the images goes hand-in-hand with the Starchild theme, which also comes from my own love for science fiction and 1960s psychedelic film and design. The Starchild Tarot is basically a visual mix of inspiration from my love of certain topics, historical styles, mystery schools, and transformational and spiritual elements. More than anything, the images have been made to connect with each viewer, and open up channels for personal awakening.
Does the deck follow the standard Rider-Waite-Smith tradition or did you work to develop your own?
The deck does follow the Rider-Waite-Smith and Thoth formats in some ways, but I developed the inherent meanings of the cards with my own approach. I knew there were certain cards I wanted to change throughout the Major Arcana, and that the pentacles would become crystals. I also wanted to include the traditional suits, since I love working with these, and knew I could transform them in a unique way that connected with the overall theme of the deck. I think they compliment the cards very well, as they help each reader with interpreting the meanings much easier, while also working with some of the more abstract visuals I have created.
One of the most important aspects of this deck is also the transformational approach to the card meanings - I really wanted to maintain the underlying interpretations of the Rider-Waite descriptions, but shift them in a way that was more personable and enlightening. That is not to say that this deck is all rainbows and sugar-coated. The light and dark elements are most definitely highlighted (shadow work included), however, I wrote each card the way I intuitively thought was right - as if I were speaking to each reader with the utmost care, support, and integrity. Essentially it is a modern deck that touches on the traditional formats, with a multidimensional approach that extends into the cosmos, and higher aspects of Consciousness. It has a happy medium of both ancient and new schools of thought.
What does the deck have that makes it a different, must-have for readers?
It is unique in that it was made as a tool for spiritual learning, self-healing, and personal and collective ascension. I think for many people, some of the topics covered throughout this deck will be new and possibly a bit “out there”, but for others it will hit home, and work as a fantastic release in their day-to-day lives. The visuals have many layers of symbols, sacred geometry, and esoteric motifs that work to connect with the internal states of consciousness and higher frequencies that are always surrounding us. With these connections, the viewers can awaken inner healing, and the clearing of energetic blockages that come through those moments of understanding. I know for myself, there is a strong meditative experience that comes with using these cards, in that they are often so on point that I have to remind myself that there is a certain magic at play that is much bigger than me. We are all essentially connected to this, and the cards help me understand that. The images are also very unique in the themes and styles that they contain.
For the deck itself, the cards feel magical in your hands, and the box, cards, and book are of the highest production quality. That, and I believe they are well priced for a collectors deck of this standard. The book is full-length (147 pages), and has a lot of information for both new and more advanced readers out there. It was really important to me that I include everything that I would want in a guidebook, as I was always sort of discouraged with the minimalist books that would come with some decks. I wanted to make sure each reader had the best experience with my deck, since I have put so much love, energy, and years of dedication into this project. I am so grateful for the amazing feedback I have been receiving from people from all around the world.
What do you hope for the future of this deck?
My biggest hope is that its readers will find themselves feeling genuinely helped and supported with these cards. The feedback so far has been utterly amazing, and reading emails from those who are connecting with the deck’s intuitive and transformational capabilities has made me feel like I’ve already accomplished everything I’ve needed to do with its intention. The second edition version will be coming out in the not so distant future, with a new box, some new cards, additional chapters in the book, and more spreads to explore. I am also currently working on an oracle deck, and The Moonchild Tarot, which is the shadow companion to The Starchild Tarot. It will be a grounding, vintage-styled deck that explores Moon magic, Ancient Egyptian art deco motifs, and the ancient mystery schools with which I have always been so fascinated with. These cards also emulate the feel of antique cabinet card photographs, and explore aspects of shadow work, the divine feminine, and Druidry.
Any advice for aspiring tarot artists?
One of the most amazing things about the Tarot in this day and age, is that there is such a variety of decks on the market, that there is really something out there for just about everyone (as everyone may have different tastes). If you are aspiring to make a deck, find a niche that connects with you and give it your heart. I don’t think there is any right or wrong way of making a deck if it is something that you are truly passionate about. If you have good intentions and your heart is in the right place, and you truly enjoy what you are doing (not for ego’s sake), I think people will really pick up on the magic you are creating. It takes dedication and belief in what you are doing. Don’t be discouraged by the naysayers and fear based thinking out there. There will always be adversity, but the key is to learn how to walk a path of love and light in all that you do and put out into the universe. There are lots of self-publishing options out there, and many companies that are more than open to looking at new work for those who are wanting to get published.
If someone is interested in a reading or purchasing any of your work, how can they get a hold of you?
The Starchild Tarot can be purchased through the website, along with tarot readings from me, art prints of the tarot, and other fun printed items (bags, pillows, wall tapestries etc…)
my website is: www.starchildtarot.com
To see the Moonchild Tarot so far, you can check out:
my email is: email@example.com
To see ZALESKA you can go to: