The best part of the Many Moons publications is getting to collaborate with one-of-a-kind magic makers. For the November Full Moon of the 2020 Many Moons Lunar Planner, Mary Evans of Spirit Speak gifted us an exercise on harmonizing with the Shadow. Mary Evans is an intuitive artist hailing from the small town of Franklin, Tennessee. In recent years, her work has focused on developing Tarot
and Oracle Decks that can be used as tools for self reflection and healing. In her practice, Mary honors craft as a form of expression that is accessible to many, and empowers others to experiment with their natural intuition and abilities to help themselves and others.
Learn more about Mary below:
Hi Mary! You have created many many Tarot and Oracle decks! I’m in awe of your productivity. What was one important lesson that making all of these decks taught you?
Thank you! I like to keep busy :). In the process of making all the decks I learned how to view my work in an interactive context. Creating a tool, rather than a work to be observed, changed everything. I became less concerned with the aesthetic content of my art, and more interested in how I could cultivate a language. As my work expands I see the presence of this influence. Everything I make speaks from a visual vocabulary I developed in making the Spirit Speak decks.
For your November Full Moon contribution to the planner, you offered readers a way to work with a symbolic talisman of some aspect of their shadow. How has art making helped you confront your shadow?
Creating tactile aspects of my shadow self has been a powerful experience. My first project, a giant stuffed doll named Frank, represented my eating disorder—a shadow that has followed me for decades. He has become a popular figure in my home. When my friends come over they all greet him, snuggle him, and take selfies with him. The shadow is part of me, and instead of dismissing it or trying to rid myself of it, I now interact with this shadow everyday. Every time I see my friends give him love, I remember that is what my shadow needs. Sometimes it’s difficult, sometimes these shadow creations frighten me when we are alone in my home. But ultimately I am glad that we are having a conversation and keep checking in on each other. It is easier to dismiss the challenging parts of myself when I can bury them in my mind. Having a physical reminder keeps me present in my process.
I know from the social medias, that you are in the middle of a transition—experimenting with other forms of art, possibly moving in a new direction altogether. Can you talk about what one of the challenges of change has been? What have been some of the gifts?
This past year I have dedicated myself to my art practice in efforts to apply for my MFA degree. The academic world feels like a very different audience in comparison to social media platforms. I have had difficulties feeling confident in my new work. I question how it relates to my work with Spirit Speak, and how it is or is not relevant to share. My decks are also a lot easier to access and interact with than my sculptural or large painting pieces. I think I am exploring right now, but my goal is to continue making my work accessible. The value of fine art depends on exclusivity and that is something I don’t believe in. If the goal of your work is to help others or create social-political change it must be circulated and easily accessible. Right now things are fluid and shifting and that is challenging for me, but with each challenge I confront in my work it pushes me to be direct about the purpose of my practice.
What is your current favorite Moon phase? Why?
I love when the Moon is New. I was born close to a New Moon and I always feel most at peace then. The Full Moon is way too much for me. I try to always stay home when the Moon is Full and when I don’t I regret it. I have also been paying attention to when the Moon is void of course. When the Moon is void of course it is an opportunity for me to take a deep breath and confront any difficult matters that need to be addressed. They seem less activated when the Moon is void of course.
What are a couple of things (anything, a record, something you are learning) that you are excited about? Why?
I have been really into The Alphabet vs the Goddess by Leonard Slain. That book has changed my life forever. The work of Hilma Af Klint has been incredibly impactful to me. I was experimenting with automatic drawing before I learned of her work. When I saw her retrospective at the Guggenheim it was fascinating to see the parallels in shape and symbol that I had been receiving from my guides.
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