Category Archives: Dragons

Tarot of Dragons: A Mystical Adventure

By Shawn MacKenzie

Which came first, Dragons or the Tarot?

Dragons, definitely. When I was barely knee-high to a Vilnius Windwalker, I fell in love with Dragons. I mean, what kid wouldn’t? I read about them and wrote about them; I wandered with them through the wilds of Dragon Country. (On a particularly stormy day I even met Tennessee Williams there.) I’ve even collected a few, though it is not always easy to find a good Dragon these days. 

Working with the Tarot came later. I didn’t get my first deck until just after college—a classic Rider-Waite-Smith deck given to me for my 23rd birthday. That was forty-plus years ago, so you could say I’ve been living with both Dragons and the Tarot for a long time. With Tarot of Dragons I had the pleasure—and challenge—of being able to combine my knowledge and passion for both in one place.

How did the idea for a Dragon Tarot come about?

Tarot of Dragons was a gift from my publisher, Llewellyn Worldwide. Three years ago, almost to the day, my third book for them, Llewellyn’s Little Book of Dragons, was being presented at a sales conference. Barbara Moore, Tarot editor supreme, was there and liked what she saw. And she just happened to be looking for someone to do a Dragon deck; so, she asked my editor to reach out to me, see if I was interested.

Now, over the years, I’d often looked for a Dragon Tarot that spoke to me, only to be disappointed. The decks out there were, to my mind, pale or too human, with the Dragons often little more than props or decorative arm-candy. I never thought—nor had the resources—to create my own deck. To have the chance to fill the Dragon void. To create a full-fledged, intensely Dragon-centric Tarot. A deck that would merge the power and wisdom of Dragons with the mystical energy of the Tarot. On a note closer to home, Spring of 2019 was a particularly dark time for me and I desperately needed a new project. So, for reasons both personal and creative, Tarot of Dragons was an offer I couldn’t possibly refuse.

The joy of collaboration.

The one thing that gave me pause moving forward was the artwork. I could design the deck, conceptualize the cards, and write a book about them, but the actual art was lightyears beyond my capabilities. Seventy-eight cards in two-year’s time, not an easy ask. Fortunately, finding an artist was in Barbara’s hands (subject to the approval of myself and our art director), and she found the perfect person: Firat Solhan. Firat is a freelance artist from Turkey (bless the Internet!) who specializes in fantasy and sci-fi art.  

For this solo Dragon Country traveler, it was both a little daunting and very exciting to be collaborating with someone. That Firat, for whom English isn’t his first language, was able to take my (very) rough sketches and often intricate descriptions and bring them to life–what a pleasure! He would send me sketches, then I would send back comments, adjustments, notes. He would then do the final card.  

While Firat worked on the cards, I wrote the companion book, Wisdom from the Dragon Realms. A brief history of Tarot, interpretations for all the cards, some basics of Tarot reading, and Dragon-related layouts. Words—my comfort zone.

When all was done, one final check to be sure the cards synched with my text. Since Firat was working digitally, if there were any corrections to be made even at this point, they could be done without too much trouble. A far cry from the days of hand-painting. In the end, we had 78 exquisite cards. Just as I imagined them.

Not to mention a beautiful full-color book to go with them.

So, here we are, three years later with a launch just around the corner.

The Tarot of Dragons will hit bookstores in June and is currently available to preorder from LlewellynAmazon,Barnes & Noble, and bookstores and occult stores, large and small, everywhere.

Author’s bio:

Shawn MacKENZIE (Southern Vermont) is a life-long student of the strange and mysterious—myths, arts, religions, sciences, the occult—as well as all creatures, seen and unseen, real, cryptic, great, and small. In addition to Tarot of Dragons, she’s the author of The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook (OP), Dragons for BeginnersLlewellyn’s Little Book of Dragons, as well as numerous essays and fictions. Minnesotan by birth, she now lives in the shadow of the Green Mountains with nine cats, two rats, and an Amazon parrot. They are a constant inspiration. Working with the Tarot has been an integral part of her life for more than forty years. 

Shawn MacKenzie

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Filed under Dragons, Guest Writers & Bloggers, Special Events

Tarot of Dragons – The Proof is in the Dragons

You might think that a shark would never get along with a dragon. You could not be more wrong!  

Shawn MacKenzie and I have been editor pals and commiserating gals for about ten years. Without Shawn, my published poetry collection would not exist. 

Over the years, we’ve worked together on her stuff, my stuff, others’ stuff. Lots of stuff! 

Shawn is the author of The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook, Dragons for BeginnersLlewellyn’s Little Book of Dragons, and the upcoming Tarot of Dragons (about which you’ll be hearing more in the months to come), as well as numerous other fictions and essays.

A dragon-sized thank you to Shawn MacKenzie. Her Tarot of Dragons is highlighted here. 

Shared with permission from MacKenzie’s Dragon’s Nest.

By Shawn MacKenzie

I have spent the past few days in the rich landscape of Dragon Country, going over proofs for the book and cards in my upcoming Tarot of Dragons.

Thanks to the exquisite artwork of Firat Solhan and the designers at my publisher, Llewellyn, I am, quite frankly, blown away. Though still months from actually being able to hold them in hand, I just had to share a sneak peak.

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Here there be dragon lovers. And a dragon collector.

IMG_1148Dragon Lovers 

Recently, Shawn MacKenzie, of MacKenzie’s Dragons Nest, recognized me as a lover of dragons. Heck, who isn’t? You can see that post at Dragon Loyalty Claimed and Freely Given.

And, though I do love Word Sharks, I have to admit, in my heart beats a dragon.IMG_1150

Though the award carries with it a certain responsibility (name other dragon lovers, share five things that people might not know about me), I don’t like rules. The only other true dragon lover I know is Shawn. And I don’t really like to talk about me.
ShawIMG_1433n knows I love dragons – that’s one of the reasons we were drawn to each other. Another reason…Shawn is a fantastic writer, and I figured if I glommed onto her, I might learn something. Same thing goes for editing – she’s a more skilled editor than I am.

I am not only a dragon lover, I’m a dragon collector. Throughout this post you will see the general dragon theme of my new post-flood apartment. Yes, here there be dragons. Lots of them.

As I said, I don’t like to talk about myself. Not much.IMG_1724

But did you know that I learned American Sign Language while I worked at the New Mexico School for the Deaf?

Did you know that, at 57 y.o., I started to IMG_1364take tap dance lessons? Loving it!

Did you know that I have one entire bookshelf dedicated to foreign language dictionaries and books about writing and editing and grammar and punctuation?IMG_1656

Did you know that I have a collection of limericks (given to me by my beloved Aunt Ang) so raunchy I can’t read them in mixed company? Heck, I can’t even read them out loud in my own company, they are that raunchy. Though Ang and I used to read them to each other while we cackled like demented hens.IMG_1654

Did you know that Mom and Ang harped and harped on me to “Look it up?”IMG_0005

Enough about me.

Shawn’s wonderful books, The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook and Dragons for Beginners, can be found at Llewellyn.com.

IMG_1656I thank Shawn for the honor of being her #1 Dragon Lover. And I apologize for not following the rules to the letter.

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