Sky is not only a wonderful new addition to our team at Gaia, but she is also a skilled tarot reader & talented visual artist!
Please enjoy our interview with Sky as she discusses why she reads tarot, how she got started, whether it's bad luck or not to buy your own tarot deck & how she incorporates her interest in the metaphysical realm to her artistry.
Gaia: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your background, where you're from...
Sky: I grew up in Northern Ontario in a small town called North Bay. I started my art journey being an intern for a graphic design firm and from there I designed podcast covers for Astrologers & Witches and in New York City. One of my most recent projects I created was a cover for Aliza Kelly's "Stars like us" podcast. This year, I also designed a 64 ft. mural that is currently in my hometown of North Bay.
"Stars Like Us" podcast cover for Aliza Kelly designed by Sky
Art Mural in North Bay designed by Sky
Gaia: Can you tell us about you became interested in tarot?
Sky: On Valentine's Day, when I was about 3 or 4 my mom and dad were having a fight. As a result she was pulling tarot cards for some guidance and left her Morgan Greer deck on the coffee table. I asked her what they were and she told me that they were tarot cards! I didn't really start reading tarot until I was in high school and at that time it was only casual and out of personal interest. It was actually my dad who sat me down and taught me everything I know about tarot. A little later in life, my dad and I started reading tarot professionally online as a father-daughter team!
Gaia: Why has tarot become your main practice of divination?
Sky: The reason it is my main is practice is because of my mother’s influence. After she passed away in 2015 her spirit visited me and I just felt the urge to find her original Morgan Greer deck (from the 70s). Unfortunately we realized it was burned in a fire, so I ended up buying a new version of the same deck. This is the same deck I use to this day. It connects me to my mom. It keeps me connected to the spirit world and my art. Being an artist and an intuitive, using tarot speaks to me in pictures and art. Reading tarot is formed on intuition and telling a story through the pictures you see… as a visual artist it just makes sense.
"Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck" by Kim Krans
Gaia: I know you read tarot professionally now. What are some of the most interesting things about reading for others and some of the most challenging things?
Sky: The most interesting thing about reading for others professionally is connecting with complete strangers. There is a trust formed between a reader and a client like no other. I am allowed to see deeply into their spirit which can be a very vulnerable experience for most. This makes the reading relationship VERY personal. I view my professional practice as “spiritual therapy” the more I don’t know about you the easier it is for me to form a non-biased reading. The most challenging thing I find in reading professionally is the anxiety that happens before sessions. I attest this to being a highly sensitive person. I pick up energy around me and if a client is super closed off it makes it extra difficult to do an accurate reading. Sometimes the cards just say “nope” and you gotta trust your intuition when that happens. It is also challenging when a client has no idea why they are getting a reading or have skewed ideas of what tarot is. I like to remind people who are new to the tarot experience that it isn’t like the movies and I won't tell you when you are going to die or that you are cursed ! (that tends to ease the anxiety I feel off of others who have never been read) However I do enjoy educating skeptics & new comers on how my practice works! It helps ease us both!
Sky reading a daily tarot card for our Instagram @gaia_rising_metaphysical
Gaia: What kind of impact does reading tarot for other people have on your psyche and energy? What kinds of things do you do to energetically protect yourself and re-fill your cup?
Sky: It is either extremely exhilarating and gives me energy, or reading completely depletes me. It depends reading to reading. Before each reading I douse my hands in Florida Water. I believe your hands are very magical as they were the first tools we used ever! When reading tarot you have to trust your hands and this ritual helps me to remember that while pulling cards. I also like to set the mood with candles / incense ect. to ensure I am in a calm peaceful space and that I am able to clear my mind and give good readings. When it comes to “protecting” myself while reading other people I wouldn’t say I have much of a ritual other than being aware of what are my energies and what aren’t …a good salt bath after works wonders !! just envision the water rinsing off all the stank energy or other energy from the day and you are good to go!
Gaia: Do you do your own tarot readings?
Sky: When I first started reading tarot I pulled a card for myself everyday and would do the occasional big spread for myself. This helped me connect with my decks and to the card meanings. However as the years went on it became harder and harder for me to read my own energy / cards without being extremely biased, so I find other readers to read for me now!
Gaia: What other tarot decks do you have in your collection? What are your top 3 (besides the Morgan Greer one) and why?
Sky: I am a classic kind of gal! I enjoy traditional tarot imagery and the art of the past. The rider-waite borderless has a vintage vibe and keeps to the traditional imagery which I love and is less “bright” than the original rider waite. I have a HUGE collection of cards but stick to usually only those two decks while reading, as the others I’m more drawn to as more of an art collection! Like Kim Krans 'The Wild Unknown' is one of those “pretty decks” in my collection but I just don’t connect with it intuitively for reading! The Morgan Greer deck I use is the most is based of the rider waite imagery and originally came out in the 70s. It is also borderless and nostalgic for me as it was the same tarot deck my mother read growing up, it's also the deck I used to learn tarot. Oh and I can't forget the Mythic Tarot! It is of course based on mythology and has fascinating mythological lore tied to each card! My dad also reads those cards and they have a nostalgic feeling for me as well. Turns out its in my blood to be attracted to these certain decks!
Gaia: Do you have other spiritual & divination practices? Do you care to share some of the things you do and what other paths or practices you are interested in?
Sky: I do! I have an online coven with whom I do full moon and new moon rituals with every month. I believe very deeply in moon magick and manifestation as I’ve witnessed it in my own life very powerfully! I do use tarot as a mediumship tool, as well a way to connect with passed on loved ones. I also work with pendulums, runes and I am dabbling in palmistry as of late! I truly am attracted to all things occult, magical maybe its my 12th house moon in my astrological chart or maybe its because the Moon card is my tarot birth card! Either way you never truly stop learning the tarot and I plan on continuing to add new practices to my life!
Gaia: Is it true that it is bad luck to buy your own tarot deck & that someone should gift it to you?
Sky: I love this question because I love busting myths! This is so far from being true and I hope that one day this myth disappears. It is not bad luck and no you will not be cursed if you buy your own or first deck! In fact, I recommend it! Find a deck that YOU are drawn to and do whatever the heck you want!
Gaia: What is something you are working on in developing yourself to be a better human being ?
Sky: I believe the key to becoming a better human being is to practice self awareness and courage everyday. Being self aware is extremely difficult at first but it helps you heal past traumas and grow from those experiences. You have to get uncomfortable once in a while to grow and the human experience is all about growth spiritually, emotionally and physically. I think in order to start living as your true authentic self you have to start to act with courage in everything you do! Whether that’s asking for a raise or taking that risk ! That is something I am continuously working on because the more authentic I feel, the happier I am and the energy I exude is more confident. The more content I am within myself, the more energy I have to share with and work with others. That is my goal! To be able to have the energy to help other people!
Gaia: What would be in your bag at Gaia Rising?
Sky: The Russian Gypsy Fortune Telling deck, Classic Rider Waite tarot deck , every single Lumerian Quartz I could afford! Nag champa oil & incense, Tektite (for grounding), Chani Nicolas's book "You were born for this" (astrology book) "Astrology for the soul" by Jan Spiller, Sacred Rebel Oracle Cards by Alana Fairchild and every colour of spell candle x 10 !
Make sure you check her out on Instagram for her art, tarot & other occult practices & content! @skywytch_
Christina Smith of Earthly Images is our first artist feature of the Nelson Virtual Art Walk. Christina's online & in-store art showings take place from June 25th-July 23rd.
As some of you may know we have been carrying Christina's greeting cards for many years. Rich & bright colours, beautiful heart-centered images & themes that convey a connection to Spirit, Christina's art speaks to the soul and reminds us of our connectedness to each other, the Earth & the cosmos.
Christina has had her work published several times in the We’Moon calendar produced by Mother Tongue Ink in Oregon. She has also had her work featured in ‘Reve de Femmes’ published in France, as well as in ‘The Art of Pregnancy’ by Pachamama Publishing in Oregon.
"I paint to express my reverence for the magic of Spirit in all things… When I am painting, I recognize a sense of Divinity, flowing through me."
-(www.earthlyimages.ca - Christina's Biography)
Please enjoy our interview with Christina as she talks about her creative process, where her passion & inspiration come from and much more.....
Gaia: Hi Christina, tell us a little bit about yourself. Background, where you grew up, just a brief history of YOU...
Christina: I grew up in Vancouver. My Dad traveled from New Zealand to Vancouver in his early 20’s, where he met my Mom. I moved to the Kootenays in 2004 with my partner & our first child.
Gaia: What prompted your interest in art? Were there any art pieces, or was there a moment of inspiration that compelled you to pursue becoming an artist?
Christina: I have always loved creating art. In high school I finished all my academic classes early & so, I mostly took all art classes in grade 12. That’s where I first was introduced to oil painting. After high school I traveled to New Zealand & Australia and while I was there I got this overwhelming sense that I needed to paint. Pretty much ever since then, I’ve devoted as much time as possible to painting. Sometimes I’ve had the opportunity to paint every day for 6 weeks and sometimes there’s been no time for painting for over a year.
"Awakening Inner Vision" Christina Smith
Gaia: In your bio it says that you use water-mixable oil paints. Why do you use these types of paints for your art? How does it contribute to your art style? Do you ever experiment with other mediums?
Christina: I really like oil paints. I like the way the colours blend and the way you can remove colour with the paint thinner. But when I was pregnant with my first baby, I realized it was not healthy to be breathing these paints and the solvent, and magically I discovered water mixable oil paints. So really it was a health choice for my developing baby. Water mixable oils are similar to traditional oil paints the way the colours mix & blend, but they dry faster - more like acrylic. Water is used to thin instead of toxic paint thinner. I prefer oil paints over acrylic, because I often am creating the image as I paint and oil paints can move & change easily. I personally find it hard to keep colours bright with acrylic - everything ends up grey or brown. Sometimes I like to use water colours for fun, but the water mixable oils are my favourite.
Gaia: In your creative process, do you have pre-determined ideas for pieces or would you say they are more inspired as you work on them?
Christina: In my creative process I do always have an idea to begin with. Sometimes I’m processing something wonderful or terrible in my life and as I ponder, an image will come to me. I’ll start with a rough sketch. Then I translate that onto the canvas and it begins to take on it's own life. I listen & tune in and spend a lot of time just sitting and looking at the piece, then suddenly another idea will come and the image builds itself like that. Sometimes I create for a specific theme, like for We’Moon. I think about the theme and slowly inspiration will gift me with an image. Or sometimes I have an idea or theme, but I can’t envision anything. Then I start putting paint on the canvas and watch as an image starts to manifest. It is so magical!
"Fire of transformation" Christina Smith
Gaia: What inspires your art?
Christina: I think the inspiration for my art is really just me reflecting back my acknowledgement & awe of the infinite intelligence of the Universe.
Gaia: What do you do to help get you through any creative dry spells or blocks, if you have any of them?
Christina: The biggest block to my creative process is setting aside the time for it. Sometimes I just need to decompress for a day to get into that creative space. But if a painting feels stuck, I just set it aside and work on one that is flowing. Sometimes it may take years to complete a piece because on some level, I feel like I’m waiting to be ready to “see” what needs to happen next and when the time is right, it flows!
Christina: Hmm, shopping bag at Gaia? Always Nag Champa incense, bees wax candle, natural stone earrings and a little carved statue of Kali or Ganesha.
Find Christina's painting "Unity" on display and for sale at our store!
We also carry her journals, stickers & greetings cards! Come by and check out her work in person, check out her website virtually and stay tuned for regular Nelson Virtual Artwalk posts!
Christina's website: www.earthlyimages.ca
As some of you may know we are a participating business of the KCR Friends Card Program! Photo by Jake Sherman
🐝 Meet Gerry! Local Candle Maker of Kootenay Candles!
✨Gerry has been supplying us with her beautiful, hand-made, beeswax candles for countless years. In celebration of Bee Month, our pollinator awareness month, we thought we would conduct a little interview with Gerry!
Gaia: So, tell us a little bit about YOU! Tell us about your background, experiences, other artistic endeavors you might have...
Gerry: I grew up & graduated in Creston. I moved away for about 15 years and moved Back in 1993 raised to raise my kids. I bought Kootenay Candles in 2010. Some of my favourite activities are camping, fishing, hunting, quading, quilting, card making, horseback riding and gardening.
Gaia: What prompted you to start making candles?
Gerry: I dabbled in making candles when my kids were young, but it was just for fun! My youngest opened a business here in Creston & he needed a candle supplier. He said “Mom, Kootenay Candles is for sale, you should buy it!" So I did! That was 2010 and it seems like yesterday.....
Gaia: Why is it important to you that you use beeswax for your candle making? Have you tried other waxes in making your candles & what was the result?
Gerry: I work with a lot of different types of wax. Each wax has its own special traits, but my favorite is beeswax because it is so simple. It’s a traditional wax, it has it’s own great honey smell, it is hypoallergenic, clean burning, longer lasting and has a brighter flame. But most of all for me, it’s 100% natural.
Gaia: Can you explain what “blooming” is?
*Notice the clear wax on the left side & cloudy wax on the right.
Gerry: Well “Bloom” is a good thing, it tells you that your candle is 100% beeswax. It is simply a crystal like substance that appears on the candle over time. Nothing is wrong with your candle! It adds a unique look to your candle that some people really like. If you are the type who doesn’t like the bloom, simply buff your candle with a soft cloth and it will shine like a new penny! Or if your candle has nooks and crannies, use a quick pass over with a warm blow dryer.
Gaia: What is your favourite part about candle making?
Gerry: For me it’s the art of taking something Mother Nature has given us and using it to create something else that is still in its' natural form. I have really added nothing but a wick to my candles and a new form for it to be enjoyed & appreciated in.
Gaia: What is the most challenging part of candle making?
Gerry: I guess it’s the ones that don’t turn out.. although I recycle them back into the mix, it’s a lot of work and if the temperature fluctuates or something comes out of a mold poorly, then all that time and energy was spent for nothing.
Gaia: How do you support our population of pollinators?
Gerry: I plant flowers & support local honey farms.
Gaia: What would be in your bag at Gaia Rising?
Gerry: Oh my gosh...... one of those big beautiful wind chimes!!
Make sure you stop by Gaia to see our large variety of Gerry's beautiful candles!
Check us out on Instagram @gaia_rising_metaphysical ✨
🐝All May long we are celebrating our magical pollinators!✨
Honey Bee candles has created the beautiful Peek-A-Bee candle to raise awareness about saving our bees!
All donations are given to the Honey Bee Research Centre at the University of Guelph.
To learn more about Honey Bee Research click the link below
We have a finite amount of these candles so stop & pick one up to support the cause!🕯️