The Jade Oracle deck has been painstakingly researched, checked, and cross-checked. It has been our goal as the creators of the deck to make a spiritual tool with with great energetic power that is also historically accurate. We wanted to honor the ancient history of the Mesoamerican people by staying true to the knowledge that is available about this beautiful culture. The writers of the deck, Anne Key & Veronica Iglesias, spent many hours on each deity gathering detailed information, sifting out discrepancies and honing in on the most significant aspects of each character.
My job as the artist was to work with the research and sample images provided to me to create an image for each card. Most of these were fairly simple to create since I only had to draw replicas of famous ancient statues, murals, and codices. For example, you can see in the image below that the artwork for Mictlancihuatl & Mictlantecuhtli looks very similar to the reference image beside it. I tried to keep a consistent and attractive style throughout the deck, while adhering to the original historical artwork closely.
My assignment got tricky when I got to the goddess Malinalxochitl. Malinalxochitl is a wise woman, a leader who confronts the patriarchy. She represents the magic and strength in the spirit of the Goddess. She is the heart of the people, leading ceremony and connecting with the energy of the land. The difficulty with illustrating her card is that there were no preserved images of her on record. There is plenty of writing about her, and even descriptions of her – but no pictures or statues from which I could draw reference. So I was faced with the challenging task of creating an image out of the void – an image that would look authentic and evoke the energy of Malinalxochitl.
My process of summoning this goddess began to unfold. I began as I always do by pouring through the research provided to me by Anne & Veronica. After my left brain was sufficiently prepared, I connected to the right hemisphere – the instinctual, feeling side. I lit a candle and burned some copal and palo santo incense. I took several centering breaths and tuned into my body, my art supplies, my place in time. And then I asked for the spirit of Malinalxochitl to come and assist me. I asked her to be with me and guide me in illustrating the perfect image to reflect her essence. And then, I surrendered into trust. I accepted whatever flowed through me as I began to sketch the deity.
Before too long, she came into form. I traced the lines in ink, solidifying Malinalxochitl’s new image. Then I colored her in with colored pencil, following flashes of guidance, colors in my mind’s eye… always trusting the goddess was showing me the way, showing me how she wanted to be seen. Upon completion, I gave a humble thanks to Malinalxochitl for the great gift of drawing her. I blessed the work again with sacred incense, and placed a rose quartz crystal on her heart to charge the drawing overnight.
As the creators, we care deeply about The Jade Oracle being a genuine reflection of the ancient Mesoamerican culture. While the image for Malinalxochitl (and a few other cards) had to be uniquely created for the deck, we sincerely hope that the artwork has captured the spirit of the deity and will be embraced as a powerful tool for connecting with the energy of this ancient wise woman.