Art of the Tarot: Eliza Swann

“I am obsessed with the idea of art being used as a healing tool.”

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For Eliza Swann, the tarot is both an art form and a practice of healing, of therapy, and of self-discovery. To visit her studio is to step into the center where the three meet, offering a haven of support and enlightenment. An interdisciplinary artist, Swann works as a tarot reader, blending her own art work into the craft and merging the two worlds for an ultimately transcendent spiritual bag of tricks. A friend of mine had suggested I meet Swann after having her own cards read and describing her experience as “very, very amazing.” This friend being generally rational and prone to a cynical eye, I took the word as golden and contacted this highly recommended tarot reader.

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And she was “very, very amazing”. The reading was spot on in a million ways, but most surprisingly, it was incredibly therapeutic. Swann, also a trained hypnotist, walks you through your current state of emotional affairs and helps you seek clarity. She assigns you homework, as therapists sometimes do, and offers insights which friends (who generally know too much) cannot. The thing that differentiates her particular breed of therapy is (obviously) that giant tarot deck sitting in between the two of you. And, while she isn’t out to capitalize on potential psychic abilities, she seems to somehow know just a little more than a therapist might, while offering a psychological support system driven by more spiritual aims. I’m not saying she’s a therapist (although she did suggest I see one!) but a reading with Swann transcends, like her art, the expected. And with her artwork running alongside her spiritual endeavors, she’s not one to miss.

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“Follow Me” is just one sample of some of her visual work. The photos above are stills taken from the karaoke video made in collaboration with London-based sculptor Emma Corrall in 2013. The song taken from French singer Amanda Lear, the video was made for CKTV, an artist’s karaoke video program which was featured at BAM last April. As a visual artist, Swann is heavily motivated by performance. Although untrained, she often acts as a choreographer, directing talent in a way that serves a visual purpose, bringing otherwise two dimensional work to life. Similarly, the tarot serves an interpersonal purpose when utilized as an artistic way of exploring one’s own spiritual plane. Tarot, choreography, poetry, video, painting- all forms of artistic expression are met with the same end goal: “an investigation into the vastness of consciousness.” She supports her visual work with her Tarot practice, just as her Tarot practice feeds her visual work, inspiring and motivating while simultaneously supplying direction. In some ways, the Tarot is a catalyst. It provides a framework from which art can naturally and organically materialize. Art is in itself a spiritual practice. To exercise that side of life is only to enhance your own work. And with that in mind, Swann continues to share the love, offering lessons as well as readings for a reasonable cost. To find out more, visit Swann at Body Actualized on February 9th in Brooklyn. She’ll be teaching a class on the Tarot, helping those out of the know to learn more about this potential healing tool and creative enabler which might just become the catalyst for your own work, artistic or otherwise.

text by: The WILD

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