my ongoing tarot series that I started in October 2022.
this project will likely take me.... my whole life!
(or let’s hope only the next few years)

this deck will include 78 works of art, including 4 suits (wands, swords, cups, pentacles) + the Major Arcana.

wands — suit of fire, energy, willpower, passion, creativity.
illustrating wands as beams of light: the feeling of creating. fire comes from within.
spring: birth of consciousness. days.

swords — suit of air, thought.
knowledge is power, learning how to wield the power of the mind.
winter: cold truth. weeks.

cups — suit of water, emotions + intuition.
no cup will be duplicated to signify the complexity of our emotions.
summer: overflowing abundance. months.

pentacles — suit of earth, the physical realm, the ground we stand on, our resilience, responsibility, and reliability.
physical body, resources, finances.
autumn: harvest of the earth; seeds being sown. years.

these works encompass the spirit world that has always lived with me in an artform that allows me to share it with the world.
the sketches are pentel pencil in a pocket moleskine sketchbook, to be later translated digitally.
I’ve been intuitively illustrating these based upon the themes I’m focused on in my own life and work nonconsecutively in my sketchbook to create the sketchbook spreads.
the expansion of this project will likely go beyond the card artworks and I will be using this page as an active documentation of this process.

poem written 11/07/2022:

abida (Arabic: عبيدة) — the one who worships

in the journey of reclaiming my gifts, reconnecting to my sense of self,
i’m continually haunted by my mind.

there’s the question that follows me,
who do I worship?

I was raised in a strictly Catholic household, to worship the biblical God,
attending Catholic teachings after regular school every Wednesday.
I counted the rosary beads over and over and over,
but then it was the time for my Confirmation,
and I remember how it felt so wrong,

my world was constantly crashing around me.

an abandoned child, never experiencing love,
who do I worship?
when I was faced with abuse that I don’t speak of, where was the God I prayed to?

but i’m still trying — trying, trying, trying.
who do I worship?

then I fell in love.

I thought I found myself in love,
I thought I was in a place I could hide the mess of my mind and I locked it shut,

who do I worship?

then it opened.
my pandora’s box of deceit, of repression,
my secrets to unfold in front of me,
the loose ends of my life finding their way back around telling me to clean up,
don’t live like this.
pulling on my threads until I am unwound, creating a vulnerability that I am unwilling to share.

I thought I found myself,
but I was more lost than ever,
who do I worship?

I found myself alone.
did I project my pain to the ones I loved most?
push and pushed them away with the darkness of my mind.
if you could play the games i’ve played.
I’ve started to pick up the pieces to my puzzle,
flipping them over to make sense of it.
I think of the ones i’ve loved and lost, but have a tendency to forget those who remain by my side.

it’s hard to share my mind,
my heart,
my soul,
what i’ve seen,
what I think i’ve seen,
what I can hear,
is it real?

when all feels lost, the truth seeker still asks:
who do I worship?
myself, I must worship myself.

and with that I present my tarot.
the worshipper’s tarot.

︎ content

© abida khan 2023
let’s connect  — ︎ ︎ ︎ ︎ ︎
designer based in Houston, TX︎