Tarot of the QTPOC Interview: Alia Shanti Gumbo of the Dream Awake Tarot
Blessings! Please share with us a bit about yourself!
Peace and Love! I am Alia Shanti Gumbo, Georgia native and the second eldest of seven children. I love twerking to awkward music (like the iPhone ringtone); as well as, wild foraging for local delights and then, taking those discovered items and making masterpieces.
I share much of my philosophy by edutaining through mediums of art, music, play, and vulnerability--imparting how we can live fuller richer lives in service to each other and this sacred home we call earth by actively practicing the art of sankofa; so we do not relive the mistakes of our past.
I care deeply for myself and am presently nurturing all the places within me that had been traumatized during my childhood--reinstalling new software into my hard drive if you will, by allowing myself to be guided by my ancestors.
This sacred walk led me to curate the Dream Awake Tarot experience to assist with establishing a meaningful and reverent spiritual practice while also creating a platform for the practitioner to design their own special view of tarot and how it functions in their life.
How did you discover the Tarot?
Tarot was delivered to me via a great friend of mine as a gift; although, I didn’t take it seriously until I took a group class with the Voyager deck creator, James Wanless. James’s class popped my cherry and I immediately went into his educational course to explore tarot more intimately for myself.
What are you drawn to in a tarot or oracle deck? Any favorites (other than your own of course!) you’re working with?
I don’t have a favorite deck BUT the Mystic Art Medicine Deck by Cher Lyn is a psychedelic trip! It hits you at home with every card you pull!
I do enjoy the art and imagination in Poppy Palin’s Everyday Enchantment Tarot as well. I love how she reveals the unseen world within what is commonly seen.
One of the most influential decks I have ever had the pleasure of working with was the New Orleans Voodoo Deck. This particular deck taught me about the art of inclusiveness that is infused into the fabric of vodun. It was incredibly empowering to observe reminding me that enslavement could not silence the spiritual vibratory frequency of our ancestors and that although energies had to be assigned to saints, everyone knew what it was and commenced with practicing as per usual.
This deck also allowed me to tap into the energy of ancestor Marie Laveau, I was even led to name my business baby Kongo Square Foundation in reverence of the culture, commerce, and community that the present day Congo Square in New Orleans was founded upon.
What are your favorite and least favorite Tarot cards and why?
Each card animates the entire body of the tarot system; therefore, I don’t have a favorite or least favorite. For example, I need my heart to circulate blood and lungs to cycle airflow and oxygenate the blood that my heart pumps because together, they participate in the healthy functioning of my body.
What was the inspiration behind the Dream Awake tarot?
To be honest still have no earthly idea with the f&*k I am doing; however, because I am sensitive to the energy that guides my life, I was able to tune in and turn on, in order to surrender to the birthing process of being a calabash for this influential project that is beyond me.
I will say that my breadth of work from teaching dance, yoga, make up artistry, photography, graphic design, authorship, and esoteric studies all lend themselves to this sacred work. Simply put, this deck chose me to be its mother and allowed my natural + learned skills to breathe life into its physical manifestation.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to add a quick and cute prayer for us all as we embark upon peeling back all of the layers to reveal our why. We are in place of mass awakening to the truth that we all co-create this reality together.