I am raising funds to publish this unique deck of cards based on the manifestation of the many faces and forms of Tara, the Tibetan Goddess of Wisdom, Compassion and Power. In her legend, Tara was once an ordinary woman who practiced the dharma and attained enlightenment. She became a Bodhisattva (or Buddha) when she vowed to stay in the realm of suffering to help others attain enlightenment. She took a specific vow to forever arise and remain in the form of a woman. Tara became the Mother of the Tibetan people, and "The 21 Praises of Tara" is one of the most respected Tibetan sacred texts.
Following the structure of a traditional Tarot, this deck includes 22 major arcana, 16 court cards and 4 suits of elemental minor arcana. They incorporate traditional Tibetan iconography with photographic images of the beauty in the natural world. All are designed to bring the wisdom of the dharma (truth) into your readings or meditations.
Publication and Budget:
I have researched the best ways to self-publish tarot decks, and the one I hope to use is Customized Playing Cards. $5000 should cover the cost of publishing 1000 professionally printed decks wrapped in cellophane ($3.45 per deck plus $220 setup fee and shipping) and the costs of sending out incentives to donors. I have some private donors already, so I have set this goal at $4000. If I raise more, I could get a nice printed box for the cards ($4.38 per set plus $440 setup fee and shipping). The box would really make the decks more professional as it can have an ISBN on it and information about the book, etc. Copies of the deck in other languages will be published through a different publisher which allows smaller numbers (but charges more per deck). The cards will be available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.
The Tara Wisdom Cards book:
The accompanying book, which I am working on with my teacher Prema Dasara, will be available as an ebook (.pdf and on kindle) and a print-on-demand book. Neither of these require upfront capital. The book will be sold separately from the deck and will provide an valuable supplement to the cards. Translations of the book (into Spanish, Portuguese, and French) will take significantly longer as they will require outside translation.
I hope to create other products with the images of the major arcana as well. I plan to market these decks through my website and the Tara Dhatu website, as well as in more mainstream ways on Amazon, at events, etc.
A note about Buddhist lineage:
The Tara Wisdom Cards are accessible to those of any spiritual path, but the images are firmly rooted in traditional Buddhist practices. The lineage tradition of the Tara Mandala Dance was developed by Prema Dasara under the direction of several Lamas and other teachers. I have been studying with Prema and practicing Tara mantras, visualizations and dances for 18 years and am a level three teacher of the dance. The practice is based in the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. I received refuge from the Karmapa in 2001, and I have danced for and received teachings from many respected Tibetan teachers.
The background images for all of the cards came from different photographers who posted them on Flickr under the creative commons with permission to adapt and share commercially. A list of links to the images used and artists is available on my website.
The 22 Tara images themselves were drawn by me in photoshop based on traditional imagery. They are based on adaptations of the Suryagupta tradition.
The source of my primary dharma teachings is Prema Dasara and the nonprofit Tara Dhatu (www.taradhatu.org), the Pure Realm of Tara. Tara Dhatu is an international organization dedicated to empowering and uplifting humanity through the sacred arts. Since 1985, Tara Dhatu has been the organizational support for "The Mandala Dance of the 21 Praises of Tara." The Tara Dance has been performed by thousands of women of all ages, nationalities, and walks of life. The organization has grown to sponsor workshops and trainings in the Tara Dance and other Dharma Dances, offering celebrations, pilgrimages of citizen diplomacy, and an array of humanitarian projects.
An array of materials have been developed to support the dance: texts and commentaries, teachings, music, dvds. These are available at the Dance the Goddess Emporium.
The music in the video is used by permission of Anahata Iradah, the recording artist. Here is her website.
Risks and challenges
I have taken precautions against possible loss of data in a computer crash by saving the images and documents in more than one place in the cloud as well as on my computer. However, if I were to have technical difficulties, it could delay the production.
Customized Playing Cards takes 8-12 weeks to print after the proof is approved to finish the job. This may delay my delivery of the cards.
I am nearly finished with the artwork of the cards, but I am in the beginning stages of writing the book in collaboration with Prema, who is a very busy woman. She is about to embark on a teaching tour which includes Bali, Brazil, and parts of the United States. The ebook should not be caught up in production delays, though, while the physical cards might.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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