Fox Irving: Tarot cards & care practices
Tracing the phases of the moon, artist Fox Irving has created a series of Tarot cards, accompanied by care practices. Using different moon phases as signals, the practices encourage moments to check in with yourself and use the new moon as a marker to set intentions for the month ahead and the full moon to mark letting go.
The meanings behind each Tarot card reflect Irving’s relationship with art as a working-class person, social mobility and the agency of art to inspire and help people think beyond barriers.
Each full moon, we will be launching a new Tarot card. This month we are starting with:
“The moon always follows you home, I remember my mum telling me this sitting on the 18C bus home from the City Centre and me watching wide eyed as it did. The moon never lost track of me. From this point the Moon has always been a very important symbol of care. I am fascinated by the moon’s cycle, from new moon to full moon. I always take these points as an opportunity to check in with myself, because if I don’t, I can become so caught up in life, I forget about pausing. Just to note, my mum would totally call me a hippy for doing this.”
“Each month, you will have a new moon and a full moon (a lunar cycle is approx. 29 days). You can just google this, but you don’t have to follow the moon, you can set yourself two days in the month; one to set your intentions and one to let go.
First find a space, in which you can sit comfortably, clear it free of clutter and make it feel a bit special — a space for you. I burn a candle and make myself a cup of tea and keep close to me some paper and a pen. I sit in this space and meditate, take a few breaths, just to be still for a moment, and feel my connection to the ground.
New Moon: What is going to be your focus for the month ahead?
Look at the new moon as a blank page, a time to set your intentions for the month ahead. I write my intentions for the month ahead. These could be work related, adventures or care. I then keep these intentions in a safe space, pinned up on my wall, and speak them out loud.
Full Moon: What do you wish to let go of for the month ahead?
For the full moon I write what I want to let go of for the month ahead. These could be feelings, fears or barriers. I then burn these words (safely!) as a physical action, I sometimes also dance, movement is a great way of letting go, just think about when you go down the disco, dance it out.
Hopefully, these little rituals help you focus each month and provide you with a moment to check in with yourself, pause, and care. Just to note, do not beat yourself up if you don’t achieve all your intentions or let go of everything. These are intentions, and often I return to them month after month.”
“For me, art was a way to think that my life could be different, how I could move away or out, maybe escape. For some reason when I was a kid, I would walk over four miles to go and sit in the free art galleries of Liverpool. Part of my practice is trying to understand the agency that moved me from the Boot estate to spaces that exclude the lower classes.
What I would love is to create a different set of values for art, for and by people from working-class backgrounds, whose mobility is not about trying to lift them out from where they are and put them into an art world. Instead, it would be about creating more room for them to move within a space that they feel is for them, supporting their needs and contemplating different kinds of movement inside of that space.”
What moves you?
“Take yourself out of your every day, find your agency (action!), what moves and inspires you. Find this and go and be with it, often we can forget why we do what we do, be it work, or a dream we have, try to remember what first sparked that passion. If you are struggling with this, go for a walk (which is free) and not only helps your body move but also helps clear the mind.”
“I didn’t know the codes of art to access everything in the collection, but it changed something in me. What I am talking about is mobility and how art can give that. Having access to art gave me a sense of mobility, and not necessarily upward class mobility, but just mobility: the capacity to imagine my life differently, or myself otherwise, or myself as myself.
What I am trying to do is change the language of mobility in art and change it so it’s not upward mobility but imaginative mobility that is afforded through art. What if people don’t have access or exposure to that and don’t think it is for them? That is the thing, most Art is not for those people unless you have the personal curiosity to go to the space, where art is, to think about it, be there and give yourself access to it. Most people don’t do that, they think this is not for me, and they miss out on the things that are really great about what we do: this other kind of mobility, the imaginative and intellectually mobility.”
Find the feeling
“Visit an art gallery, a museum, a beautiful building, a landscape. Find something that catches your eye and gaze into it. Make yourself cozy and stare at it. What is it about it that inspires, moves or makes you happy? Remember this feeling and tap into when needed. Dante’s Dream by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the Walker has a bench right opposite it where I would sit for hours and gaze.”