Interview with Seo Kelleher(Choi), creator of the Morning Calm Oracle
Indie Tarot is happy to share with you an interview with Seo Kelleher (Choi)[she/her], who is the creator of the Morning Calm Oracle deck. In this interview, Seo, pronounced Sea-oh, shares some of her inspiration for creating the Morning Calm Oracle in addition to things that she learned along the way and gives us a look at her new affirmation and contemplation deck that has recently be released.
Welcome Seo! Thanks for taking some time to do this interview with us. Let's begin with how you were introduced to Tarot.
Ever since I picked up my first oracle deck and started exploring the world of mystic spirituality, oracle cards have been my favorite divination tool to gain clarity, insight, inspiration, and healing. A few years in, I also started studying Tarot and incorporating its wisdom into my practice too - I am still studying and learning Tarot.
You mentioned that oracle cards are a favorite tool. Did this influence your desire to create your own oracle deck?
As much as I loved many oracle decks I was getting frustrated that there weren’t many decks I truly felt connected to - most decks were white-centric and lacked diversity. Even Asian themed decks I found were usually created by non-Asian, white creators, and many artwork or cultures reflected in these “Asian cards” felt more stereotypical and not truly reflected the diversity and depth of being me, an Asian American, Korean American woman. There were decks also created by the creators in South Korea, and these also felt a bit too traditional, and I couldn’t feel as connected to them as an American person living and working in the Western world, practicing my spirituality in the mix of East-West. I feel like Morning Calm Oracle is my goldilocks creation and expression of my magic.
I love this phrase of your deck being "an expression of your magic." Would you share a little more about the name you chose and your creative inspiration?
The name Morning Calm Oracle comes from Korea being known as the ‘Land of Morning Calm;' a nickname inspired by the natural beauty of her rolling mountains and the surrounding clear waters—a landscape especially magical in the quiet early hours of the morning.
The deck was inspired by my Korean ancestry and my East-meets-West spiritual work as a Shaman.
The vision of these cards came to me during one of my meditations connecting with my Guides. I had asked them, “what should I be focusing on right now?” and was immediately shown a series of visions, clearly showing 45 oracle cards with specific imagery and messages. Taking this vision into a beautiful, physical deck of cards you can feel and touch, has taken patience, dedication, and collaboration with other like-minded womxn in my sisterhood. It’s been one of the most creatively and professionally joyful experiences of my life.
What were some of the things that you learned through the process of bringing your deck to print?
I discovered that finding the right artist is really important. I went through a few artists before finally finding Alodia Yap, who was so amazing and aligned to work with me to convert the energy of each card into beautiful watercolor artwork.
Also there were so many little details and decisions about paper stock, finishes, and packaging that can make or break the success of the deck! I learned some people were really picky about the feel and touch of the cards enough to never use a deck, so I needed to create a good quality deck that could appeal to most people without turning them off with something too specific or different finish.
I got so much help from Amanda of Indie Deck Review and Esther of Wild Tarot Podcast as I was making these decisions.
It truly does sound like you had some amazing collaborators in your process.
Earlier you mentioned that your ancestry was a significant inspiration for you. Are there specific ways in which representation was part of your creative/decision-making process?
It was important to me to create a deck that felt authentic as a Korean American woman. The deck only has images of Korean female/femme - but I tried to reflect more diversity in terms of bodies, ages, sexuality/gender identities, skin/hair/eye colors, etc. I felt that most people imagined Asian/Korean women to have just one look - thin bodied, long black haired beauties in long flowy traditional garments/robes - but in reality there is a great diversity within ourselves, too.
Your deck has been available for over a year now. Have you had any feedback into how others are connecting with it?
I have connected with so many people of Korean diaspora that reached out to me saying they felt seen with my deck. I continue to receive messages and insights from them saying how powerfully the deck is working and helping their healing and expansion. While the deck has been proven to be powerful and effective for all card users, it’s been especially magical for other women and non-binary people of Korean diaspora.
Out of curiosity, do you have a favorite card from the deck?
There is the first card in the deck called “Lead with Joy” - I sent a photo of myself in the wildflower field in Korea and my artist Alodia created a beautiful card image from just that photo and reflected the energy of the card perfectly.
Thanks for indulging my curiosity.
The Morning Calm Oracle isn't your only deck. I believe that you have a new deck that just recently released. Would you mind sharing a bit about that one?
Unlock Your Magic Affirmation and Contemplation Deck was successfully funded on Kickstarter, and it released in November 2021. Here is a look at the deck and some of the cards.
The deck looks amazing, and such an interesting concept. I can definitely see how affirmation and contemplation cards could be helpful in my own practices.
As we wrap up this time together, do you have any advice to offer to (beginning) tarot practitioners?
Tarot/Oracle is a divination/intuitive tool, so I recommend that you start some type of spiritual practice along with studying Tarot, I recommend meditation and other self-reflection and connection practice. When you have a strong spiritual and intuitive practice, then your readings with Tarot and Oracle will become more powerful and you will be able to use these tools in more divine ways.
Seo, thank you so much for doing this interview and sharing your experiences with the Indie Tarot community.