Introducing The Rebis
Ace of Pentacles, the ouroboros, and alchemy
Welcome to The Rebis, a new publication exploring the connection between tarot and creative expression.
It feels surreal to be writing these words. A few months ago, this was just an idea. As it so often happens, I was driving late at night when an image of this magazine jumped into my brain. It was early February 2022. My mind had been wandering. I was looking for an escape — from the world, from myself. I was imagining what it would feel like to exist within the 78 cards of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck.
I imagined the Ace of Pentacles. Walking through the floral archway, plucking the coin from the sky, and cupping it in my hands. You don’t have to be a tarot reader to see the obvious metaphor here. I had been spending a lot of my free time volunteering at the Berkeley Rose Garden, and I felt connected to the notion of planting something in the earth and tending to it.
And then, there it was. An idea for a publication. Tarot has been my antidote to the desperation of creative stuckness, and I love sharing it with others. I imagined a tapestry woven from the stories of the tarot, made with threads from mythology, psychology, and spirituality. A place to feature creative writing and art, grounded in tarot archetypes and symbolism. Something meaningful and, hopefully, beautiful. Something I could build and invite others into. Something meant to be touched and savored.
I held this idea, turned it over in my mind, felt its weight and warmth flood my body. I knew I needed to plant it in the ground.
I stumbled upon the concept of “The Rebis” while researching the ouroboros, an image that depicts a snake devouring its own tail — a symbol of the eternal cycle of death and rebirth.
I eventually got an ouroboros ring made for my right hand so I could easily look down and be reminded of what it meant to me. It became part of my grounding practice to reflect on life, and personal growth, as cyclical — not a linear march forward and upward. Continuous transformation requires natural rhythms, expansion and contraction. Cycles are inherently more natural (and much less capitalist).
Plus, the ouroboros reminded me of my favorite quote from “The Overstory” by Richard Powers:
“...people have no idea what time is. They think it’s a line, spinning out from three seconds behind them, then vanishing just as fast into the three seconds of fog just ahead. They can’t see that time is one spreading ring wrapped around another, outward and outward until the thinnest skin of Now depends for its being on the enormous mass of everything that has already died.”
This "paradoxical serpent" also represents the process of alchemy: the medieval pursuit of the philosopher’s stone, a method of transmuting base metals into gold and a universal elixir for immortality. In many ways, alchemists were looking for the spiritual in the material. One thing led to another, and I was reading about The Rebis.
There are many different stages of the alchemical process. I’m not an expert in alchemy, but I’ll do my best to summarize: it involves burning a substance, dissolving it in water, isolating and filtering the separate substances that emerge, and eventually bringing it all together and transforming it into something new, something greater than its parts. The Rebis is the product of this process — the alchemical magnum opus. The name comes from the Latin res bina, meaning double matter.
In 1968, Carl Jung published “Psychology and Alchemy,” drawing parallels between the process of alchemical transformation and psychological development. In this context, The Rebis becomes a metaphor for the harmonious union of opposites: spirit and matter, soul and body, light and shadow. This concept instinctively felt like a fitting name for a publication devoted to tarot and creativity, to the pursuit of integrating the conscious with the unconscious and finding wholeness within.
For those of you who don’t know me personally, my background is in digital content production. I ran content marketing for tech companies for 13 years, and in my free time, served as the editor-in-chief of a music blog for seven of those years. After a lot of soul searching and pretty severe burnout that I’m still processing, I walked away from my career in September 2021 and went on a work sabbatical. This was not a decision I took lightly — it felt like I was shedding a major part of my identity. (I also want to acknowledge the privilege of being able to do this at all. Taking time off work for a big career change is not something that’s accessible to many people.)
When the idea for this magazine struck a few months into my sabbatical, I hesitated to turn it into a digital publication. Admittedly, that’s what felt easiest, given my professional background and the fact that the Internet is how the majority of people find things these days. But I wanted a new creative challenge, and I craved something tangible — something to physically hold between my hands, something that didn’t require endless scrolling. What you’re reading now is a compromise. The physical magazine is in the works (I have more to share about this soon!), but I'll also plan to share updates and additional content here and on Instagram.
The first person I thought of when the idea for this magazine struck was Xaviera Lopez. She’s a Chilean artist who illustrated Jessica Dore’s book “Tarot for Change.” I had spent hours staring at Xaviera’s illustrations while reading the book, finding different versions of myself in the Major Arcana characters she drew. For a magazine that sits at the intersection between tarot and creativity, I instinctively knew that Xaviera would be a brilliant partner. She is responsible for all of the beautiful branding, illustrations, and animations you’ll see on our digital content and, eventually, throughout our physical magazine. I am endlessly grateful for her partnership, vision, and talent.
I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t also express gratitude to Jessica Dore for leading me to Xaviera, and for translating so many secrets from the tarot into her life-changing book and weekly Offerings. Jessica was my first tarot teacher and the first person who gave me a reading. Her writing has been profoundly inspirational.
While I’ve spent the last few years immersing myself in the tarot, I am by no means an expert. The well goes so deep, and I’m still exploring its depth. I see my role here as a curator more than creator — I am brimming with excitement over the idea of sharing the writers, artists, and tarotists who are engaged in the spiritual work of meaning-making in our world today. I’m looking forward to learning from all of them.
Some final thoughts: I’m working on The Rebis slowly, intentionally. I spent more than a decade working at the pace of startups, always feeling behind, always feeling like I wasn’t doing enough, fast enough. In this next phase of life, I’m aiming for more balance. Time in nature, time with friends and family, time with myself. I'm also trying to give myself time to learn, to try different approaches, to change directions. There's a possibility that this is a short-term project, there's a possibility that this will grow into something bigger. Right now, it's just a humble seed. I can’t tell you what kind of fruit or flower it will bear yet. But I love watching it break through the surface, love the shape it’s taking.
Thank you for being here. One of the best parts of starting this publication has been making new friends, so please say hello. I have a never-ending hunger for connection these days. I want to hear about how you’re incorporating tarot into your creative work and daily life — but you certainly don’t need to have a tarot practice to say hi (although maybe this will inspire you to pick up a deck). Whose work has shifted your perspective lately? Are there writers, artists, or tarotists I should know about? Do you want to get involved and collaborate?
Let’s talk: comment here, find us on Instagram, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Snail mail is accepted, too, just ask for my address. I might reciprocate with a haiku postcard.
Until next time,
Very interesting and creative! Good luck on your new publication!
Congratulations on your new endeavor. I'm looking forward to the creative alchemy The Rebis will give rise to.