Amy Zerner and Monte Farber Make Spirituality Accessible to All

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Amy Zerner and Monte Farber with their new book "Enchanted Worlds." Photo by Nacho Schindler.
While many of us may have experienced a loss of focus and direction in the last year-and-a-half as a result of the upheaval brought on by the pandemic (and everything else happening in the world), in their tidy house tucked away on a quiet road in Springs, Monte Farber and Amy Zerner, husband and wife creative collaborators and spiritual visionaries, were focused on the task at hand.

Several tasks, in fact, by creating metaphysical books and tools to offer guidance and teach people how to interpret the messages that life is sending their way these days.

In recent weeks, Zerner and Farber have seen several of their pandemic projects come firmly into focus. The first is their newest book, “Wild Goddess Oracle: Divination and Ritual for Living an Empowered Life” which was released by Quarto Publishing earlier this month. The book set, which they call a spiritual power tool, comes with a deck of 52 cards, each featuring a unique art collage created by Zerner depicting a different spiritual female entity with specific attributes. Farber’s guidance and insight describes the properties of each figure while longer explorations of their powers and strengths are detailed in the accompanying book, along with a guide explaining the many readings that can be done with the cards.

Amy Zerner and Monte Farber’s “The Wild Goddess Oracle,” a 52-card deck and guide book.

A second book, “Enchanted Worlds: The Visionary Collages and Art Couture of Amy Zerner,” highlights the tapestry art and fashion pieces that have been created by Zerner over the years and will be published by Schiffer Publishing in late November. In addition, on November 6, a new show of Zerner’s artwork opens at MM Fine Art in Southampton. Titled “Amy Zerner: Tapestries, Collages, & Art Couture” the show runs through November 21 and highlights the artist’s NEA award-winning mixed-media tapestries, works on paper, and her art couture fashions – wearable pieces that evoke dreams, memories and stories.

And finally, every Monday at 12:30 p.m., Zerner and Farber offer “Ask the Oracles,” a free 90-minute Zoom talk show in which they discuss psychic energy and cosmic trends, often with renown guests in the field.

On a recent visit to the couple’s home, they reflected on the past year-and-a-half as Zane, their 20-year-old cat, wandered in and out of Zerner’s studio space, having recently made an amazing recovery from an illness. For Zerner and Farber, who have been married 47 years and since 1988 have collectively sold some 3 million books and oracles in 18 languages, spending time by working together at home during the pandemic was not the challenge it was for many others, simply because it’s what they have always done.

Amy Zerner’s “The Shaman,” 2020, 8″ x 10″ from “The Wild Goddess Oracle.”

When asked to reflect on all that has transpired in the past couple years and what people should focus on in the coming months, Farber said: “The lockdown has made life more simple in a way, you don’t want petty things to distract you. Peace begins inside of you. Stay centered. Make your base secure, boost the immune system, keep your spirit high, your body strong. When you have an exchange, whether someone is on the same page or not, don’t let it dissolve into something not helpful.”

While the past couple years have definitely brought a time of upheaval, change and conflicting ideas, Zerner and Farber’s focus has long been to stay centered and connect with one’s inner feelings, trusting the intuition within.

“Art is healing for me,” said Zerner. “As soon as lockdown happened, I started making these goddesses. I like to work in big series goddesses. I did these collages in paper. These archetypes came through me and Monte interpreted them.”

It turns out that as Zerner was creating the goddess series, one of their former publishers reached out asking if they had a project that could be produced by Quarto, a new publishing company he was now working for. The answer was a definitive “yes,” and “The Wild Goddess Oracle” was born.

“He loved the idea,” Zerner added. “The publisher didn’t necessarily know astrology. This was the first oracle they’ve done. But we’ve always been ahead of our time with our tarot. We’re even on TikTok now.’

“We were the first to sell our tarot cards on HSS and QVC,” added Farber. “We’re OG — Original Goddesses, we have a great relationship and track record. Publishers want to work with people they like who are responsible and deliver on time and sell. We love people and we try to share with them what helps us.”

Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Courtesy of the artists.

Though tools like “The Wild Goddess Oracle” can be used in a similar fashion or in conjunction with a tarot deck, an oracle is somewhat different in that while tarot decks have a traditional structure of 78 cards with common meanings, oracle cards are free-flowing and can feature any number of cards with any kind of content or imagery — in this case, female entities make up the couple’s latest oracle with titles such as the Seeker, the Guardian, the Butterfly, the Poet, the Shaman or the Drama Queen. Archetypes, note Farber and Zerner, that live within everyone.

“Tarot is wonderful because it provides a guide for all lives, but for this we wanted practical down-to-earth advice and designed a ritual for it that can add it to the tarot,” said Zerner. “I think this describes underlying conditions in all of us — the wounds or the fears. Doing oracle work is a spiritual practice and therapeutic.”

While Zerner created each of the feminine deities in her studio as a series of paper collages, Farber designed the text for the cards, imbuing each deity with a specific energy or power to help guide those who explore the oracle in various forms. The set focuses on the power of female energy and Farber and Zerner are quick to point out that historically, men haven’t always been in charge of running the world. They add that when women take an active role in society, they have the ability to improve life at all levels.

“The women are the healers and the fixers,” said Zerner.

“What’s the cause of all human misery?” asked Farber. “It’s poor decision making. I think women got a raw deal and the book is trying to realign that.”

While in the past Zerner had researched quite a bit about the role of goddesses in various cultures, including those included in a book called “The White Goddess” written by Robert Graves, for this project, she created unique female entities.

“For this one, I made up my own,” she said. “We’ve designed so many oracles, we make these systems that teach about life and the laws of nature. We brainstorm together.”

Zerner wanted all those who use the new oracle to feel empowered by its messages and felt it was important to include figures in the deck that were racially inclusive.

“We’re aware of representation. I take them from different cultures and find the place where we all meet,” Zerner said. “The philosophies of all the cultures have similarity of their truths. I wanted to represent all ethnicities in the deck.”

“We want every little girl to see herself,” Farber added. “I also don’t see anything wrong with people being in touch with their feminine side. I want the yin and yang. We just do what we can. All you can do is get in touch with your own power.”

“It’s about sacred play, reading the energies and thinking about what you really want to know,” said Zerner in describing how their new book can be used. “It’s honing that down to help you. Using an oracle is talking to your higher self.”

“The ancients said if you know your question then you know your answer,” Farber added.

“Amy Zerner: Tapestries, Collages, & Art Couture” opens with a reception at MM Fine Art, on Saturday, November 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. Zerner and Farber will be on hand to sign copies of their books. The show runs through November 21 at MM Fine Art, 4 North Main Street, Southampton. For details call 631-259-2274. To learn more about the work of Monte Farber and Amy Zerner or join their Monday Zoom sessions, visit theenchantedworld.net.

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