People often ask me if I’ve designed a tarot deck. The answer is both yes and no. Yes in that I created a very personal set on blank file cards, based on a process by a former professor at the University of Toronto. No in that it’s not something I use for sessions with clients or that I would ever publish. I’ve contributed a couple of card images to a collective deck created by an online group a few years ago (see my Four of Cups below). I’ve drawn and collaged a few individual cards. But as far as making a full 78-card tarot pack that I would use with other people, it hasn’t happened. I’m not sure I have the patience for it.
But if I did create my own deck, it would be round. I LOVE round tarot cards! And I’d do away with the notion of court cards. For me, the journey through the suit has Ace as beginning and King (or its equivalent) as completion. Gail Fairfield got to me early enough in life that I still use this system. I’d probably have Ace through 14 to really emphasise that all 14 cards are part of one process. Any images would be as neutral as possible. I don’t believe in “good” or “bad” cards. Every card is a neutral concept. Only when we apply a question such as “What’s my most helpful resource?”, “What’s my worst personality trait?”, or “How can I best accomplish this goal?” does a card take on nuances of challenge or ease, restriction or freedom, sadness or happiness, fear or love. So I’d want the symbols to be as neutral as possible. For example, the Five of Wands would somehow depict change (five-ness) and selfhood (Wands-ness), a change to one’s identity or an adjustment to the role one is playing. Sometimes that’s hard (a shaky sense of who one is) and sometimes that’s helpful (a personal makeover). Also, the Majors would be numberless. The Greater Mysteries of Life are beyond any one system. Each of us experiences our deeper growth lessons in a unique order.
Perhaps I could collaborate with someone. I could offer the neutral concepts to an artist and s/he could execute the images. It’s been done before. Just think of Arthur Waite and Pixie Smith, of Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris, of Catherine Cook and Dwariko von Sommaruga.
How about YOU? If you designed a tarot deck (or any other tool of insight), what might it look like? What’s the worldview that would birth it into existence? Let us know. There may be a creative project in the works of which we’re not yet conscious.