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Tarot Deck Creator Forum – An annotated index

August 25, 2015

Several years ago I did a series of extensive interviews with various Tarot deck (and an oracle deck) creators. Deck reviews are pretty common in the Tarot world, but an interview with the creator him or herself was something I’d never seen before, so I thought it would open up whole new worlds of insights into the relevant decks. I tried to go with decks that I felt were rather distinctive, especially self-published ones that might not be so well known, which would expose my blog audience to decks that are not the same-old thing they usually see. (Note that some of these decks are now out of print. I’ve made a note of it below as best I could.)

I ended up with about a couple dozen interviews, the last of which was done about a couple of years ago. It has been a while since that last one, but I’m not ruling out the possibility that there may be more in the future. So if you want, you can check out the list of blog posts for this category and any new ones will pop up at the top. In any case, I thought you all might appreciate an annotated list of links to my Deck Creator Forum blog posts. Enjoy!

PS: You will find that reading these discussions with many Tarot masters will open up new insights into the Tarot in general as well as into the specific decks.

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MAAT Tarot. Julie Cuccia-Watts has created several beautiful Tarot decks — the Ancestral Path, the Blue Moon Tarot (a majors only deck), and the MAAT Tarot, which is the one that we discussed in my interview with her.

Mary-El Tarot. I love how mythic and dreamlike Marie White’s artwork on the Mary-El Tarot deck is.  There is a lot of subtly embedded symbolism in them too. This deck’s power does not rely merely on its lovely art though; it is also unapologetically visceral and grabs you powerfully.

A King’s Journey Tarot. This deck, created by Chanel Bayless and James Battersby (artist), is an interesting blend of traditional Tarot and an innovative take on it that seeks to provide lessons in spiritual and mundane growth. Unfortunately, I believe it is out of print.

ShadowFox Tarot. The cards in the ShadowFox Tarot have a very minimalistic look, while also having an almost Rorschach Inkblot quality to them (they are in black and white), which makes them evocative and helps them stimulate an intuitive response.

Transformational Tarot. The creator of this deck, Arnell Ando, is an Expressive Arts Therapist whose delightfully innovative Tarot deck is composed of collage artwork.  It utilizes an eclectic assortment of images, including shamanistic symbolism, Christian iconography, and Pre-Raphaelite artwork. I find it to be serious with a whimsical heart.

Silver Era Tarot. The Silver Era Tarot uses (mostly) black and white photographs that have been manipulated via photo collage and a bit of hand-tinted coloring for accent.  They have a dreamy, brooding feel to them, reminiscent of the Silent Screen Era, and they also remind me of antique daguerreotypes.

Affirmations for the Everyday Goddess. Pamela Wells created this “Majors Only” deck as a tool to honor the feminine aspects of the Divine in order to awaken you to the wisdom and power of the Goddess. It features the twenty-two Major Arcana cards and includes an affirmation with each of them.

The Sacred Rose Tarot. This is a deck that doesn’t pull any punches on the “negative” cards, whose beauty can be dark and foreboding.  This is not to say it’s a dreary deck, however. There is a good balance between the “positive” cards and the “negative” ones. Note that it was first published in 1982 and is still in print, which says a lot for its enduring strength.

Ghosts & Spirits Tarot.  Lisa Hunt is a truly prolific artist who has created quite a few Tarot decks: the Shapeshifter Tarot, the Celtic Dragon Tarot, the Fantastical Creatures Tarot, the Animals Divine Tarot, and the Fairy Tale Tarot. When I interviewed her in 2010, she had just finished her newest deck, the Ghosts & Spirits Tarot, which explores that which is just beyond immediate recognition—ghosts and spirits.

Gaian Tarot. Joanna Powell Colbert devoted nine years to making the Gaian Tarot using an intricate process that employed colored pencils that rendered card images that are photorealistic. The result, obviously a labor of love, is a powerful deck of rich symbolism, multicultural themes, and evocative beauty.

The Faeries’ Oracle.  This one was a bit different — an interview with one of the creators of an oracle deck called The Faeries’ Oracle.  This deck has sixty-six cards which feature goblins, pixies, and other faery folk. The artist is Brian Froud and the text of the illustrated guidebook is by Jessica Macbeth. This interview was with Jessica.

Tarot of the Crone. Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s Tarot of the Crone is a unique and original deck inspired by her study and exploration of the Crone archetype. In this interview she shares some wonderful stories about the cards in this deck. Sadly, this deck is out of print, but you can find out what else she’s working on here.

The Lover’s Path Tarot. Kris Waldherr is the creator of both The Goddess Tarot and The Lover’s Path Tarot. In this interview, we talked about the later of those two decks.

The Pagan Tarot. This deck was designed by Gina Pace with a theme of the everyday experiences of a modern pagan woman whose “spirituality and daily life flow in harmony.” It replaces traditional esoteric symbolism with Pagan symbolism.

The Fifth Tarot. The most obvious innovation in this deck is its inclusion of a fifth suit, which represents the element “ether.”  You’ll read about that new addition and more in my interview with Teressena Bakens, one of the creators of this deck.

The Enchanted Tarot. In this interview, Amy Zerner discussed the process of creating the seventy-eight tapestries (!) that make up this intricate and creative Tarot deck, The Enchanted Tarot (aka, The Zerner-Farber Tarot).

The Tarot of Ceremonial Magick. This deck is aptly subtitled “Real Magic in a Box!” The cards are richly imbued with occult symbolism and correspondences, all organized meticulously and with systematic precision according to established principles of western magickal traditions. The creator of the deck, Lon DuQuette, is both humorous and profound, as you will see in this interview.

Pearls of Wisdom Tarot. The creation of Roxi Sim’s Pearls of Wisdom Tarot deck was a seven year long healing journey after she had suffered several profound personal losses.

Quantum Tarot. Chris Butler has worked through the medium of digital imagery since 2004, which is the medium he used for the art on the Quantum Tarot. The images on these cards used Hubble Space Telescope images as source material, which gives them a unique space themed fantasy art feel.

Quest Tarot. Joseph Martin is the creator of the lovely and innovative Quest Tarot. This deck won the 2004 COVR award for Best New Age Interactive Product of the Year, and in this interview, Joseph revealed some interesting insights into the creation of this award winning deck.  (Note: Llewellyn recently let this remarkable deck go out of print.)

Steele Wizard Tarot. Pamela Steele’s deck, the Steele Wizard Tarot, is a self-published 88 card Tarot deck. She designed it to reflect her strong belief in self-empowerment and self-mastery. There was so much for her to tell about this deck that this interviewed stretched out to three parts!

Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery. Robert Place is another prolific Tarot deck creator whose creations include the Alchemical Tarot, the Tarot of the Saints, the Angels Tarot, the Vampire Tarot, and the Buddha Tarot. He worked on his Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery deck for about a decade, and he calls it the culmination and synthesis of all his art and scholarship. (Thus, one might say that I saved the best until last.)

World Spirit Tarot. Lauren Onça O’Leary’s World Spirit Tarot was created using linoleum block printing, which resulted in a uniquely beautiful set of 78 cards. I generally use my own deck (Tarot of the Masters) for readings, but there are a few others that I still sometimes use, and the WST is one of them.

So there you have it. I hope you enjoy reading these fascinating conversations with the creators of all these interesting Tarot decks.





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