Monday, December 27, 2021


since I got a new tarot deck (This Might Hurt) I'm gonna get to know it better by going through each card in each of my decks, to compare and contrast them, in no particular order (ok, maybe in some semblance of order), and in no particular time frame.  how's that?  sound good?  cool.  I totally did not randomly chose to start with The Fool, because where else do you start a journey?  well, some of you might like to plan and pack and save, but I just...jump and hope a net will appear.  so it seems of our Fool, hey? 

here's why I love Isabella Rotman's version:  first and foremost, the ambiguous gender/gender neutrality of the archetype.  in joining a tarot group to find community to be in during the pandemic after having been a mostly solitary practitioner for most of my life, the very first thing that struck me was the lack of diversity in our (the group's) tarot tools, and I wanted a new deck to reflect my new understanding of what a deck could be, immediately.  and this Fool is perfect.  they've got they're bag, they're not looking where they're going, they're smelling a rose while about to step off a cliff even though their little dog is warning them...the patched pants, the bird on their shoulder, the budding tree, the hand...perfect.


for comparison, here's a look at The Fool from Fergus Hall's Tarot of the Witches - my first deck, the one I've been working with since 1984.  this dude is peeking out underneath his blindfold as his vicious little dog rips his pants in imitation of the Coppertone baby's pose, while he tosses eight coins to the wind, and lets the other hand swish in the breeze.  even though he's got both the sun and the moon suggesting the ongoing opportunity for endless experience (and a heart on his cheek, and a cheeky grin), he's still going over that cliff in his adventurously frivolous colors.  I always wondered if he'd manage to grab on to the little tree to save himself... 

in the oh-so-white and fairy cartoon-y Tarot of a Moon Garden deck, we have this...fellow?  entity..?  archetype.  well, they seem to be floating above the Earth, with their little dog seemingly happy about it, possibly just content to chase the bubbles and baubles appearing around the Fool's ballerina-slipper clad feet...all three of them.  dancing between the dawn and dusk?  it seems half of this person is steeped in the light of the full moon at night, while the other half is parading through the noon of a sunny day at the same time.  and so many hands!  four of them, holding a paintbrush, a poppet, a butterfly net, and a pomegranate.  there's also a heart on their one sleeve, a star on the other - bells on the colorful skirt, hat, and shoes; a butterfly with antennae curled into a heart; a crescent moon over the eye on the 'daylight' side of the body, a star over the eye on the 'nighttime' side.  there's a lot going on here to process.

The Lover's Tarot, which I like because it's HUGE, consists of only the major arcana - a fun deck for a fun reading!  I've used it a few times for community readings, but no one's asked me for it for a personal reading, yet.  check this guy out, though - he's like the poster boy for pasty white noble-whatsis and caped colonizers.  is that a little fish purse?  seriously?  I want this guy to fall off the cliff, but it doesn't even look like he's trying...just leaning in with that one knee, and somehow messing up the carefree wave of the right hand with an awkward gesture to match the odd stance.  and his poor, sad-looking dog!  it seems to me like this Fool's belt, cape, and red tights are the only ones excited for the possibility of adventure; that the youth wearing them is too naive to know that the city down there holds any promise for him under that oddly flat, yet inspiringly illuminated sun.

it's taking me some time to feel comfortable working with the HooDoo Tarot, and that's as it's meant to be.  so who is The Free Man?  he comes with New Testament quotes and a plant correspondence, neither of which I'm familiar with, and while the one is basic enough, the other required me to look it up and find out that I know 'Jimsonweed' as 'datura'.  learning already, not bad!  there's no cliff here, or a little dog warning this man of any danger, but we're told that carrying a jar of dirt away from this particular tomb is a daring act of purpose or lunacy.  there's no carefree toss of a hand, here, no budding tree on the edge of a day, just a wise knowing, and the fatigue of that burden.  he seems to show us not how to face up to our fears, but to ascend past them through the fiery belief in our own purpose.


also, I couldn't resist gifting myself this adorable pocket edition of The Wild Unknown by Kim Krans that comes in its own tin - so cute! - so I'm full up on decks at the moment (still want a Thoth deck, though)!  what's fun and unique about this deck is that to my mind, it doesn't follow the 'traditional' art framework at all, and instead, encourages us to find something new in the interpretations of the symbols by relating them to nature and the outdoors.  how to represent The Fool without the regular trappings?  how to communicate that sense of spontaneity and adventure, danger, and heightened awareness without a cliff, a dog, a flourish, a bag of tricks, bright and colorful clothing, a budding tree or flower, mountains or a city in the distance?  draw a baby bird on a tree limb about to take its first leap of faith.  do you feel like you understand The Fool a bit more, now? 



I know I do.  which deck is your favorite?  which would be your first choice for a reading, and which would be your last...or which would you never pick?  why?  if you read tarot, do you have a favorite deck?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

This Might Hurt Tarot, Yay!

hello friends!  

I'm excited because for Hannukah this year, I finally bought myself Isabella Rotman's This Might Hurt tarot deck, which I may have fallen in love with at first sight.  when it got here, I let it sit on my altar for about a week to let it shed any lingering outside energies and soak up some goodness before I used it for the first time.  it's a standard 78 card deck (with holographic edges!) after the RWS fashion, which is exactly the reason I got it, and it came in a lovely box with a guidebook, some small cards, and a sticker!  38 years ago I started out using the Tarot of the Witches deck, which doesn't have minor arcana cards, it has 'pips' that lack the traditional symbolic artwork, so I didn't work with the minors until quite recently.  to have something resembling community during the pandemic, I joined an online tarot group, and as the weekly discussion included all the tarot cards, I ended up mostly using the Tarot of a Moon Garden during our work together, because it was the deck I had which was the closest to the 'traditional' RWS.


box, guidebook, deck, cards & sticker

in that group, it quickly became clear that tarot had remained a blind spot for me in terms of my cultural development over the years.  why did all our decks center whiteness?  why did they all feature European ideals of beauty, magick, wonder, virtues, and goals?  why didn't I see myself reflected in my minor arcana experience?  while the majors can be read as more Universal energies, the minors wanted to tell me a story about myself, or a person sitting in front of me, and the Moon Garden deck wasn't giving me the cues I felt I needed to tell it.  so when my searching for something that better reflected the world I had come to understand in the ensuing decades brought me to This Might Hurt, it's no wonder I got all excited...I mean, I a star-crowned chick in a leather jacket astride two motorcycles for The Chariot?  and The Fool is perfect!  this deck is so utterly inclusive and skillfully drawn, I can't wait to get into working with it for my readings! 


ooh, holographic edges!

fresh out of the box, cards are generally a bit sticky and need a good deal of shuffling to feel in any way natural in my hands, so without putting a lot of thought into any particular questions, I just listened to Craig Prues' 108 Sacred Names, thought about the recent full moon and Solstice, made an effort to move the cards through and through each other, and spread them across my cloth.  picking three at random, here's a general energy reading using the guidebook that came with the cards:


6 of Wands, 3 of Pentacles, King of Swords


6 of Wands - this is the 'public recognition of victory' card - we are enjoying the external validation of our endeavors...we worked for them, we got them, believe in them!  but do we feel we need that acknowledgement?  why?  if our goals are based on wanting/needing outside recognition, we could probably spend some time finding better motivating desires...  and while it's perfectly fine to revel in the laurels, it's perhaps best to avoid resting on them.

3 of Pentacles - "teamwork makes the dream work" (lol)!  this is about how we relate to each other in terms of work/group projects.  when we combine forces, we can achieve synergetic growth - if you work mostly alone, consider asking for feedback on your process or work-in-progress.  find ways to build positive collaborative environments.

King of Swords - leadership through unbiased judgement...this person/card is skilled at cutting to the truth.  stern, ethical, & trustworthy, this fair and just leader may exhibit the emotional detachment necessary to function in service to their community.  it is for them to be serious and logical in order to thrive (the Bernie Sanders card, lol!).

wow, what a great reading!  while we can and should take a few moments to say "yay, we did something worth celebrating, though we don't need to flaunt it, and then we're gonna get right back to making the connections we need to really level up within our respective communities.  and if we manage to be logical, fair and rational, then maybe we can model ethical and honest leadership focused in and on those communities.

I really dig this deck - it's whimsical & fun, but also serious in that all the traditional symbolism is there, it's just more easily accessible.  what a breath of fresh air!  I honestly want to do another reading with them right with me today, and ask for this deck!  you'll be glad you did ~


The Fool