Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop! Our wrangler Ania Marczyk asked us to consider which cards need to be updated, removed or added to the deck to reflect our modern society. What a great question to ask the artists and authors of the Denver Tarot Convention Deck Creators Panel! Several of them were able to respond, and here is what they have discovered as they worked to reflect, respond to or react against the 500-year old tarot tradition.
“Devil and Death” by Toney Brooks, author of the Chrysalis Tarot
When Carl Jung defined the Collective Unconscious and the archetypes that populate it, genetics was believed to play a far more significant role in determining who we become than it is today. We know now that epigenetics and morphic resonance fields are preeminent. For this reason, and others, we deemed it important that Chrysalis Tarot not tether itself to dogmas that eschew new knowledge and evolved awareness. Consequently, our candidates for replacement are the Devil and Death. Both exude negative energies that engender fear, which is sufficient for the old heave-ho. Additionally, a Tarosophy survey determined these are the two most despised cards, so they’re unlikely to attract newcomers to tarot. As archetypes, neither has anything relevant to contribute to an evolved, modern and secular worldview that advocates personal responsibility and regards death as the unprejudiced transmutation of energy.
“Three of Swords” by Erik C. Dunne, artist of Tarot Illuminati and the upcoming Tarot Apokalypsis
Although the 3 of Swords has always been one of my favorite cards, visually speaking, in the Tarot, I have come to realize over the years that for most, the traditional RWS representation is too foreboding, dour with no apparent “up-side”! I have never felt a sense of hopelessness from this card, but realize many do. When creating my new deck, Tarot Apokalypsis, I wanted to portray this card as I really see it, although it confirms the reality of one’s misery, a foundation of sadness…..redemption does indeed exist, shown here in the form of the White Rose……all is not lost, Hope springs eternal even when it seems the emptiness has lingered forever!
“The World” by Jason Gruhl, author of The Fountain Tarot
The Fountain Tarot is a contemporary deck, influenced by the images of the RWS, but re-envisioned to increase relatability for today’s readers and querents. Our most obvious update was adding a 79th card called The Fountain. We believe that Tarot is a living, breathing, and evolving tool, and we also see the tradition as sacred, so we didn’t make this decision lightly! The World card has often been used to express the eternal, but arguably, it is more closely associated with mastery and the completion of cycles. For us, it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Because our inter-connectedness has never been more accessible, and because of the growing consciousness of people on the planet, we really craved a card that clearly and purely represented the force outside the cycles of birth and death, beginnings and endings, time and form. We wanted something that expressed the nameless, changeless source of which everything is a part. To quote from The Fountain Tarot booklet, “It is the waking from the dream of separateness and identity, and the recognition of one’s Self as not only connected to all things, but all things…” We’re excited to see how The Fountain impacts readings…and from the feedback we’ve already gotten, it resonates with a lot of people.
“The Seven of Wands” by Beth Seilonen, author and artist of more than 90 decks including the Dream Raven Tarot and the Bleu Cat Tarot
In reflecting upon which card is the most out-of-date, a number of them jump out at me. Personally speaking, I have noticed that I have twisted around the Seven of Wands most dramatically. The Seven of Wands traditionally speaks to a time to competitive situations, defiance and aggressive natures. The abusive stance in the imagery suggests attacking others or warding off physical or perceived attacks. I found that this type of energy was concerning and depreciating to the modern progressive nature of people.
The more I considered the wands and the fiery creative energy it has bound to the suit, the Seven of Wands needed to be redefined.
Now throughout my decks the Seven of Wands has consistently taken on the meaning of a redefining moment that the querent needs to process through on their journey.
“The Hierophant” by Lisa de St. Croix, author and artist of Tarot de St. Croix
When I pulled the Hierophant to paint while creating Tarot de St. Croix I found out that it is one of the most unpopular cards of the tarot deck. I thought deeply about the meaning and opened myself, as was my method, to let synchronicity guide me. All that week in the media were stories of the Dalai Lama traveling from University to University giving graduation speeches. He was met with standing ovations. Here was a spiritual authority that was respected and loved. His gentle teachings of compassion and love were greeted with enthusiasm. I painted the Dalai Lama and his teacher Buddha as my Hierophant giving a much needed makeover to this card.