Tarot Project

Let me tell you a story. 

When I was going through my first major breakup, my sister-in-law thought it would be a good idea to take me to see a psychic. An especially strange suggestion if you know anything about my sister-in-law, but that's a topic that could fill up, like, 20 blog posts.

Anyway, my sister-in-law had apparently visited this psychic a few times before. Her shop was on Granville Street in Vancouver, in an incredibly innocuous looking office building. The reception area was as bland as any dentist's I've ever seen, and in fact, I think the psychic shared the receptionist with the dentist in the next office over. 

My sister-in-law went first. She brought her little notebook in with her, and when she came out she gave me a quick debriefing. 

"She said to watch Gillian around stairs." (Gillian is my niece)

Then it was my turn.

I can't remember if someone led me into the little room or if I found my way there myself. It was dark in there, lit by a few candles, and the whole room was the size of a large-ish closet with no windows. 

The walls were covered, floor to ceiling, with tchotchkes. I remember there were a lot of frogs. 

The psychic herself was sitting behind a large desk, similarly adorned with tiny statues of fairies and forest creatures. She was wearing a jangly shawl and had a thick Filipino accent. 

She asked me what I wanted to know about, and I became deeply mortified all of a sudden. I think I said something like, "Well, uh, I recently went through a breakup..." and I guess she inferred the rest. 

She pulled out a deck of tarot cards and had me cut it. I can't remember how many cards she drew, or what formation she laid them out in.

She then went on to make some fairly accurate comments about my past relationships, although not much about the one I had actually come to ask about. 

Then she got into the future. 

"When you are either 24 or 26," she said, "you will move to Australia."

Okay, this seemed kind of unlikely, but then again, my parents lived there for a while and so did one of my brothers, so not that far fetched.

"You'll meet a man," she went on. "A dentist. You will marry him when you're 26 or 28."

Okay, sure, why not? 

"He'll be Asian. The two of  you will take over his parents' sheep farm. You will have four children."

I think I smiled and nodded a lot for the next 35 minutes as she basically repeated the same thing over again to fill the hour I payed $55 for. Then she sent me on my way, blinking into the fluorescent light of the hallway. 

Many years before all this, I found my dad's deck of tarot cards in the garage. It was an original Rider-Waite deck he'd had for years. There was a book about how to interpret the cards. I thought it was pretty cool and I worked at learning for a while, then lost interest, in a 10-year-old-ish kind of way. 

Two summers ago, I used the cards from that deck to decorate my coffee table. It was pretty badass until Rosie chewed off an entire corner of it. 

Anyway, I won't bore you with the history of tarot, or the Rider deck, or all the complex symbolism associated with it. Point being, I've always had in interest in the aesthetics of this particular deck, if nothing else. 

I've also been inspired by decks created by some amazing artists. 

Photographer Alice Smeets teamed up with the Haitian art collective Atiz Rezistans to create the visually stunning Ghetto Tarot. 

There's also the crazy-cool psychedelic deck of the Major Arcana by Oliver Hibert.

Basically, there are a million different tarot decks out there, and a lot of them are pretty neat! I've wanted to make my own custom deck for a while now, but I wasn't sure what medium to choose. I'm not a terribly great artist, and I knew I'd probably have a hard time making something I liked the looks of. 

Then I was riffling through a stack of photos I took with my Instax Mini and it occurred to me: hey! these are a lot like cards. 

So, yeah. I'm going to create my own custom tarot deck (major and minor arcana) using instant photos. There are 78 cards all together so it will probably take me a while, but I'll be posting them here as I go! Here are the first few I've taken, so you get the idea:

From left to right: 2 of Cups; 2 of Wands; 6 of Cups; 6 of Wands; 10 of Pentacles; Ace of Wands; The Hierophant. 

Yep, the Ace of Wands is a vibrator. 

I've chosen the imagery of each card to go along with its symbolic meaning. But like I said, I don't really want to bore you with those details. When I'm all done, I think I'll make a master post with the meanings behind each card. 

I'm pretty pleased with the results so far. Hopefully you think it's cool and enjoy following along with this project!