Before 2014 ends, I want to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The New Tarot Deck, as well as the “projective” reading technique, and two men who were at the center of the late 20th-century tarot scene in the San Francisco Bay area.
The counter-culture shock waves that rippled up and down the California coast in the 1960s swept Jack Hurley and John Horler into a three-year residency at Esalen in Big Sur. After falling under Joseph Campbell’s spell, they designed a radically new tarot deck and created a new way of reading the cards. Read more
BATS 2013, in its new venue at the Doubletree Inn near the San Jose airport, was one of the biggest and best ever. With a choice of three workshops in each time slot (a total of 27 workshops over the weekend) decision-making could be agonizing. Rana George gave a two-part workshop on the basics of the Lenormand oracle. Rabbit, Pamela Steele, Arisa Victor, Martin Azevedo, and Nancy Antenucci, among others, presented techniques for going deeper into the cards and into one’s connection with the people we read for.
Several deck creators were on hand to share their creative process. Bill Haigwood’s Counterculture Tarot gave this aging hippie a flashback to her lost youth in 1960s San Francisco. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for the Wildwood Tarot, the historic Oracle Belline, or Carrie Paris’s Magpie Oracle. For the historian, Major Tom Schick gave some background on the Minchiate deck with slides of trump cards from three different decks. Read more
As proof that Tarot de Marseilles readers are not always obsessed with historical correctness, I present my favorite purchase from the 2013 Bay Area Tarot Symposium (BATS): Beth Seilonen’s Kilted Rubber Chicken Tarot de Marseilles. Evidently, this deck started as a joke on the oh-so-naughty Daughters of Divination Facebook page, where someone posted the photo of a hunk in a kilt cradling a chicken. Thus was born one of the most delightful TdMs to cross the road in recent times.
Every card cleverly incorporates a yellow rubber chicken sporting a kilt. What’s more, the deck can double as a Lenormand oracle. Seilonen has incorporated traditional Lenormand symbols on the trump and court cards, like the boat and snake shown below. Just pull those cards out of the deck, et voila, you have a Lenormand. This deck was self-published in an edition of 35, so don’t procrastinate if you want one. The cards are 2.5 x 4.0 inches, laminated, sturdy, and very easy to shuffle. Read more