Monday, March 11, 2019

The Devil's In the Tarot Deck


Rachel Pollack, who is an authority on the tarot as well as a very fine writer, once told me the reason why stores selling tarot decks usually keep them in locked display cases. There is a belief or tradition, it seems, that for a tarot deck to work it has to be given to its owner. And, human people being the swine that we are, some of us interpret that meaning that a stolen deck will suffice.

So, to make sure that a) it works and b) I don't force my wife into a life of crime, I bought Marianne the Philly Tarot.

There's a nifty story behind it. Artist James Boyle was commissioned to create an illustration for a Philadelphia Magazine article on the rising popularity locally of Tarot cards and the occult. (An article, incidentally, that could have been written any year I've been alive.) His illo (below) was so very cool that both he and the magazine were inundated with requests to know where people could buy the entire deck.

So Boyle opened a Kickstarter account and in one day got orders for three times his target amount. Then he got to work, not just making the drawings but coming up with witty local associations for the cards.

So in thie deck, the Devil is (of course) Gritty. The Emperor is Ben Franklin, the Empress Betsy Ross, and The Lovers are of course Rodin's The Kiss. So far as I can tell, there's not a dud image in the lot.

It's also better made than it had to be. The edges are gilt, the cardboard is of excellent stock, etc., etc.

I would have loved this deck just for Jason Kelce (who, wearing Mummer gear after the Eagles won the Superbowl, famously said "No one likes us and we don't care") as Justice.

Not that the artist needs more business, but if you have a desire to buy the deck, you can do so here.

And as always...

I'm on the road again! Details when I return. In the meantime, the house is protected by My Son the Black Belt and Miss Hope, the noted mad scientist cat. So don't even think about it.

Immediately above: Miss Hope on her Spectromic 20 Photometer doing important science stuff.



Peter D. Tillman said...

Whoa, a Spectronic-20! Bausch & Lomb, right? Inherited from your Dad? They work (and last) just about forever.... 😎

Michael Swanwick said...

Absolutely right on all counts save one! It's not inherited. I bought it at a house sale for $25. A shrewder man could have gotten it for less. But Marianne was delighted to have one. (Yes, she learned analytical chemistry on it.)

So we are all happy here. Including Miss Hope.

Peter D. Tillman said...

> Yes, she learned analytical chemistry on it.

Me, too. Afraid I'd be a bit rusty now. And keeping the liquid cell clean & unscratched was a chore, if memory serves. My eldest sister learned on one too -- but went into the Law instead, a considerably more lucrative use of her talents.

Now, we need Proof of a Cat Chemist at work. In photos!