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Who designed your deck?

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 18 Mar 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.



Pedeka  18 Mar 2002 
Do you think it matters WHO designed the deck that you are working with? With some of the more obscure decks, I often wish that I knew more about the person or people that put the deck together. I know that when I make something, I put a bit of myself into it, and something like tarot cards it would be more so.
If you found the "perfect" deck for you, imagry and symbolism seemed to fit perfectly with you, and then you found out that the person who designed it was bad, evil, horrible,insane or totally against your belief system, would it matter to you? I'm not sure if I want to be working with something that has a bit of someone that I wouldn't want anything to do with in it.
Pedeka 


Jewel  18 Mar 2002 
Well I believe I have actually found the perfect deck for me :) and YES I would love to learn more about its creator. I agree that often times we leave a part of ourselves in our creations. On the other hand if I were to learn that that person was not someone I would like I do not think it would change my perspective on the deck itself as it would be infused with my energy and my ideas and my interpretation.

The Thoth deck is one of those decks that is often shunned because of Alister Crowley. Personally I do not care for the man but the deck is wonderful and I could never hold the deck responsible for being created by him.

Perhaps my way of viewing it is that if I like a deck and it speaks to me then perhaps it was a way for that "bad/evil" person to leave part of his/her good in the world and not the bad/evil part ... just my view ... 


Temperance413  18 Mar 2002 
Maybe if the cards speak to you, there might be something that could be learned from them. You wouldn't need to stick with them, you could move on. I know there are some "evil" people out there, and sometimes the evilness is just a cover for some very thought provoking subjects.
I always try to remain open about everything, love what there is to love about something and discard the rest. So, if you feel the need to investigate the deck and who designed it to feel secure with it, that's what you need to do. But there are some very appealing decks out there, and the people who made them are just as interesting to learn about, Maybe they aren't necessarily evil, or bad, just different, with different views on life. 


Pedeka  18 Mar 2002 
evil and bad might have been too strong of words....I was just thinking about anyone that would seem 'wrong' to you.
Pedeka 


Jewel  19 Mar 2002 
Quote:
Originally posted by Pedeka
evil and bad might have been too strong of words....I was just thinking about anyone that would seem 'wrong' to you.
Pedeka


That is how I interpreted what you were saying and used the words you provided because they were already there. We all possess light and dark aspects ... 


Lion-O  19 Mar 2002 
Quote:
Originally posted by Pedeka
If you found the "perfect" deck for you, imagry and symbolism seemed to fit perfectly with you, and then you found out that the person who designed it was bad, evil, horrible,insane or totally against your belief system, would it matter to you?

It would not matter to me at all. IMO the cards are merely a tool to access parts which you can't (or hardly can) access on your own, nothing more and nothing less. Its creator doesn't really matter, its the cards which matter, but I can understand that it may help people out to know more about the person.

However; I'm also afraid you may lose focus and try to 'mimick' this person in order to see things how he saw things when designing the deck. And although there aren't any strict rules for Tarot reading this really doesn't sound like a good idea to me. 


Mojo  19 Mar 2002 
In my case, the knowledge of the designer of my deck just enhanced my already wonderful relationship with the deck.

I received a reading many years ago and the reader used this deck (Royal Fez Moroccan Deck). The artwork wasn't necessarily the best I've ever seen, but for some reason I found the deck absolutely mesmerizing. I had to have it! It took me almost 10 years of searching before I was able to claim one for my own.

During the search, I found out that the deck was designed by Roland Burrill, the founder of the MENSA society. In doing more reading about him, I found out he was a protege of Carl Jung and quite fanatical about the Tarot. Since I find Jung's explanations of the Tarot to be the most meaningful, it pretty much sealed the deal for me with this deck. I had to have it.

And it has proven to be the perfect deck for me. 


Major Tom  20 Mar 2002 
Of course the other option if you're worried about your deck's creator is to create your own... }) 


Greenman  20 Mar 2002 
hmmmmm... what do we REALLY know about Major Tom? (lol)

if the designer's personal life matters to you, then maybe the next question to ask yourself is 'what did any of that have to do with the deck he created?'.
as a for instance, let's take Crowley. an abominable man on many counts. and yet the deck of cards he created was the culmination of a life's work. and scholarly work it was.
so does it matter that he abandoned his comrades to die at 21,000 ft. in the Himalayas?
or the way he treated woman, or anyone else for that matter (he considered few to be his equal).
ultimately he found Lady Harris (poor woman!), and the result was a coming together of two great minds which produced a great work of art. Michelangelo said that the sculpture was already there, it just remained for the artist to remove the extra stone.
does anyone care that Beethoven was an asshole? that fact does not diminish HIS work at all. 


Emily  20 Mar 2002 
I go with others in this thread, my favourite deck is the Spiral tarot by Kay Steventon - the only thing I know about this woman is her name, a little bit of an introduction in the LWB about her and the fact that I love the tarot deck she designed. I know I'll never do a search on her, the deck speaks to me and that is what's important to me. :) (mind you - saying that I did do a search to try and find the book she wrote about the Spiral lol :) ) 


Major Tom  20 Mar 2002 
Quote:
Originally posted by Greenman
hmmmmm... what do we REALLY know about Major Tom? (lol)



Greenman, Hail Citizen!

No one here actually knows anything about me that I've not revealed in my posts! })

Actually, I think there are a number of people here who might struggle with both my previous actions and my belief system... 


Greenman  20 Mar 2002 
oh wow, i AM a citizen!
cool. 


Jewel  20 Mar 2002 
Quote:
Originally posted by Greenman
oh wow, i AM a citizen!
cool.


Actually I believe our community is somewhat tribal ~points at the elder~ 


fairyhedgehog  21 Mar 2002 
Quote:
Originally posted by Major Tom
Actually, I think there are a number of people here who might struggle with both my previous actions and my belief system...


Now I'm intrigued :)

Regards, 


Major Tom  21 Mar 2002 
Quote:
Originally posted by Jewel


Actually I believe our community is somewhat tribal ~points at the elder~


*points back* Won't be long until they're calling you an elder too! }) 


aeonx  21 Mar 2002 
Greetings.
I have never really thought this through before, but I don't think a creator of a deck would have a serious impact on the decks manufactured. Besides, if an 'evil' person decided to create a tarot deck, I think these cards would have been coloured by his/hers beliefs. For example, I don't think this hypothetical 'evil' person would have made a deck that lookes like Robin Wood. *l* But, I've met people who won't buy Crowley's deck because they "have heard so many scary things about him, and that he is evil and all".

Even though a person imprints his/hers energy into a deck, this energy will be contained in the original deck. I'm sure it's possible to channel energy into somebody's deck, but one would notice this in your readings. Besides, most people clear the deck before and after a reading, thereby removing any 'intruding' energy.

Just my input. *s* 


arizonagirl  21 Mar 2002 
My two favorite decks are Robin Wood's Tarot and Buckland Romani. Is is coincidence that I better connect with these two decks because their creators are Wiccan, as I am? 


truthsayer  24 Mar 2002 
there have been times that reading about the authur's efforts and ability w/ tarot does influence me. the work of caitlin matthews and mary hanson roberts comes immediately to mind. they seem to be warm compassionate gentle decks. however, the thoth deck seems colder and more cerebral. it reflects how intellectual and objective crowley and harris were putting the deck together. from what i know about crowley now, it would be difficult to use it to read for someone with it. 


Greenman  24 Mar 2002 
i wouldn't lump Crowley and Harris together morally.
while it's true that there artistic vision was sympathetic, i don't think that Lady Frieda was a big Aliester Crowley fan. i often feel that their 5 year working relationship must have been hell for her.
still, the result was remarkable, so whatever it takes right? 


Pedeka  24 Mar 2002 
Isn't a great deal of the power and energy in a deck bound up with it's visual identity? The colors, and symbols, and the stylistic elements are after all, what the student and reader are relating to. If these things weren't important we wouldn't bother with tarot cards. We could just use blank pieces of paper.
The creator of a deck of cards makes important choices about what appears on cards. We can imbue them with our own energies and clear and clean them all we like. But we can't really get rid of the power and energy that was put into them by the creator without making them blank. Can we?
Just a thought.
Pedeka 


truthsayer  25 Mar 2002 
Quote:
Originally posted by Greenman
i wouldn't lump Crowley and Harris together morally.
while it's true that there artistic vision was sympathetic, i don't think that Lady Frieda was a big Aliester Crowley fan. i often feel that their 5 year working relationship must have been hell for her.
still, the result was remarkable, so whatever it takes right?


from what i've read about lady frieda, my impression of her is entirely different. she appears to have been quite loyal to him and was with him when he died. she appears to have been one of the few ppl able to draw boundaries w/ him and not be hurt by him. she w/o doubt had to have had a very intellectual mind as well as artistic ability to put everything she put into the deck. but i think creating the deck was as much an obsession for her as it was for him. i can't imagine someone doing pictures over as many times as she did if she was going thru pure hell. she was getting something out of it.

i don't lump crowley and harris in the same box. they are like yin and yang--postive and negative forces that forged the deck. so maybe this makes the deck karmically balanced. i don't know. i'm saying for me, at this point in my tarot development, i have to step away from the deck and analyze further my interactions w/ the deck. while i'm ambivalent and out of tune w/ the deck, i don't see how i could possibly give good readings. hajo banzhof has done an excellent book on the thoth deck that i am studying as time permits. thoth is an intellectual deck imho. i tend to prefer more emotional decks even tho i have much to learn from thoth. 


mermaid1622  25 Mar 2002 
in something written by Fenelon "Do not refuse the blessing because of the channel through which it comes." So I don't imagine that anything I learned about the deck creator would affect how I felt about the deck if it was a good one for me.

mermaid1622 


Jewel  25 Mar 2002 
Quote:
Originally posted by Pedeka
Isn't a great deal of the power and energy in a deck bound up with it's visual identity? The colors, and symbols, and the stylistic elements are after all, what the student and reader are relating to. If these things weren't important we wouldn't bother with tarot cards. We could just use blank pieces of paper.
The creator of a deck of cards makes important choices about what appears on cards. We can imbue them with our own energies and clear and clean them all we like. But we can't really get rid of the power and energy that was put into them by the creator without making them blank. Can we?
Just a thought.
Pedeka


You are right about the creator(s) putting symbolism in the decks and making color choices that have meaning etc. however it is really interesting to see how each of us sees things differently.

For example, in the Study Groups Forum, Kaz and I have been making a conscious effort to study the Templar deck together as there is no book, so using 78 Degrees of Wisdom as a platform was as good as any. Now Kaz and I are looking at the same exact cards, and we are both looking for symbolism and comparing this deck to the Raider Waite to see how similar or different it is. Yet she sees things I do not and vice versa. We have found that our 2 opinions combined really work for us, but we do not see the same thing at the same time.

What I am saying is that you will pick up the symbolism and you will interpret it. The symbolism itself is not "evil" so you will not be negatively impacted by it. 


Greenman  26 Mar 2002 
Truthsayer,
i DO believe that Lady Harris was entirely devoted to the project, but not to him.
and i don't think she was at his bedside at his death. according to his private nurse, he died alone. and his last words were "I am perplexed!", or (according to one report), "sometimes I hate myself". i prefer the former, although the latter would certainly make sense. 


truthsayer  26 Mar 2002 
interesting, greenman. it's amazing how many stories there are out there about crowley. we'll never know for certain which version we read is the true one b/c we weren't actually there when crowley died nor is lady frieda here for us to ask questions about how she actually felt about him. it's an interesting debate tho. i'll try to find my sources for what i read. it was from several different internet sites. i don't mind being wrong about my assumptions. i learned a long time ago that investing too much into being right is dangerous behavior. there seldom is one totally right answer--only fragments of different versions of the truth. remember the poem "the blind men and the elephant"? 


Jewel  28 Mar 2002 
I am just starting to read Angeles Arien's book "The Tarot Handbook", in which she uses the Thoth deck. She does not appear to be an Alister Crowley fan, but does have a deep appreciation for the Thoth deck and its multicultural symbolism and for Frieda Harris commitment to that work. For those interested in the deck, but cannot stomach Crowley I would suggest this book. Looks like it is going to be a nice tool in learning the deck from a psychological, mythical and cultural perspective. Just thought I'd pass that on. 


Greenman  28 Mar 2002 
ah, Angeles Arrien... 'Thoth lite'!
this book is pretty good, but just a bit fluffy. i generally use it and the Book of Thoth together. they balance each other very well. 


Pedeka  28 Mar 2002 
Wow.. I really am learning from asking this question! Plus, i think my comment on another thread had been validated...there really are very few neutral opinions abouT Crowley!
Pedeka 


The Who designed your deck? thread was originally posted on 18 Mar 2002 in the Talking Tarot board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Talking Tarot, or read more archived threads.

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