Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beltane 2013 (Tarot Blog Hop)

The first Tarot card I ever created. 
Welcome to the Beltane 2013 edition of the Tarot Blog Hop. For those people who are doing the hop, you probably came from Alison Coals' blog. If there has been any problems, you might have came directly from the Tarot Blog Hop Master List. As for my regular readers...well, it is probably a secret where you are coming from (esoteric Order humor--I s*** at it).

The theme of this particular blog hop is "What traditions are important to you in how you read Tarot?"

Now, some of my regular readers have heard me talk about one of my favorite Tarot traditions--which is to make your own Tarot cards. It is a tradition that some in the Golden Dawn has observed; but not all, for the number of surviving handmade copies of the initiated version of the Golden Dawn deck that has surfaced in the historical arena number less than a dozen (or so, I have been led to believe).

When I first joined Golden Dawn, or what passed for GD here in Denver during the 1990s, I was horribly bad at reading Tarot cards--better than some people, but not good enough to rely on them to tell me anything that I did not already know. One of the things that Hathoor Temple insisted that members do during their course work was prove that one could create a Tarot deck (hand make it) if one really had to.

Now, at the time, I was reading a Tarot based story by Pier Anthonys. Some people will recognize the book cover that I based my Death card on, and perhaps even the fact that I borrowed more than just that. The interesting thing is that, despite my nerdish leanings in my initial Tarot creation, the exercise worked. I became better at reading Tarot cards. I never did complete that first Tarot deck, but the point was proven to me that making your own Tarot cards helps you build a connection to the spirit of the Tarot.
Color your own Death card in Golden Dawn.
One of the problems with creating your own Tarot deck is that you might not have enough artistic skill to comfortably do the task. This problem may be why so few decks have survived. Or like in my case, the requirement was done with just a handful of cards.

BOTA, an esoteric Order in the United States, an offshoot of the Alpha and Omega, came up with a solution where the student did not completely create their own Tarot deck. The BOTA deck is a "color it yourself" Tarot deck; many in Golden Dawn seemed to have gone with that option. From a Golden Dawn viewpoint, the BOTA deck is not completely right (it is based more on the A.E.Waite/Pamela Smith deck than the initiated GD version); a point that was addressed a decade ago with the creation of a limited edition Golden Dawn version of a outline deck...which unfortunately is out-of-print to the best of my knowledge (not that you can't find and print out the whole thing from your computer with the help of a simple Google search).

Making your own Tarot deck is the one Tarot tradition that I insist on inflicting on all the students that I teach...because it worked for me. It is the cornerstone to how I teach the Tarot. Besides everyone loves to paint and color by number--and if they don't, well, I am quite sure that they will not tell me so to my face.

(And yes to the person who asked--eventually I did end up doing an entire Tarot deck by hand for the Inner Order Adept Minor program that I did a couple of years ago.)

For those who are continuing with the Tarot Blog Hop, the next stop is Aisling's Tarot Witchery Blog. As always if there is any problems, you can jump over any broken links by consulting the Tarot Blog Hop Master List. As for my regular readers, you probably should get back to work. Until next time, keep shuffling those Tarot cards.


Tarot By Arwen said...

I could not imagine drawing 78 cards so I'm very impressed that you did that. :D

John Marani said...

Wow...creating your own deck sounds like a fantastic challenge! :)

Lynda Hardy said...

I love the idea of working on a deck for the process and learning experience - very inspiring!

Cher Green said...

Creating my own tarot deck is a strong desire for me, but I fear I may lack the artistic talent. But, I guess I won't know until I try. I've compromised somewhat with my creative writing linked to tarot, which can also increase your reading intuition and knowledge of the individual cards.

Unknown said...

I whole hardheartedly agree that making your own deck is a very valuable experience. I did mine using creative commons images from flickr.

thecrazyangmoandhisangrywife said...

wow if I had to create my own deck, I would be so clueless!

Alison Cross said...

I'd love to create my own deck - and might set myself that very task! I think that it WOLD help foster a personal connection with the cards as you create them.

An amazing challenge!!! Thanks Morgan :-D

Anonymous said...

Deck creation = cool! But you are right, we are not all gifted with the eye-hand coordination for drawing. But there are some interesting decks created from photo collage, etc. I gained great insight from collecting images for a made-my-own Lenormand deck when I first started with that discipline. Even if no one else ever sees your cards, I agree with Morgan that it's good for ya!

Inner Whispers said...

I'm in the artistically unskilled camp, but as others say, with modern technology... Though at the moment I'm on more of a Lenormand kick. I drew my own Kindergarten Lenormand (the level of my drawing skills) and am currently working on another in Photoshop ;) Still, doing a tarot deck one day definitely does appeal - congratulations for finishing yours, and where are the monkeys? :D

Aisling the Bard said...

I am actually in the process of creating my own deck, and it might take me as many years as there are cards! But your deck, and your words, have inspired me to keep on keeping on. Thank you!

Ania said...

Did you enjoy the Piers Anthony books? Someone gave them to me, but I found them incredibly turgid and an excellent cure for insomnia. LOL

Morgan Drake Eckstein said...

I found the first five of his Powers-Incarnate series to be readable. The last two were just horrible to hack my way though.