It makes sense that a centuries-old tradition would need an update. When Annie Murphy and her friends found that they couldn’t identify traditional tarot decks, the five friends formed a collective to reimagine the deck while honoring the tradition of tarot. What came out was a more inclusive 78-card deck with illustrations from almost two dozen artists.
Here’s what Murphy said this about the deck’s origins:
We set out on this project because we wanted to access the ancient tradition of the Tarot, but were unable to relate to what we saw as archaic Christian, Euro- and hetero-centricities of modern decks available on the market. With the Collective Tarot, people can expect to see beings and bodies of size and of color represented, as well as differently-abled, multi-gendered and multi-generational characters. Tarot itself is Euro-Centric, originating (arguably) in 15th-century Italy. It is folk-art-magic that has amazingly survived through centuries of repression. We wanted to be able to use the Tarot as a tool while making the images relevant to ourselves and our communities.
The Pope become an Instructor (“None of us actually knew what a Heirophant was”), the Emperor and Empress—symbolic of the gender binary—became the Code and Reception. They traded in the Jack, Queen, and King for seeker, apprentice, artist, and mentor; the major Arcana (pentacles, swords, clubs) became their favorite found objects: bones, feathers, bottles and keys.
After printing two small rounds of the cards (both of which sold out), they started a Kickstarter to fund their third printing—and largest yet. They met their goal, but are still welcoming funds, plus you can easily pre-order a pack of your own. Check it out below! Even if you’re not familiar with tarot (like me!) you can’t deny the stunning illustrations—Murphy is also the editor of the queer comics anthology Gay Genius (interview here), and the pack includes several of the same contributors, like Jackie Davis, Ellery Russian, and Mat Defiler. For some good visuals of the deck, you can watch the video below or visit this MySpace photo album. Order yours today!