FANS PLEASE NOTE:
Along with all the other stuff, this site has a
free do-it-yourself kit.
All the instructions and images you need to build
your own pirate copy of the set shown in that photo (left) are right
(although it does take considerable time, effort and skill) and I'm
even giving you my official legal okay to do so - like for personal use
or gifts - but you do not have permission to sell the copy you build or
any of this other stuff. And if you build one you have to tell
people that you did not design it. That's the deal. Take it or leave
it. Read the copyright info document
carefully if you're interested because
if you cheat then there's a vague possibility that I would sue. Hey,
maybe I would. - Stone
To read about this project's origin and design, just scroll down.
View or print the full-color deck here. It's called the Spirit Hill Tarot.
View or print the black and white deck here. It's called the Simple Tarot.
But here's the best way to see the work: here. It's a flash card show.
Or read the booklet here. It's called the Quick Start Guide.
And if that's not enough, there's lots of links for stuff to read on those two detailed deck displays. There's a whole strip of links near the top of the window, just under the title.
You can see my home website for how to contact me.
|Click pictures to enlarge.|
In 1910 in London, Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Coleman Smith brought out the revolutionary
Rider Pack deck of Tarot cards.
Smith was, among her other talents, a costume and set designer for the London stage. She had in her fingertips the rich visual language of gesture, pose and emblematic scenery that had been developed in the British theater since Shakespeare's time and before. Furthermore, printing press technology had reached the point that detailed drawings in decent color could be manufactured on a large scale.
With their deck and its instruction book, suddenly any intelligent person in the English culture world might learn to use this priceless philosophical tool with only a reasonable amount of self-guided study.
|Click pictures to enlarge.|
By 1979, when I began to study Tarot, the Rider Pack had grown a bit antique.
The visual language Smith had used had long since disappeared from popular culture. Her drawings had ceased to be transparent masks of the philosophical ideas that stand beyond the cards. Now you had to wrap your head around those pictures. You had to enter that theater through intense imagination and practice.
But on the other hand, meanwhile, popular culture had certainly developed a different visual language with truly vast communicative power. And considering the case of Smith and Waite gave me to think what might be possible.
Could Modern Art be used to make a Tarot deck that spoke very clearly to a large audience? Why
After all, Modern Art is meant for exactly this kind of purpose. From its start, Modern Art was meant to show the public ways to see. That's what the diaries and letters of the founders say it's for. In this disjointed, cruel and catastrophic modern world new ways of seeing were required in order to find ways of understanding that would actually tell the truth in peoples' lives.
And it is indeed the philosophy of our common human lives - so neglected by Western academic thinkers - that is the subject matter of Tarot. All of human life in its immense variety of joy and pain is supposed to be shown and explained in the seventy-eight pictures.
But painting isn't easy and Modern painting is probably the hardest kind devised so far.
In any case, you've only got a surface and some sticky colored paste. Then
in the Modern mode you are supposed to dance and sing all round about inside the viewer's
brain. And besides all that, the 1979 technology for reproducing paintings was very
far beyond my reach.
But there was at least one possibility. Black and white was cheap to print and some great Modern works are black and white. And though it might take quite a while to learn to paint, I knew that I could draw a bit.
I took a running leap.
The first week of 1980 I started in and then by December 1980 had a working deck. That
was the first rough version of the Simple Tarot, which has become half of the Magic Mirror set.
I worked the kinks out of the thing through countless readings.
And the folk who trusted me to read with them taught me philosophy.
So suddenly I found that I could paint some decent pictures.
Then digital technology got good and cheap enough to put to use so I could print the things right in the studio.
And now the project's finished only twenty-six years later.