Greek Myths Tarot

Welcome to my blog! I thought a fitting beginning would be a deeper look into the development of my personal tarot deck. I’ve never given it an official name.. that is a problem for another day. It does follow the theme of Greek mythology, however. I have read the Greek myths since childhood so I was very familiar with the characters and situations. As a librarian, I was also drawn to possibilities of storytelling as a method for divining meaning from the cards.

Tarot has always been a storytelling art, but usually the story is created from the imagery on the cards. In my approach, the stories that I was already familiar with provided the meaning. Then I used images from the public domain or licensed using creative commons to create associate the stories with each card.

Like many tarot practitioners, I used Eden Gray’s seminal text from 1973, Mastering the Tarot, when I was first learning to read. It was these meanings that I translated to my own deck as I was developing it. The version that I own is out of print now, but an updated version called The Complete Guide to the Tarot can still be purchased.

Tarot card with medusa image. The Grecian key is the border. The word Medusa is at the top of the card and the words "The Moon" are placed at the bottom.
“Medusa” by Alice Pike Barney is licensed under CC 0 (Public Domain).

One question I have asked myself many times is why am I creating my own deck when there are so many beautiful ones available? Well, tarot lore does tell us that one must have a deck given to them or make it themselves and that to purchase one is bad luck. I don’t believe the bad luck portion of that, but I do understand that you can never know someone else’s deck in quite the same way that you know your own. Creating your own deck allows you to learn meanings in-depth as you design. That kind of knowledge can only come from the creative process.

The other reason I decided to create my own was because I wanted a deck that used Greek mythology, but hated how Medusa was represented in most decks. Her story is particularly compelling to me as she is portrayed as a monster, but was made monstrous by Athena for being the victim of a brutal rape at the hands of Poseidon. Thus while she plays the monster in Perseus’ story, she is a far more complex character than that story allows. As a feminist, I feel deeply connected to this story and chose to place her on the Moon card as a result.

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