Monday, April 28, 2008


The Bohemian Gothic Tarot* is my newest deck. I’ll go into my responses to it a little after I share a one card reading I did with it on April 21, 2008. I asked: “How can I best let go of being deeply angry at and hurt by [a particular person].” I was especially concerned about having to struggle with wishing this person ill, or at times with wanting to out-compete them in some way. It all seemed like a terrible waste of time and energy, and worse, harmful. Certainly to me, and maybe even in that larger sense to the other person. I got the Eight of Cups:

Well, on first glance it did seem to accurately reflect my mood with respect to my question. I have been slogging my way through this particular long, dark, echoing hallway for a long time now. Constantly looking back over my shoulder, both trying to figure out what I did to bring myself to this pass in the relationship, and fearful of what negative effects might be catching up with me with regard to it. Traditionally, this card does often address “moving on,” and “walking away,” with a sense of progress in that. For example, here’s the Eight of Cups in the Rider/Waite/Smith deck:

But I have been attempting to walk away for some time and I’m still in this same dark hallway. I did not feel traditional meanings were helping me with my question. Nor did what the book says that accompanies this deck offer any new information. Both traditional meanings and the book seemed to be only descriptive, not prescriptive – the latter being what I was hoping for. Or at least something new, something I had not already chewed over, again and again, ad nauseam, that might point me in a new direction.

It took a dream that night to open up this reading and offer a new stance to take, a new way to step carefully for the rest of the distance I have yet to go before I reach that light in the distance seen on this card. Here’s the dream taiga (illustrated tanka) that I made out of the dream and the card:

The impactful part of the dream are the words “Thank you for coming.” Somewhere in the middle of writing this dream tanka it hit me: I need to be grateful that this relationship is giving me an opportunity to grow in some very necessary way, grateful even to the other person. Yes, it’s painful and difficult, and I have a way yet to go. But the voice that said “Thank you...” is that of the person urging me out of this dark house. As if it is time to be moving on, as the initial meaning I recalled of the Eight of Cups also says. So it is gratitude for it all – the good, the bad, the ugly (in everything, not just this relationship) – that is the key, that is the new element I was asking the cards to help me find. (I am considering changing that second line to: she herds me out of her house. Since it's illustrated, I need not describe the hall, and this new wording is less awkward.)

And that’s enough of wandering through my psyche... The Bohemian Gothic Tarot is a deck I have been wanting since I first saw images of it online and pre-ordered it. I have to say when I first went through it I was a bit let down and that feeling has not totally gone away. Many of the illustrations are stunning and highly appropriate, resonating deeply. And the book offers consistently unusual, yet not entirely “off the wall” meanings. But every so often, the faces of the people on these cards are very awkward, even laughable, dropping me right out of the Gothic mood and leaving me rather annoyed. Here are some of the cards I think are highly effective:

And here are some with faces that really disrupt the mood of the card:

My scanner is not the best, so it may be hard to see the face details. Anyway, except for the faces, I think the figures on these cards work quite well within their gothic settings.

Of course, I hasten to add that I’ve never “met” a deck I thought was perfect and there is much in this deck’s art work to be appreciated. I also like that a quote or two from a gothic story is appended to each card’s meaning and background. All in all? If you are inclined to the gothic either in art or in stories, you might really like this deck.

*Written and designed by Karen Mahony; Illustrated by Alex Ukolov, baba studio; Published by Magic Realist Press, 2007.

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‘til next time, keep being grateful for everything about life, and especially enjoying The Tarot,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)**** SEE ALSO: Roswila’s Dream & Poetry Realm for Tarot poetry; Roswila’s Taiga Tarot for taiga (illustrated tanka); and Yahoo DREAMJIN: Group for Dreamku – Haiku-Like Dream Poems.****