The Black Ink Tarot Deck
The complete & final first edition Major Arcana for the Black Ink Tarot Deck
The Black Ink Tarot Deck is a stark, black and white, symbolic deck inspired by Yankee folk art, antique printers' ornaments, and regional wildlife. The deck and accompanying texts are designed to be gender-neutral and to challenge and subvert traditional hierarchies, while leaving room to blend with a variety of traditional and new tarot practices and schools. The cards themselves are numbered but title-less, while the guides include both traditional and contemporary, alternative titles to any cards with particularly gendered or religiously charged iconography. The artwork for this deck is complete. I expect to self-publish both the Black Ink and Interrobang Tarot Decks in 2021, with a full-length guidebook to follow.
All points are spheres. All spheres are worlds. All words are seeds. All signs are keys.
This deck wanted suit markers that directly and simply convey their classical elements, that readers can connect to intuitively without a background in Wicca, Theosophy, Hermeticism, or Western ceremonial magic. The fours suits are matchsticks (wands, fire, spring), drops (cups, water, summer), arrows (swords, air, autumn), and gems (pentacles, earth, winter). The courts are represented by wildlife, with both biological and astrological symbolism.
the suit and court of Matchsticks
the suit and court of Drops
the suit and court of Arrows
the suit and court of Gems
The Big Picture
The Black Ink Tarot Deck is one of three interwoven decks in progress, moving from abstract, through symbolic, to pictorial modes. The Interrobang Tarot Deck, built around the Interrobang Tarot Journaling Glyphs, is minimalist and abstract. It focuses on the building blocks behind tarot symbolism and provides a tabula rasa prompt for generating creative and visionary text.
The Black Ink Tarot Deck blends minimalism and pictorial thinking through stark, intuitive, and folkloric symbolic ornaments. These first two decks blend Marseilles and Smith-Waite influences and should be of use to those who draw from multiple reading styles.
The Spirit Vertigo Deck is maximalist, highly figurative, and built of immersive, stream of consciousness scenes inspired by classic Smith-Waite symbolism. The settings are timeless spaces informed by New as Now American culture and Old as Dirt European folklore, cast with a diverse group of characters.
Diagram of parallels between decks in progress.
My aesthetics are somber, vintage, intricate, rustic, and liminal. These are not the (delightful, invaluable) loud, brash, rainbow-y queer decks some readers expect from queer and trans authors. That said, the imagery and forthcoming texts do aim to challenge and offer alternatives to gendered, ableist, and hierarchical thought patterns common to the tarot field, in both direct and subtle ways. Queering is not just a method of expression (far from codified at that!), but any number of ways of seeing the world. All three decks aim to include and speak to people of diverse backgrounds and wirings, with the understanding that no deck, as a finite text from a fallible author, can or should directly represent and speak to all possible stories. More voices all around, please!
The Library of Esoterica
Such warmth and gratitude to Jessica Hundley, Taschen, and their Library of Esoterica team for including the Black Ink Tarot and Spirit Vertigo Tarot decks in progress in their gorgeous volume, Tarot, released August 2020! If you loved this visual history, keep your eyes on Taschen for upcoming releases on Astrology and Witchcraft!
The Hierophant from The Black Ink Tarot deck, pictured opposite the incomparable Carnival At The End of The World Tarot by Kahn & Selesnick.
The Library of Esoterica's TAROT, written and edited by Jessica Hundley,
published by Taschen. Cover photograph by Taschen.