What inspired you to make this deck?
I've been interested in tarot since I was a teenager, when I discovered a deck my mom had called Morgan's Tarot. From then on, I became fascinated by the wide range of visual interpretations that exist in the world of tarot. What interested me even more was the underlying system involved.
The tarot depicts universal characteristics of human experience: beginnings, endings, and everything that occurs in between. It is meant to represent all facets of our relationships with others and with ourselves.
As an artist and illustrator, I am interested in the ways that image interpretation can help us connect with our intuition. Images have the power to communicate in general outlines while leaving space for the reader. Within that space, we can look inward, reassess, and create a new context for life situations.
The tarot usually has 78 cards, but this deck has 53. How does that work?
Traditional tarot decks like the Smith-Waite deck have 78 cards (22 Major and 56 Minor Arcana.) The Illuminated Tarot has 52 cards like a standard playing card deck. The Joker (which corresponds to The Fool) is the 53rd card.
In The Illuminated Tarot, the Major Arcana are combined with specific Minor Arcana cards. To determine which cards would be combined, I used numerological correspondence and my own intuition based on research of traditional card meanings. The Illuminated Tarot has Jacks, which correspond to tarot's Pages, but does not include the Knight cards that appear in traditional tarot decks.
It is said that tarot evolved with playing cards, so the tarot and playing card suits correspond: Swords = Spades, Cups = Hearts, Wands = Clubs, Coins/Pentacles = Diamonds. Each suit has a specific connotation which is described in the guidebook.
I'm new to tarot. Are there any books or resources that you would recommend?
The two books I looked to the most in researching card meanings and in learning about the system of tarot were Tarot Wisdom by Rachel Pollack and The Way of Tarot by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Marianne Costa.
Tarot Wisdom does an amazing job of interweaving things like Kabbalah and other spiritual and religious references with tarot, while remaining very readable and engaging. I've heard good things about all of Rachel Pollack's books but this is the one I happened to gravitate toward. Jodorowsky and Costa's card interpretations varied most from the other sources I used but their way of writing about the cards (sometimes in the first person, from the card's point of view) is entertaining and comprehensive, and the book has a great intro by Jodorowsky. I mainly used this book for reference on numerology.
A newer book that I really like is Jessa Crispin's Creative Tarot, which includes art and literary references with each card description.