Tarot of the Silicon Dawn (Lo Scarabeo 2011), by Egypt Urnash (Margaret Trauth) a couple of months ago. While it certainly won't suit die-hards of any tradition, there is so much to explore here! Scans don't do justice to the images, which use a varnishing technique to add "hidden" elements to the cards, including an extra suit of Void, which are entirely black. There are also 4 extra cards at the end of each suit, the 99's, and a number of extra Majors, as well as a black card and a white card, with just a spiral in the middle. For a detailed review, Barbara Moore did a 7 part exploration of this deck which starts here.
I decided I would have to try to get to know this surprising deck a bit better, and invited it for an early evening cocktail (tea seemed far too tame). I expanded the interview spread created by Fireraven and propagated on Aeclectic. I wanted to cover the basics, but also look at how to deal with the additional cards this deck offers.
What is your most important characteristic? Nine of Wands
A Fool in a jaunty motley dress and hat strides in, cocktail already in hand - how did she manage that?
"You may not be sure with me whether I'm giving you pearls of wisdom or leading you on a merry dance. Still, in reality I'm always there in the background, playfully exploring life with you - I've got your back."
"That's good to know, I guess..."
"And I'll remind you that every relationship involves give and take, but it's a win-win situation as both are good. I'll also always challenge black-and-white thinking, suggesting a bit of green or purple, or whatever..."
"Speaking of challenging rigid thinking, this card doesn't look much like traditional 9 of Wands imagery..."
"No-one will ever call me traditional! Still, I think what you're getting at is the fact that I associate Wands with Earth, and Pentacles with Fire. Don't ask me why, that's just the way I roll. So, the closest card to this in an old-fashioned deck would actually be the 9 of Pentacles - material success, independence and abundance."
"Ah, yes, that's more like what I see here, thanks for clearing that up. Now, can I ask..."
"I'm fast-moving and modern."
"Why, that's almost an understatement!"
"Cheeky! Anyhow, you may notice I'm full of energy, with plenty of girl-power thrown in for good measure. I'll talk to you in a language that is both familiar and strange - rooted in modernity, yet speaking to your soul. And I don't pull my punches."
I have to say, this feels very true. The images here are incredibly striking, despite their strangeness (for a tarot deck - many would look right at home in a computer game or tv cartoon show).
"Well, I may sometimes be a bit busy being fabulous, and forget to trust my instincts. But I am so very fabulous!"
"Ha ha, fabulous darling!"
"While you think I'm merely preening, in the background I am holding everything together, so you just have to ignore my pretensions and trust that I'm strong despite my girlish charms."
OK, I can probably manage that. I guess it's like the gorgeous blonde in films who's also a brainiack, but people take a while to realise...
Here we have one of the extra cards in this deck - connected with the Fortitude (Strength) card we just saw, and yet going somewhere completely different.
"I can teach you about opening up to uncertainty, hah! I'll remind you that really everything is illusion, all our ideas and preconceptions about the world, ourselves and others. I don't do black-and-white, like I said before, despite there being a lot of it - it's another illusion. I make it seem like there's right and wrong, only to challenge it all. So, I'll teach you to go beyond what you thought you knew."
"Well, that's quite a claim!"
Still, she is incredibly different... And that's even without the fact you out there on the interwebs can't see hir butterfly...
"Just let me blow your mind! Ha ha! As I just explained, I like to explode the ways you see things. Not just about how you see people, yourself and others, but even how you think about the world, about past, present and future, about location. You really can change anything if you want to, and I can give you the advice of your Higher Self to help decide what in your life you need to shatter and what structures to keep."
This is another of the extra Majors, connected with X: History and 10: Fortune, by her design, and yet placed by Urnash outside of the normal sequence. She talks about this card being our Higher Self, where the Fool may eventually get to after the whole Hero's Journey...
The suit of Void is made up of a 0 and four Courts, with the 0 having a black background and a little white butterfly. The Courts have complex images in varnish, which can only be seen under the right light - no point scanning any of these, you wouldn't see a thing! The Courts in the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn are titled King, Queen, Chevalier and Princess (except in the suit of Void where the final card is titled Progeny, but of course that doesn't change the single letter on the card...)
"Though it may at first seem rather dark and bleak, this suit is actually very playful. It can nurture, just as the dark of the womb nurtures, and just as we come from the dark of space to explode into all of life."
"So, you're not really all about blackness?"
"Well, some may read me that way, but as with the Death card and the Tower, out of doom and destruction rise new beginnings."
The 99's are four additional cards at the end of each suit. If the 10's are completion, the 99's are described as 'Not just "too much", but so much extra that it can completely change your thinking about the subject.'
"Just when you thought you knew everything, and were bored with it all, along snuck the 99's! They add a whole new dimension, taking things to the nth degree. They look like little 'ole cards, but like the lady behind the chair, they're just that bit different."
"So, what should I make of them?"
"Just use your eyes, and your intuition, be willing to see beyond first appearances. For instance, here it looks like a cocktail party indoors, but there's also someone playing croquet - what do you make of that?"
"Hmm, croquet makes me think of being mean in the most courteous of ways."
"The same with the 99's: they pack a real punch while pretending to be just a joke."
I'll just have to give it a go, I guess.
"Well, you can drown in the abundance of emotions and variety that are offered. Still, these little cards are well-balanced and add to the overall structure of the deck. They bring the potential for transformation, and should be celebrated!"
"I notice that the sun's rays have hands and are copping a feel?"
"Gotta have fun, honey-child, gotta have fun!"
"Despite all my brash talk, I will be there through thick and thin with you. I understand about hard times, so I can stay the course and support you, no matter what. And I'm pretty unshockable!"
"Ha, yes, more than most, I imagine."
"Once again, even when you think things are clear-cut and just awful, I can dart in with a bit of colour, a bit of challenge to your all-or-nothing mentality."
"That certainly sounds like something I could do with now and again. I'm looking forward to it."
"Well, gotta be going now, dearie, places to go, people to flabberghast..."
And with that, she's gone. But I know she'll be back...