My very own Tarot deck…

warts and all!! For the last 8 weeks I have been eagerly awaiting my own personal Tarot deck! (You may have already noticed The Fool card I use as my Avatar – which was the first card I was sent an image of):    Ordered from a lady on Etsy, I submitted  descriptions of what I wanted each card to depict and she then provided the watercolour and ink images to help me design my own personal deck.

Well, this whole process did NOT go without hiccups and the resulting deck is certainly not exactly what I had envisioned!

In fact, it leaves a lot to be desired…

Although I like most images as the little pieces of art they are, and she did her best to work in the minimalistic style I requested, some things got lost in translation!!!

Unavoidable really, unless you can work closely together with an artist and provide feed-back at every stage of development. Due to living in different countries this obviously did not happen, and that shows…

I am not being disrespectful to the artist here, I got exactly what I could expect at less than €1 per card! I was not paying her for endless re-do’s and lots of conferring!

However, this exercise has provided me with invaluable insight in to what works for me and what doesn’t – time to start working on my own creations I think!!!

This deck would just be for personal use, with images that make sense to me, it is NOT intended for publication!

My idea was to have little to none human figures in the cards (except for The Fool, The Empress and the Moon where I requested a silhouette).

I really wanted to depict little scenes, where it looked like the subject had just stepped out for a minute but would be right back.

In this way I could imagine myself or my queerent in the scene, as often I find it off-putting to have a person depicted in the cards who does not match what I look like, or how the person I read for looks. Might be a little quirk of mine, I don’t know if other people get this feeling too.

I will share some images here, the full Major Arcana (I will list where the artist went wrong!), followed by my favourite (or least un-favoured) pip cards and Courts…

Major Arcana:There are A LOT of mistakes here.

The Fool was supposed to stand on the ledge of a tall building, tethered only by a spiders web (as in the Leonard Cohen song So Long Marianne), reaching for the star. I do however like this card as it turned out.

The Magician was supposed to include a tattoo of a DNA strand on the arm holding cards representing the 4 elements or 4 suits.

The High Priestess is not drawn clearly enough – the Owl outside the window was supposed to be in the room, the crystal ball is too tiny, I asked for tarot cards on the table and the candles were meant to be tall to represent the two pillars, her blue cloak spilling from the table to pool on the floor…

The Empress was meant to be a Gaia or Spiral Goddess silhouette in a field of flowers with the Earth rising behind her and 12 stars or zodiac signs in the sky.

For The Emperor I had envisioned curled rams-horns with the globe and ankh.

The Hierophant was meant to be bookshelves with various religious symbols on the book-spines (could have been clearer here).

The Lovers, a bouquet of red roses and discarded lingerie, a lipstick-kiss. Could have been a much nicer drawing.

The Chariot does include the compass I requested but NOT the confusing signposts and map!

Strength was supposed to be a mouse sitting ON a cat.

The Hermit’s pile of books with a steaming cup of thee on it next to a comfy sofa could have been clearer, she did include the labyrinth-picture and the lit ceiling-lamp I asked for, but not the curtains drawn against the world or the sleeping cat.

The Wheel of Fortune was meant to be represented by a roulette-style wheel, with symbols relating to the 4 seasons and the wheel of the year included! Not sure why she just drew dice (which I mentioned could maybe be included, as an after-thought…).

For Justice I had asked for a judge’s gavel against a large yin-yang sign.

For The Hanged Man it was meant to be a spider hanging from a tree which had runes carved in it (in reference to Odin earning the wisdom of the Runes after 9 days of hanging from the world-tree).

Death was represented by the death head moth as drawn here but she missed out the red rose and white lilly.

Temperance should have clearly shown the bottles of water and wine that are being mixed here.

The Devil annoyed me the most, I clearly requested a golden cage, chains draping down, a pommegranate and a red right hand print on the wall (reference to Milton’s Paradise Lost and one of my favourite Nick Cave songs…) – my guess is she messed up the handprint and rather than redoing the card, she just covered it up with a black square!!!

The Tower card I like, but a bucket and spade were left out (to show rebuilding is possible).

The Star card is my favourite but she could have made the background dark.

The Moon card is not well executed, it was meant to be a silhouette standing in the water against a large full moon.

The Sun is meant to be sunflowers and a pommegranate (which looks like a vase of some kind here?).

Judgement was supposed to be an old fashioned alarm clock and a mirror. Okay.

Then The World: I asked for a globe-lamp, plugged in, against a star-chart backdrop. Maybe she has never seen one of those…

So, as you can see there is A LOT of work to be done!!!

I have already ordered a small red handprint and a globe-lamp sticker to stick over the two cards that bother me most… she laminated the cards (which I did not ask for!), otherwise I could have made some adjustments with my sharpies.

In the Minor Arcana the mistakes and oversights continue, too many to mention so I will just show some reasonably good cards from each suit:Again she left stuff out: the 2 of Cups was meant to have steaming cups, the steam entwining to form a heart. Not sure what happened to the 5th bottle in the 5 of Cups and the fish leaping out of the water in the King of Cups was supposed to be a main feature…

The 6 of Swords was meant to have a swan and signet navigating the treacherous rocks. I love the Sword-Courts though!

The main issues here are that she changed the requested suit of Coins to “Gold”, and she insists on naming the Pages as “11” – I guess she was over-enthousiastic with the numbering first, and rather than starting over, she just repeated the same mistake for the next suits. Sigh.

Also, even though I really like the 10 of Swords, I have a feeling I have seen that particular black panther somewhere before? In a tattoo-book perhaps? ….

Safe to say I will be starting work on my own deck very soon! Might be a 5 year plan haha but that’s okay ☺️




  1. Your ideas for each card and the symbolism are great. You really should invest the time to create them yourself. You don’t have to be an amazing artist or anything. But heaps of people are doing it – Angie from TCM, Brigit from Biddy Tarot, and even Benebell Wen are all releasing their own decks. Seems to be a thing happening… I mean, it’s the time for it. In the personal and public spheres.
    Make the thing that you’d be satisfied with. And if it’s for personal use, don’t worry so much about deadlines, or who thinks what of your illustration style.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I just want a simple deck that depicts my personal interpretations, they don’t have to make sense to others ☺️ I am no artist but I can draw well enough – or I can do some collage-style stuff. I am just a bit short on energy right now and the pain in my hands might be a hinderance! But it will be a fun long-term project to work on as and when I can! Xx


    2. I am most miffed that she laminated these cards! I did NOT request that! It would have been so easy to make some modifications otherwise… then I could have used this deck until my own is ready – now because of the laminate the cards are slidy, sticky and too thick! I have to keep it in a large tupperware tub as the stack is huge! But no use crying over spilled milk (as in my 5 of cups lol) I didn’t complain because I paid her less than €1 per card so what could I expect? It was still a fun exercise though, figuring out what I want on each card! Xx


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