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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review: The Gay Tarot

Description:  The Gay Tarot focuses on the experience and identity of homosexual men. While men are featured as all the major figures, women are not excluded. The 78 images are fully illustrated, with people are of all ethnicities, shapes and sizes and in modern, contemporary settings.

Created By: By Lee Bursten & Antonella Platano

Review: The Gay Tarot is something of a Rider-Clone with modern twists on some of the images. For example, the 8 of Swords shows a young man in a subway surrounded on all sides by other people (alone yet not alone), the Chariot now takes the form of a skater-boy being pulled along by two dogs.

There are very few females in this deck, which is fitting because it was made specifically by and for gay men. I personally don't find this a problem as there are many feminist decks on the market which don't feature men. However, the exclusion of women necessitated a few changes and therefore the High Priestess becomes the Intuitive and the Empress, the Protector. Other changes include replacing the traditional Kings, Queens, Knights, and Pages with Sages, Men, Youths, and Guides respectively. Finally, significant changes to the Major Arcana include replacing the Devil with Self-Hatred, and the Tower with Revelation.

In addition the numbered cards of each suit relate to one another in profound ways. For example, with the exception of the 3 of Swords,  the 3's of each suit display scenes of a single-father caring for his young daughter. Some figures appear in different cards at various points in their lives. For example, the Fool shows a handsome young man standing along the highway with a puppy asleep at his feet. Later, the same young man can be seen in the 10 of Wands. Here he is still traveling the highway. His book-bag is more tattered, his dog has grown and he himself is more mature. 

I like that the cards aren't  full of young attractive white men but rather shows men of all ages, races, and types. The Gay Tarot consists of the young and the old, single and committed, single-parents, and happy families.  I like that all of the images are tasteful and there's very little nudity in this deck and does not perpetuate the idea that gay men are all about sex and pornography. In fact, there is very little that I do not like about this deck. The most I can say that I dislike about the Gay Tarot are the extra titles on each card which gives the card's names in six different languages. 

Once you get used to the differences, especially if you are accustomed to the traditional structure of the Rider-Waite deck, I think that you'll find many insights and nuances that add depth and meaning to your readings. All in all, this is a great deck that reflects the lives of gay men and speaks directly to their experiences in the modern world.

Happy Hoodooing!


The Gay Tarot (Aeclectic Tarot)

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