A haunting new deck!

I just received permission from Karen Mahony to include images from The Bohemian Gothic Tarot on this blog, and I’m very excited! This deck gets under my skin like no other. I can imagine the source of strength as well as the pain, and self-destruction of each of the figures in the deck and can’t help but reflect on my own. This deck is also particularly inspiring for writing fiction with the tarot—the stories run deep.

I thought I’d include an exercise to whet your appetite for this deck, which you can purchase through Magic Realist Press. The book is a gem, too. It includes a short history of the the Gothic as well as a short history of the tarot, and also has reading tips, original spreads, a great essay on working with a “dark” deck by Dan Pelletier, and some of the original photos and sources that went into the artwork of the deck. Most importantly, there’s a super terrific discussion of each card, including questions for reflection and quotations from Gothic literature.

Okay, and now for the exercise. Study the cards below and see if you can identify one that mirrors your inner demons. It may be the demons that get you every time, or those that surface in particular circumstances. You might consider the lessons these demons are trying to teach you and any strength that you derive from them.

Bohemian Gothic 9 of Cups Bohemian Gothic 8 of Cups

Bohemian Gothic 5 of Wands Bohemian Gothic Emperor

Bohemian Gothic Knight of Pentacles Bohemian Gothic 2 of Swords

After you have selected your card, visit The Bohemian Gothic site, and see if you can find another card that represents what you need to combat your demons. You might also look through another favorite deck for such a card.

Stay tuned for more Tarot Table Talk entries featuring decks from Magic Realist Press.

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2 Responses to “A haunting new deck!”

  1. Sonia Says:

    Okay, prepare for a long post, because this deck “gets under my skin,” too!

    I chose the Eight of Cups for my “demon” of the moment, seeing it as isolation. (I’m still getting used to the symbolism of the deck, so my instinctive guesses don’t often have to do with the archetypal meaning of the card.) The solution/ direction cards that jumped out at me were the Five and Ten of Pentacles–find someone else to care for.

    Then I looked up the archetypal meaning of the Eight of Cups and found it to be moving/ moving on/ change… So I thought maybe my “demon” of the moment is indecision, since I’m still wavering about what to do for my major, for certain fellowships… I don’t really want to move irrevocably in one direction or the other. And going through the deck again, I found three appropriate cards: The Two of Swords (still my mind and look hard within) (by the way, this is one of my favorite cards–I love the feeling of space those tall towers give!); the Fool (take a chance and don’t be afraid of how it will work out); and the Ace of Swords (Excalibur!–choose a course and stick to it).

    Let’s work with this deck again, please!

  2. Susan Gold Says:

    I’m so glad you wrote in, Sonia! I think it’s great that you’re allowing yourself to go with your instincts without worrying about the archetypal meaning of the cards.

    I really like that Two of Swords card, too. It also reminds me of The Fool card in imagery–women on the rooftops at night in precarious and invigorating scenes.

    I wish you the best as you choose a direction.

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