A North American Tarot Deck

Emi Brady’s North American Tarot deck. (Photo: Colorado Public Radio).

This would make a nice bookend to the American Renaissance Tarot — Emi Brady’s North American Tarot.

For more than a decade, Denver artist and printmaker Emi Brady toyed with the idea of her own tarot card deck. She “wasn’t ready” until more recently.

“Technically, I wasn’t ready and I think emotionally I wasn’t ready,” Brady said. “I was definitely still learning a lot of things about myself and I think the Tarot is about having a depth of knowledge and compassion for yourself and for others. And I just wasn’t there”  . . . . .

Her own deck, The Brady Tarot, is a set of hand-colored, linocut cards that she released in 2018. The imagery features nature, particularly fauna and flora native to North America. One of the most important things she wants is for people to realize that animals also “have rich inner lives and we’re not alone on this planet.”

Read the rest at Colorado Public Radio.

5 thoughts on “A North American Tarot Deck

  1. I always encourage artistic esoteric investigation, however, I intuit that old decks of tarot were conveying secrets and sacred info. Do modern tarot decks continue that heritage or Simply convey inclinations of newbies and initiates? Is trads and secret wisdom being conveyed or ignored?

    • The “original” tarot deck used in most modern readings was created by A.E. Waite, an initiate of the Golden Dawn, and Pamela Coleman-Smith, the artist. Because Waite was a GD initiate, he incorporated a lot of GD symbolism into those cards.
      I was told by Ellen Cannon Reed (who was a member of a coven whose HP/ss was an initiate in the GD tradition and those received a lot of information, plus, if I’m remembering correctly, she typed up a lot of Israel Regardie’s manuscripts) in the 1970s when she and I were corresponding, that Waite, because he was a Golden Dawn initiate, in order to avoid violating his vows, reversed the attributes of the Swords and Wands from Swords=fire and Wands=air to the opposite which all tarot decks now use. She eventually created her own deck which put the correspondences back to the way they were “supposed” to be.

      This deck is beautiful. I used to collect decks, not for their esoteric value, but simply for the artwork. I might consider buying a copy of this deck for the same reason.

    • True, Emi Brady’s deck is not within the hermetic Western esoteric tradition of, for example, the A. E. Waite-Pamela Coleman Smith deck that we all know.

      But our Tarot deck is a mongrel to begin with. The four suits seem to have one origin (in India?) and the trump cards have another — 15th-century Italy, most likely. People try to jam them into various templates, such as the Hebrew alphabet, but it never comes out just right.

      Consequently, many designers over the last forty years (or more) have taken the idea of “Tarot deck” and created many different visions. Some don’t even have four suits. Yet if they work, they can open that door of intuition.

      Brady keeps the idea of Major Arcana and Minor Arcana but re-envisions them in relation to this continent, and I find that approach to be heartening and inspiring.

  2. I backed this deck on Kickstarter, and I’m so glad I did. The artwork is astonishingly beautiful, and I can tell that a lot of careful thought went into the design and attribution of meanings for each card. I think this deck has a lot to say to me about grounding my paganism (which is definitely Nature-centered to begin with) in the place I am.

    • Yes, it is an incredible beautiful deck, and while I may not use it for divination, I certainly appreciate the love and amount of work (!) that went into it.

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