Gay Tarot – a tarot deck review

June 29th, 2024 Comments Off on Gay Tarot – a tarot deck review

In honour of Pride Celebrations this weekend, in Toronto and around the world, today’s deck from Georgie’s Magic Card Collection is Gay Tarot. Gay Tarot was created by Lee Bursten and illustrated by Antonella Platano. The copy I have was published in 2004 by Lo Scarabeo.

5 Points About This Deck

  1. Gay Tarot: Gay Tarot is definitely a gay Tarot. Its focus is on gay men in particular, with the intention not to exclude women, non-binary folk, and/or non-gay men, but to have a deck that represents gay men in particular. Having said that, there’s nothing in the messages of these cards that can’t be applied to people in general, regardless of sexuality or gender. As with all Tarot decks (at least in the way I read) the gender of the characters in the cards do not necessarily reflect the gender of the person being read for. They’re simply guides to general characteristics.
  2. Artwork: The artwork in Gay Tarot is well drawn, clear, and mostly realistic. There’s less whimsy and mysticism than many decks have, and more focus on everyday easily relatable situations. The images are of people doing things modern people do, wearing clothes that modern people wear. Of course the deck is 20 years old, so by modern, I mean not medieval a la the RWS-, Marseille-, or Visconti-style images. Every now and then though, elements of an RWS image does sneak in … see the 10 of Swords, 3 of Cups, and 5 of disks … and there are some angels.
  3. Majors: The Major Arcana in Gay Tarot mostly follows the themes found in traditional Tarot, but as described above, it expresses those themes in a modern context. For instance, the Hermit is in space rather than in a cave on a mountain, and instead of an alchemical angel, Temperance is a chef, combining food elements to create the perfect dish. There are also a few novel takes on the cards. The Devil, #15, for example, is reimagined as Self-Hatred, while #16, the Tower, becomes Revelation. And one I thought especially interesting was #20, traditionally known as Judgement. In Gay Tarot, it’s now the opposite – Beyond Judgement.
  4. Minors: Gay Tarot’s Minor Arcana is fully illustrated, and as with the Majors, mostly follows the traditional Golden Dawn themes, just putting those themes into modern scenarios.
    Court Cards: Instead of the more common Page, Knight, Queen, and King, Gay Tarot offers us Youth, Man. Guide, and Sage.
  5. Booklet: The LWB (little white book that comes with the deck) for Gay Tarot is not particularly detailed, but it does offer a helpful basic description of what the cards are meant to suggest. I find it useful. And like with other Lo Scarabeo decks, the LWB describes the cards in multiple European languages – Italian, Spanish, English, German, and French. The booklet also includes an interesting Self-Image spread.

Overall, I’d say that Gay Tarot is clever, clear, and uncomplicated in its messages. Whether you’re a gay man or not, it’s a good deck to read with.

And to those who celebrate, Happy Pride!

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