As most enthusiasts will know, creating your own Tarot deck is the ultimate way to forge a strong relationship with the cards, something I may have sensed at the age of 10 when I created my first Trump designs in felt tip pen(!). I only completed a few - The Wheel of Fortune was certainly one of them - but the seed of something greater had been sown.
A second, more elaborate, attempt to complete a set of Trumps came a decade later, in 1995. These, like most modern Tarots, were heavily influenced by the Rider Waite deck and a full set of 22 Trumps were completed in pen and ink. I see these as an interesting reflection of how I was seeing the cards at the time and some of these early designs have been developed in the Arcane Tarot.
A third, more serious attempt to create a deck came in 2011. At this stage I had been working professionally as a full-time reader for five years and was finding that no published deck completely satisfied my own understanding of the Tarot.
I considered the Rider Waite deck excellent for its pictorial Minor Arcana (though I have issues with it being 'quite' so pictorial!), but felt that the Trumps suffered from massive bastardisation from the authentic medieval designs. I was also frustrated at the fact that no existing deck utilised the earliest known sequence of Trumps - the 15th Century Manuscript 'Sermones De Ludo Cum Aliis' - which differs, sometimes dramatically, from the modern sequence.
With this in mind I decided to create a set of my own Trumps that I felt were faithful representations of the earliest designs, correcting certain errors that had crept in to the Marseille designs (eg the Hermit's hourglass becoming a lantern) and attempting to create a set of stark designs that stood somewhere between the earliest known Italian Tarots and the slightly later, possibly French (not as foolish a statement as it sounds), designs known as the 'Marseille' Tarots.
Having completed 21 Trumps and a handful of Minor Arcanas by the time I moved from London in 2013, I was spurred to see what I could do with these crude designs if I actually sat down and treated each Trump as an individual piece of Art. My aim of completing something crude a la Marseille Tarot had essentially been unsuccessful thanks to my goal of getting basic designs done quickly. So, that September I set to work on a new Devil design.
Pleased with the result, I moved on to the rest of the Trumps and completed all 22 in early 2017. I was thrilled when one of these designs - Justice - was picked by leading occult publisher Three Hands Press for inclusion in their forthcoming book 'Witch Ikon - Witchcraft in Art & Artifact'. I self published a limited edition of 50 Trump sets that same year - these quickly sold out. I am currently working on the pip cards - or 'Minor Arcana' - though as these will take some years to complete I will be self publishing a second edition of the 22 Trumps in early 2021.
Arcane Tarot Deck
22 Trumps professionally printed on 280gsm card, hand cut in traditional medieval style with blank backs. 12 x 7 cm. Housed in a hand-cut, signed and hand-numbered folder