I've been working on the drawings for the Tabula Mundi Tarot for several years. Get 79 pieces of art for less than 50 cents each!
The video shows the last four cards of the deck being drawn. Now I have finished the art for all 78 cards plus the card backs, in black and white pen and ink drawings. Both the black and white and the color artworks are hand drawn and painted and not digitally manipulated. They are drawn on frosted acetate with permanent marker.
This is my second tarot deck and book project, so I have the logistics of publishing worked out, and I have a history of follow through with those who know my prior works. My first deck was the Rosetta Tarot, published in 2011. The first edition of the Rosetta is just about sold out, but I have some of the "pocket size decks in a tin" of it listed as a reward tier.
The extra large Major Arcana only editions of Tabula Mundi Tarot are printed in both black and white and in a color version hand painted with inks, and those are ready to go but I need your help to raise the funds to print this full 78 card edition.
The deck is called Tabula Mundi which translates to "picture of the world" and this is the "Nox et Lux" edition ("dark and light") as it is made from the black and white pen and ink drawings. Eventually I hope to finish the 78 card deck in a color version, but as each one is hand painted that will take some time.
This is an esoteric deck based on Golden Dawn teachings as outlined in Book T. These drawings are not clones of any other deck, but they follow the traditional archetypes and utilize Thoth titles and attributions. I hope you will agree that the images are unique and non-traditional yet recognizably correct to traditional Golden Dawn based tarot structure. The Minor cards are fully illustrated, but not pips and not scenic in the RWS sense.
Many tarot enthusiasts know that the Major Arcana form the basis of the Minor Arcana. Each of the "decanic" cards, or the cards numbered two through ten, are aligned with a decan or ten degrees of a zodiac sign. Each ten degree segment of a sign is ruled by a certain planet. Therefore each of the decanic minors is associated with a sign, and a planet, and thus with the trumps or Major Arcana cards that are assigned to that sign or planet. So each minor has two related Majors. These 36 minors span the 360 degrees of the zodiac circle.
Similarly, each Court card is assigned to three decans, and so has three related decanic Minor cards. What I've done with Tabula Mundi is to code these relationships into the images. Liber Theta describes a process of meditation on the cards that are related, for example by laying out the decanic Minor alongside it's two related Majors. In order to obtain the ideas for the images of Tabula Mundi's Minors, I've reverse engineered this meditation by holding the images of the related Majors in mind along with the card's formal title and meaning until the image for the Minor presented.
Some examples are in order and will help illustrate how this works. And at the end, a surprise reveal of an added feature of the cards. I hope to show you enough cards so you can understand the deck and decide if you like it, but not show all of them so that you can have some fun exploring when it arrives.
I'll post a few excerpts from the book too. Only the Majors edition has a "little white book" so I highly recommend getting the book to fully appreciate the facets of these Minors - you won't be disappointed! It is over 200 pages and counting as I'm wrapping it up and the sections on the Minors are as rich or even more so than the Majors. What I've posted here is only a small fraction of the text from each minor.
We will start with the Alpha and Omega of the suits, the Aces and the Princesses. These cards are intimately related, as the Princesses are the "Thrones" of their Aces, or the Aces fully unfolded and manifest. You can see how they are related:
Note that the printed cards of the 78 card deck will be 3x4.75 inches and will have rounded corners, and minimal thin borders with the card title and attribution symbols.
Next up, here is the Major Arcana and the Fool's Journey through a wormhole in the fabric of space-time:
Next we can see a few of the Minors two thru ten, and how they relate to each other by decan, by sign and by planet, and to the Majors they are derived from. I'll show one of each numeral first, and so you won't think I cherry picked the best ones there will be both positive and negative cards. What I have tried to do is show a variety of each suit.
The tarot Twos, Threes and Fours are the Cardinal decans. I'll start with the beginning of the zodiac, the first decan of Aries. This decan is ruled by Mars. The card is the Two of Wands, called the Lord of Dominion. It's related trumps are the Emperor, for Aries, and the Tower, for Mars.
From the Emperor card we have the red eagle, here shown as the double headed eagle representing rule in all directions, a traditional symbol of the Emperor. Many Tower cards depict the top of the Tower as a crown. Thus the Tower card has contributed the Khepresh, the War Crown of Egypt. This was a military helmet also known as the Blue Crown of Mars and was worn to celebrate the God-King and his victories. The wands are depicted as the crook and flail, symbol's of pharaoh's authority, shown in the saltire or crossed position like most of the masculine tarot twos, as this signifies resolution and resolve. Much more in Book M: Liber Mundi, the guidebook!
That was fun...now let's try a Three. This is the middle decan of Libra, which is ruled by Saturn, so the related majors are Adjustment and the Universe:
From the Adjustment card, at the pinnacle of the tripod of swords the heart-jar of the soul from the balance of Maat perches in the place of the Oracle of Delphi. The pervasive pierced heart symbolism of most Three of Sword depictions is replaced by the heart jar, cracked open. The motto inscribed at the shrine of the Oracle is said to be "Know Thyself". The Oracle was also known as the Pythia, and from the Universe card we have the python as ouroboros. The name “Pythia” comes from the original name of Delphi, Pytho, which was derived from the Greek verb pythein, meaning “to rot”. This makes allusion to the decomposition of Python, the monstrous earth dragon of Delphi depicted as a great serpent. More info can be found in Book M: Liber Mundi.
Let's do the Four of Cups next. This is the last decan of Cancer, ruled by the Moon:
The trumps associated with this card are the Chariot for Cancer and the Priestess for the Moon. The great wave is cresting; it is overflowing at its peak of power but about to make a descent. The four cups are symbolically represented by the four major phases of the Moon. In the center, the pearl, an object of luxury and the stone of Cancer. It was once believed that the growth of pearls was influenced by the Moon. Symbolically, they often represent emotional wisdom acquired with experience. As the pearl grows it becomes larger and more luxurious. But at some point the pearl grows too large for the body of the shell.
The tarot Fives, Sixes and Sevens are the fixed decans. For the Five, lets do a Disk this time. This is the Five of Disks, the first decan of Taurus, which is ruled by Mercury:
The broken record of Worry strikes again! We see the mixing board and turntable of the Magus, abandoned, smoking, and locked up. The turntable has as its axis a massive nail from the Hierophant with one broken record getting all the play, and four more just like it just waiting for your mental loop to replay. In place of the Sun and the lemniscate, the Magus' altar now has the heavy elephants of the Hierophant. It is said elephants never forget, but some things are best left forgotten. All you can think about is material trouble, the same old tune. Padlocks are indicative of something that is suppressed and dreaming of a lock represents that you fear you cannot get what you desire.You may note that the Magus' table here has the disk and the wand present, but the sword and the cup are missing. We don't have a good mental control over the emotional element, in this case, of the feeling of lack and the fear of loss.
The Sixes are at the heart of the Tree of Life, and very important cards. Let's check out the Six of Cups. This is the middle decan of Scorpio, which is ruled by the Sun.
What could be more pleasurable than soaring above the sun-sparkled waters? From the Death card we have the highest aspect of the sign Scorpio, the eagle, gliding over the waters of the Nile lit by the rising sun of the Sun card. We have a double dose of the Sun here, with the Sun’s rulership of the decan and the placement of the Sun in Tiphareth. Crowley calls this card the influence of the sun on water, and speaks of pleasure in its highest sense of effortless well being, satisfaction of desire and the fulfillment of sexual will. Tiphareth of water is about harmony of matters of the heart. The four triangles that form the twelve pointed star call to mind the anahata or heart chakra, with its lotus of twelve petals. The mythologies of the eagle as associated with the Sun are myriad throughout history, and some fascinating ones that relate to this card are outlined in Book M: Liber Mundi. To mention just one of them, the winged sun. In ancient Persia, a symbol of Zoroastrianism was a winged sun called a fravahar, which comes from an Iranian word that means “I choose” and implied that the choice was of goodness and justice. Others say it comes from the words far and khvar meaning “shining” with divine grace, as if soaring on wings of light, or from fravati meaning “divine protection”. Another translation of fravati is “move forward power” or movement in the direction of divine truth. The meaning of the fravahar is symbolic of the happiness of man based on good thoughts and deeds, the flight of the soul towards progress and bliss.
Ready for a seven? Have courage, you can face them! The Seven of Wands is the last decan of Leo, which is ruled by Mars.
The final decan of fire sign Leo, the Lust card, combined with the rulership of the Tower for Mars. A whole lot of fire and masculinity here, battling it out in the sephirah of Netzach, the domain of feminine Venus. It is going to take Valour to prevail or the soldiers will burn the fields. From the Lust card, here in the last decan of Leo the lion has morphed into another large cat, the tiger. From the Tower card we have the dragon. The card portrays the classic battle of Tiger versus Dragon according to Shaolin martial arts and in Feng Shui. Tiger versus Dragon is a story of balance between male and female energies. In Feng Shui the dragon is male and the tiger female. The dragon rises as the celestial guardian of the east and the tiger sets as the guardian of the west. The dragon represents blood and the yin within the yang, while the tiger represents chi, the yang within the yin. They must balance. Much more about the hard and soft fighting styles of Tiger vs Dragon and what it means in this card can be found in Book M: Liber Mundi.
The tarot Eights, Nines and Tens are the Mutable decans. Hard to pick an Eight; I like them all. I picked a card at random, it said go with the Eight of Cups. This is the first decan of Pisces, and the decan is ruled by Saturn.
The Moon card is the trump of Pisces, and the decan is ruled by Saturn giving us the Universe. The card is called the Lord of Indolence, also known as Abandoned Success. Eight cups are fashioned from bleached and cracked boards in the shape of the tube torus portal from the Universe card. Surely these cups won't hold water. From the Moon card we have the ghostly waters of sleep. The barge of the Moon has become a ghost ship and run aground. The ship has been abandoned, calling to mind the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: "Day after day, day after day, We stuck, or breath nor motion; As idle as a painted ship Upon a painted ocean. Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink."
Next we have the Nines. All of these are welcome cards, except for the Nine of Swords. Poor Gemini, all three of its decans are challenging Swords cards. I figured the least I could do was to make them stylistically attractive. So let's get on with the most difficult of the Nines, Cruelty.
Uh oh, the Tower again. The Lord of Cruelty has the related trumps of the Lovers for Gemini, and the Tower for the decan's ruler, Mars. Cowley makes reference to a bleak poem called “The City of Dreadful Night” in relation to this card. Here is a sample of just one of its many wretched stanzas:“My soul hath bled for you these sunless years, With bitter blood-drops running down like tears: Oh dark, dark, dark, withdrawn from joy and light!” It goes on to curse the life we must endure if we cannot die from poison or the knife. The central sword has a hilt with a winged lion, a creature of the eagle and lion of the Lovers combined. Over the lion’s wingspan, an arching form drips poisoned blood. The blade of the sword is buried firmly in the skull of the boar from the Tower card, who screams in rage and pain. This is the anguish of the mind; the gaping mouth of madness and hunger where words cruel and despairing bring self-inflicted torture. To overcome this state of mind, the only way out is through. Pulling the sword from the stone requires an act of sacrifice; the sacrificial king.
Last up is number ten. For this I've chosen the last of the minors in that it is the Ten of Disks. This is the last decan of Virgo, which is ruled by Mercury.
The Lord of Wealth is the last decan of earth sign Virgo. This is the sum total of the Great Work, and the point at which the cycle can regenerate and begin again. Crowley says of the card that “Therefore, in it is drawn the very figure of the Tree of Life itself.” Tabula Mundi demonstrates this with a rendition of the Tree as Adam Kadmon, the “Primordial Man”. From the divine will of Kether, the Four Worlds descend, each as a letter of the divine name, from the very tip of the thorn of the Yod. From the Hermit card, we have the symbolism of the Yod, shown here at the forehead of the winged helm at Kether. Also from the Hermit, the ten sephirah are seen as descending into the stone stairwell in the ground. This is symbolically earth and the descent into matter. But also in the more mundane sense, this can be seen as a vault, with the sephirah as coins of wealth and prosperity either descending and accumulating in the vault, or rising in order to be used. For wealth can only accumulate for so long until it becomes dormant and inert; it requires the intelligence of Mercury to give it purpose beyond pure material aggregation. The various elements of the Magus card give the emblematic forms to the sephirah and body of Adam Kadmon. In the place of Kether, is the Magus’ winged hem accented by a central Yod. Anthropomorphically, there is correspondence between the Tree of Life and the human body. The sephiroth form the body of Adam Kadmon. In this card all of the depictions on each of the coins or emanations take the appropriate parts from the Magus, with the exception of Tiphareth at the position of the heart, which takes the Yod-like flame from inside the Hermit’s lantern. To read more about this than I can share here, read Book M: Liber Mundi.
We have done one of each number from two through ten, but because there are four cardinal, four fixed and four mutable signs and we showed three of each, three signs have been left out. We can't have that, or the goats, water bearers and centaurs will be upset. For these cards, I won't give a book excerpt, but rest assured they are just as richly written about as the rest. To make it up to you, I'll pick and I'll choose the most positive decans:
For the Capricorns here is the Two of Disks, Change. It shows two wheels churning the sands of the hourglass and the first and last trigrams of the I Ching:
For the Aquarians, I give you the Six of Swords. This shows instruments of Science in the form of the sextant of celestial navigation and the orrery of planets:
For you fellow Sagittarians, here is the Lord of Strength. This is the decan of my Sun sign, and shows the lunar bow of both Art and the Priestess combined:
Last but not least, and in the spirit of generosity, please enjoy this video of all of the court cards. Notice how they relate to the decanic Minors you have seen and test your memory in the Memory Palace! Feel free to pause the video; it may go too fast for your memories to catch up!
A mention of the Deluxe Majors set: it contains both the black and white and the color versions of the Major Arcana editions, in a wooden box branded with a wood burned design of the card backs. The "little white books" are also bound in exquisite papers and there are many extra touches. Only a few of these left! And they required so much hands on work they will not be repeated. I stained the boxes, made the pure silk ribbon liners and hand bound the books myself.
And, a surprise reveal: through the magic of loosely held sacred geometry principles the three decan cards of every sign were designed to work together to combine and layer into a single complex image. I hope to show these in the updates and eventually offer these twelve additional cards as cards or prints, one for each sign. I still have to make them. They will be; either as a stretch goal or with the color version of the deck, which probably will be next year.
I hope you have enjoyed this tour and can help make this deck and book manifest!
Should we meet the goal, the funds will go to printing a small run edition the 78 card Tabula Mundi Nox et Lux and hopefully nice boxes for the deck, plus the full size illustrated guidebooks. The rest is for shipping, mostly USPS fulfillment costs and some packing materials, and for the fees associated with a Kickstart. Should there be any excess, it will either go to stretch goals or towards printing a future years release of a color edition, should I get them all painted next year.
Thank you for checking out Tabula Mundi.
Risks and challenges
Shipping is expensive outside of the US. I've absorbed the shipping costs within the US but unfortunately can't do that internationally, and for that I apologize; I really wish I could. Most rewards will ship USPS Priority with tracking but I can't be held responsible for shipments outside of the US once they are shipped, and any customs duty is the responsibility of the backer. International packages can take anywhere from one to eight weeks to arrive. I will say though that I have shipped things to all sorts of locations outside of the US and it is rare to have a problem.
The black and white line art of this edition is done for all of the 78 cards plus the card backs. I have a reliable domestic printing company to work with, who has always delivered a quality product on time and who I have worked with before. The text for the book is almost done. I think we are good to go!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (39 days)