The Original Overview: An Exploration Project Newsletter

Much has changed--but this is still a map to information and ideas I hope to cover

Every month the first two issues of Tarot |An Exploration Project will include something from each of these categories:

  • Then: Material from the “Tarot revolution” of 1975-2000--including texts that inaugurated a whole new vision of the Tarot, along with images and recollections

  • Now: Things I’ve recently discovered--new publications and projects, plus original ideas from today’s Tarot explorers

  • Lore: Unexpected intersections, where Tarot meets art, literature, and science

  • Decks: Notes and images from my personal collection

  • Lagniappe: Which is Cajun for “something extra” . . .

Then a third issue each month will offer previews of my new book, along with progress reports—plus, expanded posts from my Medium publication Tarot: A Textual Project, personal reflections on the practice of Tarot, and notes on Tarot news.

The fourth issue will focus on a single topic—with several inter-related stories, plus a downloadable “party favor.” Here are the first half-dozen topics:

  1. The “Beat” Tarot: Including notes on poet Jack Spicer’s planned Tarot project, Diane di Prima’s visionary teaching and writing, the photographic New York Tarot deck, and the East/West divide.

  2. Feminism and Tarot: Including Sally Gearhart’s Feminist Tarot, Vickie Noble and Karen Vogel’s Motherpeace Tarot, Barbara Walker’s Secrets of Tarot—and the opposition mounted by early critics

  3. Tarot in Context: My research on Tarot in relation to contemporary physics, cosmology, number theory, and modern philosophy—with a biography of mathematical logician and Tarot historian Michael Dummett

  4. Tarot in Academia: Commentaries on Emily Auger’s pioneering efforts; what I learned while reviewing a Tarot manuscript for a university press; a look at Tarot research projects; and two studies on the sociology of occultism (1974 and 2014)

  5. Tarot and Psychotherapy: Examining the synergies and the challenges, focused through interviews with practitioners on the leading edge

  6. The Tarot Industry: Exploring the whole spectrum, from influential publishers and serious symposia to various forms of commercial exploitation

So that’s the overall approach. The first full issue will arrive December 1, with issue 4 wrapping up the month on Winter Solstice, December 22.

Issue 1.1 is ready to read! Just click . . .


Then: An overview of Angeles Arrien and James Wanless’s pathbreaking 1992 anthology, The Wheel of Tarot: A New Revolution. Plus some excerpts from the book, along with an update on what the contributors have been doing since.

Now: A speedy tour of how Tarot is treated in today’s media—including mainstream magazines like Cosmopolitan and The New Yorker; digital mags like Aeon; and content collections like Mental Floss and NBC Think.

Lore:  The time in 1973 when John Lilly and Alan Watts persuaded an assortment of academics and psychonauts to spend a week in the woods, studying higher concepts of math and logic. With comical results! And how that led to the proposal for a television series about a man whose personality is represented by the 22 Tarot trumps.

Decks: Carol Herzer and Guido Gillabel’s miniature Cosmic Egg Tarot.

Lagniappe: My notes and handout for “Reclaiming the Wild Tarot”—the last presentation I gave at BATS.

Issue 1.2 will land in Inboxes on Tuesday, December 8


Then: An overview of the pioneering publication Tarot Network News. With scans of several covers, excerpts from some of the best articles, and notes on the TNN video.

Now: A speedy tour of the new “Tarot bazaar” (Etsy, Pinterest, and Instagram)—and a look at how Tarot entrepreneurs are using Kickstarter.

Lore:  In 2011, one UK gallery put together a huge exhibition titled “Outrageous Fortune: Artists Remake the Tarot.”  See some of the art, and read about why/how the 80-person show happened.

Decks: Ed Buryn’s William Blake Tarot—from the original oversized trumps to the published deck.

Lagniappe: A remembered recipe, prepared by my hosts on a first visit to Ed Buryn and Mary Greer’s long-ago home.  With some notes on Mary’s aromatherapy lab.

Issue 1.3—Previews and Reflections

Expanded versions of “Re/Creating My Tarot Books” (reflections on the process of revising and updating History, Mystery, and Lore for online reading) and “Connecting with Tarot” (a personal story of divination and discovery). Plus—a look at the outline of my new book.

Issue 1.4—Special Topic

The “Beat” Tarot. Including Jack Spicer’s outline for a planned Tarot project, notes on Diane di Prima’s occult library, cards from the New York Tarot deck, and more. Plus, perspectives on the “East Coast” vs. “West Coast” tension in 20th-century Tarot--and Bent Sørensen’s PPT presentation “Tarot and the Poets.” 

So that’s the plan for December. In the meantime, look for new content here on the site—and click below to be sure you receive email from Tarot | An Exploration Project.