The Tarot of Bones was born on a cold October night in Portland, OR. Inspiration came from a tarot-themed art show at a local gallery where I was showing an assemblage piece. By the end of the evening, I was inspired to create more.
You can find out more about various aspects of creation of the Tarot of Bones by hovering over “About the Tarot of Bones Deck and Book” on the right sidebar, or scroll down to read about the deck and book themselves.
The deck is based on a series of 79 permanent assemblage pieces created from bones and other natural materials. All of the traditional Major and Minor Arcana are included, along with the Happy Squirrel card, an in-joke in the tarot community based on an early episode of The Simpsons. While the deck has some influence from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, a large part of the symbolism stems from my observations of nature, ecology, and the natural history of the animals whose bones are central to the card assemblages.
You’ll notice that each card has a unique color scheme that is independent of factors such as what suit it’s in, or traditional colors associated with each of the Major Arcana. So if you lay out, for example, all of the Wands cards, the borders are in colors ranging from blue to green to brown, rather than all the cards in one suit having a similar colored border. This is because I wanted the border to match the individual card–and the cards in each suit often vary widely in color and theme. When I was creating the card assemblages, I listened to the spirits of the bones, the tarot archetypes, and my own artistic inspiration, and so each card is the result of those creative meditations.
The companion book is meant to give more insight into that process, as well as how I personally interpret each card. Each card has a brief description, followed by my own take on its basic symbolism. Again, I’m not solely doing with the Rider-Waite-Smith meanings; I add in a lot of natural history and personal symbolism as well. You’re welcome to use it as a guide in your own readings, but don’t take it as holy writ. Add in your own meanings, and allow plenty of room for each reading to show you new interpretations of each card. To that end, here’s the Table of Contents:
Ideas For Further Exploration
The book is 156 pages long, with most of it dedicated to the Major and Minor Arcana. The sample spreads are, again, heavily influenced by nature, so if you’re wanting some good alternatives to the Celtic Cross Spread, they’re in there.
If you’d like to purchase the deck and/or the book (in paperback or ebook format), head on over to the shop!