September Monthly Spirit


Tarot © Aris Dervis 2011

© Aris Dervis


“I was really afraid it would be too rigid, actually it’s not.  It is full of flexible reality.  In fact, I found that reading the cards is very close to painting, because it requires a very specific kind of attention, where you are completely there and completely not there.”
Francesco Clemente
The New Yorker    8/29/2011.

To me, that’s the best description of what doing a card reading really entails, being present and absent at the same time.  Not as easy as it sounds.

Tarot is a system of divination based on the images of 78 cards.  It relies on Jung’s theory of synchronicity- that the right card will be chosen at the right time.  It works.  If anyone tells you that they know the evolution of the cards, think twice.  Many think they came from Egypt and were transferred to the Gypsies.  Many think they came from the royal courts of France.  The reality is it doesn’t matter where they came from.  If you study them, they work.
My favorite view of their origin comes from a Tarot scholar who speculated that because of their occult power, when the authorities came around to confiscate them they were turned into a card game.
I started fooling around with the cards in the 60’s when every respectable hippie had a deck. 
But it wasn’t until 1980 when I began creating my own decks that I really began to understand the system.
I designed Tarot decks for 20 years.  Many of them were based on my travels.  There was
The Aloha deck from Hawaii, The Pearl of Asia from my travels to Hong Kong and Japan, the Day of the Dead deck to celebrate my birthday.  When my beloved dog Ginger died in 1998 I knew I had to build her a Taj Mahal so I designed a dog deck.  One of the images has my teardrop on it.  Ginger was a very good friend.
I was one of the most widely showcased Tarot designers in the Encyclopedia of Tarot Volume III. 
My favorite deck that I made was an I Love Lucy deck.  I wish Lucy had been around to enjoy it.
The deck featured in this illustration is a Major Arcana Dog Deck that I got in Venice in 1986.  One of my favorite things about Venice is that you could go into a Tabacchi and buy a pack of cigarettes, stamps and a Tarot deck.  This specific deck is signed and numbered and it never fails to make me happy to look at it.

Tarot is available as an 8x10 print or greeting card.

Serving Spirits Monthly Spirit © Aris Dervis