The Tarot of the Silicon Dawn

June 9th, 2017

No joke, today I’m reviewing a Tarot deck.

It’s not the first time I’ve reviewed cards. In 2006, I reviewed a few Yuri-ish Japanese card games, and in 2015, I picked up a Rose of Versailles karuta set.  Just like those sets, there is at least a little bit that ties this deck to us here on Okazu. In fact, there’s more than just a little bit.

My wife called The Tarot of the Silicon Dawn to my attention after noting that the art was very cartoon-y, but in a Steven Universe kind of way. I took a look at the cards and knew I needed the deck. When the thing arrived, I was absolutely convinced that this was a very Okazu-ish deck. Not only is the card art deeply inspired by otaku interests of several kinds, the write-ups are very snarky and intriguing. The creator, Margaret Trouth, is very upfront about her loose use of Tarot conventions, her shifting meanings around to make more sense to her (and – need I say it? – to me, as well.) Here was the big selling point for me – she has cards that don’t exist in conventional decks, like the 99 of each suit, the 8 1/2, History, The Vulture, Aleph and four “The Fool”s. You can see the whole deck on Margaret’s site.

Trouth is also creating an ongoing comic called Decrypting Rita, which Comics Alliance called “story of a lesbian robot whose perception of reality slips across multiple dimensions.” By which point I knew I has found a deck that was for me…and possibly for us. ^_^

The physical cards are gorgeous. The art is symbolic and multi-layered yet simplistic and comicky. Some cards have a clear varnish which show images when held so the light slides across the cards. This includes the 99 of each suit, which are otherwise black.

As great as the art is, it’s the meaning which really appeals to me. Here is part of the description for her Queen of Swords:

A stern taskmistress, a trickster, a librarian. She stores away facts and hints to arrive at surprising conclusions, and will use them however she sees fit. Her social mask is carefully constructed and worn with deliberation; now and then she lets people see beneath it. A little fey, a little alien. What’s she planning when she looks at you? She’s the only Queen who will. And why is she wearing a fox mask, anyway?

Her mirror is her stories, the ones she keeps and treasures. Are they about you? Are they about her? Are they about others? And will she share?

Mannered and seemingly unapproachable; remote and tightly wrapped. Get to know her and perhaps she’ll reward you. She might not; she’s kind of picky. Kind of prickly, too; watch out for her sharp edges. There’s an endless network of tight-wound steel in the cage of her heart, and it can cut you to fragments if it’s opened. Brave that, and you may find her surprisingly loyal in her acerbic way. Just be careful of her long-range plans.

Queen of Swords is one of my two signifier cards. So…yeah. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 10 “Tarot is a big pack of lies and misinterpretations” <– The first words of the little white book that explains the cards

Overall – 10

It’s a great deck and pleasantly not-bound-by-alchemical-heterosexuality; full of thoughtful and whimsical cruelty. Just the way I like things. ^_^

By the way, I chose the Chevalier of Swords for the post image mostly because I liked it, but….

“Rapier wit and dashing style, a Musketeer who’s a boon companion in adversity. Riding a dark bird before the storm, heralding its coming. He slices through Gordian knots with decisive suddenness, striking through to the core – or does he slash vainly at the edges of the problem, never finding its truth? Wild and acrobatic, even balletic: he’s Fred, wanna be Ginger?

The most intellectual of the Chevaliers, he’s using a thin sword designed for precision pinpoint attacks, relying on his speed and his skill at parrying to defend himself. Quite the swashbuckler, he’s as likely to score points on his opponent with an insult as with his rapier. Perhaps he grows up to become the King of Pentacles, spinning stories about the wild adventures of his youth. Or perhaps he misjudges, gets into something he can’t clever his way out of, and dies tomorrow.

In comic-books, this guy is Spider-man. He lives on his wits, reflexes, and luck. He’ll probably die on them someday too, if he doesn’t admit it when he starts to slow down.

Of course, he might not be a hero. All that dashing and dexterity makes for a damn fine pickpocket or cardsharp or conman, too. Check your pockets after that smoldering kiss.”

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