Thursday, September 17, 2015

Page 27: The Robin Wood Tarot

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, I moved in a lot of the same Detroit-area pagan/occult/scifi/fantasy/fandom circles as artist Robin Wood. This provided the opportunity to get to know each other casually. I bought some of her artwork, and—when at last it came out—asked her to sign my Robin Wood Tarot and book for me. I chose the Ace of Pentacles (or Disks) because, according to Crowley, “It has been the custom of publishers or designers of packs to set their personal seal upon the Ace of Disks” (Aleister Crowley, The Book of Thoth, 210).

Robin Wood kindly signed the "Ace of Pentacles" for me
when the Robin Wood Tarot came out in 1991.
Artwork © Robin Wood, all rights reserved, used here with permission.
For those unfamiliar with the Robin Wood Tarot, the deck is designed from a pagan perspective. This required reimagining the traditional Judeo-Christian imagery on some cards. The Devil was one such example. I remember sitting with Robin and her husband, Michael Short, at an adjacent vending table at some Con or another listening to them talking about the deck's new take on the card as a monkey jar trap. It’s such a perfect metaphor that I never forgot it. I was happy to see the monkey jar story make it into the companion book for the deck, and I am likewise pleased to reference this unique yet apt take on the card in The Billionth Monkey. As a bonus, their metaphor allowed me to have a #DevilReference and #MonkeyReference simultaneously!

Here is the title page to the companion book for the Robin Wood Tarot,
which Robin was also kind enough to sign for me.
The Robin Wood Tarot deck and book identify Robin as creator and author, but I wanted to sneak in a reference to Michael, too—who is listed as a co-author of the booklet that comes with the deck—to acknowledge those conversations so many moons ago. Since Robin was often busy talking to customers about her art prints, Michael enthusiastically dominated a lot of those conversations.

Michael Short was co-author of the booklet that came with
the Robin Wood Tarot, and he kindly signed my copy.

Bonus entry: This has nothing to do with the Tarot, but is too short to merit its own blog post. The comment on page 28 about the nature of Scorpios is a bit of ribbing about the “traditional” description of that sun sign at my own expense.

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