Major Arcana: Renaming The Cards

As outlined in my last post, I’ve been trying to come up with ways to modernise the tarot and one of those is to change the names of the major arcana. Here is a small example of what I’ve come up with so far:

The High Priestess becomes The Diviner, and The Hierophant becomes The Tech Witch. There’s reasons behind these names, they aren’t just randomly selected. There’s a meaning behind both, according to the original cards:

Very briefly (apologies to any tarot readers reading this and cringing!) The High Priestess is about decision making, she holds information, secret knowledge, hidden knowledge. What do modern witches do when we need to make a decision? Divination. Tarot reading. There are many apps out there these days for tarot readings for the witch on the go! That’s modern witchcraft. So, The Diviner. Although not a type of witch, many of us do divination and tarot reading and so this felt the most appropriate. Of course I’m aware not all witches practice divination/tarot reading, and the two aren’t officially linked. But with witchcraft being such a broad spectrum, it would be absolutely impossible for me to make a tarot deck to appeal to every witch on earth! We could go around all day saying ‘not all witches do this or that’ but I’m doing my absolute best to make this deck for and about modern witchcraft. 😉

The Hierophant (again, very briefly, my apologies), is kind of the opposite or joining card to The High Priestess. He is another sort of religious like figure, and he tries to create harmony and bring spirituality down to earth. Kind of back to reality? Aeclectic Tarot explains it much better:

Where the High Priestess connects to the esoteric with her secret, solitary rites, the Hierophant (or High Priest) leads his flock in shared, communal rituals.

This was a really difficult card to interpret, understand and change. I decided to focus more on an opposite/joining card for The Diviner and decided on The Tech Witch. Tech Witches are simply put, witches who use technology as a main basis for their craft. This could be charging crystals on their phones (placing crystals on top of a phone while it’s on charge), sending out emoji spells, divination apps, etc. This seemed an appropriate extension of The Diviner card. Again it shows a phone and a divination app, but with the keys it’s showing a connection to reality (as in The Hierophant card). Also, keys are often (actually, almost always) seen in The Hierophant card.

I know the assessment criteria is looking more at the illustration aspect of the Major Project, and context doesn’t play much of a part. That being said, I feel it’s important to be true to myself and make this project the best it can be as it will be used to hopefully start my career as an illustrator. The tarot is a complex and beautiful thing, and it has a personal meaning to me and of course many other people. It’s almost impossible to take out meaning from a project like this – it has such a huge significance and to take it out would mean it’s not really a tarot deck any more, it becomes something else entirely.

It’s a tough project, but I think I can crack it. Onwards and upwards! 🙂

Read more about the meaning of The High Priestess card here and The Hierophant card here.

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