If you could design any tarot deck, what would it be like?


Well... there is one I've been mulling over for several months now... I have an interest in the history of war, especially WWII (since my father was in this one). I thought a deck made with images from 1939 through 1945 might be an interesting one to put together and maybe even use, though I suppose it would be a rather "dark" deck.

My Death card I'm thinking would be the arial photo taken from Hiroshima. The Hanged Man would probably be Mussolini hanging by his feet in the town square. The Devil would probably be an appropriate picture of Adolf Hitler....


Perhaps the magician could be Patton.

I wonder what Stalin could be?

I wonder what the chariot could be, there are so many options.

"Hanged Man would probably be Mussolini hanging by his feet ", that is a grand notion :)

As a deck I can certainly see it working, dark yes, but it would be a great deck of warning.


To decks I'd really like to create would be photography-based decks called, "The All-American Tarot" and the "Oh Canada! Tarot" (to reflect my mother's and my father's families, respectively."

I'd definitely use the world trade centre as The Tower. I'd use figures from American and Canadian history for the major arcana and court cards, along with various events (I think I'd use either the Saturn V Rocket, or the Space Shuttle, for the Chariot in the American version).

I know I'd use greenbacks/loonies for the coins suit, and I'd associate the suits with different parts of the two nations (ie, east coast, west coast, deep south, and midwest for the american deck).



AmounrA said:
Perhaps that willing artist is hidden within you right now:)

AmounrA you are so sweet! thank you for your kind words. I can paint OK (according to my one and only painting *LOL*), but the truth is that I am some what of a perfectionist. I would really want to work in collaboration with someone who already knows how and preferably someone who is also passionate about Tarot. I am much better at writting ... I definetly would write the accompanying book! I believe that (the writer) is the willing artist hidden within ;) ... and she is DYING to get out and I am letting her go!

Trogon ... There are many people who like dark decks, and as AmounrA pointed out the deck would be nice for warnings. I was thinking you could use an infantry soldier as the Fool ... an innocent taking on the journey.


WW2 images & copyright

Hi guys,

I'm a passionate collector of WW1-WW2 era books, clothes etc, and I would love to do a tarot deck based on that era. My particular hope was to do one based on Boys & Girls Own Annuals from between the wars, and/or Queen Elizabeth's Childhood & Coronation (>1952).

Unfortunately, I hit a major stumbling block. Copyright in many countries (including the UK & US) is now 70 years after the artist/photographer's death. And the fact that it was common to not name the artist/photographer in books & magazines back in those days does NOT mean you can get away with using the images. You have to identify the copyright holder somehow and then prove they died over 70 years ago, or that they could be reasonably assumed to have done so. This means that you pretty much have to stick with pre-WW1 (the Victoria Regina deck is a good example).

If you're doing a deck for yourself, then you could overlook the copyright issue as many modern collagists do - but it would be a real shame if you ended up with something that everyone loved that couldn't be published because it was impossible to get copyright releases. Any commercial publisher will (or should) insist on having the issue of copyright covered in the contract.

Don't mean to throw cold water on the idea, as it's a very good one - you just might have to wait a few more decades :)


Copyright free?

Hi AmounrA,

Neither of those links you gave are totally 'copyright free' - both specified usage and/or listed copyright owners, especially to get the higher res versions needed for a deck. Pretty standard for web-based images, they might give you a teeny low-res look at it, but you pay for rights to use a higher res version (eg, as a print, high-res file or transparency). The second one you listed, FDR library, have been pretty generous with the image size, though, so they might be usable.

Note: even if a source doesn't list copyright/usage (say in old books, or on a lot of websites), unless they actually own the copyright themselves and are expressly giving it away as 'copyright free' then it isn't. "Public domain" is legally a very grey area, and I don't blame publishers for being overcautious about it in these litigious times.

You may well be able to get permission to use such images (for free) from the copyright owner, but be aware that a publisher will insist on getting that in writing for every image, or part of an image, used.

It's a good idea to collect such permissions as you go, as trying to track down your sources once the deck is completed could be an impossible task, given the transient nature of the web.

On the other hand, don't always believe that an organisation owns rights to a pic because they say they do. Many pics whose copyright has long ago expired still have it claimed by the owner of the artwork who charge royalties for their usage. For example, if you could take a good quality photo of the Mona Lisa yourself, you'd have the right to make posters of it without paying the Louvre a cent, since da Vinci died more than 70 years ago. No wonder they don't like you going into galleries with a good camera & tripod ;)

Good luck with the idea of a WW2 deck, it could definitely be great. I'd be really interested in the Queens especially, where you could explore womens' roles in the war.

I love historical themes, they add a different perspective to the whole way you use a deck.

PS - I love your own deck, AmounrA. Really lush!


Hey guys, you don't have to be able to draw or paint to design your own cards! We have computers now! :D If you haven't yet, look at my page to see how I managed to make a deck without letting my complete lack of technical artistic skills bother me. Look up, the sky is blue!

BTW: I've also been thinking of how the WTC would make a perfect 'tower'. Is that morbid?


Nope not morbid i agree, i mentioned elsewhere that i thought it would be great in about 10 years when the edge wore off.

In fact one person is already using it, tho its hard to recognize with all the effects she puts on her cards.





That second link I posted,'Franklin D Roosevelt..." seems fine enough. If you click on wwII, then click browse there are extensive galleries of pictures. I have downloaded some and the quality seems very good. It also says "All photographs are copyright free and in the public domain".

The added fact that it's a dot edu, rather than a dot com makes me think it is trustworthy source. It also says--"The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is one of ten presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration." -- basically the U.S goverment.

I think using and manipulating the photos [thousands of them] from this site would pose no problem of any copyright infringement.


thanks ;-)