The Tarot of Bones: A Natural History Themed Deck


Hi, all!

So, like other folks on this subforum I'm designing and producing a tarot deck. However, mine is really, really ambitious. The Tarot of Bones ( is a natural history-themed deck; the art is going to be seventy-eight permanent assemblage pieces with animal skulls and bones (mostly real, a few replica) as the centerpieces. I'll then be photographing each piece and use the photos as the card art, and there'll be a companion book, too.

Is it going to be a lot of work? Absolutely. But I've been creating art with natural materials for almost twenty years, and I've published several books on nature spirituality, so I'm bringing in a lot of skills I've been honing for years. I'm also self-employed full-time, so I have the schedule flexibility to work on this project amid everything else I do. My plan at this point is to do a big crowdfunding campaign this spring, have all the assemblage pieces and the first draft of the book completed by the end of 2015, and (if all goes well) have the deck and book available via self-publishing summer of 2016.

I've already created three of the assemblage pieces within the past week, and I've written up their sections in the book-to-be as well; I would have gotten an earlier start but I run an arts festival that happened the second weekend of January. (Yes, I am a busy lady!) Here's what I have done so far:

Three of Cups:
Four of Wands:

Some of the pieces will need to be photographed against an extra background since each one is a difference size and dimensions, but after that it's mainly a matter of cropping and editing a bit. Also, each one will have its own look and personality; it's not just going to be "Here, I'm going to paste five ribs to this background, and then six ribs to an identical background". (I'd get bored really quickly!) There'll likely be a bit more variation in the Major Arcana; as you can see in the ones above Temperance stands out from the other two. But they'll all be bound by their focus on the bones themselves and the use of other natural materials, along with the graphics details like the card name and number tags. Just as nature isn't composed of one single type of ecosystem, neither will this deck have only one narrow color scheme.

Interested in finding out more? Here's the main project website:

And the Facebook page:

And I'll make updates here, too, as I finish new pieces and so forth.


Interesting idea and cards so far. I'll be watching this , thank you for sharing.


That is very unusual and creative. Watching with interest.

Laura Borealis

I love bones (I have quite a few sitting around) so this is interesting to me... I look forward to seeing more. :)


Hi again! Started off this week by completing the King of Cups, featuring the skull and carapace of a red slider turtle:

Should have another card completed later this week. And, again, these are just photos showing the pieces as they're completed; I'll be taking more professional pics for the final card art later.


I really like these.
I'm guessing you'll use some of the bones in more than one image. I'm thinking that when you're done, it might be cool to make the majors permanent pieces.


Actually, all of the assemblage pieces are permanent! That's why I'm dedicated the entirety of 2015 to making them. Lots of work, but well worth it.


Ah. That's fantastic. You'll have an installation art piece when you're done. :)


Thanks! I'm hoping to display some/all of the pieces once they're done. Most of them will be smaller than 12" x 18", so ostensibly I could fit them all in one show, if someone wanted to open an entire gallery to me ;)

Also, here's the Ace of Wands, which I just finished up last night: