Today I’m super excited to share my first Tarot review in quite a while. I’m just not that bothered about acquiring new decks these days. I guess I finally kicked that hoarding habit to the curb (tips hat to RTS). So today, we are doing a Hoodoo Tarot review. I’m also sharing a video flip-through below where you can view all the cards in the deck as well as a deck interview.
The Hoodoo Tarot is a 78-card Tarot deck and book set by Tayannah Lee McQuillar with art by Katelan V. Foisy. The guidebook is 139 pages, plus a suggested reading list and author/illustrator bios.
What made me acquire this deck was finally having some time off last week and realising that what piques my curiosity at the moment is hoodoo and conjure/rootwork. Part of the reason I want to dive in and learn more about this way of doing magic is that it reminds me of what my Saami ancestors did after their forced conversion. My ancestors in the North of Sweden had to take their shamanic and magical practices underground and dress them up as ‘readings.’ ‘Readings’ is a form of shamanic healing done while reading from the book of Psalms to not arouse suspicion.
An Empowered Use of Scripture
I’m drawn to these practices because upon recovering from religious trauma, it feels amazingly (and surprisingly!) empowering to use the Bible for magick. Sadly, not many of the magical and shamanic practices of my Saami ancestors have survived. The ones who still practise closely guard their methods. I do have the book ‘Samisk Shamanism’ (in Swedish) by Jörgen I. Eriksson but it is not a ‘how to’ book. According to Eriksson, most contemporary Saami healers have moved away from using any other tools than the drum and reading from the Bible. Additionally, they may use prayer and the laying on of hands. However, there is also a growing interest in seeking to revive more ancient methods.
But I digress. Let’s get back to the Hoodoo Tarot! The traditional methods of divination in Hoodoo are cleromancy (especially the throwing of bones), cartomancy, natural astrology, augury (interpretation of signs) and dream interpretation. About playing cards divination, Ms McQuillar says: “…the meanings attributed to the cards were different from mainstream cartomancers. As Hoodoo relies on the ancestors and the Holy Spirit, individual rootworkers would have their own method of conjuring both…”
Tarot and the Bible
So the Tarot itself is not a traditional tool in Hoodoo. However, the use of Scripture is and the author has made use of this by pairing each of the Major Arcana cards with a verse from the Bible. This is what she has to say about the process of pairing the cards with Scripture:
“The Bible Quote for each card was chosen by researching keywords related to each card in the Bible glossary and then selecting the quotes that I felt were the most compatible with the message I wanted to convey to the reader.”
YES!! If you have been following my work for a while, you will have seen me do the very same! But now I do it having made peace with the trauma inflicted by the church on me and my ancestors. Whether we see it or not, no matter what our ancestry is, this is trauma inflicted on all of our ancestors through forced conversions in the past.
One of the things I most admire about Hoodoo is the robust response to the use of the Bible as a tool of coercion and justification for slavery. Imagine having the fortitude and courage to turn the tables and covertly using the Bible as a tool of magic(k)/rootwork and empowerment instead.
The Hoodoo Tarot Deck
The deck is of good quality card stock and only a wee bit smaller than a traditional Tarot deck as you can see in the image of the card backs below.
I won’t go into detail about the artwork. I will let you be the judge of what you see in the video below instead. But the card stock is silky matte and shuffles like a dream.
The four Minor Arcana suits are:
- Sticks (Wands)
- Baskets (Cups)
- Knives (Swords)
- Coins (Pentacles)
The Court Cards represent the family and the number cards represent the community. The Major Arcana features famous Hoodoo elders. I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy getting to know all the individuals who carried forward the legacy of Hoodoo. Their spirits live on in so many ways.
Hoodoo Tarot Video Flip-through to Music
Before I go on to the deck interview, I just wanted to share that there are four wonderful Tarot spreads in the companion book:
- “See ’bout Your Folks” Ancestor Spread
- “Don’t Put That Thang on Me” Catch a Trick Spread
- “The Right Doc” Spread (for finding the right teacher/mentor)
- “Gonna Catch a Bird” Relationship Spread
Having done the Ancestor Spread, I can vouch for its efficacy. I unwittingly did this on my father’s death anniversary (something my sister informed me of when I told her about the reading). Dad came through loud and clear as the ancestor who wished to work with me!
Hoodoo Tarot Deck Interview
Describe yourself in three words or less. Bishop C.H. Mason (The Hierophant)
HT: Faith in Elders
Me: That’s handy since I’m looking to learn from Elders who know their craft
2. How would your best friend describe you in three words or less? Dr. Grant (The Hermit)
HT: Solitary, serious, succinct
3. What gift do you bring? 10 of Coins/Pentacles
HT: Helping you feel a part of an extended magical family
4. What do you expect in return? Ace of Sticks/Wands
HT: That you act on the guidance you receive
5. How can you help me serve? 2 of Baskets/Cups
HT: I can be your new best friend.
6. Is there anything else you would like to tell me about yourself? Black Herman/The Magician
HT: You wanted more magic and enchantment in your life… Well, I’ve got you!
Me: Thank you!