The 22 major arcana of the tarot represent the archetypal story of the soul's journey through life. This ancient visual language has an astonishing ability to adapt to seemingly incongruous ideas and themes. This project illustrates the synchronistic alignment between the tarot and the story of early Mormonism.
These four cards above focus on Joseph Smith, the founder and prophet of Mormonsim. The Fool card symbolizes innocent beginnings. The Lovers card represents life choices. The Hierophant card symbolizes spiritual knowledge. The Hanged Man represents a transition between the old and the new.
WHO ARE YOU? I'm an artist and indie tarot creator. You can find out more about me at www.joshuabaird.com
WHAT IS THE MORMON TAROT? The Mormon Tarot is an archetypal work of art that focuses on the complex world of early Mormonism. The cards specifically focus on the first 100 years or so from the time Joseph enters the grove to the settling of the Intermountain West by mormon pioneers. The card imagery focuses on archetypes found in the people, places, events and beliefs that shaped the mormon experience during this time.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE MORMON TAROT? The Mormon Tarot serves a variety of purposes. For centuries, tarot was a card game called tarochi—I have yet to explore the possibility of the MT as a card game... :). During the last century, tarot has become an increasingly popular tool for self reflection and understanding; the MT could be put to use in this way as well. I am most interested in how the MT might be used as a general tool for understanding the foundations of the mormon experience. For believers or former believers, it is a means of understanding one's relationship to their ethnic milieu: ancestory, community, family, religion, psyche and worldview. The idea is to zoom in on aspects of the whole river of the Mormon milieu. I don't want to be exclusive to the main current, the shoreline, the cataracts, the tributaries or the eddies. An "inclusive" and nuanced approach based mostly on empirical history is my goal. Admittedly, on occasion I let certain archetypes trump empirical history, especially in few areas where faith-based claims are super important to the story as well as the tarot archetypes (i.e. The Magician & The Hermit cards). Whenever that happens I refer the reader to the words of Walt Whitman: "Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." Mormon history is complex, I would invite the reader to just let it be complex and withhold judgement while we all try to gain some understanding about this peculiar, yet fascinating American odyssey. I believe that as we better understand it, we will better understand ourselves.
WHO IS IT FOR? The intended audience for the Mormon Tarot is anyone wanting to better understand early mormon history, particularly those who have a taste for nuance, the complexity of human nature and archetypal imagery. My cheif aim is to leave the naive zealout and the disgruntled exmormon equally dissatisfied by its contents (I have spent time in both camps).
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO DO THIS?
HOW CAN I BUY A DECK? When they are finished you will be able to buy one from this website. Sign up to the newletter, or even better become a Mormon Tarot patron to know when the cards will be available. See next question...
HOW CAN I SUPPORT THIS PROJECT? A independently created tarot deck is a massive undertaking. The Mormon Tarot when finished will have over 86 illustrated cards! When people typically buy a tarot deck, they flip through the cards in a matter of minutes and put them back in the box. What if there was a way to slow d0wn that process to a matter of months or years? Don't you think we would get a lot more out of the cards?... I have over 2 dozen cards finished and ready to share, while the other cards are in various levels of completion. I have been unveiling one card per month—plus additional content—to my awesome financial supporters on patreon.com. There are various levels of support to match whatever suits your pocket book and life situation. Here's how you can become a MT patron: Go to www.patreon.com/mormontarot
ARE YOU SELLING ANYTHING NOW? Until the cards are finished, you can sign up to the Mormon Tarot Patreon account and recieve one chapter from the MT book each month. For some levels I send out occasional surprise merch. Tier 4 includes the option of having your face or the face of someone you know in the tarot! For more information about the Mormon Tarot Patreon page CLICK HERE.
WHO IS SARA K.S. HANKS? Sara is a brilliant author, editor and tarot reader. I've read dozens of tarot books, and I can honestly say I like what she says the most about the subject. You can contact her at www.cottonwoodtarot.com.
WHEN DID YOU START WORKING ON THIS PROJECT? I've been researching and developing a mormon tarot deck since 2012.
HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO BEING FINISHED? In all, I have almost 1/3 of the cards finished, but I have the whole deck mostly planned out. I'm hoping to finish the full deck by 2022, the tenth anniversary of starting this project. They will definitely be finished and in distribution by 2030 the 200th anniversary of mormonism. (updated 12/28/20). You can start recieving images and chapters from the MT book now when you become a MT patron. CLICK HERE for more information about the Mormon Tarot Patreon page.
Recent Comments & Feedback
"Hello! As a member of the LDS church I'm thrilled to come across this project. I genuinely believe that it breaks down 'Church Culture' vs the tenet beliefs. I've always been a bit of an odd duck amongst the Church Culture and I'm excited to see a project so raw and true." –HH
"Thank you for this project. My friend made my day giving me those first four cards, and the thought of owning my own Tarot Deck with imagery that speaks to my upbringing is so magical and amazing. Thank you for the thought and intention going into this project and thank you for sharing your art with us. :)" –KK
"I absolutely love the images you have available on your website. I am very interested in having a deck like this available and would like to help, if any help is needed, in whatever ways I am able to help this deck come to fruition. This has long been a desire of mine to have a Mormonism/joseph smith themed deck...Thanks for what you're doing!" –BL
"Very cool. Interestingly, I dreamed of Moroni as the Magician on the tarot card and found this to be a mind blowing concept, then found your blog. I also saw the BOM as the Ace of Cups or the Holy Grail, book laying opened in a V. Good luck, can't wait to see more." –S
"Very nicely done and I am surprised how well some of the themes match up between the cards and artwork." –SJ
"I came across your website and am fascinated that, if I understand correctly, you are making a BOM tarot deck. When will this project be finished? I would so love to buy one." –PF
"I want to say that I think the Mormon Tarot is a great idea. I am in poor health and so, I do hope to live long enough to see the whole set done. Either way I wish you all the best in getting your project finished." –MS
"Thank you for sharing your art with us. It is a striking piece with a powerful message about the Joseph Smith and the early events of church history." JG
"I think it's extremely interesting and cool that you are doing this." –AH
"Nerding out over the correlations between wand/pentacle/cup/sword and gold plates/breastplate/liahona/sword. Well done." –SH
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