Here are answers to a few commonly asked questions about my work in progress, Pharos Tarot.
See the Pharos Tarot main page for all about Pharos Tarot in general and links to pictures of all the cards posted to date.
Are there plans to do the minors of this deck?
For now Pharos Tarot is remaining a Majors only project. While it’s possible that someday I’ll go back and make Pharos into a 78 card deck, it isn’t currently known if that will ever happen, as for now I’m focusing some on some new artistic directions. But you never know. I won’t rule it out but it isn’t likely to be soon, and it may be destined to be a majors only art deck. As of now I see it as a special esoterically oriented art project offered as majors only.
Will the Major Arcana be published?
Self published, or at least I hope so, for after all the time that has gone into painting these I hope to be able to share them by offering a very small edition of very large borderless cards small enough for readings, but large enough for framing, or altar display. There isn’t much demand for Majors only editions, so it is likely to be a very small edition of high quality.
Why is it called Pharos Tarot?
I thought of naming it after the Pharos lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Alexander the Great dreamed of a Hermit like figure who told him the name of the island where his city Alexandria would be founded and the lighthouse would be built: Pharos. It’s also a watercolor deck – water and light – and a guidance system: tarot.
See the Pharos Tarot main page for more about this and all about Pharos Tarot and and the island of Pharos.
Can you explain the reasoning behind the alternate names and the surreal images?
Each card posted in the blog gives the bare bones of which part of a lighthouse system is being referred to. When and if the Majors are published they will come with a booklet explaining all of the deeper esoteric influences. The basic premise is that Pharos Tarot is set in a dream world. The deck shows how in this surreal and suggestive state the Hebrew letters that correspond to each Major Arcana, also could in this world correspond to individual parts of a lighthouse system, that in turn correspond to aspects of the Great Work.
How did you get this idea?
The designs for the cards have a dream-like quality, for they are liminal creations of dream-space. The idea for mapping the tarot corresponding Hebrew letters to a lighthouse system came to me in a dream state after having a conversation with a group about what a lighthouse themed tarot might look like, but without a lighthouse on every card so it wasn’t a “themed” deck.
A couple of years ago some psychic friends had approached me about doing a themed deck. I had to explain that I don’t work on commission normally and don’t see myself doing a “themed” deck of that nature as it wasn’t my thing, but that if I were to do so it would be something quite different, and I suggested a deconstructed lighthouse, rather than a lighthouse theme, as an example of an idea I could do something with.
A day or two later I had a dream or maybe a hypnagogic sequence while almost-sleeping, where the idea unfolded almost fully fledged: that the Hebrew letters and tarot trumps corresponded to parts of a lighthouse. The thought came complete with card names for a good portion of the deck, and the part of the lighthouse it corresponded to. It was a weird and wonderful example of how systems can interact and correlate, if the mind makes it so.
My friends ended up deciding to look for multiple artists to do their own idea for a deck instead, once they realized what a long process it would be for me (or any one person) to do a deck. They were really looking for an artist or artists to work on commission, and I’d rather not do that for a process as long as an entire deck.
But the muse wouldn’t let me rest, because now it grabbed on to this idea for a painting series and insisted that I give it a whirl on the wheel at least for the majors. So here I am almost two years later. Had to get it out of my system.
At the time I had just been at the point where I wanted to teach myself watercolors, as I was bored with the same medias I’ve been using for years. Watercolor is a medium I formerly had very little exposure to so it was a challenge. It’s a challenging medium. And the water and light theme seemed like a perfect fit for the concept.
Is this a Thoth based deck?
In spirit, as it does incorporate some Thelemic ideas in the images. But since it has it’s own unique titles and the cards are not numbered, as well as completely different images and ideas, it can’t really be called Thoth-based though some of the images were inspired by the writings of Aleister Crowley, and the cards are colored according to the Golden Dawn color scales as he listed them in 777.
What is the artistic process and media?
Simple outline drawings were designed and then transferred to watercolor paper. They are then painted by hand (not digitally worked) in artist grade watercolor pigment on Arches 140 lb cold pressed watercolor paper, sized A3 which is 11.69 x 16.53 inches, using a variety of wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry techniques.
Multiple versions were made for many of the cards, as I’m still learning the medium. The designs are simple and not chock full of every possible symbol, to facilitate working with the watercolor painting process. Yet symbolic things are still there, for those who look for them.
Are the original paintings for sale, or will they be?
They aren’t for sale at this time, but after all the revisions are finished I may offer the originals for sale if there is interest.
Will Tabula Mundi and Rosetta Tarot originals ever be for sale?
No, those are being kept together preserved for posterity. The original Pharos art is much larger, and it seems like they should be displayed somewhere.
When will the Pharos Tarot majors be available?
To be determined. While all the Majors are done, sometimes more than once (!) I’m still in the process of making and considering some card revisions. There’s designing a card back, and writing the texts. Then I need to determine if I can afford to print, and how many.
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Will any of the cards already posted be revised?
Maybe! New designs are definitely a possibility but not a certainty.
Will any of the older alternate or draft versions of the cards be released?
There may be a few majors that have more than one version in the deck if and when it is published. And/Or a few of the “first draft” or alternate version originals could be offered if there is interest (and if I decide not to destroy them).
There are some that won’t see the light of day; watercolor is hard and not always predictable! But some of them are technically fine, I just wanted to do something different.
What are you working on next?
There is ongoing work on the Fortune’s Wheelhouse podcast continuing, and a Fortune’s Wheelhouse co-authored book is in the works.
But as far as art goes there are multiple projects brewing. Two more decks. Plus there are a few one off esoteric-but-not-tarot paintings I want to do, as well as some other artistic projects. I’m a Fool for painting tarot though. It’s what I love to do as it combines some of my favorite things: art, the occult, systems, and the weird sciences.
If there are any other questions that you would like to see here, feel free to send them for consideration to mm (at) this website.