Dragaeran Projects - Dragaeran Tarot Deck

Lydia Nickerson lydy at demesne.com
Fri Nov 18 11:03:23 PST 2005

Scott Schultz wrote:

> > I would expect people who believe in Tarot to be unwilling to
> > accept a completely alien mythos.

I think that the largest market for the modern Tarot, though, are people 
who collect them as a curiosity.  People who use them to read tend to 
use the same deck for as long as possible, because the cards become more 
sensitized to their vibrations.  Or, if you will, they know what they 
like because they like what they know.  If they do replace a deck, they 
will almost invariably replace it with the same deck.  Someone who reads 
with a Rider-Waite will buy another Rider-Waite, and they're likely to 
choose the same artist, as well.

On the other hand, there are a lot of people who buy many multiple decks 
because they like the artwork.  Whether or not this deck would appeal to 
those collectors, I don't know, but that's your target market, not those 
who are serious about the Tarot.

>  I'd agree with this. I'd find a "real" Dragaeran Tarot that "feels"
>  like it came from the Empire more interesting than a re-formatted
>  earthly Tarot. The one justification for going with the earthly Tarot
>  (marketing considerations aside) is that Tarot may, in fact, be
>  imported from the East.

If I were king--

If I were designing the deck, I would keep in mind that 17s are deeply 
encoded in Dragaerans -- possibly genetically so.  Because of this, I 
would be shocked to see a Dragaeran Tarot with any more or less than 17 
Major Arcana. 

The numbers which resonate with our culture are twos, threes, fours (two 
twos), and by extension, sevens (three plus four, with the bonus of 
being a prime), and twelves (divisible by two, three, and four).  These 
aren't as important to Dragaerans, and not in the same way.  We don't 
have much information about Dragaeran numerology, but seventeen must be 
at its base.

Again, if I were designing the Dragaeran Tarot, I would not recreate the 
human deck.  I would be more tempted by three suits of seventeen cards 
each, a total of 51.  For suits, I'd use the human suits, but drop the 
cups.  Dragaeran emotional relationships seem to me to be closer to 
wands than cups, whereas money and power are certainly strong parts of 
the Dragaeran character.  On the other hand, three isn't a very 
Dragaeran number.  How to hang that onto the Dragaeran mythos baffles me.

I expect that the human -- Easterner -- Tarot looks like ours.  After 
all, one of the origin myths for the Tarot is that it came from the 
Gypsies.  That sorcerers adapted it to their own purposes is not surprising.

The big problem with a sorcerer's Tarot, though, is that sorcery doesn't 
rely on contagion and congruence.  It doesn't use much in the way of 
symbology.  The most powerful set of symbols are the houses. 

I wonder...Perhaps the order of the cards in the Arcana are in the order 
of the current state of the cycle.  The Emperor would be the current 
Emperor, and then the cards would descend from there in their order in 
the cycle.  Each time the cycle turns, you'd need to change your Tarot, 
but really, that's a very Dragaeran sort of thing to do, don't you 
think?  Is there any way to force the minor Arcana into a representation 
of the Great Cycle -- I'm not thinking of a good way to do it, the 
number three doesn't work. 

>  Dragaerans have been shown to have no compunction about borrowing
>  features from other cultures. I'd have no problem believing that the
>  original Hungarian colonists brought Tarot with them and that it
>  survived reasonably intact into the "present day", though with
>  changes to the art that reflect the culture of the Empire rather than
>  the East.

I agree, obviously.  However, I really don't see how the Dragaeran Tarot 
could exist without seventeens. 

By the way, how many gods do we know about?  I'm thinking it's way less 
than seventeen, unfortunately.