Deck Interview: Tarot Erotica
DISCLAIMER: This deck contains images of a graphic sexual nature, including male and female full frontal nudity and sexual intercourse. It is recommended for adults only. Examples of the cards are included in this reading. Please be aware of this if you are a minor or are offended by such material, or if viewing such images is illegal in your country.
The background to my owning this deck is long and lust-filled. How appropriate. I’ve wanted this deck since the moment I laid eyes on it, but ’til recently I could only comfort myself with the scanned card images on the amazing resource that is Taroteca. As far as I knew, the deck was OOP (out of print), HTF (hard to find) and only available for $$$ through occasional eBay auctions. Then, within days of each other, I learned that it is available through Astro America (who secure the decks straight from the artist herself, Lori Walls) and I saw it was for sale on the Aeclectic trading forum! Come to me, my preciousssssssss…
I bought the second hand deck and it is in almost perfectly new condition. I don’t know if it’s ever been read with and there are only a few minor scuffs on the box. The cards are silky and very slippery, but they shuffle well enough in my clumsy, untrained hands. Regarding the subject matter and how it is portrayed, the images are graphic and contain scenes of bondage, homosexuality and the infamous “bestiality” card. However, I do not find the images offensive, gratuitous or flippant. The characters just happen to be naked. It is quite different in attitude in comparison to other erotic decks such as the Manara or Decameron.
The colours are vibrant and the artwork is very dynamic, with the Stars (Pentacles) suit being especially lovely. I am enthralled by the art and the uniqueness of each card in the minors, even if the characters are a little cold, as mentioned in some deck reviews. Some of the images are quite cheekys (excuse the inevitable pun!) while others stick to traditional RWS depictions. Card backs are gorgeously coloured and delightfully double-entendred. For reading, it’s one of those decks where the scenery moves on its own and the atmosphere is palpable; it is very easy to enter the card.
That’s not to say the deck is friendly.
This is a cranky, cranky deck! I don’t know if it’s feeling unloved from being traded and is sulking for a while, or if it is still tired from its trip across the ocean. Maybe it’s just a cold-hearted bitch, but I’m hoping it warms to me with enough gentle use and the right words of encouragement and appreciation. It will never be fluffy, but I never expected that. I think the deck is concerned about not being taken seriously because of its subject matter, so it overcompensates. We’ll see. For starters, I’m doing a deck interview. Hopefully I come out the other side unscathed…
Click to enlarge. The Tarot Erotica by Lori Walls. Published by QED Games (Copyright 1999)
Who is this deck?
 What is its favourite card?
4 of Swords: Respite
Wow. I asked about its favourite card the other day and got the Queen of Swords, which is a really sad card about lost and broken dreams of rock ‘n roll, so I thought it was just tired and worn out (and had been talking to my other decks about my particular relationship with the Swords suit). And now I ask again and get “Respite”. It is tired?!
The LWB says that the boy in the card is “unusually serious” with “clear goals. He may have a tendency to retreat, but this rarely anything to worry about.” It looks like the boy is under attack in this card; “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. He looks tired of fighting. The preemptory meaning warns that “frustration and anger run high” and that “this is a time of healing through rest.” I shall have to take this into consideration and let the deck have the respite it needs. We all know the experience of feeling overwhelmed and annoyed, lashing out in anger when all we need is a good, solid nap.
 What topics does it consider itself an expert on?
7 of Rods: Valor Against Stress
Getting in touch with yourself? Reaching new heights (of self love)? Freedom, openness, confidence, being on top of the world, climbing the ladder, haughty, rising above, strength. The woman looks a little high and mighty, pleased with herself, but considering the trip she made to get to where she is, she’s earned it. The LWB describes her as a “social manipulator… capable of winning against great odds.” I don’t quite like the tone of that in relation to the question being asked. Maybe just focus on the second half and the winning for now.
 What does it not enjoy discussing?
8 of Cups: Abandoned Dreams
AHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA! It’s the card! The card I’m not going to even bother interpreting this one, as the meaning is quite obvious: The deck kindly wants you all to know, ladies and gentlemen, that is it more than just a deck about sex, so if you would please refrain from diminishing its value as a reader in favour of focusing on licentious scandal, it would be much obliged. Thank you. (Also, this confirms my suspicion that the deck is in a snit and/or has a very sarcastic sense of humour.)
Where do I fit in?
 What do I need to know or do to work with it properly?
8 of Swords: Restrictions
I get the feeling this card would have been reversed if I was working with reversals yet… which I would read as “cutting loose”; “free your mind and the rest will follow” – it is Swords after all. Or quite possibly it is being literal and trying to tell me that there are restrictions as to what this deck will do; situations where it simply won’t work well. The people remind me of human sacrifice, especially as they appear to be on an Aztec-type stepped pyramid. The people aren’t bound very well, implying that they find themselves willingly in this situation. What are all the dogs doing though? They don’t look like guard dogs, more like temple dogs (instead of cats).
The LWB says that the “Eight of Swords may snap someday and hurt someone. Seethingly unhappy, he sometimes plants slander against those who trust him.” Shit. Now I’m starting to think the deck isn’t just cranky and sarcastic, but downright bad-tempered and mean!
 What can the deck help me with?
5 of Rods: Conflict
I think this one, too, is a very literal message: conflict. The 5 pillars appear to be of: Nature, Woman, Man, War and possibly Cosmos. The man in the ring is being pulled in different directions by 3 women. The expressions on the women’s faces make it look like they’re just toying with him, having some fun at his expense. The also appear to be much stronger than him. They are barely pulling, while he is really leaning into it, but making no progress. Don’t underestimate the power of a deceptively weak opponent. Looking a little closer, the man could be part of the game… what appears to be conflict, could just be misunderstanding, from not understanding the forces and rules at work.
The LWB says that “The Five of Rods enjoys games and loses and wins with equal grace. He is a jealous lover, though, who is not above using dirty tricks.” Is it just me, or is this LWB a real Negative Nellie?
What is its initial message to me?
 6 of Swords: Trouble
Another Swords-heavy reading! And they say the cards don’t know… they’ve apparently got my number! This is a very Sci-Fi image and also very lunar. A futuristic fairytale cover. It reminds me of Blade Runner! I don’t think the woman is quite a priestess, more likely a prostitute. Possibly a seer. Sex magic? The city looks very much like a carnival; I definitely see roller coasters and a Ferris wheel. She reigns over this landscape. I get the feeling of flesh and steel, joining. Harsh, edge, beautiful danger, dangerous beauty. The LWB definition doesn’t make sense, except for the rather snide preemptory meaning: “This problem may seem to have no solution, but keep trying. Science may provide an answer.” Hmm.
Well, it looks like it might be something of a lengthy process getting to know this deck and how to work with it. I’m very, very interested to see how it reads. I think, given its apparent attitude and its “nakedness”, that this would be a deck especially good for stripping away appearances. Not so much truth-seeking, as truth revealing. The LWB is rather harsh though; going to go with my intuition on this one. Maybe one day I’ll be big and brave enough to face its particular brand of medicine. Until then…