Guest Post: Tarot in the Digital Age

This is a guest post from Kris Waldherr. There are images with this post that are larger than I normally use but you need the size.

kriswaldherrauthorphotoTarot in the Digital Age
by Kris Waldherr

Imagine this scenario: You decide to give yourself a tarot reading. You light a candle, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. With each exhale, your body centers and and your thoughts calm. Once you formulate your question, you open your eyes. You take out . . . your iPhone?

Yes, your iPhone.

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Welcome to the digital age of tarot, where readings and card meanings are just a tap and a scroll away. It’s a brave new world that many tarot deck creators and publishers — myself included — are embracing. Besides my new Goddess Tarot app, Kat Black’s lovely Touchstone Tarot is now an iPhone app; publisher Llewellyn has jumped into the market by issuing their Mystic Dreamer and Mystic Faerie Tarots in this format. Can other decks be far behind?

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Instead of relying on publishing and distribution to get our printed works into retail outlets, users can immediately download our decks from iTunes onto their iPhones and iPod Touches no matter where they live. No time-consuming trips to stores or searching Ebay for that hard-to-find deck. It’s instant gratification anytime and anywhere.

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But this brave new world is also a different world. To be sure, an iPhone app is not the same as a deck of cards. My much-used decks have accumulated the patina of use, which make them all the more special for me; the softened corners caused by shuffling, the subtle discoloration of time. Plus at this stage of technological development, reading spreads are usually limited by the app’s programming, which can put a cramp on a tarot reader’s style. As powerful as the Celtic Cross spread may be, experienced readers know it’s not “all Celtic Cross all the time” when it comes to consulting the cards.

However, what’s lost is made up for what’s gained in accessibility. For example, I was recently stranded at JFK airport because of weather delays. There were many people in the same situation as myself, all attempting to go standby — if I didn’t do something, I feared I’d be wandering JFK overnight with Thea, my very energetic four-year-old.

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I didn’t have my tarot cards with me — but I did have my iPod Touch. I fired up The Goddess Tarot app and silently queried, “What should I do?” (Short and sweet, but I was desperate.) The cards immediately answered:

  • Present: Princess of Swords
  • Future: Sacrifice/Kuan Yin
  • Overview: Seven of Staves

The Seven of Staves suggested that I would get to my destination eventually, but there were obstacles to address. As for the Princess of Swords, I should use my words to intervene, but be clever and charming. I worried that Sacrifice/Kuan Yin meant I’d be stuck in travel limbo. Instead, I hoped that Kuan Yin signified taking care of my child in a difficult situation; after all, this Chinese goddess is associated with motherhood.

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I sprang into action. I approached an airline representative with Thea in tow and politely said, “I’m traveling with a small child and need to be on a confirmed flight, not going standby. I can be flexible — I’m willing to travel to a different airport and travel through a different city.” Bingo! Within minutes, I had boarding passes for a 7 am flight the following morning from LaGuardia. We booked a hotel near the airport and happily abandoned JFK.

That night, instead of wandering from gate to gate and eating prepackaged airport fare, my family feasted at a Indonesian restaurant near our comfortable hotel. As we walked back, we passed a Buddhist Temple gilded by moonlight. We stopped to take a closer look.

Guess what was in its courtyard? A serenely smiling statue of Kuan Yin — the same goddess on the Sacrifice card from my reading.

Even as an iPhone app, the message had transcended the medium.

Arwen here: You can get your own copy of this great little app for iPhone by going here. That link will open iTunes. Heads up, y’all! Kris put this app on sale for 72 hours on August 1st. Get your FULL copy for only .99 cents by getting it before the end of August 3rd.

Leave a meaningful comment or question to be entered to win your own copy of this very cool Goddess Tarot App for the iPhone!

Visit Kris at her site. And you really want a copy of her book Doomed Queens. Trust me on this one.

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Tarot in the Digital Age”

  1. I love having my Tarot decks on my phone. It is frequently during the day that I will do a quick one card draw to get through situations. It is wonderful and handy. I must say that the ladies in my knitting group love it too! They spend the knitting meet-up passing around my phone and giving themselves reading rather then knitting!

    The Goddess Tarot along with the Touchstone are my favorite Tarot apps. I have many others but don’t bother syncing them any more. The options with the Goddess Tarot are perfect and I love how the readings display. The images are wonderfully clear and the descriptions of the cards are just a flick away!

    Amy

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