Tarot Perspectives: A Tale of Three Decks

August 18, 2016

I find the modality of tarot reading to be helpful for many reasons, one of which is that there are so many different decks in existence, each with its own unique perspective on the themes that come up in tarot. I currently own several, and have always thought it would be valuable to do a side-by-side analysis of the imagery used in each. That's why when two of my fellow tarot readers on Instagram created the hashtag #tarotperspectives, a challenge to other Instarot enthusiasts to pull the same card from three different decks each day in August, I jumped on board, but expanded the challenge to include a daily blog post for each card. I chose three decks I felt were vastly different in intention and style: The Smith-Waite, created by A.E. Waite and painted by Pamela Coleman Smith, a  familiar and in some ways outdated deck; The Haindl, a mystical and overwhelmingly symbolic deck entirely created and painted by Hermann Haindl; and the Collective Tarot, which is my standby professional deck, and a bit niche, collectively, as it were, created by a group of activists, artists and healers. 


I quickly realized that this would expand beyond just August for me- I have enjoyed the process so much thus far that I intend to get through all 78 cards. I will be adding to this post as I put up new blog posts, but this will serve as the master post where you can find all the cards' comparisons linked. I've included every version of the card's title in this index, along with the questions I have assigned to each card as I believe that questions are of the utmost importance, and are essential to what the cards prompt us to consider. 


This post is a work in progress until I've made it through all 78, so keep coming back to check on what's new!



0 - The Fool


1 - The Magician


2 - The High Priestess


3 - Receptivity/The Empress:

How can I enjoy my creative passions?


4 - The Code/The Emperor: 

Who is the authority on what structures my life?


5 - The Instructor/The Hierophant


6 - The Lovers:

What separate elements of my life can be lovingly blended together?

7 - The Conductor/The Chariot:

What is my will, and how will I use my power?


8 - Strength:

What gives me strength, and what does that strength look like?


9 - The Hermit:

What inner wisdom guides me?


10 - Chance/The Wheel of Fortune

11 - Accountability/Justice:

What requires a thoughtful, balanced, and rigorously honest exploration?


12 - Intermission/The Hanged Man


13 - Death:
What in my life is coming to a natural ending, and what is growing out of it?


14 - Temperance/Alchemy


15 - Oppression/The Devil


16 - Disaster/The Tower:

What structures have I built around myself that keep me from a higher calling?


17 - The Star


18 - The Moon


19 - The Sun


20 - Liberation/Judgement/Aeon


21 - The World/The Universe


Ace of Wands/Feathers:

What unknown potential lies in following my passions?


2 of Keys/Wands/Dominion


3 of Keys/Wands/Virtue


4 of Keys/Wands/Perfection:

Can I accept that I am exactly where I am meant to be?


5 of Keys/Wands/Conflict


6 of Keys/Wands/Victory:

What would I consider a true "win" in this situation?


7 of Keys/Wands/Courage


8 of Keys/Wands/Swiftness


9 of Keys/Wands/Power


10 of Keys/Wands/Oppression:

How much passion is too much?


Seeker/Page/Princess/Daughter of Keys/Wands in the East/Radha


Apprentice/Knight/Son/Prince of Keys/Wands in the East/Krishna


Artist/Queen/Mother of Keys/Wands in the East/Kali


Mentor/King/Father of Keys/Wands in the East/Brahma: 

How do I master my creative impulse?


Ace of Bottles/Cups


2 of Bottles/Cups/Love


3 of Bottles/Cups/Overflowing:

What makes me feel like celebrating?


4 of Bottles/Cups/Mixed Happiness:
What am I grateful for, and what more do I yearn for?


5 of Bottles/Cups/Disappointment


6 of Bottles/Cups/Happiness


7 of Bottles/Cups/Illusions of Success


8 of Bottles/Cups/Failure


9 of Bottles/Cups/Fortune


10 of Bottles/Cups/Success


Seeker/Page/Princess/Daughter of Bottles/Cups in the North/Brigid of Ireland:

What mysteries do my dreams uncover? 


Apprentice/Knight/Son/Prince of Bottles/Cups in the North/Parsifal


Artist/Queen/Mother of Bottles/Cups in the North/Venus of Willendorf:

How can I look within to find the transformation my heart desires?


Mentor/King/Father of Bottles/Cups in the North/Odin


Ace of Feathers/Swords

2 of Feathers/Swords/Peace:

How can I find some  personal space and mental serenity?


3 of Feathers/Swords/Mourning


4 of Feathers/Swords/Truce


5 of Feathers/Swords/Defeat


6 of Feathers/Swords/Science


7 of Feathers/Swords/Uselessness:

How have I lost my compassion and intuition?


8 of Feathers/Swords/Interference


9 of Feathers/Swords/Cruelty


10 of Feathers/Swords/Ruin


Seeker/Page/Princess/Daughter of Feathers/Swords in the South/Isis


Apprentice/Knight/Son/Prince of Feathers/Swords in the South/Osiris


Artist/Queen/Mother of Feathers/Swords in the South/Nut


Mentor/King/Father of Feathers/Swords in the South/Ra:

How can I own my choices and their consequences?


Ace of Bones/Pentacles/Stones


2 of Bones/Pentacles/Stones/Harmony


3 of Bones/Pentacles/Stones/Work:

What practical work can I undertake to achieve my goals?


4 of Bones/Pentacles/Stones/The Power of the Earth:

How can I structure my life in hope and not fear?


5 of Bones/Pentacles/Stones/Material Difficulty


6 of Bones/Pentacles/Stones/Success:
What is the tangible evidence of my life's abundance?


7 of Bones/Pentacles/Stones/Failure


8 of Bones/Pentacles/Stones/Knowledge


9 of Bones/Pentacles/Stones/Material Gain


10 of Bones/Pentacles/Stones/Richness


Seeker/Page/Princess/Son of Bones/Pentacles/Stones in the West/Chief Seattle:

What do I need to learn, and where can I find more information?


Apprentice/Knight/Daughter/Prince of Bones/Pentacles/Stones in the West/White BuffaloWoman:


Artist/Queen/Mother of Bones/Pentacles/Stones in the West/Spider Woman


Mentor/King/Father of Bones/Pentacles/Stones in the West/Old Man:

What's the tangible result of my efforts? 





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