one of the first moments of revelation in my life, in the meme of creating a unique tarot deck, was while i was reading Antero Alli's rediculously intelligent book :
I remember surfing these pages with great reverence and care, and coming across (near the end of the book) Alli's fascinating breakdown of the process of creating a personal tarot deck. the pages were dappled with delvin's messy notes, since it was his copy i had been honoured with, when my elfintome order couldn't go through.
amidst this comprehensive instructional on creating a tarot deck, was a skeleton of archetypal rhythm which struck me as a wonderful tool. I quote it here to enrich the process :
the major arcana :
ZERO : The zero card isn't anything at all. It represents the void. Personally, it's that part of you which exists as nothing, nobody, no-form. It is your relationship with the realm of possiblities and, as of yet, umanifest potential. Name the zero.
ONE : The one card is when everything comes together into a single, unified direction. After the realm of possibliiteis (zero), a path is chosen or is presented towards the manifestation of a singular possibility. Here, we have a sense of being in control and in the driver's seat. On Target!
THE HIGH PRIESTESS
TWO : The two card reflects on what just went down in the number one card. It's our capacity for seeing ourselves in action yet remaining detached about what we're doing. There's a mirroring ability here, one which is able to create a picture of our reality. Get the picture? Think.
THREE : The three card feels a response to itself and is affected. There is a cerain vulnerable feritlity to this principle beacuase it is soft enough to respond and be moved by its own responses. It s energy recycles and renews itself constantly. Feel it out. Let your heart in on this one.
FOUR : The four card establishes itself and whatever it comes into contact with by defininig things for itself. This is the authority figure card... where you stand with power, initiative and the masculine principle. How you design this card will express your willingness to be powerful and do things your way. This is the "boss" card. WHO OWNS YOU?
FIVE : The five card sanctifies and approves of whatever the four card put down as law. This card recognizes the sacred and how we relate to its knowledge. It conveys the relationship to the teacher archetype in general. This is how we personally bridge our inner experience with our outer world. Express yourself.
SIX : Card six separates in order to understand how to bring things together in deeper ways than before. This capacity for distinction makes relationship possible. Without it, we'd be lost in the sauce of our own expectations and delusions. Design this card with the significant other in mind and how you'd like to co-create with your partner. Polarize!
SEVEN : The seven card protects and harnessesthe sacred powers released in relationship. If 7 is your lucky number, make this your lucky card. If it's not, let it express your relationship to discipline so that whatever you can't get by luck, you can get by hard work. This principle is related to the warrior archetype and his/her weapon, the shielf. Shield yourself.
EIGHT : Card eight tames the animal. Communicate the imporance of the ongoing relationship between soul and animal elements within yourself. This card could also convey the wild, strong force of the animal itself, tempered by a benevolent owner. Grounded.
NINE : The nine card illuminatesthrough the heights of spiritual solitude, peace and singularity. This quality speaks of a mystical clarity from the blissful merging with God. IT is a sense of being complete within oneself... wholeness. 9 marks the end of a major cycle. Tie up loose ends.
THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE
TEN : Card ten merges us with destiny. This symbol represents great forces moving lives, times na dplaces together for definite purposes. Random, chance meetings are no longer accidental. Synchronicity.
ELEVEN : The eleven card restricts, orders and clarifies the previous acceleration for the purpose of restoring grace to chaos. When you need reminding to get your act togehter, this card works well. Sometimes lifes ups and downs require tempering influences, something to help us take the reigns, again. How do you get back in control?
THE HANGED MAN
TWELVE : Card twelve surrenders to the forces of nature. The personal life gives in to Life itself... our ability to flow and roll with teh punches. This card symbolizes the socially disconnected state of Rapture and Floating aimlessly like a leaf in the wind. A state of total grace. Let go...
THIRTEEN : The thirteen card transfigures wahtever it touches. Transmit intense transformation in this card. Thsi card should remind you of your need to go through changes. Growth and decay are part of the same motion. Let this card destroy anything which inhibits freedom. Grow!
FOURTEEN : Card fourteen purges whatever is left over from the card thirteen as a test to it strue strength and resiliancy. This is trial-by-fire time. This card dedicates itself to right action and experiment to determine which direction is appropriate. What is Ritual? Test Yourself.
FIFTEEN : The fifteen card disillusions us so that we might see clearly again. It reminds us of our human weaknesses, foibles and flaws. The card symbolizes the pain and difficulties we endure when we either see the part as a whole, or reject a part from the whole. Silly, silly you...
SIXTEEN : Card sixteen activates adjustments and change in those areas requiring a reality check. Whenever you'd liek to know when to stop fooling yourself, design this card to reflect the relaity of sudden change... As unpredictable as lightning itself. Frame the unexpected and give it a name.
SEVENTEEN : The seventeen card settles the energy disrupted in the previous phase. This card expresses the principle and practice of meditation. Design this card to remind you of your serenity, sot hat in times of upheavel you may access your calm. These are the still, deep waters of your innermost being... unaffected by the turbulence of surface realities. Center.
EIGHTEEN : This card humanizes us, helping to recall our emotional fragilities in the midst of our strengths. Let this card reflect our capacity for external dependency... the "needy" side of our nature. It should recall our unconscious and as of yet, unintegrated "shadows" of ourselves... our fears, addictions and insecurities. Sleep.
NINETEEN : This card integrates rpeviously nconscious parts of ourselves into the daylight of consciousness. It also relates externally to our choice to become a member of the collective. Make this as bright and cheerful as the previous one was dark and perhaps, dreary. This is the light at the end of the tunnel.
TWENTY : This card perpetuates the lives of those who have come in contact with their eternal, infinite selves. Transmit the possiblitiey of living forever, or at least, the inspiration of eternal moment.s A highly spiritual card, its quality is timeless and ever expanding spaciousness. It signifies the conscious union with Spirit. Rebirth.
TWENTY-ONE : This card centralizes the self. This is the end of the cycle... expressing the epitome of material manifestation, where the whole is self-organized. This card is you as the executive and chief administrator of yourself... the central core of your true self. Govern yourself.
THE MINOR ARCANA
The prvious twenty-two cards make up the Major Arcana. The Minor Arcana consists of Four Suits with fourteen cards each . The first ten are numbered, the last four depict "royalty" : page, knight, queen and king. You are not required to build a "minor arcana" as the "major" may suit your needs. However, the following provides guidelines for the Minor Arcana. The Four Suits represent the Elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Discover your own personal metaphors for these : Earth, Instinct, Water, Feeling, Fire, Intuition, and Air, Thought. Other examples should be explored to make these suits more personal to yourself
to elaborate on Alli's words on the minor arcana, check out Michael Waters' brilliant flash download on the minor arcana just here.
years later, Alli wrote an inspiring and updated article to explore the designing of a unique tarot system :
i give thanks for Antero Alli's profound wisdom and jovial intelligence, which tends to really speak from the heart of the matter, with a great respect for the mystery of non-being. This is someone who really knows how to ask questions. Thanks, Antero.