Deck: The Body Language Tarot 1st Edition
Creator: Jessica Bott
Published: Independently
Availability: Out of print/ 2nd edition preorder due 7-20-2020

I reached out to Jai Bott from the Cracked Amethyst to interview her. I had already planned to review her Idiosyncradeck and Amethyst oracle, as well as her Resting Bitch Face oracle. She was kind enough to talk with me about the things that make tarot and divination important to her. When I get the interview back and read what she wrote about the Body Language Tarot, I made it a priority to get a copy.

I realized pretty fast that looking at this deck through Smith-Waite eyes was not going to be enough. I was going to need to read the book. What I found was an entirely different system. There are notes of RWS in there, sure, but it stands alone in its own system and its own language. The deck is all women. I know they are all identified as women because it says so in the book. Tattooed women, actually. Covered in astrological symbols, sigils, elementals, and many nods to the RWS system. The hair is color coded for the minor suits, and each color and style carry a different meaning.

This book is unlike any other I own. Each page is a diagram of a card. Important markings are diagramed out. Her face, her hair, her ink, her hands, RWS references are all lined up. It’s a fascinating study of humans and tarot. I’m thrilled to have a chance to work with this deck. In the back there is a small bonus section with a different interpretation of the devil, as well as a couple of deck specific spreads.

I really like this Fool card. She is open and free, and vulnerable in a way I find difficult to be sometimes. It’s the kind of vulnerability that inspires growth. The Empress is just lovely. Stardust on her chest and life in her hands. The Chariot is moving, at her own pace. I get fussy about a stagnant chariot. The Hermit has all the tattoos I want and my same color hair, so clearly, we’re twins. The snowflakes on her arm represent distance, calm, and clarity. Those are the most extravagant aspects of the Hermit to me.

The Aces become Essences in this deck. I particularly like the Essence of Water. That whole, “Come at me, Bro” look on her face is delicious. She will drown you and not even bat an eyelash. The rest of the Essences are doing other things. Fire is dancing, and sensual. She is creation. Earth is looking at the, well, earth. She is welcoming new growth. Air is open and waiting for information. She is attentive.

The courts have been renamed. Here we have the Student, the Apprentice, the Teacher, and the Master. I won’t lie. When I saw that the kings were now masters, I immediately named them all Missy, for Doctor Who. The Student is inexperienced, sometimes shy. The Apprentice is a little cocky because they know just enough to get in trouble, but they’re well meaning. The Teacher knows the things. All of them. I want to learn from them. The Master (Missy) is sassy, speaks in mostly truths, and is a great leader. They also know from experience that their way is the only way they are interested in doing things.

I’m going to spend quite a bit of time learning this deck. It’s good. It has a different quality to it that is just close enough to familiar that it will be easy to learn. Jai has an Etsy shop, and a few more decks available. She also makes the cutest little deck bags and stickers. She’s got a super deck coming out early next year. It’s called the Bottanical Tarot and Oracle. It will have 120 cards in it, and you’ll be able to find it on Kickstarter. Don’t worry, we’ll post about it.

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