Deck: Divine Diversity Tarot
Creator: Joe Phillips
Publisher & Year: Self-Published 2018
Joe Phillips is a comic book artist, and that shines through with every card in the Divine Diversity Tarot. Everyone on every card looks like they belong to an expensive gym, and that they spend all their time there getting fit, toned, buff, ripped, or shredded. Men (who feature HEAVILY in the deck) are predominantly presented in beefcake-pinup style. Women are often bare-breasted, but are not as sexualized as the boys are.
In an environment flush with decks of all types, Phillips made a deck that represents a specific subset of diversity. I can appreciate that this is heads-and-tails more inclusive and diverse than most of what’s out there, but the name “Divine Diversity” seems like something of a stretch, particularly in a world where the Numinous Tarot also exists. While not *perfectly* inclusive, this deck feels and reads like it was created with kindness and love, and the folks who populate it come from many apparent ethnic backgrounds as well as non-hetero/non-monogamous combinations.
How do they shuffle? I don’t know. The cards are 4”x6”, and I’m rigidly loyal to 2.75”x4.75”. I don’t know of anyone with hands large enough to riffle shuffle these cards effectively and efficiently. I also believe that shuffling wasn’t the priority when Phillips created the deck. His artwork is lush and detailed, and this deck wants to give the viewer every opportunity to explore each image, which totally works. I get it. It’s just not for me. I’m a sucker for gilded edges, though, and as the saying goes: “the bigger the cards, the larger they gild”…or something like that. I suppose what I’m saying is that the cards are gorgeous despite their size and unshuffleableness.
Let’s take a look at some of the cards:
Ten of Wands – The work on this card is confusing. What is this guy trying to do? Whatever it is (perhaps a new way to flex muscles?)…there’s gotta be a better way. *Work smarter, not harder.
Nine of Cups – I love me some Nine of Cups, and this one is no exception. One of the few people in the deck who are of a non-musclebound variety, as well as possibly the only androgynous character in the deck. *This generous soul wants to help you treat yo self!
Five of Swords – Depending on my mood when I look at his smirking face, this blonde bastard might be satisfied with a job well done or just truly arrogant in the face of his apparent victory. Don’t be this guy. *Touch base with the people who are affected by your choices.
Eight of Pentacles – the satisfaction on the Eight of Pentacles’ face, though, is very much the unconscious joy of flow state. He’s locked into his work, and even though it is repetitive and looks difficult, he’s there for it. *Focus on perfecting the things you’re good at and enjoy.
King of Swords – This beefy king looks like he spent hours situating everything perfectly so that he could snap a picture and tag it “#wokeUpLikeThis.” From the provocative drape of the sheet, to the cultivated beard stubble, and on to the slouching and manspreading, this guy knows exactly what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. *Take control of your racing mind. Slow down and do what you know needs to be done first.
Hermit – I wouldn’t think that a hermit would spend so much time on his vanity muscles, but I would be wrong in this case. My favorite part of this card is the adorable little owl who lives atop the staff. The owl and the magical lantern let me get past my internal biases against shredded dudebros and see that there is a wisdom to what’s being done. *Keep your own counsel right now, and focus on what you can learn on your own.
Death – This card has quite a different style from the other cards in the deck. It’s more cartoonish, and has zero of the sexuality that can be felt from the rest of the deck. A tiny young girl and death (ope, there’s another androgynous being!) greet each other as equals, both of them unable to affect the other, but inextricably tied together nonetheless. *You can’t avoid change, but you can make room for it.
Lovers – The lovers is one of two cards with an alternate version in this deck (the other is the Devil). The alternate versions help to show another possible pairing beyond the “traditional” man and woman found on many decks. The lovers here are inextricably wound together as a divine overseer watches with unescapable joy. *Share yourself fully with the people you love.
If you love comic-style art, and particularly if you’re a fan of Phillips’ other artwork, this is definitely a deck to check out. You can find out more about it at the (completed) Kickstarter page, and purchase your very own Divine Diversity Tarot deck at JoePhillips.com.