When New Wave Tarot by lastcraftdesigns.com popped up on Instagram, several friends let me know that I needed this deck. They were right. All my favorite mix tapes from 1980-something are represented and then some. The Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode, Devo, Petshop Boys, Bronski Beat, Eurythmics, Go-Gos; it is like the soundtrack of my youth turned into divination. I would not recommend it to a beginner, but if you have a little experience with the Tarot, and maybe wish you still had that cool streak of blue hair and black nail polish from 1984, this is the deck for you.
The deck itself is fairly standard. It comes in a cardboard box, black with a pixelated rose design, that is vaguely 80s looking and coordinates with the back of the cards. The cards are just under 3 x 5” and are about the weight of a regular playing card. It comes with a small pamphlet that notes which musician is on each card and suggests a meaning for the card. The suggestions, however, are so brief as to be little assistance to a Tarot newbie. If you are new to the Tarot, use this deck with a regular Tarot book to guide you. The cards will look familiar, iconographically, to users of either Thoth decks or the Rider-Waite, as the imagery is borrowed from both. Except, of course, that instead of the serene and mysteriously calm Rider-Waite High Priestess staring back at you, it’s Siouxsie from Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Some of the musician choices are perfect. Kate Bush as the Moon, complete with a howling wolf? Yes, please. Grace Jones dressed in a cape that looks for all the world like it is made out of packaging bubble wrap with mirrored roaring lions as Strength? Perfect. The Wheel of Fortune as Devo, with the Total Devo disk as the wheel itself is also a good fit. I was less impressed with the Chariot. Why is Bowie there as the lions? Bowie needs his own card. He’s David Bowie, for Pete’s sake! He is also on the 10 of swords, but Bowie is Major Arcana worthy in my humble opinion. And why isn’t Gary Newman driving the Chariot because: Cars?
The minor Arcana are represented by microphones (swords), eyeliner pencils (wands), discs (pentacles), and teacups. Debbie Harry of Blondie is the two of swords, seated and blindfolded, balancing two oversized mics. The late Stuart Adamson of the Scottish band Big Country is on the two of wands, and seems particularly appropriate given the divinatory meaning of the card; “In a big country, dreams stay with you…” fits. You can almost hear the bagpipes. Siouxie and her drummer, Budgie, formed the group The Creatures and they grace the two of cups. If there were any question as to the meaning of the two of cups, this image clears that right up; this is a sexy picture. Finally, the Smiths feature on the two of disks, not in person, but their Meat is Murder album.
If you long to pull of ten of cups that reminds you of the 1980s (Human League), or a three of swords that is truly as emo as it should be (the Cure), this is the Tarot deck you have been waiting for. Get it for $41 at: https://lastcraftdesigns.com/collections/everything-else/products/new-wave-tarot-cards-version-2