The Relative Tarot, created by the inimitable Carrie Paris and published by Weiser Books, is not just a masterfully done photo-collage mixed media deck that stitches vintage photography with details from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, but it’s also a powerful analytical and psychoanalytical tool. I feel like both Jung and Freud would give their stamp of approval!
What is most special about this deck is its design, created specifically to help you cast your Tarot Blueprint, based on concept of birth cards, inner and outer soul expression cards, and your significator. The companion guidebook– A Guidebook for the Diligent Diviner (love that title, Carrie!)– walks you through how to calculate each card in the tarot that represents a facet of you.
Altogether, they will produce your Tarot Blueprint. Instead of going the route of a run-of-the-mill deck review, I’m going to put my copy of Relative Tarot to use and create my own Tarot Blueprint for self-assessment.
So first off, the promise of the deck is ambitious. In the Introduction, Paris tells you this: With the Relative Tarot, you will be able to answer these three questions about yourself:
- Who am I?
- What have I come here to do?
- How do I find my soul’s truth?
All right, Paris. I’m taking you up on this. =)
Oh, first, a few “deck review” comments that are worth noting. This deck comes with twin cards for Key 8 and Key 11, so there are two Key 8s, one Strength and the other Justice, and two Key 11s, again one titled Strength and the other Justice, so you can work with either the RWS or the Marseilles system.
There are also three Lovers cards “to honor all types of love.” Before divining, advises Paris, “select the cards that meet your personal preferences so that you’re working with a 78-card divinatory system.”
Okay, we begin with my Birth Card. The book will instruct you on how to calculate your Birth Card, but I’ve been around tarot titans long enough to have heard about this plenty of times before. I love all exercises derived from the Birth Card concept, by the way.
My Inner and Outer Expression cards are both Key 7: Chariot. So who am I? I am The Strategist and The Warrior. What have I come here to do? I’m focused. I’m willful. I seek movement and progress, and I enjoy travel. I push through limitations and break through safe patterns. I want to be The Champion. I have come here to be The Champion.
At least that’s what the guidebook says about me, based on my Inner and Outer Expression cards. And I do not dissent. =)
My Hidden Shadow card is Key 16: Tower. My fate may tend toward unwanted and unexpected blows, notes the guidebook. I often have to deal with the consequences of toppling old beliefs. There is often divine intervention in my life. A recurring theme in my life path may be repurposing and revelation.
In sum, my soul seeks to manifest dramatic change, and I see dramatic change as the agent of self-mastery. To reveal my inner truth. first I need to constructively channel rage and despair, a pair of shadows that tends to follow those of the Sevens. I also try too hard to be the superhero, so much so that I’m a storm chaser, an adrenaline junky. Not only do I have to manage my anger, but I also need to manage my pride. These are the obstacles in my path of self-mastery.
And yes, I got all that from A Guidebook for the Diligent Diviner. Dayam.
As for the final question, how do I find my soul’s truths? My soul is made up of four parts: the Body, the Mind, the Heart, and the Spirit. The corresponding Minor Arcana cards that are in my Tarot Blueprint are the 7s, and the four 7s in tarot will reveal my soul’s truths.
My Body is ruled by the Seven of Pentacles. Although the guidebook doesn’t get into card meanings for each of the Minors, it doesn’t need to– there are innumerable resources at your fingertips for looking up those card meanings. Random personal opinion: I will just say that the guy’s expression on the Seven of Pentacles throws me off a bit. In general, there’s a spookiness to this deck that makes me think it’d probably be great to work with if you’re into mediumship.
My Mind is ruled by the Seven of Swords. These make for great journaling prompts, by the way. I’m always reminded of what Ellen Dugan said about this card when I’m looking at it in the RWS– this is about being clever and resourceful, cunning, and great at schemes.
My Heart is ruled by the Seven of Cups. Jenna Matlin has said about the Seven of Cups that it denotes “many dreams, one path.” Yes! Yes to that!
My Spirit is ruled by the Seven of Wands. Kim Krans has said that this card signifies standing up for your beliefs and letting your inner fire guide the way. Funny thing about the imagery here is again, the facial expression. In a scenic, illustrated Seven of Wands card, I want to see defiance. That guy — I get the vibe that he’s about to serve me an ice cream cone. Still, this card is a delight to work with.
I love that the deck’s namesake comes from finding your relatives in the cards. In the bottom captions of all the Majors, you’ll see the Key’s related birth cards and also it’s numerological relatives from the Minors.
The aesthetics of this deck also lends itself remarkably well for deep-diving into your own mind for memories and wisdom buried in your unconscious or subconscious. This is absolutely something I could see a psychotherapist working with a Jungian model use in counseling. As a deck to work with in self-development or meditation, the Relative Tarot shines.
FTC Disclosure: In accordance with Title 16 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 255, “Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” I received the deck and book set from the publisher for prospective endorsement. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of the deck.