I’m the Justice card in Jamie Sawyer’s Pocket of Peers Tarot! What an honor! The two little tiles tilted on top of the guidebook cover are not part of the cover design– I placed those two extra tiles Jamie gifted me with there for the photo.
The Pocket of Peers Tarot was crowdfunded on Kickstarter. It was fully-funded in 95 minutes, which is crazy! Crazy-good that is. I love how supportive the tarot community is toward its members. There’s so much love and mutual respect.
The interior of the box design is magnificent. I mean, just look at that reading table and the library bookshelves behind it, with an Akashic Records vibe. I’m also loving the eight-spoke wheel with the leaf design for the reversible card backs.
To me, it’s also symbolic of what this deck expresses: living knowledge. While there is traditional symbolism on each card to anchor it for RWS readers, the Pocket of Peers Tarot celebrates the living collective of knowledge that the tarot community represents.
Tarot deck art featuring people the artist knows is nothing new; in fact, it’s kind of its heritage. The earliest Renaissance tarots featured portraits of family members from the house that commissioned the painting of that deck. I love that Pocket of Peers is like a time capsule of the tarot community in 2021.
If you’ve attended New York Readers Studio, the Masters of Tarot Conference at the Omega Institute, or the Northwest Tarot Symposium in past years, then most of these faces will be familiar to you. By the way I love that The Magician is Mama Sawyer.
Melissa Cynova, author of Kitchen Table Tarot, is the High Priestess. Kristine Gorman, a visionary artist and radio show host, has been hand-painting this absolutely incredible tarot deck that I cannot wait to see out in the world. I had the great honor of visiting her studio here in California and seeing some of those paintings up close and in person.
V. of RedLight Readings is a tarot colleague I’ve been following for a while. She was invited to be a headline speaker at the New York Tarot Readers Studio pre-pandemic and has been gaining major traction in the community ever since. I also feel really blessed to have recently gotten to know Pamela Chen, creator of the Crystal Unicorn Tarot and the Witchling Academy Tarot. I got the chance to meet Jennifer Lucero-Earle, who created this incredible fusion between the tarot and dance choreography called ArcanaDance.
That is such a cool Wheel of Fortune card! I love all the nods to the RWS Key 10, plus the meta reference to the Pocket of Peers Tarot deck itself, and a classic tarot book that Sawyer says was most formative in her tarot journey– Rachel Pollack’s Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom.
By trade, Jamie is a tattoo artist, and her style shines with such a clear, distinct, and well-defined voice here. By the way, if you haven’t checked out her craft shop, do so! She does beautiful wood-cut art. I have several of her wood-cut art pieces in my home, including a few of her casting boards and crystal grids, which have become indispensable to me. I love them!
A critique I’ve heard about the premise of this deck is that you can’t do serious tarot readings with a deck that features actual living people, because it’s too distracting.
But that’s not the case for me. I see reading with this deck as a form of social engagement. It’s about interacting with the tarot community, or at least a specific U.S.-centered enclave of the greater tarot community at large.
So it’s just a different way to approach reading a deck of tarot cards.
Not only do I want to share my enthusiasm for Jamie’s creation, I’d like to take this time to also share with you my love and adoration for some of the people featured in this deck– specifically the ones I’ve met and have had direct interactions with before. These are some incredible personalities who are authentic, and compassionate, and just all around good people.
Aww! Chris-Anne as The Star! That’s perfect! She is totally tarot Star vibes! Her Light Seer’s Tarot took the world by storm, didn’t it. She also created The Muse Tarot and you’ll want to keep an eye out for her forthcoming Tarot of Curious Creatures– I’m so excited.
Psychic Terry Iacuzzo and author of Small Mediums at Large is one of my favorite peoples. I really connected with her at the Omega Institute during the Masters of the Tarot Conference. That’s also where I met Semaj, who you see on The Sun card. Andrew Barker, an angel tarot reader, is another one of those up-and-coming names in the tarot world who has been doing really incredible work.
Michelle Welch, author of Magic of Connection, which I wrote the Foreword to, is a dear friend of mine. She’s a powerhouse Texas lawyer turned proprietor of SoulTopia, a chain of metaphysical shops across the greater Dallas area. We’ve become close friends over the years and am so excited to see her and Roger leading the charge with the Northwest Tarot Symposium!
Lucy Morningstar is a traditional artist specializing in portraits. She’s the illustrator for several deck projects both published and still in the works. You have to check out Ethony’s Modern Love Tarot, which Lucy Morningstar illustrated.
The guidebook is like a field notes journal. I love that each member of the community contributed the text, sharing what that particular card in the deck means to them and their perspective on how to interpret it when it comes up in a reading. But then there’s the blank page for your own notes on the opposite side, so you’re creating your own tarot card meanings journal built upon the voices from our collective.
Jaymi Elford, author of Tarot Inspired Life and who knows how many texts for Lo Scarabeo and Llewellyn, was one of my first tarot friends. She’s been to my house, where we’ve nursed goblets of pomegranate liqueur and chatted into the night about tarot.
Jenna Matlin is through and through the Queen of Wands! She’s business savvy and after achieving the heights of success as a pro tarot reader with her own brick and mortar storefront, she mentored other up-and-coming tarot pros. Her book on running a tarot business will be released through Llewellyn in 2022.
Theresa Reed, of The Tarot Lady fame, is a prolific author with several tarot books under her belt. She’s also a tarot podcaster who has supported many a young tarot reader’s career. This deck features both Reed and Shaheen Miro, who co-authored Tarot for Troubled Times. Miro is also the creator of the Lunar Nomad Oracle, based on the Lenormand.
Oh, and I adore Rana George! She’s a globe-trotting, glamorous, psychic fortune-telling, spirit medium who brings Mediterranean magical traditions to the modern world. That and she’s just a lot of fun in person!
Mitchell Osborn is a psychic medium and animal communicator. I got to meet and chat one on one with him at Readers Studio. He’s doing some really incredible work and he uses his gifts to help so many people or, more specifically, their animal companions. =)
Arwen Lynch Poe, who some of you old guards in the community know as the former president of the American Tarot Association, is am empathic psychic tarot reader who has done a lot of incredible work through U.S. Games. She also combines her background in creative writing with the tarot to coach writers. Check out her book, Mapping The Hero’s Journey: 33 Days To Finish Your Book.
I sat in on a Carrie Parris workshop before and just love how she captivates an audience. She’s an incredible public speaker and teacher. Toni Puhle, the Card Geek, is one of my favoritest. Her book on Kipper is, to date, one of the best resources on Kipper cards you can get in the English language. Puhle is the founder of the World Divination Association, a global organization that has been doing so much for our community.
While I’m mainly focusing on sharing tidbits on people I’ve met in real life, I’ve chatted with Chris Onareo on his Instagram IGTV channel and had such a great time that it’s worth mentioning her. Plus, his IGTV channel is spectacular. If you haven’t checked out his channel of interviews with members of the tarot community, definitely swing by and take a listen.
Ethony needs no introduction, amirite? She’s created so many incredible indie decks and she’s the headmistress of the Tarot Readers Academy. Her effervescent, sassy personality combined with a deep, expansive knowledge of tarot and witchcraft really makes her the perfect tarot influencer.
Jenna Diaz of Moonlit Faye creates the most beautiful hand-made tarot bags, pouches, and wraps. I’ve got several of her pieces at home. She also helps to create matching tarot bags for the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot! Be sure to check her out on Instagram @moonlit_faye.
George Koury commands such a presence and I really enjoyed that year of Readers Studio. He is a psychic medium and angel communicator who guides people toward discovering how much they’re truly loved by spirits on the other side. Koury is a name frequently connected with the famed Lily Dale in upstate New York. Not to mention he’s just a very cool guy in person!
And finally, we get to the two Teacher cards: Rachel Pollack and Mary Greer. I feel like over the years I’ve had many opportunities to get to know them, and they prove that it is indeed an incredible experience to meet your heroes. They are even more impressive in real life.
Through this showcase of Sawyer’s Pocket of Peers Tarot, I wanted to give a shout-out to some of the incredible people in the tarot community who have touched my life. And for those featured in this deck that I haven’t yet had the opportunity to get to know better, I hope that opportunity comes.
I see the Pocket of Peers Tarot, Class of 2021 Edition as a collector’s item. Fifty years from now, it’s going to get rediscovered and tarot enthusiasts are going to go gaga hunting down who is who and drive up the asking price for this deck. There’s something positively kitsch about it that will endear it to collectors decades into the future.
Order your copy of the deck here and also check out all of Jamie’s other creative offerings– altar tools, card stands, handmade journals, casting boards, her famous hand-crafted tarot tiles, and so much more.