Culture Themed Tarot Decks

There are only a handful of things in life that I am more obsessed with compared to tarot. One of it is culture (check out my other blog: KultureKween).

Eventually, researching the interconnection between traditions and tarot, which started as a curiosity, grew into an obsession and has now turned into a life goal.

I also must admit that I have spent an embarrassing amount of hours researching tarot decks with the two cultures that I associate the most with, Indonesian and Indian.

Though there are more than a few Indian culture themed tarot decks out there, I didn’t find any that I liked nor could relate to as of now.

As for the Indonesian themed tarot deck, first of all, I was surprised that it existed to begin with. It’s called Tarot of Nusantara but it didn’t call out to me either. Instead, I found some other culture themed decks that I absolutely adore. Here they are, sorted by my liking from top to bottom*.

1. Tarot of Divine – $22

With rich, vibrant art and a keen understanding of traditional tarot archetypes, illustrator Yoshi Yoshitani infuses Tarot of the Divine with worldly insight and an intriguing selection of fables and folktales from cultures across the globe. With fables from more than forty countries, this spiritual journey is a worldly experience like no other.

This is a dream deck for a culture-geek such as myself. That combined with the price and zero shipping fee made it too easy for me to click pre-order sometime last year. I am still waiting patiently for it to arrive at my doorstep.

2. Yokai Yochi Tarot – $53

There are plenty of Japanese culture themed tarot decks in the market. From the traditional art of Ukiye to the pop-culture Manga deck but none of it spoke to me as much as Yokai Yochi did. The deck portrays ghosts, folklore, and traditional Japanese artwork. This is the second time I have mentioned this deck on my tarot deck list. Maybe it’s time to bite the bullet and order it.

3. The Gentle Tarot – $60

The Gentle Tarot is an indigenous-made, hand-drawn tarot deck filled with imagery influenced by life in remote Alaska. Mariza, the artist behind Mari in the Sky and The Gentle Tarot deck, is a nature-inspired illustrator, grew with ceremony and daily rituals that connect us with the elements, songs that ancestors sang with words and sounds that speak to this connection. She is inspired to share the love, honor, and respect that the planet is due.

Best part: 10% of all proceeds from the deck sale are donated to ocean and climate change research.

4. The Delta Enduring Tarot – $50

I mentioned above that I couldn’t relate much with the Indian tarot decks out there, but then I could relate so much to some of the cards from The Delta Enduring Tarot deck.

It’s an illustrated tarot deck centering on the natural beauty and struggles of life in the Mississippi Delta. The Delta Enduring Tarot pays tribute to these ebbs and flows, and to the lives of those that continue to make the deep south a more verdant, just, and enduring landscape–despite the storm of oppression always on the horizon. Egan, the artist, is an illustrator born and raised in the arms of the Mississippi Delta. They practice medicine and the esoteric arts of magic, with a predilection for the healing of communal ritual.

This deck has been sold-out, therefore very hard to find. I am not sure whether it will ever be reproduced but I surely hope so.

5. The Hoodoo Tarot – $33

Celebrating the complex American Rootwork tradition, The Hoodoo Tarot integrates esoteric and botanical knowledge from Hoodoo with the divination system of the tarot. The cards features full-color paintings by magical-realist artist Katelan Foisy and elegantly interprets the classical tarot imagery through depictions of legendary rootworkers past and present as well as important Hoodoo symbolism. In the accompanying guidebook, Tayannah Lee McQuillar provides a history of Hoodoo and its complex heritage, including its roots in multiple African and Indigenous American ethnic groups as well as its European influences.

Read the interview with the artist here.

6. The Magical Nordic Tarot – $20

I almost got this deck a few times. I am into Nordic culture and lifestyle and it’s pretty affordable (it’s the cheapest deck on this list), but knowing the majority of the deck (all the minor arcana cards) is not illustrated left a lot to be desired.

*Prices are in USD, excluding shipping.

Torii Gate Fushimi Inari Japan Miaw

Tethered to Japan

I miss Japan terribly. I have written about before. But the yearning for the land of the rising sun kept coming back, each time stronger than ever, when I can’t do anything about it. Yet.

I miss holding the sticky seaweed part of the onigiri before putting it into my mouth. I miss standing in front of the shrine, feeling both insignificant and blessed at the same time.

I miss hunting for a winter jacket in Harajuku because the one I brought wasn’t cool, thick, thin, long or basic enough.

I miss the back and forth bowing. I miss hunting interesting food and unique skin-care in the supermarket. I even miss the multi-purpose hotel spray.

And oh, don’t even let me start with the train! I miss the train, the train station and the long train rides.

I miss the familiar and tantalizing smell of coffee around the Good Day coffee shop on top of the Oshiage train station. I miss the calming voice in the speaker on the elevator, train and train station.

I even miss the tet..tet..tet.. sounding traffic light.

I miss how happy I am once I reach Japan. I miss the excitement of seeing the Torii Gates on the horizon. I miss finding kawaii stationary. I miss sitting down in the Starbucks, sipping coffee, writing my journal or simply reading a book or chit-chatting with Fafa. I miss spending hours in Kinokuniya bookstore. I miss eating rice burger for breakfast and strawberry cake for dessert.

I miss celebrating I miss celebrating New Year in Japan.

I miss roaming around Tsukiji fish market. I miss being an outsider while partaking in the culture. I miss learning and experiencing new and unusual things that are Japan.

I am tethered to Japan.

It’s the only pocket of the world that I obsess about. Which is not great since I still have the whole world to fall in love with. But as they say, the heart wants what it wants.

Traditional Japanese Dolls To Buy As Souvenir

Daruma

Daruma Doll is considered as one of the most popular good luck charms in Japanese culture. And similar to Mount Fuji, it is also one of the Japanese many Kami.

Kokeshi

Teru Teru Bozu

Teru Teru Bozu, also known as the sunshine doll, is a traditional icon of Japanese culture believed to have the ability to control the weather. Its’ name derives from Teru which means shiny and Bozu which monk. It reminds me of Jizo, the protector of children and travelers in Japanese culture.

Maneki Neko

Sarubobo

Sarubobo means happy monkey baby. In Japanese culture, there is an old tradition of the mothers making this Sarubobo doll and giving it to their children to ensure their good health and happiness. Sarubobo is a mascot of Takayama. I obviously bought a few as an omiyage for my loved ones back home — but I kept one for myself. It has been hanging out in our study room back in our Melbourne apartment ever since.

Kami