“Let your song be a song of the world”: A review of the Slow Holler Tarot

A quick note from Beth: Yes – I will be stocking the Slow Holler Tarot in my shop (woo-hoo!) You can buy the deck directly from the Slow Holler folks right now, but if you’d prefer to buy from a UK stockist, hold tight! If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll find out the moment it arrives.

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The Slow Holler Tarot deck breaks gender binary and role stereotype boxes and flips a firm finger at the patriarchy.

So many of us have felt a real disconnect from the white, cisnormative, heteronormative, hegemonic ideals the tarot magically blossomed out of, like a lotus from the muck, and that have continued to persist in it’s endless recreation and reimagination.

Our Intention is to move away from the white, patriarchal, old European focus of traditional decks, and to create a deck that queer folks, people of color, and folks with varied gender identities can more readily feel at home with and can more easily see themselves in.

The Slow Holler Tarot guidebook

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Unwrapping the deck.

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The deck and LWB.

A bit about the creation of the Slow Holler deck

The Slow Holler Tarot deck was a collaboration between 32 different artists and the book was written by four people. Some decks created by many different people don’t feel unified but not this one. Every piece of this deck works together with the rest to create a unified whole.

The creators wanted this deck to be “easy to understand without special knowledge”, and I think they succeeded. I think it’s fairly easy to intuitively read – easier than other decks I’ve had anyway.

The Major Arcana

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The LWB on the changes to the names of the Major Arcana.

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And here are the cards themselves.

The Major Arcana is definitely more diverse and instead of cringing at representations of ideals I don’t identify with and trying to figure out how to make it work for me, I’m free to reflect on the reading.

The Suits

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That Ace of Branches is perfection! Letting go of all the fuks to give and doing your own thing so you can just be you and grow like you’re supposed to.

The suits are branches, knives, stones and vessels. All suits are needed for balance. One flows to another, one feeds another. The LWB gives insights as to the place each suit has in the system as a whole—how it effects the others and needs the others for balance.

It’s essential to draw on the energy of air, but just as essential to remain in balance with the other elements.

The Slow Holler Tarot guidebook

The Court

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Students, travelers, architects and visionaries. Gender diverse court cards without the patriarchal hierarchy.

The court is one of the most traditionally gendered parts of the Tarot. Many decks have tried to address this issue by changing the court up in various ways, some more successfully than others. This deck has students, travelers, architects and visionaries. Student has been used before and is often how the traditional Page is envisioned. To my knowledge the others are new and I think work really well.

The court is also typically one of the biggest stumbling blocks in a tarot reading, stumping many a tarot reader. Time will be the ultimate test of course, but so far, I think these court cards are pretty easy to derive meaning from and I’ve had NO problems intuitively reading them.

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More diverse imagery from the deck.

This deck came at just the right time and I’ve been doing daily readings since I received it. Every reading, every card, every description in the LWB has been absolutely spot on, reaching to the heart of the situation. I do see my gender queerness represented a lot. I also see lots of other folks which is so refreshing and feels so real. I see representation to so much more than that—trauma that can come from being othered, boundary issues and what is needed to heal, the need for community, and visibility of the fact that so many in the LGBT+ community have had to find and create our own families.

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The Nine of Vessels and The Kindred (see the Major Arcana photo above) instantly made me think of Little Red Tarot and the community that’s been created through and from it.

The Best Thing About This Deck

Ok, I’m not sure you can actually quantify that, BUT the guidebook is worth paying money for! The folks who wrote this know about tarot and life experience and it is so insightful and helpful. I’m hoping to share a few of these insightful readings in a future post, but for now just take my word for it that it’s pretty dang amazing. And you can read a few more excerpts in the deck interview below.


Slow Holler Tarot deck interview

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Tools I love for interview readings: tea and the Little Red Tarot website.

Lots of Major Arcana in this reading. I take this to mean it’s into major issues and major change. It’s like an introvert who would rather talk about more significant life stuff.

1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?

20. Awakening

“Take an inventory. Open your eyes, then open them again. Don’t ignore the trumpets, the red flags, the signs and omens jumping up and down and demanding your attention.” — Slow Holler LWB

This deck is really good at pointing those things out.

2. What are your strengths as a deck?

8. Strength

Huddled in a cave, by a fire of their own making. Remember all that stuff about us LGBT+ folks needing to create their own community/family? I think this goes for creating new decks that represent us too!

Strength comes to us when we when need it most, probably because it forces us to really examine where we’re at, where we want to be, what are tool are for getting there. This deck is good at that sort of examination.

3. What are your weaknesses as a deck?

15. The Devil

But, it might not be the greatest at pointing out what I need to let go of.

4. What are you here to teach me?

Seven of Branches

How to better use my fiery wands energy—get unblocked and sort things out mentally and find some direction.

5. How can I best learn and collaborate with you?

18. The Moon – reversed

“Don’t panic. Face your fears. Recognize the limits of your perception. Accept being in the dark, for now. Reach out for guidance and clarity.”

6. What is the potential of our working relationship?

Visionary of Vessels – reversed

At the beginning of yoga classes, we bow our heads with our palms pressed together at our heart and say “I look to the light inside me”. Connecting with my heart, my inner light is the purpose of tarot for me. My tarot practice is a part of my morning practice, which is a spiritual practice. It includes time of quiet reflection. It includes yoga, morning pages, tarot, journaling about my reading and meditation and journaling about that, a good breakfast and tea. That probably sounds like a lot, but I’ve found it’s what I need. It’s self-care. This practice is about seeing what needs to heal, acknowledging and allowing myself to exist just as I am at this moment in my life. It allows me to align with myself and feel like I’m living in harmony with life instead of at odds with it.

Let your song be the song of the world. Feel your heart beat in unison with your friends, with your ancestors, and with the streaming waters of life. Tap into a massive power that isn’t yours by letting your heart break open–in joy or in pain. Be a vessel for healing and you heal the world.

12 comments

  1. Beth
    Beth says:

    Thank you for these initial impressions and absolutely gorgeous photos Elisabeth! I’m more excited than ever to receive my copy :)

    It’s so wonderful to hear that the Slow Holler deck feels coherent – I too struggle with collaborative decks (even the Collective Tarot) because the changing styles across the cards distracts me and I lose a sense of the deck’s depth. The constraints of colour and format in this deck seem like they’ve really created coherence.

    • Elisabeth says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed my initial thoughts and that they got you eve more excited! It really is quite amazing that they managed to create something so in harmony but still each artists work is very unique to them. Connection and autonomy–the perfect relationship.

  2. Melanie says:

    This looks punchy! Love the colourway and integrity of the deck. Thank you Elisabeth for letting us experience the deck from your lens. Beth, I’m SO pleased you are going to stock this, woohoo! And secretly hoping you’ve ordered some of cloths too!

  3. Robin says:

    I’m a little confused. When you say the guidebook, does that mean the little white book it comes with? Or is the guidebook something completely separate?

    • Beth
      Beth says:

      I wish! I thought things were in motion but it’s all gone very quiet, I suspect the creators are taking a well-earned break and don’t want to nag. Sorry for leading folks on here! I’ll update via my newsletter as soon as there’s something concrete :)

    • Beth
      Beth says:

      I’m sorry Christine, I don’t have a date right now. I did sincerely believe I’d be stocking it early in the new year, and it has been confirmed that I’ll be getting it in eventually, but right now I think we just have to wait while the team take a well-earned break after shipping all the Kickstarter rewards. If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll be notified as soon as it comes in.

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