“From it’s inception, tarot has used Eurocentric images to help us predict and understand the world around us. This deck pulls from the Thoth tarot and 20th century black history to create something magical.”
Created by Casey Rocheteau in 2014, the Shrine of the Black Medusa Tarot celebrates Black culture, queer magic and hoodoo divination. It is a tool for the future crafted from images of the past.
It is said that the Greeks believed the gorgons resided on the Cape Verdean islands, making Medusa an African with twisted serpentine locs so beautiful that Mt. Olympus feared them. According to the myth, Athena’s fervor for victim blaming saw her turn the human Medusa and her sisters into gorgons. Medusa’s life was a lonely one, peppered with staring at soldiers turned statues. A god had blamed her for her trauma, made a monster of her and then helped some “hero” murder her in her sleep. The Shrine of the Black Medusa Tarot celebrates the pantheon of monsters within each of us, knowing that Medusa was more metaphor than monster, and that Perseus was a buster.
The images in the deck are mixed media collage with images from nature photography, mythological texts, pop culture iconography, Black Americana, and interdimensional conjure. The deck follows the Thoth tradition of card order in the major arcana. The artwork from the deck has been showcased at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. There is a small eight page booklet that accompanies the deck.
“This tarot deck is a celebration of blackness. The name ‘Shrine of the Black Medusa’ is a play on the idea that some ancient Greek sources identified the Cape Verdean Islands as the home of the Gorgons. Hair like snakes? Eyes that can turn enemies to stone? We’re at a point in history when black death in America has created narratives time and again vilifying and making monsters out of unarmed innocent black children. This deck is a call to complicate the trope of the magical negro and embrace our own fearsome and powerful magic.”
- 78-card tarot deck, full colour.
- Small 8-page booklet with brief guide to card meanings.
- Presented in a simple tuck-box.
About the creator:
Casey Rocheteau was born on Cape Cod, and raised as a sea witch. They are an author, visual/sound artist and historian living in Detroit, Michigan. Their work explores the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, trauma, body image and mental health. Rocheteau often works with primary documentation and collage in what they call a hauntological practice. This fixation upon specters of the past haunting the present and the living impact upon the future informs their work across genres. Winner of inaugural Write A House permanent residency in 2014, Rocheteau won a house with poems and is committed to a community and teaching based arts practice in Detroit.