The Spolia Tarot is a collaboration between artist Jen May and Jessa Crispin (author of The Creative Tarot.)
Jen’s work, colorful and earthy, with a feminine vibe and pulling from many historical sources, seemed perfect for a tarot deck. Jessa had been working as a tarot card reader for about six years, and was interested in the history of the deck, the deeper meaning of the imagery, and how the history of not only the tarot but other forms of mysticism and occult study. We thought it would take us about a year to complete. That was three and a half years ago.
Jen works with collage, making the word Spolia appropriate for a title, as it means using rubble as building material. It also felt fitting for the time we are living in, as institutions, gender norms, religions, and ideas about how a society should function are all tumbling down and need to be rebuilt. Jen and Jessa both believe that intuition and spirit are essential tools for guiding us through this process.
“We use images from history, from alchemy and mysticism, from mythology and the natural world to create a lush deck layered with meaning. I have been studying the symbolism of the tarot for years, and we were meticulous about using the colors, flowers, crystals and stones, animals, and other imagery associated with each specific tarot card or its astrological associations.
As one of the decks I learned to read with was a Minchiate, an older Italian deck with 97 cards rather than the more standard 78 card deck, we added a few of the Minchiate’s other cards, like one card for each astrological sign, and one for each of the elements. I find these cards very useful in my readings with clients, and with my own personal readings, and you’ll find instructions on how to use them yourself in the 32 page manual I wrote that is included with the deck.”
Second edition: The cards themselves have not changed. The Second Edition was printed with an environmentally sustainable printer in Canada. This edition of the deck allows for easier shuffling as the surface of the cards is matte and smooth with no additional lamination.
- 97-card tarot deck including the 78 ‘standard’ cards, plus the four elements (earth, air, fire, water) and the 12 zodiac signs
- 32-page guidebook
- Presented in a simple custom tuck-box