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Butler Tarot - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

Price: US $13.34

ProductID: alt715

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About this item
  • The Butler Tarot is a fusion of traditional tarot imagery and modern digital techniques. The Rider-Waite system is loosely adopted but Swords are designated as fire and Wands as air. It was Chris Butler's first deck, designed for his personal use, and has now been revised and updated for a handmade self-published edition.

Name Butler Tarot
Creators Christopher Butler
Publisher Self Published
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 78
Major Arcana 22
Minor Arcana 56
Deck Tradition Rider-Waite-Smith
Minor Arcana Style Unique Scenes With Suit Symbols
Suits Cups, Swords, Staves, Coins
Card Language English
Card Back Unknown


Normally if I've written something for Aeclectic it has been to say something nice about somebody else's deck. I'm not going to be cheeky and say nice things about my own so please don't worry! Nevertheless, now the deck's complete some people may be interested to know how it came about and what inspired it.

Answer number 1 - Jane Seymour. Believe it or not, my first experience of the tarot was watching the film 'Live and Let Die' at the age of thirteen. At the time, I was fascinated by and collected ordinary playing cards.

Solitaire's cards were something quite different - eerie, slightly sinister, full colour and very mysterious. What's more, she was using them to see the future. Of course, I've long since now realised that the real thing is far more complex and even less romanticised than that. Nevertheless I was enthralled. First I bought a Swiss 1JJ, then a Rider and eventually the Tarot of the Witches - the deck used in the film itself. I still treasure these three decks among my favourites today.

Even at this early stage I knew I would love to design my own cards. However, at the age of seventeen, I left the tarot behind and didn't revisit it again for another eighteen years.

Just over two years ago I bought myself an Original Rider Waite Deck and the fascination was reborn. I'd just given up my job to go fulltime freelance as an artist and before I knew it I had decided to design my own deck for commercial reasons but also for reasons of pure self indulgence.

I've always loved the Rider format above all else, so it wasn't a problem deciding on the sort of deck I wanted to create. I'm not a 'magickal' person at all, so I also wanted to use elements from earlier traditions to replace much of the occult, masonic or alchemical imagery in Waite's deck. I use the cards for meditation and also for readings. My readings are not for predictive purposes however. Rather they are for reflecting and understanding the innermost, thoughts, feelings, fears and motivations of myself and others. This sort of reading is the deck's best suggested use.

Six months of research is really an excuse for going out and wasting huge amounts of money buying every deck and book you ever wanted without the slightest shred of guilt. It also means that I could eventually make informed choices about the types of images I wanted to include on my cards. By January 2003 I was drawing. By March I had completed fourteen cards. By April I'd come to a dead halt. Despite lots of encouragement (and four stars from Solandia!) I'd run out of impetus.

I owe a huge debt to Mr Ciro Marchetti. I'd bought his ilded Tarot, reviewed it on this site (because I think it's the best deck ever created) and then decided that I'd be cheeky and contact him for advice. 'Really great images ... but have you ever thought of using Photoshop?' was more or less the reply I got. Simultaneously, one of my friends suggested the same thing (by Divine arrangement I think!)

By this stage I had Photoshop, but not the expensive pen and tablet facilities I would need to 'paint' by computer. What's more - Ciro had already done a 'Rider' deck in this manner - why try to compete with or duplicate something you'll never surpass in a million years?

What I could do was photo collage. I own and adore Adrian B Coeli's drian Tarot and I would kill to own Neil Lovell's unpublished ijinsky Tarot. Neither of these have illustrated minors so at least I could contribute something new.

Working in Photoshop proved to be the right advice. The deck came together very quickly and the first draft was completed in just over three months. Consequently, the deck has been dedicated to Ciro Marchetti and Michael J Ward, both of whom 'coached' me as I worked. All I know about Photoshop is due to them and this is very much their deck as well as mine.

The other dedication is to the memory of Brian Williams. I discovered his decks and writings as I researched. There is no finer tarot historian and few finer illustrators. His work has shaped my understanding more than any other writer so the dedication seemed natural.

The deck is now totally complete (no more fiddling on the computer!) and I'm in the process of trying to get a limited edition print run of 100 copies up and running. Of course I would like a publisher - who wouldn't - but nevertheless, this first edition will be unique. For any subsequent printings I'll probably change the back design and one or two cards.

Even if this deck never gets published it's still been worth it. Creating the deck is the largest scale project I've ever undertaken. I remain one of those rare and privileged people who has a deck tailored to their own exact specifications. It will never be my favourite, there are too many others in front - but it is mine and reading with it is a strange and novel experience. Better still, I've met and collaborated with some wonderful, talented people on the way. Now that the deck is on the verge of being printed, I hope that I meet many more such people.

Combine shipping is possible.

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