The Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot is based on scenes and personalities from movies of the 1920s to the 1960s. The deck has 82 cards (there's an extra 'Veto' card in each suit), and many cards have been renamed to suit the theme. It's an accessible, practical and colourful deck, grounded in familiar popular culture. Now self-published via The Game Crafter.
I first saw previews of The Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot on aeclectic.net and I was intrigued, especially by seeing Alfred Hitchcock on a tarot card! I'm pleased to say I've since become friendly with the artist and creator, the lovely Lorelei Douglas, and gave her the nudge towards self-publishing it with The Game Crafter, where I’m happy to report it is now available. It has fast become one of my favorite decks so I like to think I had a small hand in it finally being available.
I love collecting tarot decks for radically different and interpretative images, and this deck is much more than just another RWS clone - not only is it the most colorful deck I've ever seen, but it's the most innovative I've come across in a long time. I consider myself a film buff having completed many Film Studies courses in college during my English degree, but Lorelei's knowledge of this period in movie history is so unbelievably extensive that I must admit I could not at first trace the origins to many of the movies on some of the cards. A wide range of films from the Golden Age is represented in this glorious 82-card deck, from the obscure right up to the very popular films of the time. (The LWB is not available in the deck currently but is available from Lorelei's website, and it's worth reading. Lorelei is happy to make the LWB available to anyone, purchaser or not.)
One of the most interesting and intriguing aspects of this deck is the addition of four Veto cards, one per Minor Arcana suit. Each features an usher holding a finger to his lips in a "shush" gesture. "These cards don’t carry meanings or advice," Lorelei says. "They are meant to convey that this is a no go zone. Possibly because the question encroaches on the free will of another (i.e., how do I make her love me?). Or that things are still in flux and there is no answer to the question being asked. Or possibly that knowledge of the answer would do more harm than good."
I have to say, as a professional reader, in both private and online practice, I really love this concept. I've read for several thousand people worldwide now and of course a majority of my readings contain questions where I feel the client is in danger of encroaching on the free will of another. I've always had a policy of "No Psychic Spy" questions, meaning if I feel a question is infringing on another's free will or privacy, I will not answer it, so it's refreshing to finally find a deck that incorporates this concept. I also like that these cards can come up if spirit guides or other energies are trying to block the client from asking a question at a certain time for their own good. This is the ONLY deck I’ve seen tackle the concept of privacy and free will and it makes it very unique.
Being such an unusual and creative deck many of the standard RWS names are changed here. The High Priestess becomes The Psychic, The Empress becomes The Matriarch, Aces become Births, Queens become Glory. The magic of Hollywood glows throughout as King Kong falls from The Tower, Anne Bancroft in The Graduate becomes The Devil, The Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz finally gets a heart (though one with swords pierced through it) on The Three of Cups, and who can resist Gene Kelly from Singin’ in the Rain on the Eight of Wands? Alfred Hitchcock loved making cameo appearances in his movies and, along with Lorelei’s cats, who also cameo on the cards, The Master of Suspense features here as the Power of Swords (with the Bates house from Psycho in the background).
There’s so many amazing cards but my personal favorites include Transformation (Death), which features the shadowy vampire from Nosferatu; The Ten of Swords which shows ‘Mother’ attacking Marion Crane through the shower curtain from Hitchcock’s Psycho; and The Ten of Cups featuring Jimmy Stewart and gang from It’s A Wonderful Life.
I don't want to spoil all the changes and innovations as one of the unique pleasures of any deck - for me at least - is the less I know before I get it, the more fun I can have discovering it during that first all-import flick-through then even more so as I begin reading with it, and letting the deck slowly reveal its mysteries and magic to me as I begin to discover and explore it.
Speaking of readings with this deck, I've used it several times now and I find it creates very positive and powerful reads. The images are so strong, the colors so vibrant, that you can feel the energies positively pulsating through it as you spread the cards. The aforementioned Veto cards have been just wonderful for me to help me reinforce to the client when they are entering "No Go" areas - as I can show them a physical proof of this, not just say "I don't think we should go there.”
I highly recommend you check out this deck and purchase a copy from The Game Crafter. With so many RWS clones filling up the market it is such a treat to find this wonderfully original Tarot!
“That’s the problem with life: no soundtrack and lousy lighting.” Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011
Hello to all Tarot enthusiasts everywhere! I just received a marvelous deck that I would like to tell you about, ‘The Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot Deck,’ authored and illustrated by Lorelei Douglas. This is a wonderful deck of images taken from unforgettable film moments of Hollywood, whether it is an actor, a role, or a Tinsel Town factoid. If you are anywhere near to being a film fan, you are going to LOVE this deck!
Let’s deal with all the facts, first. This is an 82-card deck, Ms. Douglas having added four cards to the suits, on which more later. The suits are prosaically Pentacles, Swords, Cups & Wands, with the Court figures named as Magic, Focus, Glory & Power in lieu of Page, Knight, Queen & King. Elizabeth Taylor in the role of Kate, from Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” makes a delightful Glory of Pentacles, with flowers, lace and a plate of apples, in addition to a wonderful portrait by Ms. Douglas of Taylor in period dress. Rudolph Valentino in sheik costume as the Power of Cups is tailor-made for the card. The Ace in every suit is named the Birth of that suit (for a wonderfully creepy moment, check out the Birth of Swords.) Every pip card is illustrated with a Hollywood moment, so each is highly individualistic, and to finally squeeze in a little personal opinion, I love the moments Ms. Douglas has chosen. We will all have our “I wouldn’t have chosen THAT”s and “I can’t believe she didn’t include THIS”s, but then, this is the movies, and there is almost infinity of choice to be made. The wonder of it is that her choices so often ring absolutely true through the cards and hit me with the force of a shouted, “Of course!” For instance, I love that the Nine of Pentacles is “Mildred Pierce”, and the association of 9P qualities with that role is uncanny and spot-on. As an added bonus, we can dislike Joan Crawford all over again! I like to pass a quick judgment on a deck by carefully analyzing the artist’s Three of Swords – Ms. Douglas has chosen the (crying) Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz,” with the more-or-less traditional red heart and three swords, and I was both moved and conquered. Voilà – perfect match. The addition of cards to a deck can be a very tricky thing, usually resulting in confusion or, worse, chaotic readings. Ms. Douglas has introduced four Veto cards, one in each suit. At first I wasn’t sure I liked that at all, “How do they work?” “Why are they here?” “That maims a reading!”, but the more I practiced with them, the better they began to meld into my Tarot thought patterns. In essence, you can do anything you like with these cards, from their intended use of blocking a certain card or house from being read because it should not be unveiled “at this time,” to not using them at all, so choose for yourself. As time goes by, I can see deciding to use the Vetoes in some situations and not in others.
Before I jump into the Major Arcana, let’s get the rest of the basics out of the way. There are no “borders” on the cards, although there is a clear space at the bottom for contrast and the name. Suit colors are: Red-orange = Wands, Magenta = Cups, Steel gray = Swords and Green = Pentacles. The font used is clear and legible, in plain black for easy reading. There isn’t an ISBN number that I can find, and this is an independent publishing venture. Card stock is rather thin and very flexible, it isn’t laminated but it is coated. The card back design is inoffensive, an abstract in yellow and orange pointillism that is omnidirectional, so they provide no clues. The box the cards come in is oversized, which disturbed me at first, but then – aha! – it turns out to be the perfect size to hold a folded-up copy of Ms. Douglas’ very brief Little White Book, which is downloadable from the Web (free) along with the deck.
Now, on to the fun, the Major Arcana. Ms. Douglas has pulled out all the stops and chosen some really wonderful film moments to illustrate the Arcana. First, let it be said that I – V, XI and XIII are named differently; 1) The Entrepreneur, 2) The Psychic, 3) The Matriarch, 4) The Patriarch, 5) The Bureaucrat, 11) Liberty and 13) Transformation. While the labels are a bit different, the images are almost pure RWS, albeit illustrated by Ms. Douglas through Hollywood images. I have many, many favorites in this deck, but just to highlight: XXI, The World; here, we see Rita Hayworth as Gilda in her midnight blue velvet gown, long gloves and flaming red hair in an iconic pose, surrounded by a wreath of leaves/stars, backed by the RKO Tower - all the other symbols allude to the big studios – Alpha/Omega = United Artists (original logo design); the Lion is obviously MGM; Spotlights=20th Century Fox; Globe=Universal Studios; Mountain and Stars=Paramount; and the Light emanating from the top of the tower is a reference to the Columbia Pictures torch. They substitute for the four living creatures of the apocalypse that feature in the RWS. V, The Bureaucrat; an ideal choice with the giant green head in the throne room of Oz, towering between flaming braziers over a cowering Dorothy and companions, and the man behind the curtain off to the side. It is visually stunning, and symbolically pinpoint precise for the Hierophant/Bureaucrat. A personal favorite of mine in this deck, too, is XVIII, The Moon, illustrated with a choice of Hollywood monsters (Wolfman, Mummy, Creature from the Black Lagoon), mainly because I am a big fan of old Hollywood horror films, and their “watery, psychic” associations with the Moon are right on. The last favorite I will mention is XV, The Devil - . . . Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson in “The Graduate!” It is a completely surprising, yet wonderfully apt choice to portray enslavement to the material and the “dark and misleading” tendencies of the XV. On a riotous background of flames, Anne Bancroft, in a leopard-trimmed suit and hat à la bourgeois self-absorbed, holds Katherine Ross and Dustin Hoffman chained to her waist and the large silver pentagram on her forehead accentuating her look of rabid fury. Perfect! And just to prove that I am not actually Ms. Douglas herself writing under a nom de plume, I must say I did not at all care for the illustration choice for IX, the Hermit, Alan Ladd in 1953’s “Shane.” It left me cold and unmoved; however, let it be stated for the record that I do not like western films, either, so not liking a cowboy was hardly surprising. Sorry about that, Ms. Douglas!
All in all, I love this deck. Of course, I have loved it since I first saw the idea of it online in a posting by Ms. Douglas – her cinematic tastes are fairly universal, and she has obviously given a great deal of thought to pairing film moments and personalities to each and every card. This is obviously an intense labor of Love, and it has born wonderful fruit! This is a beautiful deck, not just topical, but very philosophical in its own way, as well. I’ll be delighted to have this deck in my arsenal of Tarot tools for good, effective readings. Thank you and “I’m ready for my close-up, Ms. Douglas!”
This is the first Tarot deck review I have ever written, and I couldn’t be more excited that it’s of the Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot. Growing up out in the country, we didn’t have cable and very poor television signal for a long time, so my mother would always have us watch classic movies, such as Alfred Hitchcock, Gone With The Wind, Wizard of Oz, and many others. So when I heard about this deck on Aeclectic, I was instantly hooked. I’m also someone who is very drawn to colorful, borderless decks, so when I saw the preview images posted on Facebook, I knew it was something I couldn’t wait to have! I also showed images of it to my sisters, who aren’t into Tarot, but even they found themselves drawn to it and reminisced with me about watching some of the movies depicted on the cards. Disclaimer: I have not seen nor am familiar with all of the movies and programs depicted in this deck, but as explained below, I do not feel this hinders my ability to use and enjoy this deck.
One of the key strengths of this deck is gets the attention of people who might not normally find themselves drawn to a more typical Tarot deck but who love the glamorous nature of old Hollywood. In addition, this deck would be great for Tarot beginners or novices, even if they haven’t seen all the movies depicted. Many of the cards depict stories, characters and situations that are consistent with the typical archetypal meanings found in other Rider-Waite decks, but with enough “Pop Culture” appeal to be easily grasped by a Tarot Newbie. For example, the 3 of Swords shows a teary-eyed Tin Man, clearly from the Wizard of Oz, and the 4 of Cups features Elvis singing a love song. Other cards do not reference a specific movie or character but depict scenes easily identifiable as being consistent with films and shows produced during the era, such as the 10 of cups.
As with many “themed” decks, some of the labels and classifications for cards have been changed, although all the basic meanings feel consistent with the typical Rider-Waite style of interpretations. These changes, such as “the Psychic” for the High Priestess card, really help solidify the archetypal attributes and meanings the card represents. Again, this could be helpful for tarot newbies trying to solidify and understand meanings. In addition, the court cards, infamous within tarot communities for being difficult to understand and interpret, are presented as the Magic, Focus, Glory and Power cards for each suits, with easily identifiable images that really clarify meanings and assist in interpretations. Readers with clients who seek a deeper connection to the cards without any tarot knowledge or training may also find that use of this deck can enhance their client experience. For example, the 5 of Wands depicts a couple in formal attire singing to and over each other, with varied posturing consistent with conflict, clearly communicating discord and a lack of harmony that requires no formal training or study to see. This deck also includes or “Veto” cards, one for each suit, designed to stop exploration of an uncomfortable topic or area, but with a myriad of other uses for creative readers, as explained in the Little White Book (LWB) with the deck.
The deck arrives from The Game Crafter in a printed tuck box with space allotted for the LWB, which is available to be printed from Lorelei’s website and the Game Crafter site. The LWB is available to be printed in multiple sizes based on user preference, in addition to a digital version designed for use on mobile devices, computers, or tablets. The cards are tarot sized, borderless, and very colorful, which allows for quick, easy interpretation of the images shown. In addition, Lorelei did an impressive job of color coordinating each suit which allows for pattern identification with ruining a beautiful spread by over-saturation of a particular color. This was brilliant attention to detail on the creator’s part because the swords, cups and pentacles depicted in the pip cards are so well integrated into the images, a reader might miss the observation that multiple cards from the same suit have been drawn. The card quality themselves is ideal, easily shuffle without being too delicate for repeated, consistent use and lay flat in spread with minimal bending after shuffling.
To summarize, this is a highly
creative deck that ideal for tarot novices, professionals,
clients and collectors with an exquisite attention to
detail, with consistent image and card quality which will
likely make it a favorite addition to many a collection.
Elizabeth Taylor in ‘Taming the Shrew’ as the Queen of Pentacles? Anne Bancroft in ‘The Graduate’ as the Devil? Is this deck for real?
Very, very real, very well thought out, and very usable. Lorelei Douglas has compiled dozens of old Hollywood glamour images into this wonderful deck, added brilliant colorings, and added some zip! On the creation of the four Veto Cards (one for each suit, Lorelei lets the deck tell you that you are heading in a direction that is either none of the Querent’s business, or simply ‘Don’t go there!’)
But the rest of the deck pulls you in to explore how that movie relates to this card, so if you are an old movie buff it will make you rethink that movie, and if you haven’t seen that movie – go and watch it now! LOL!!
A great addition to your Tarot collection – and maybe even your movie collection!