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Spring Tarot Sessions

Spring brings fresh starts and new beginnings and is a great time to get a Tarot reading! This month I am offering a limited number of private sessions for a Spring check-in. Join me in the cozy Moth & Candle studio for tea, cookies, and all of the Tarot insight we can pack into 45 minutes!

  1. Individual Tarot Session: $60, 45-min private Tarot reading
  2. Tarot for Two Session: $90, 45-min Tarot reading for you and a friend

Reserve your session time through Eventbrite!

  • Wednesday 3/20: 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm
  • Saturday 3/23: 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm
  • Saturday 3/30: 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm
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Private Tarot Consultations

Tarot can be an inspirational and motivating tool. Some of the most beautiful and moving conversations I’ve ever had were over the cards. Tarot sessions have the potential to help clarify goals, identify blockages, tackle difficult decisions, process emotions and navigate complex interpersonal relationships. The simple act of contemplating cards you have chosen at random can be profoundly empowering. Have a cup of tea with me in my studio as we discuss your path and your cards.

Private sessions are 45 minutes. Individual $60 / Two-People $90. Full payment due at time of booking.

To schedule a consultation contact Laura.

Booking a reading with me implies consent and agreement with all terms noted on the Ethics and Conditions page. For tips on what to expect and how to get the most out of your Tarot session, read this post.

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Second Sight Second Saturdays

The Moth & Candle Studio is happy to host Second Sight Second Saturdays… drop-in for a quick taste of some soothsaying traditions.

Been curious to try out various forms of divination? Always wondered what tea reading would be like? Or what a palmist would say about that little swirl on your left hand? We’re assembling some of KC’s finest readers and offering “sample-sized” versions of our regular services!

      • Second Saturdays, 10 am – 2 pm
      • Moth & Candle studio, 3130 Bell Street, KCMO
      • Open to the public. All services $15 each, first-come first-served.
  • Upcoming Dates
    • April 13th: 
      • Tarot/Cartomancy – Laura Pensar
      • Palmistry & Handwriting Analysis – Sandy Jorgensen
      • Bibliomancy* – Kaite Stover
        • Bibliomancy is the art of divination using the written word to seek guidance, unearth truths, or glean wisdom. Using several classic works of literature, explore the power of books to provide a new way to view a question or issue. Let William Shakespeare, Lewis Carrol’s Alice, or Winnie-the-Pooh guide and inspire you to approach challenges with magical words and mystic phrases.
    • June 8th: 
      • TBA
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Intro to Cartomancy Class

Laura’s introductory class on the art of reading playing cards. In this class we cover the historical origins of playing cards, their use in divination, and tips for learning cartomancy at home! Class includes a copy of The Suicide King’s Quick Guide to Cartomancy and a sharpie and pack of cards to make your own study deck.


Upcoming Classes –

Thursday, December 13th, 6:30-8:30pm

at Oracle, 130 W 18th Street, KCMO

Back by popular demand… Laura’s introductory class on the art of reading cards will be back at Oracle this December. Reading cards is a great way to bring a sense of playfulness to your practice! Class size is limited to 9, email Oracle to reserve a spot.

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Reading for Children

This Halloween season I got to read for a wide variety of people at various events. At one party, a four year-old girl sat at my table and wanted a reading. Many professional readers I know refuse to read for children. Very often children are struggling with very real and somewhat heavy issues too. And many readers are uncomfortable having a conversation with a young querent* about these topics if they show up in the cards. And that’s fair, it is much better to set boundaries and refer a querent to another reader who would be more suitable for their needs.

(*querent: one who is receiving the reading)

I, personally, enjoy reading for children. The most important part of reading for a minor is that you treat them like every other querent… you have a conversation with them as a person. The card interpretations and the suggestions should be specific to their life situation and needs. Just as you would for anyone who would sit at your table. Being aware of their sensitivities and taking care with their emotions.

Also… not every deck is appropriate for minors. I suggest carrying a family-friendly deck with you if you read for minors and your regular working deck is too mature, startling, esoteric, etc. I happened to be using my Halloween Tarot deck by Kipling West for most of this Halloween season’s events and it is a perfect deck for family and youth readings.

While I have read for many children over the years, I think that four years-old is the youngest querent I’ve ever had (with the exception of my son who was also four when he asked for his first reading).

9 of Swords – 

Me: “Do you ever get bad dreams?”

Girl: (nods)

8 of Wands –

Me: “Sometimes, if you have one bad dream, does it seem like they just keep happening when you try to sleep again?”

Girl: (lowers eyes slowly and nods)

Strength –

Me: “See this card? What’s happening in the picture?”

Girl: “There’s a lion by her.”

Me: “Looks kinda scary, right? What about the lady… who is she?”

Girl: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Is she a lion tamer maybe?”

Girl: “Maybe. Yes.”

Me: “She’s looking at the lion’s teeth. Does she seem scared?”

Girl: (shakes head enthusiastically “no”)

Me: “Exactly. Next time you have a bad dream, you be the lion tamer and look that bad dream in its teeth.”

Girl: (slightly cheerier) “Ok!”

The Moon –

Me: “Have you ever looked at your back yard at night? Looks kinda spooky, right?”

Girl: (wide eyes, vigorous nodding)

Me: “But it’s still just your backyard. Nothing’s changed. Right? Just spooky lighting.”

Girl: “Yeah.”

Me: “When you wake up at night, it’s still your bedroom. It’s just dark. That’s all.”

Girl: (happy smile)

Conclusion –

Me: “You’ve got this. Look that bad dream in its teeth and say ‘This is my room, if you want to be here… you behave.’”

(we high-fived, she giggled, hopped off the chair, and ran to hug her mom)


Now if I’d done this reading for myself it would’ve looked more like this:

9 of Swords – Stress and anxiety are starting to have an affect on your health. While there are things to cause concern… you are giving them too much power over your thoughts.

8 of Wands – It’s a busy time and there’s a lot to do. Busyness itself, is neutral. It’s how you handle the busy times that shape your experience of them.

Strength – Remember you have inner strength and stamina. Tend to it to keep yourself healthy.

The Moon – Really look at your habitual reactions to stress and triggers… are you acting based on old patterns that grew from anxiety and trauma or are you truly engaging with the present? Don’t let your subconscious keep playing the same nightmares over and over again. Are you really talking to the person in front of you or to ghosts from your past?

Conclusion – Keep your focus on maintaining your inner strength during this active time and don’t let subconscious triggers overshadow reality.

Obviously interpreting the cards like this would’ve been confusing, boring, and not relevant for my young client. So when reading for a young querent make sure you are speaking to them appropriate to the stage of life they are currently in. One of the greatest gifts you can give to a child who sits at your table is to treat them like a regular client; don’t speak down to them and don’t underestimate the depth of their experiences. Have an honest and caring conversation with them guided by the cards and they will remember that you took them seriously. Really, that’s what any seeker truly wants.

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Pop-Up at Oracle

Tarot Supplies & Readings Pop-Up:

Friday, November 3rd, 5-9pm

at Oracle, 130 W 18th Street, KCMO

Moth & Candle will be at Oracle this Friday!

I will have Tarot supplies for sale: deck bags, zines with original Tarot spreads, Tarot and cartomancy study guides, deck cleansing powder… treat your cards right and they will serve you well!

I will also have the last remaining decks of the Paris Tarot first edition! It will be bittersweet to send the last Paris Tarot out into the world.

I will also be available for drop-in Tarot readings. See you there!


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Halloween Tarot Readings at Noir

Tis the (Halloween) season!

Noir Arts & Oddities, KC’s favorite “creepy but cool boutique” in the historic West Bottoms is hosting two nights of in-shop Tarot readings. Get in the Halloween spirit, drop in for a reading, and check out the fabulously odd offerings in the parlor!

I will have my favorite Halloween deck in tow (as well as playing cards and my trusty Smith Waite deck)… so pick your poison… er pick your deck and let’s see what the cards have to say for you!

Readings available on a first-come-first-serve basis. You can choose your reading to be anywhere from a $5 single card reading, a $15 four-card reading to a $25 seven card reading.

Thursday October 25th: 4-6pm

Friday October 26th: 5-7:30pm

Noir Arts & Oddities: 1101 Mulberry Street, KCMO

The Halloween Tarot by Kipling West published in 1996.

My heart will always belong to The Halloween Tarot deck I bought 22 years ago… I don’t get to use it for client work often because most people consider Halloween a season (pffft, I know, right?)

That beautiful vintage bottle behind my deck came from Noir Arts & Oddities, by the way…





The only deck I feel compelled to pick up and hug every time I pass by. It’s the first deck I bought for myself and the deck that helped me reconnect to cartomancy when I was struggling with the inherent misogyny of the Golden Dawn tradition.

This sweet old deck will be on my table and working for the special Halloween Tarot nights at Noir Arts and Oddities this week.

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Cartomancy Class at Oracle KC

Ever wondered why the King of Hearts is known as The Suicide King? Or why the Ace of Spades is always extra fancy? Or where playing cards even came from in the first place?

I will be at OracleKC this Friday, July 13th to teach about the traditions of Tarot and how you can learn to do readings with a regular ol’ playing card deck! We will learn a little about the history of playing cards, a few of the different systems used for cartomancy (the art of reading cards), and do practice readings together! Everyone will take home a little bag with a wide-bordered deck of cards, a fine point sharpie, and a booklet with keyword meanings for about four different systems of reading cards to create your own study deck!

  • Friday, July 13th – 6:30-8:30pm
  • Oracle KC – 130 W 18th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108
  • $30 class/materials fee
  • Class size limited to 15. Reserve your spot now!

Oracle is one of my favorite locally owned businesses in my hometown! Oracle, Natural Science, specializes in sustainably sourced animal specimens, taxidermy, minerals, framed insects and butterflies. They provide workshops to promote education and creativity in their fields, as well as venturing into the occult, pet preservation, and interior design.

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Create a Safe Space

Given the recent news of the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade by suicide, I wanted to address how we as readers should care for people in distress who seek our assistance.

Tarot card readers are not licensed healthcare providers (*although some licensed health care professionals may in fact be card readers). I do not provide that kind of mental health care. However, I am a compassionate human being and by the nature of my job, I am often discussing these issues with my clients. And I take it very seriously. I’d like to share how I personally handle “crisis” issues when they surface during a reading and my tips for being prepared.

First, a little background. 

To be honest, I am not unused to being the “safe ear” for people. Throughout my life I have had people I don’t know turn to me and start telling me their inner feelings, worries, and struggles. This would happen in lobbies and waiting rooms, in bathrooms at the sink washing our hands next to each other, and numerous other places where strangers find themselves spending brief amounts of quiet time together. These impromptu confessionals would generally surprise both of us and frequently the other person would say, “I really don’t know why I’m telling you all of this.” It used to confuse and worry me, especially in my teens. I felt like I was unknowingly running around with Wonder Woman’s golden lasso of truth. I couldn’t understand why they would turn to ME or what I was supposed to DO about it.

As I’ve grown older I’ve realized that sometimes the safest outlet for our deepest fears is precisely someone who doesn’t know us and who at least appears outwardly gentle. I’ve learned to value just how important my reaction to their pain and vulnerability is as well. Their trust may not have been a gift I asked for, but it is one they have offered to me and I must be kind.

I have learned to be a compassionate ear in the moment and offer what little advice I may have for them; always aiming to leave them feeling more empowered to live their lives than when they first approached me. Mostly they need to feel heard without judgement and, occasionally, pointed in the direction of the help they need. I even trained and worked briefly as a volunteer for the crisis hotline at MOCSA (Missouri Organization to Counter Sexual Assault). This training included ways to offer support and guidance without crossing the boundary of “prescriptive mental-health care.” If you are at a place in your life where you can volunteer with an organization in this type of capacity, I highly recommend it. It will serve you well the rest of your life.

(I’ve also learned more coping strategies for protecting myself and my own emotions through this process. Taking in the trauma of others can be difficult and if not handled carefully, even harmful. But I will go into that more at another time.)

The first year I worked at the local Renaissance Festival as a Tarot reader, I worked a shift in which four of my clients that day were in extreme emotional duress: The first sat at my table, when I looked up at them and into their eyes, before either of us had said a word, they began to cry. The second, it became evident, was in an abusive situation and her abuser was sitting at the table with us. And two more clients confided that they felt suicidal. I helped each as best I could and strongly encouraged them to reach out to counseling and hotlines that could help them. I went home that evening feeling powerless and overwhelmed. Particularly about the client who sought my help despite their abuser watching and listening to our every word. I just remember the horrifying 30 seconds when the abuser had gone to get a chair and my client looked me in the eye with such desperation and told me they didn’t want to be controlled anymore. I analyzed every last detail of our interaction and tried to figure out what more I could’ve done to help them. I just kept thinking, if only there’d been some way I could’ve slipped them a note tucked under my business card with the domestic-abuse hotline scrawled on it. But hindsight is 20/20 and I didn’t have that number memorized. I carry this experience with me as a reminder of the importance of the trust my clients have in me and how absolutely important it is that I help them in the most appropriate way.

So here are my top tips for creating that safe space for my clients:


I have typed up a list of hotlines and printed them on small slips of paper that may be discretely handed to clients I suspect may benefit from any or all of these services.

My current list (and the numbers included are mostly based for the Kansas City area as that’s where a majority of my clients are.)

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

KC Domestic Violence Hotline (connects to all 6 local shelters): 816-468-5463

Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

KCAVP (LGBTQ Domestic Violence / Hate Crimes Hotline): 816-561-0550

LGBTQ Youth Hotline: 1-866-488-7386

Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860

Make your list specific to the area/city where a majority of your clients are based. If there’s a topic that comes up for your clients frequently that is not addressed in the organizations above, look it up and add it! Sometimes different people attract the trust of those going through particular issues. For example, if you have clients struggling with gambling addiction on more than one occasion… find the hotline for that and put it on your list!


It really is that simple. I have a small fabric case with a travel packet of tissues that I keep on my table. The moment I recognize the tell-tale signs of tears rising… I quietly move the tissues next to my client. This not only gives them the tissues to use, but it sends a silent signal that it’s ok to cry (or sneeze) and that they are obviously not the only ones to have done so at my table. Sometimes even I need the tissues.

It is common in our culture to shame others for crying. So many people are automatically ashamed or even afraid to cry in front of others. On the other hand, I feel it is equally important to not go to the other extreme and demand that they “let it all out.” Tears are a physical symptom of emotional distress. Just as I wouldn’t look at someone’s paper cut and say, “Yes, that’s it, bleed!” I’m not about to make any sort of demands on someone’s tears. I generally don’t say anything at all, offering them tissues is my gentle acknowledgement. Inevitably they will apologize. I simply say, “No, it’s fine. It’s totally normal.” and then continue on with our conversation.


I am respectful of my client’s boundaries. If we are getting into topics that are difficult for them or I notice a rising discomfort, I am sure to say, “Feel free to stop me. This is all up to you. If you don’t want me to say anything more about this, you just let me know.” And then I STAND BY THAT. I do not push my clients. Ever. They have hired me. It’s their reading.


The biggest damage that the “fortune-teller” style of reading can do is to disempower the client. I do not predict the future. I do not tell anyone what they or someone else is absolutely going to do. That is not my job; that is not what my cards and years of expertise and life experience are for. Fortune-telling and purely-predictive readings are useless in my opinion anyway. 

The client must always feel empowered to be doing positive work in their own lives by the time they stand up from my table. This is what I learned from a lifetime of people-I-don’t-know crying to me in desperation in public bathrooms… we have a brief amount of time together and the only real gift I can give them are words and a demeanor that will encourage them to take steps to help themselves. It’s different in every scenario. But there is always SOMETHING that can be said to another person that will help them take action to better their situation. Sometimes it’s, “Maybe you should go to the park and watch the ducks while you think through what’s going on.” Sometimes it’s, “It sounds like you don’t feel safe, do you know where you can go to be safe?” If you listen, most of the time they have an answer. If they don’t, some gentle nudges in offering possibilities will generally get them going in identifying the options available to them. They know themselves better than we will ever know them. Period. No matter how many subtle clues and signs I pick up on over the course of a conversation, no matter how amazed they are at my ability to have insight into their situation, they are the ones carrying their life story. Respect that.

Those mini-crisis moments with strangers have helped me develop a reading style that offers my clients ideas and encouragement about how they can help themselves. Even if that empowerment is, “You can call this number to get the additional help you may need.”

There is a mental-health crisis in The United States (and many other countries as well.) Depression is a deadly predator. It dresses itself up in our own voices and dances around inside our brains saying the most damaging, hurtful, and awful things to wear us down. Someone dying from depression (suicide) and someone dying from a physical illness are not that different, they both eventually just wear away at our stamina. A friend of mine once said, “The only thing depression wants is to get you alone so it can have its way with you.” The most important thing we can do is to make sure that when anyone expresses fear, loneliness, or depression… let them know in some way that they are not alone and do not ever need to be.

Be a safe recipient of trust. For others and yourself.

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Deck Review: The Fantod Pack

Fantod: 1) a state of irritability and tension; fidgets 2) an emotional outburst, fit. The first recorded use of “fantod(s)” was by North American author Charles Frederik Briggs in 1839 . . . possibly a combination of “fantastic” and “fatigue.” –, 5/26/2018


The Fantod Pack is an Oracle deck designed by author and illustrator, Edward Gorey (1925-2000).

I must admit that the only reason I purchased this deck is because I was a Gorey fanatic growing up. From the first time I saw his opening animation to PBS’s Mystery series to the time I first came across a copy of Amphigorey in the back corner of a cozy bookstore… I was hooked by his dark and droll humor, his whimsical pen-and-ink illustration style; his irreverent reverence to art history, philosophy, and literature (no really, I mean that prhase). Gorey walked that impossibly-thin line of paying homage to beloved classics while pointing out their inherent absurdity. He approached Tarot and cartomancy with this same style.

The Fantod Pack originally appeared as illustrations in Esquire Magazine (December 1966) as “The Awful Vista of the Year: The Fantod Pack.” Although there was an illicit, unlicensed version of the cards printed in 1969 by The Owl Press of California (shame on you, Owl Press)… The Fantod Pack was not officially released by Gorey until 1995 through The Gotham Book Mart as a limited edition of 776 decks (750 numbered, 26 lettered). *source

I remember hearing about The Fantod Pack when it was published in 1995… and I will forever “kick myself” for not ordering a copy then. But, because I missed the opportunity to purchase one of the original 776, I had to wait until 2007 when the deck was published in an unlimited edition by Pomegranate Communications, Inc. licensed by The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust. This is the version of the deck I have.

The deck consists of 20 high-gloss thick cards in a shallow rigid box with a little white book (LWB) written by Edward Gorey using the pseudonym Madame Groeda Weyrd, an anagram of his name. The printing and material qualities are superior to many decks published. My only real complaint about the physical presentation is that the cards are fully rectangle with sharp corners. Rounded corners really have been a part of card history for good reason. Rounded corners last longer and they are easier to shuffle. Although…

Madame Weyrd suggests that the proper method for shuffling and drawing cards is to “take it in your left hand. Stand in the center of a sparsely furnished room and close your eyes. Fling the pack into the air. Keep your eyes closed. Pick up five cards from the floor keeping them in order.” Gorey has subtly acknowledged many traditions associated with cartomancy while simultaneously poking a fairly large stick at it. It is a common suggestion in many vintage (and even contemporary) books that you should use your left hand to work with cards as it is (for many people) their non-dominant hand and supposedly helps you connect with your subconscious more easily. Flinging the pack into the air and blindly picking them up off the floor highlights the absurdity of so many of our rituals. Gorey’s method is a strong reminder that, no-matter-what, we really should not take ourselves too seriously. While rituals can be helpful and important in some ways, we should never confuse ritual and symbolism with necessity and reality.

“Don’t confuse the teacher with the lesson, the ritual with the ecstasy, the transmitter of the symbol with the symbol itself.” – Neil Gaiman, Stardust

The first time I read with The Fantod Pack, I went ahead and followed Madame Weyrd’s ridiculous directions faithfully. It was fun to have this distant interaction with one of my favorite artists; willingly participating in his joke. And although it definitely isn’t practical (and wouldn’t be good for the cards longterm), it’s a delightful experience.

The LWB begins with The Awful Vista of the Year. “Now that you have learned of all the dreadful things that have overtaken your friends and relations during the past year as scribbled on the inside of their Christmas cards, don’t you want to know what dreadful things lie in wait for you?”  Irony was a well-sharpened tool in his hands slaying two beasts: 1) the ridiculous custom of writing your life story in a letter to the acquaintances you haven’t spoken to in at least one year’s time every Holiday season, and 2) the traditional “Wheel of the Year” style annual check-in Tarot spread.

The LWB goes on to give a mysterious backstory to Madame Weyrd and presents instructions of a basic spread and interpretation style. Although it is satire and over-the-top, it holds useful tips. And reading this LWB is when I realized that novelty decks don’t need to just be a novelty.

The 20 cards are labeled with mysterious and inscrutable archetypes such as “The Limb”, “The Waltzing Mouse”, and “The Burning Head.” I agree with Gorey; why should we just accept the symbols which are presented to us as “universal” symbols? There aren’t really many truly universal symbols, and you could argue that there truly aren’t any at all. Symbolism and its interpretation is predominantly culturally specific and filtered through the ultimately personal and unique experiences of each individual. So what makes “The Magician” a more legitimate archetype than “The Écorché” (a painting or sculpture of a human figure with the skin removed to display the musculature)? Gorey puts the absurdity of representing the comprehensive human experience in a few selected images right up front. It’s probably a small percentage of people who would know what an écorché even is, let alone how one would interpret its appearance in a reading. Staring at a King of Spades is no more inherently meaningful than staring at Gorey’s “The Écorché.” However, once you know what one is… there can be a lot of really useful ways that it could be construed. Cartomancy is all about applying a consistent framework of symbolism and meaning on top of specified images.


Gorey’s keyword lists for each card continues this same theme of absurdity veiling practicality. For example, the keywords for “The Écorché” are:

  • June – This is neither here-nor-there for me. Although many readers find seasons and times useful, I personally do not do “timing” readings.  Why June for the écorché? I’m not sure. Perhaps the summer heat encouraged him to remove his clothes… and his skin.
  • Sexual Incompetence – There’s actually a lot here to dissect (pun intended) given that it’s a human figure laid bare. Raw. Offered up for examination but not interaction. Many argue our largest sexual organ is our skin… the poor écorché has effectively been rendered impotent and left without a way to experience touch in a neurologically meaningful way.
  • A Forged Check – A tongue-in-cheek nod to vintage cartomancy interpretations which include numerous references to letters, messages, invoices, and written communications of dramatic leanings. Why the écorché specifically is guilty of forgery? I’m not sure. Perhaps he is attempting to put on another’s skin and get away without fingerprints as a liability.
  • Obscurity – Ironic as the écorché technically removes the skin which obscures the underlying biological structure of a person. However, removing the skin effectively removes easily identifiable features. Most people would be hard-pressed (and quite frankly loathe) to identify a body without its skin on. Or perhaps a reference to the obscurity of the word “écorché” itself.
  • Irregularities – Interesting as most écorchés are presented as “universal” representations of human muscular structure.
  • Puckers – “A fold or wrinkle in a normally even surface.” *source Okay… I can kinda go with this. For fun. While “wrinkle” is commonly  used to reference all kinds of “things which are not smooth” we normally don’t refer to “pucker” in a terribly poetic or symbolic way.
  • Inconstancy – Well sure, one minute a guy has skin… then he doesn’t. What’s he gonna do next?
  • An Accident on a Pier – What? Oh yeah, vintage cartomancy is filled with oddly specific and foreboding interpretations like this. Whatever horrific circumstance associates a skinless figure with an accident on a pier… I don’t want to consider very deeply.
  • Morbid Sensibilities – Probably the most straight-forward interpretation yet. Some seekers may need to be reminded that we are biological beings with unavoidable mortality. Others might need a warning to not focus so much on the “meat suits” we inhabit.
  • Deception – This goes along with “obscurity” and “inconstancy.”
  • A Social Disease – Wow. This is quite a commentary. Dictionary definitions of “social disease” include a venereal disease (which lines up with the “sexual incompetence” definition above) or illnesses such as tuberculosis which have direct relation to economic and social factors. For centuries artists and medical students have studied bodies which in many cases were victims of diseases caused by or exacerbated by poverty and social systems. Even today we have controversies involving the public presentation of human remains such as “Bodies: The Exhibition” which raised concerns about a black-market for cadavers, thought to be illegally-obtained bodies of executed prisoners, to be “plasticized” and used as real-life écorchés. In a more abstract sense, the card seems to suggest that being raw and exposed is a cultural maladie. If you can’t cover yourself in a publicly acceptable way you are at a disadvantage.
  • Confinement – Certainly not confined by skin. However, is it our basic biological makeup which is a confinement? Or is it the fate of the écorché to be confined to the laboratory and artist studio; never free to be a self-actualized individual?
  • Cysts – Another nod to vintage cartomancy with a specific, somewhat gross, and off-beat medical ailment. Perhaps they are simply a symptom of the “social disease” you are about to contract in June.

What I once considered purely a novelty can actually be used for legitimate readings. So I look at “novelty” Tarot and Oracle decks in a new light now. If you are drawn to the imagery found in a particular deck, what matters is that you can interpret the imagery in ways which are useful and meaningful to you and those you read for. Will Gorey’s Fantod deck be useful to everyone? Definitely not. But to a life-long Edward Gorey fan who spent hours and hours pouring over each and every one of his publications I could get my hands on, looking for recurring themes and symbols… The Fantod Pack is a natural fit. So look for the imagery that gives you the most to consider about your humanity and mortality. And every once in a while… throw your cards in the air and let your self-awareness work be filled with humor. Because, ultimately, it’s all absurdity.

Do you have a “novelty” deck that you love? How did you begin working with the non-traditional imagery? Have you encountered push-back from traditionalists?