Rootworkers use regular playing cards for divination, so why buy a nontraditional deck of Hoodoo Tarot cards? Tayannah Lee McQuillar’s adaptation of the Tarot to hoodoo is powerful, intriguing, beautiful and thought provoking.  The artwork of Katelan V. Foisy in sepia tones with pops of muted color lends an antique, moody quality to the images. These unique images reference southern culture, historical people and hoodoo spirits.

Take the time to get to know this deck before reading with it as there are a number of changes to the names of cards. The Court Cards are called Family cards. The Elders are the Major Arcana. The Community cards are the Minor Arcana. The Hermit is represented by Dr. Grant. The Magician is changed to Black Herman, the Magician. The Chariot pictures Railroad Bill. These are all historical people known in the hoodoo community but if unfamiliar look to the book’s full description. In addition to a little hoodoo who’s who, every card comes with a Bible verse, a plant association, a description of the image on the card, the meaning and a series of questions/considerations for when this card turns up.

By the time I was ready to read the cards, protest, riots and armed occupation had engulfed my city. I felt called to the deck and I pulled The Tower Card here called The Big House.  It shows a Southern plantation home with a rose-colored lens in the bottom left. Through the rose-colored lens, the house looks beautiful. Outside the lens, you see people plummeting from the upper stories. The book says: “When The Big House comes up in a reading, it may be trying to prepare you for a sudden change, and the subsequent trauma that will come from it. There will be no opportunity to adjust; you will simply have to deal with things the best way you know how.” The considerations are broad and they give room to mull over the meaning without telling you what your truth is. Some of the considerations given for the Big House:

  • Your plans may be disrupted in a way you can’t imagine.
  • Is this a breakdown or a breakthrough?
  • In what way does this change hurt your ego?
  • The truth hurts.

The Hoodoo Tarot was made with care and consideration and it shows. I recommend this deck if you have an interest in both Tarot and Hoodoo, are looking for a deck showing diverse people from various backgrounds, crave a perspective closer to your roots or spiritual path or just want to learn more about Hoodoo.

Highly Recommended.

~ review by Larissa Carlson
Author: Tayannah Lee McQuillar
Artist: Katelan V. Foisy
Destiny Books, 2020
pp. 145, $35.00