When Is a Tarot Not a Tarot?

laughing-buddhaWhen it’s a jar!

That, in essence, is the Morgan’s Tarot.

The words I think of when describing it are: “absurd”, “irreverent” and “profound”. It’s what I imagine would happen if three of my favourite authors – Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Tom Robbins – came together and designed a deck.

Naturally, in the presence of all those uniquely creative brains working overtime, any hint of “tarot mysticism” flies out the window and it becomes a smart-talking oracle instead (but still calls itself a tarot, just for funsies). Then there are too many important ideas to write down, so the 80 cards become 88 (trilogies in 5 parts, anyone?) With more than a hint of chaos magic to this deck, it wouldn’t be out of place at Unseen University.

The basics –

Cards:    88 – don’t be a dumbass like me- the cover card is part of the deck!)
Size:    2.75″ x 4.5″ x 1.5″ – people with smaller hands might struggle to hand-shuffle
LWB:    32 pages – including an introduction, Celtic Cross spread and card game
Author:    Morgan Robbins and Darshan Chorpash – get free readings!
Published by:    U.S. Games Systems Inc. – 2010 re-release

Now for the fun stuff!

I won’t even try to hide how in love with this deck I am – it just delights me on every level. The black and white ink illustrations are casual and friendly, without being crude or lacking in artistic ability. Some are more detailed, while others are simple. What’s great about the images is that they seem to have just as much detail as is necessary, no more. This allows the reader to add their own layers of meaning and depth, as needed. One major change that has been made to this re-release is the “dog food” card. The revised version has the dog’s face redrawn and I much prefer it over the old one. The backs are in the same black ink – as opposed to the original day-glo orange (I believe) and purple – and the design is not reversible (but it doesn’t need to be).

The card stock has a nice snap to it and the finish is a satin gloss, without much glare. What’s great about this is that it seems like the deck is ready, willing and able to be used. It’s prepared for anything! Sure, you could use it solely to gain personal insight, but wouldn’t it be a hoot to take it to parties and do multiple readings over the course of a night? Can’t you just hear the snap of the cards as you deal them out like a pro; the laughter and mild awe of your friends as the deck speaks to their deepest desires; when you do it again, and again, and again? And should things get a little too rowdy and a drop or 5 of red wine make it into the mix, don’t worry, Morgan can take it.

You might be tempted to look at this deck and pass it off as a novelty. Cards like “Let George Do It” and “wizards” could, at first glance, appear nonsensical and have no relevance. But stop, just for a minute and let associations float gently to the surface. Suddenly you’re making connections and remembering things that might have escaped your notice otherwise. The very outside-of-the-box (to the point where there is no box) nature of this deck encourages non-linear thinking, resulting in quick, clear answers. I find Tarot Dame’s readings with the deck demonstrate very well how it can relate equally well to both the mundane and deeper aspects of life.

For those who wish to take their interaction with the Morgan’s one step further, Andrew Looney has devised a way of classifying the cards into 5 Suits, for the purpose of using them to play other games. Use this information as you will! I’m using the Morgan’s to subtly plant the idea in The Man’s head that tarot can be used as a writing prompt and meditation tool, sort of like a “gateway drug” ;) And in order to further enable others who might not be completely convinced yet:

Interview with the Morgan’s Tarot


[1] Morgan, we’ve gotten to know each other quite well over the past 2 weeks, but now’s your chance to introduce yourself to the good viewers at home.
Let George Do It

Ha ha ha! Ladies and Gentlemen, the Morgan’s Tarot!

[2] I see, I see. But there must be something I haven’t covered already that you’d like to share?
Be careful going around curves

Sage advice, indeed, and dare I say it, downright practical. This, I think, is one of your strengths. For all the laughs and du wacky du, you really do get to the heart of the matter. You steer the reader gently, safely and at a speed they can handle, around and through the twisting turns of realisation. Other, more to-the-point decks take note: answers don’t have to be a slap to the face to have impact.

[3] On a more serious note, what do you say to your critics; those who feel you shouldn’t be given the title of “tarot”?
I come from a Different Planet

That you do! You’re different, why fight it? After all haters gonna hate, right? As far as you’re concerned, nothing’s stopping you from all getting along, even if you’re built a little differently. There’s a place for all decks – tarot, oracle and those in between – in this big, wide divination system. Play to your strengths, rather than wasting energy on trying to fix what is “wrong”.


[4] And what is your most distinguishing strength?
You Are a Pawn

Ooooh, exposing the delusions we all hold so dear. I can see why some might find you a little hard to take; it isn’t always an enjoyable experience, having your reality stripped down and exposing all the lies that glue it together. But those who come to you for advice must know that they’re going to get the answers they seek, whether or not they like them. It very much comes back to how you communicate and, in my experience, it’s always with a kind smile.

[5] Though you seem like an open book with very few boundaries, is there anything you prefer not to discuss; something you feel should be left up to the Seeker to determine?
Who am I

You’re right, of course. Identity is for each of us to determine, independently. We cannot be led, or told who we are. There’s a reason we aren’t given a great big guidebook to life at birth; it would ruin the entire purpose of the experience! When you look into a mirror, you look back at yourself and yet, it isn’t you. What lies behind that facade can only be viewed by turning inward, where no one else can ever go. It is the most daunting and most rewarding answer of all.

[6] Well, thank you for speaking with me today; I’m sure you’ve made a believer out of a good many of the audience. Do you have any parting words for those who might not yet be convinced?
What are you Feeling Now?

And there you have it.


8 thoughts on “When Is a Tarot Not a Tarot?

    • submerina says:

      George is a magical helper sent by the universe to do all the things you don’t want to ;) I call my George “Future Irmata”. She let’s Now Irmata do what she wants, because any problems that might arise are for Future Irmata to deal with (I’m mature like that)! Hee!


  1. erishilton says:

    I’ve seen this deck before, but never really got around to paying it much attention. From what I’ve seen here, I think I would probably love it.

    It’s so… Discordian! HAIL ERIS!

    It’s in a similar vein as Lon Milo Duquette’s “The Book of Ordinary Oracles”. A bit tongue in cheek, fun and quirky, but… serious where it needs to be.

    Another to add to my list!


    • submerina says:

      It is TOTALLY Erisian! I can’t believe you don’t have it :O I thought for sure this would be in your collection by default. You would have sooooo much fun “conversating” with Morgan. Now I need to look up the “Ordinary Oracles” (damn you).


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