iTongo – South African Tarot!

iTongo Tarot for Transformation by Robyn-Anne Pollard, 2010 (self-published)

Lookee! A uniquely South African tarot :D

The iTongo Tarot for Transformation is a 78 card deck with 144 page reference book, designed and self-published by Robyn-Anne Pollard, a counsellor and Coach. The deck is based on the myths and legends of South Africa, with images painted by Chantal Fielding.

The Majors depict “translations” of the cards – eg. a Sangoma, commonly known as a “witch doctor”, is shown as The Magician – or related concepts, eg. The Sun as “Ubuntu”. The Minors show the 4 major tribes or tribal groupings in South Africa: isiZulu, isiXhosa, SeTswana & SeSotho and the smaller Venda/Pedi/Nedebele.

You can see more cards at aeclectic tarot, as well as the official website. If you’d like to own a copy, it can be purchased directly on the iTongo website. Tarot Media Company is the US and Canadian distributor, selling it for ($70).

I am so torn over this! It’s more than I would pay for a tarot deck under normal circumstances and I know I won’t read with it, but it’s like a little piece of home…

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15 thoughts on “iTongo – South African Tarot!

  1. Digital Dame says:

    Oh, I didn’t realize you were from S. Africa! I knew you had emigrated from somewhere, just didn’t know where.

    It’s lovely, the artwork is really good, but yeah that’s pretty steep. Is it limited? If you know for certain you would never read with it, maybe the creator of the deck would sell prints of the cards? One nice giclee for $25 or so might be more in line with ye olde budgette.

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    • submerina says:

      Fully halfway around the world; coming up on 10 years!

      It’s not too steep considering it’s self-published and probably limited (though I couldn’t find any info for sure), especially when compared to other self-published decks, just depends on how serious of a collector you are (me=not serious). Maybe I’ll pick one up if I manage to go “home” later this year and save on the shipping :)

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    • Digital Dame says:

      Every self-pubbed deck cost pales in comparison to the Gaian Tarot. I have yet to have anyone explain to me precisely why that deck justifies the price tag.

      I’m really leery of self-pubbed decks anymore. I got a really badly made one and I’ve been skittish ever since. It was a damn shame because the artwork was interesting, but all they did was sandwich it between two sheets of plastic laminate which curled the card (apparently they did something wrong in the lamination process), didn’t even trim it to the size of the card. I was so disgusted I put it on the shelf and haven’t touched it since. I coughed up $60US for that.

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      • submerina says:

        The Gaian isn’t my style of deck, so I don’t understand it from an aesthetic point of view (whereas Lynyrd Narcisco’s decks make absolute sense, even if I can’t afford them.) Getting a deck published is a lot of work and the materials are tricky, because they aren’t standard. I don’t think many people realise it, especially now that business cards etc. are pretty cheap and easy to come by. Cards are still a specialty item.

        I’ll consult with you prior to getting any self-pubbed, just in case…

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  2. sarah magdalene says:

    My mothers family are South African, and though most of my close relatives emigrated here. I was born in Zimbabwe. Left when I was about 5 years old and haven’t been back. But I love the music still, Congolese most of all, because I was weaned on it. Africa still makes me emo.

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    • submerina says:

      “Africa still makes me emo.” Exactly. My life is here now, but the light, the culture, the music… there’s something that tugs. I moved here when I was 25, so I’m still very “fresh”.

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  3. Helen says:

    Hey, I did not know that about you:) I am a South African living in South Africa and I cannot justify the cost of this deck especially as I already have way too many Tarot decks. I like the concept and the art though. I do have the African Tarot which was also created by South Africans and is not at all expensive.

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    • submerina says:

      Lookit all my susters! Welkom, welkom :D Yes, if I would read with it I would probably jump, but sometimes you have to be “mature and responsible”!

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  4. Helen says:

    FYI I finally caved and ordered the Itongo Tarot. It is winging its way to me now. I plan to use it on my blog, while trying to remedy my ignorance of local indigenous traditions. :)

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