This is a guest post shared by Yoshi.
When I look around at the tarot decks out there, I still don’t see one that looks like me.
I see decks that look like my family members. There are decks that celebrate ethnicities, religions, and countries that I associate with. But as a person with mixed heritages and identities, I never see a deck that celebrates all of me at once.
These thoughts plagued me for years, but one day it finally occurred to me what it every culture has in common: We all tell stories. Myths, legends, deities, fairytales, bedtime stories, and ghost stories. Stories are archetypes of humanity – just like tarot.
And thus, from stories, the Fairytale Tarot was born!
To create each card, I first review the meaning of the card and then do lots of research to find a perfect story to match. Some of the stories are ones that I grew up with, some are ones I was taught, and some are told to me by friends and strangers. Then I try to filter based on what cultures or types of stories I’ve already talked about to try and get a good spread of the world. Next, I do even more research on clothes and customs of the culture I’m drawing. Finally, I get to drawing, asking for feedback whenever possible.
This whole process sometimes takes weeks, so the deck is definitely a labor of love.
My hope is that this deck can also be used as a tool to help educate people about all the amazing cultures out there. I want people to pick up a card, think the story looks cool, and decide to go do some more research of their own. Each card should be just enough of a window into something amazing that the reader is encouraged to go open the door themselves – but also accurate enough of a window that someone familiar with it can recognize themselves. The happiest times for me is when someone says “Yes! I grew up with this story!”
As someone who is mixed, I am so often forced to choose which part of me is ‘better’, to pick which part of me to represent. What’s great about tarot is that each card is, more or less, equally as important as every other card. So therefore, every story and every culture in this deck is also equally as important as every other story and culture.
This deck is my love letter to everyone else out there with mixed identities.
I see you, I love you.
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About the author
Yoshi Yoshitani is a Freelance Illustrator and Concept Artist working in California. They illustrate covers for books and comics, and love listening to audiobooks while they work. You can find them on Twitter @yoshisquared and Instagram @yoshiyoshitani.