One of the most beautiful things about sharing my tarot journal online is the sense of community that builds up around it.
People reach out to me to share their own ideas or ask questions in emails, comment on posts or connect on Twitter. At first I found this totally bizarre – when I started this blog years ago it didn’t occur to me that anyone was actually going to find it, let alone read it or reach out to me – but nowadays it’s a fabulously everyday part of my tarot life and work.
The most exciting email I had recently, though, was from Jen Kruch…partly because she was just so damn cool and friendly and nice, and admittedly also because she was offering me a free tarot deck!
Jen’s self-published deck, the Frau Grand Duchess Tarot, came out just a year ago and I hadn’t heard of it yet – I dashed eagerly to her website to see what it was all about and was excited by what I found. A quirky, funny, collage website describing an ‘accidental’ tarot deck which came about in November 2012 when Jen happened upon a box of dusty old index cards and a stack of retro magazines, and started cutting and pasting. Eventually, it became clear that she was creating a tarot deck, and eight months later, the Frau Grand Duchess Tarot was born.
Cut-and-paste tarot decks completely get me going, as they remind me of the fanzines I was obsessed with growing up, the letters, the typewriters, magazines, photocopied photographs, the Pritt Stick, the scissors, the fluffy fingertips and misplaced lines of lyrics that defined my teens and early twenties.
The Frau Grand Duchess Tarot has that feel. Not so much in a riot grrrl way, but in an animated, humorous, mishmash of 50s aspirational advertising kinda wat. It’s where Charissa Drengsen’s Steampunk Tarot and the cultishly popular Housewives Tarot meet, but it’s 100% original and as I discovered when I interviewed it (below), completely, brilliantly kinky.
Here are some of my favourite cards, at first glance:
A simple white cardboard box and basic little white book with brief interpretations. Nice card stock, thin but not flimsy, with a smooth glossy finish and a perfect size, to my mind.I particularly like the card backs, which show lace doilies!
The cards are the pale dusty green of the original index cards, overlaid with the collage illustration and a cute chain border. And the card titles are hand-typed on Kruch’s typewriter. Nice 🙂
Okay – let’s interview this deck!
It’s a damn quirky bag of tricks and I’ll happily admit I have no idea where the ideas for many of the cards came from. I’m getting the impression that Jen Kruch’s mind is one particularly original machine and I’m wondering what on earth I’m going to find when I consult this deck for the first time…
1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic? The Sun
That archery lesson looks like a lot of fun! This card tells me that the deck likes to get to the point, but will have a laugh doing it. And I think it’s gonna teach me something new. I mean, I’ve never really considered archery but…
There’s also a *lot* of flirtation going on here.
2. What are your strengths as a deck? The Emperor
This is a strong deck which won’t be afraid to boss me about and tell me what it thinks…and I’m sort of wondering if there’s gonna be something of a submissive/dominant relationship here.
Kinky tarot! That would be fun.
3. What are your limits as a deck? The Moon
Guess what, I’m in for some confusion. Or maybe this is my drinking deck? *pours glass of wine* *not really it’s Monday mid-afternoon* Hmm!
All is very much not what it seems here, and right now, I’m enjoyably confused.
4. What are you here to teach me? Six of Wands
When life gives you lemons, have phone sex. Right?
5. How can I best learn and collaborate with you? The Magician
Before even approaching this deck, I need to be sure about what I want, I want and ask for it loud and clear. It’s that or I hand myself over for some crazy-times.
6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? Knight of Swords
The Knight of Swords has caused me no end of trouble over the years…and yet I have a really soft spot for him. It’s a love-hate thing, a push-pull thing, a sub/dom thing, an obsessive-desire, don’t-want-to-want-it-but-oh-how-I-do thing. I think he wants me to go for a ride on his motorbike…and I think I just might.
The Frau Grand Duchess Tarot is weird and wonderful tarot deck with a vivid imagination, a great sense of humour and a tendency towards the kinky. I feel that it wants to dominate me, and I know that it wants to toy with me, but I also know that it wants to have fun. What a god-damn flirt of a tarot deck.
I’m not sure what to do with myself right now, I feel flushed, confused, a little embarrassed… and I *really* like it.
Looking forward to using it again!
If you fancy a little of the same (or something completely different), check out the deck on Jen’s website, fraugrandduchess.com – and hey guess what, if you wanna buy it, you can use the discount code TAROTFRIEND to get 10% off too!
I’m a 30-something writer, artist, tarot reader, and perpetual explorer of the space between thought, feeling, and action.
I believe that spirituality and ritual are for everybody. I’m about the journey, in all of its messy, non-linear, chaotic iterations. I am excited by anticapitalist business and living with my whole entire self present. I use tarot cards to bring forth hidden truth, and ritual to affirm my commitment, over and over, to my ever-shifting path.