The Personal Space Tarot: Artist Emilee Graverson on finding her own place in tarot

When I asked you guys to recommend tarot decks for my shop, one title really stood out: The Personal Space Tarot.

I checked it out. ‘Space’ was indeed the word. I loved the calming colours of this deck, the simple illustrations, the careful nod to the Rider-Waite-Smith system, and at the same time, the accessibility of the images and symbols.

It looked like a caring and supportive deck; the kind that would accept you as you are and help you move forwards. Not a pushover – I saw some tough-looking cards – but one that might find gentle ways to guide and support you.

The Personal Space Tarot is in store now! And it’s as lovely as I had hoped.

To introduce the deck, I asked creator Emilee Graverson to tell us all about it.

Hi Emilee! Can you tell us what inspired you to make this deck?

Hi there! Well, this all started because my friends and I would always read tarot for each other for fun. We were never too serious about it – probably because we never used a deck that we felt represented us. Personally, I saw a lot of problems with “traditional” tarot decks presenting very strict gender binaries and heteronormativity. I wanted to make a deck that was fluid, that did away with presenting certain cards as “male” and “female”. I also wanted the card explanations to be open-ended, for the cards to visually provide enough substance on their own to be interpreted without the booklet, if need be.

How did you get started, and how did you find the process?

I started with research. Because I have a background in Art History and visual analysis– that’s where I began. I took a real investigative approach to creating the symbolism and motifs in the deck. I looked at traditional and not-so-traditional decks and noticed what kinds of colors, symbols, figures, and art styles were used. What I knew from the beginning was that I intended to use a limited color palette and simplified, illustrative art style. I think it best represents me as an artist and provides a unique and compelling aesthetic.

What does ‘personal space’ mean to you, and how does this come through in the cards?

For me, the idea of ‘personal space’ is integral to my tarot practice – tarot is a way that I can step out of the moment and create some space, almost always alone, to get perspective, care for myself, come back to myself, and so on.

Personal Space became the name of the deck for many reasons. Personally, I felt like I couldn’t find my own “space” in tarot because I was put off by depictions that were unnecessarily constrained to gender roles, and on top of that, played too much into the card meanings, really forcing the reader into a corner. Taking a more visually minimal approach, I hope the deck can be flexible enough to fit in to anyone’s practice, whether they are inspired by the imagery, the colors, or the words, I wanted the cards to be an avenue for inspiration.

Who do you think this deck will appeal to? Or, maybe, who did you have in mind as you created this deck? Is there a particular way you imagine it being used?

I (hope) the deck is appealing to anyone who wants to experience tarot in a new way. I think Personal Space tarot is really intuitive, and lets you discover meaning within yourself. I hope it helps you discover the words on the tip of your tongue, the thoughts in the back of your mind, and your feelings floating slightly out of reach. I truly believe there is no right or wrong way to do tarot, whatever meaning you draw from the cards gives you more insight than you had a moment before. PS Tarot is just here to give you the tools to come to your own conclusions and not be afraid to find meaning in your own way.

Finally, which is your favourite card in the deck (if you can pick one!) and why?

My favorite card in the deck is The Hermit. I love the cactus! It always reminds me of Austin and I’ll always associate it with the time I live in Texas. I really find interesting the parallel between The Hermit’s inward focus and the soft interior of a cactus.

Photos in this post by Emilee Graverson.

The Personal Space Tarot is available in the Little Red Tarot Shop!

Buy here


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