"Tarot is fascinating. No matter the deck, each card represents a circumstance, situation, or type of person that can be encountered along the human journey. Our whole experience of life can be reduced, to a degree, to a system of varied archetypes or highly applicable situational portraits. To make the most of each Tarot reading, it’s important to ask how each card meaning can apply to your life and simply allow it to stir up the dust." – Ana Haydee Linares, creator of the Floriography Tarot
Imagine a Tarot deck filled with vintage photographs and designs, where the heads of the Major Arcana figures are replaced with bushes, flowers, plants and trees—and where the Minor Arcana suits happen to be Sunflowers, Birds-of-Paradise, Tulips and Tree Trunks.
I know such renderings may sound bizarre, even look bizarre, but somehow, it works in the form of the Floriography Tarot.
A full color chart accompanies this deck, detailing which flower, plant or tree serves as each Major’s headspace. Such substitutions for actual heads make me want to research the various flora to discover the attributions of each, including historical symbolism, so I can (possibly) figure out why Ms. Linares made these artistic and botanical choices.
But even without human heads, the poses in the Floriography Tarot are suggestive enough to elicit intuitive questions critical for deep and contemplative readings. You may get answers from this deck, but I find the questions it asks far more interesting and challenging.
For example, I’ve always felt that the Rider-Waite-Smith posing for The Star was silly and meaningless at face value. Why would a naked woman bother pouring water in a stream at night, as well as on the bank beside her? But what about a figure—with a Lotus head—stooping down next to a jar, both hands holding a cloth above its opening?
Has the figure just collected life-saving water from a dew-soaked rag, about to wring it into the jug? Or, does the bottle contain some type of disinfectant, salve or medicine that will help an injury? Or is the figure merely about to wash his hands outdoors? And how do these questions connect with what I know of The Star card, including traditional meanings and self-created interpretations?
Or take the 5 of Pentacles. Why is the boy “split”? Is it even the same boy? Does it signify a “split family”…or a split personality? What connections can be made by pondering “separation” in light of this card? How might that line of thought inform RWS imagery or traditional interpretations?
I think the Floriography Tarot is a fantastic deck for probing the psyche, performing wisdom readings and for contemplative journaling. Because of it’s abstract design, however, and lack of Minor Arcana titles (only Roman numerals), unless the imagery and presentation call to you, this may prove a difficult deck for beginners or those wanting clear, direct answers to shallow fortunetelling questions.
But those who appreciate fresh, surprising twists on Tarot imagery—and love flowers, plants and trees—will no doubt found the Floriography Tarot by Ana Haydee Linares a welcome addition to their collection.