Tarot on the 'Net

by Pam Williams

© Copyright 1997 by Pam Williams. All rights reserved.

The Tarot has definitely found a niche on the Internet, and on the World Wide Web in particular. In addition to the many online psychics who will read your cards for a hefty fee, there are dozens of Web sites devoted to the Tarot that are created and maintained by Tarot enthusiasts as a public service. In this article, I'd like to share some of my favorite Tarot sites and other Tarot-related Internet resources.

One of the first Tarot sites I found on the Web, and one that has remained a favorite Tarot resource, is Mary K. Greer's Tools and Rites of Transformation (T.A.R.O.T.) site, located at http://www.nccn.net/~Tarot. This is a very comprehensive and well-designed site by a well-known Tarot author. This site goes beyond self-promotion (and believe me, Mary Greer has plenty of Tarot books and other products to promote) to include a lot of general information on the Tarot, spreads, card meanings, reviews of other people's Tarot decks and books, and a large list of Tarot links. My only complaint about this site is that it hasn't been updated in some time, so several links are broken or outdated. Nonetheless, this is a site worth visiting and bookmarking for reference.

Another reference site that I found very useful and interesting is Michele Jackson's Tarot Page ( http://www.erols.com/jacksn/). This attractive and informative site includes links to Tarot and not-quite-Tarot sites and Tarot decks on the Web; a section of information for beginning Tarot readers; information on Tarot publications, books, tidbits, and software; and Tarot and non-Tarot deck reviews. The breadth of Tarot-related material covered on this site is impressive, and Michele updates her site with new material weekly. This is a must-visit site for anyone interested in the Tarot.

A large compendium of Tarot information that is available on the Web is Lysator's Neopagan and Occult Divination Archive, found at http://www.lysator.liu.se/religion/neopagan/tarot.html. There are links to lots of Tarot information pages and several decks in this rather plain-looking but utilitarian and comprehensive site. In addition to Tarot information, this page also includes links to information about non-Tarot forms of divination. Lysator divides its divination material into Occult and Neopagan categories, which is a somewhat unusual but useful approach. This is an excellent site to visit when you have plenty of time to explore. It helps if you already have a basic knowledge of Tarot, but even the newest reader can find material of interest in this archive.

If you're just starting to investigate this ancient system of divination, how do you get started? Well, in addition to visiting Michele Jackson's "Of Interest to Beginners" page and reading some of the basic Tarot information on Mary Greer's site, you can check out Joan Bunning's excellent site, Learning the Tarot: An Online Course, at http://www2.dgsys.com/~bunning/top.html. This self-paced online Tarot reading course uses the Rider-Waite deck to illustrate the lessons. All you need is a Tarot deck and a computer. You don't even need to be connected to the Internet; you can download all of the lessons or order a copy in print or diskette versions, with or without a Tarot deck. The course is free online or downloaded directly, but Bunning charges a reasonable fee for providing hard copy and diskette versions of her course. This course has a very high reputation as being useful, accurate, and well-designed. There is also a Tarot FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Page on the Web at http://www.eden.com/!r3winter/tarotfaq.html. This document originated on the alt.tarot newsgroup (I'll cover newsgroups and other non-Web Internet Tarot resources at the end of this article), and is posted there on a regular basis.

When you've finished the online course and have read the other beginners' pages on the Web, it's time to go shopping for Tarot decks. Many of the general resource pages have links to online decks and samples of decks that are available, and you can also check out the growing number of online bookstores like Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble, most of which now carry a selection of Tarot decks and deck-and-book kits. However, if you want to go right to the source, check out the U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Web site at http://members.aol.com/usgames/tarhome.htm. While they don't have samples of every deck they publish, they do reproduce catalog-type product photos for most of them so you can get a feel for the Tarot decks they offer. Another Tarot deck publisher on the Web is Llewellyn. Their Tarot Kits and Decks page is located at http://www.llewellyn.com/tarot.htm.

Those of you who already belong to the "Tarot Deck of the Month Club" and have a hefty collection of decks and books might be interested in surfing over to the "Folly of the Alchemist Tarot Resources" site at http://www.clysmic.com/tarot/. This attractive site provides excellent and comprehensive information about rare, foreign, and out-of-print Tarot decks, and resources for locating and purchasing the same. So if you're looking for that special, out-of-the-ordinary deck for the jaded Tarotist in your life, take a look at this site.

Tarot 'zines are gaining in numbers and popularity on the World Wide Web. One of the best Tarot 'zines online is Crystal Sage's beautiful Tapestry e-zine (http://www.tapestry-magazine.com/). This site recently changed locations on the Web, and it appears that not all of the sections of the site made the transition smoothly. Nonetheless, this e-zine is a real find and a joy to read. The articles and advice offered are useful and informative, and the artwork is gorgeous. This is a site to return to again and again.

Another Tarot e-zine I recently located is The Chariot: Tarot Online Magazine at http://w3.uwyo.edu/~astarte/tarot/magazine.html. This is a new offering in the online Tarot world. The online version is plain-looking and dowdy compared to Tapestry, but it offers some useful information. The premiere issue (July 1997) includes an essay on "The Fool's Journey", a review of a Book of Thoth (Aliester Crowley's Tarot deck) site, a beginner's column, and a Tarot poetry page. Hopefully, this online publication will mature well and provide interesting information in the months and years to come.

Less an e-zine than an online Tarot column, dtKing's Tarot Weekly (http://tarot.readers.com/home/) offers the Tarot-inspired musings of long-time Tarotist dtKing, as well as a Tarot Reader's Directory. Each column is illustrated with an appropriate Tarot card or other image. Although the illustrations and the text swap columns on the page a bit too often for a smooth reading experience, this is an interesting and attractive site, and worth visiting regularly.

There are also a lot of online Tarot decks out there on the Web, from the Rider-Waite deck ( http://www.npl.washington.edu/cgif/tarot/) to Morgan's Tarot (last seen at http://www.sleepbot.com/morgan/) and beyond. Most of the general Tarot sites mentioned in this article have links to various Tarot deck sites. Still, I have my own favorites. One is the Maninni deck, a collaborative effort by some of the members of the Tarot-L mailing list (again, I'll explain about mailing lists at the end of this article). Another collaborative deck by members of the Tarot-L list is The Dollie Tarot (http://www.thefool.com/dollie/). The Dollie Tarot is a humorous deck of tableaux featuring various dolls and action figures. YoTarot, a project by artist David Kassel and writer Steve Lewis, is a poetry-and-Tarot-images deck on the Web at http://www.levity.com/yotarot/index.htm. There is a lovely, limited edition photo-collage deck on the Web called the Transformational Tarot at http://www.tarot.readers.com/transform/, which was created by an expressive art therapist. Another beautiful photographic Tarot deck on the Web is Rev. Jennifer Moore's Healing Tarot, located at http://www.bluewitch.com/healtar.htm. This site also contains Tarot articles and other Tarot-related information. And a woman named Ariadne has a Tarot deck in progress and has produced a set of Tarot-themed decorative capital letters. Her site is located at http://www.ici.net/cust_pages/ariadne/ariadne.html. There are also several Web sites that offer online Tarot readings, such as Jonathan Katz's Free Tarot Reading site ( a href="http://www.facade.com/Occult/tarot/) and Annikin Divination Systems site (http://www.annikin.com). Both of these sites also offer free readings using other divinatory systems. These sites are good for those times when you need a quick reading but don't have a deck handy.

Finally, there are several non-Web Tarot resources that are worth checking out. There are two Tarot-related Usenet newsgroups: alt.tarot and alt.divination. To subscribe to these newsgroups, check your Internet Service Provider for the availability of the newsgroups and instructions on reading them. There is also at least one Tarot mailing list, Tarot-L. To subscribe to this mailing list, send e-mail to a href="mailto:listserv@techunix.technion.ac.il"> listserv@techunix.technion.ac.il with the message SUBSCRIBE tarot-l <your e-mail address> <your full name>. Turn off your .signature file, if you have one, when subscribing to mailing lists, because the automated programs that process most subscription requests will not understand them. You can also visit the Tarot-L Home Page at http://www.lightspeed.bc.ca/hilander/tarotl.html for more information about the mailing list, subscription information, list rules, and various list members.

While this is not a comprehensive review of all of the Tarot information available on the Internet, it should be more than enough to get you started exploring on your own. There are many more Tarot-related sites on the World Wide Web, and you can spend many hours reading the postings on alt.tarot, alt.divination and the Tarot-L mailing list. But don't forget that the virtual Internet Tarot experience is no substitute for the real thing.

Happy reading and happy surfing!