Deck Interview: Oddity Tarot
I had very few preconceived notions of the Oddity Tarot when I decided to buy it. I'd come to know its creator (and fellow Texan tarot reader), Richard Howdy, and I saw that the first run had only a handful of copies left, so I snagged one while I could. My reasons for buying the Spirit Keeper's Tarot when I did were similar, although I sadly haven't gotten to chat with Benebell Wen as much as with Richard. I had of course seen some of the deck before, such as the Emperor, whom I love in this deck, and the style of the deck was enough to seal the deal for me.
The deck is a majors-only deck, with the 22 standard major arcana and 2 additional majors (Nothing and Everything), so the reading is naturally full of majors. It makes for a very intense read. It is, as one would expect, an odd deck. There are several symbols that repeat, and it's fun to link those symbols across the cards to help expand beyond standard meanings of the majors. Archetypes like the major arcana can often feel flat or limited, but there are definitely some explicit connections and some more implicit connections, as well as new ways of examining these cards that makes for a far more nuanced reading than I was expecting from a majors-only deck.
With the package came a vinyl sticker of Judgement, which I also love, so I included that in the photo. It was not, however, part of the reading otherwise. Still, Everything was, and that was a real KA-POW! of a card. Now on to the reading, which uses my new deck interview tarot spread. (I did not mix reversals in this time. I’m not sure why.)
INTERVIEWING THE ODDITY TAROT
What major lesson are you here to help me learn? The Hermit
Through which divine energy can we best communicate? Death
In what area can you aide me to help others? The Hanged Man
In what area could your guidance be easily misunderstood? The Lovers
What can I do to keep our communication clear? Justice
How can I use your guidance for the highest good? Everything
How will I know when we’re ready for a new lesson? The World
I love seeing majors in a reading, and it's still exciting in a deck of all majors. There's just something about connecting with the archetypal. Some people associate themselves with the court cards, but almost no one I've come across calls their tarot persona "the 9 of Pentacles." A website? Sure. But themselves? No. And I realize all this by seeing the Hermit in the first card position. Here, the deck is saying that we're about to learn about personal identity (with me as the Hermit) through this deck. There are some images in this deck that I love, such as the carry-over of the hand from the Fool to the World, and others that I find a bit unsettling, such as all the teeth. But teeth are also very tied to identity, even though they (and this is why they seem unsettling) come out of us with relative ease. The deck seems to be communicating that we're here together to explore identity and expose what is inside, what might be unsettling. And to do this of course, we have to be willing to connect with our bones, the structures within ourselves that hold us together. Death seeks to break those down, not unlike the force of the Vulcan-like spirt guide I first felt at the beginning of this year, described in the post "My Guide, My Self." Being open to that energy of opening the insides and looking at the structure is sure to help me here.
If we look at the next trio of cards surrounding that central pillar, the Hanged Man and Justice show that this deck, when used with the appropriate energy, will help me help others to see things in new ways that help invert expectations and bring what was hidden inside out. The Hanged Man shows that new perspectives, but the contrast of the Lovers—where ideas are clung to far too tightly (the twins of Gemini could be conjoined lovers here), whatever the cost—and Justice—where the viscera are brought out into the open for clear assessment—shows that the deck offers a useful inversion of the inside and outside, not just gentle shifts in perspectives. The light of the Hermit can then shine down to examine the contents that have been presented for inspection. It's a gruesome-if-colorful examination, but for a tarot reader who likes helping others through shadow work, it's a gorgeous affirmation of the Oddity Tarot's utility to my practice. Making sure that its purpose and my practice are clearly articulated, however, is key. If someone chooses this deck for a love reading or for making clear-cut decisions, as indicated by the Lovers, then they might be in for a rude awakening as all kinds of … intestinal matter comes out for examination.
With that understanding, what can't be achieved? The deck offers the opportunity (and directive) to look at all things with the many eyes and multitudinous perspective of Everything. The inversion and new perspectives of the Hanged Man are elevated into all-around seeing, appropriate for the highest good in all ways so that we can examine all. Despite that, there is a warning in this card. The head of Everything has been separated from her body. (Dismemberment and conjoined bodies are two of the other more unusual motifs in the deck.) As with the (decapitated) High Priestess whose wisdom is sought by the Magician, there's a warning that the insight gained from this deck could easily cause pain, and all that gorgeous wisdom can be easily detached from the person when they are not prepared for what they might see.
It's a deck that's not for the faint of heart in more ways than one, and I think there will be a natural lifecycle to my journey with it. Given its big value propositions, I might never be ready for a new lesson with it, at least not as the person I am now (when the Hermit meets Death and the World). When that journey shifts into something else then perhaps we will be ready for a new lesson. But with Everything the deck offers, I'm not in a hurry to skip past this lesson.
The cards pictured here are from the Oddity Tarot, created by Richard Howdy © 2019. My deck is one of the last first edition decks, but the second edition will be available soon from the OddMixMarket Etsy shop.