Deck Interview: The Linestrider Tarot
The Linestrider Tarot sold me at the imagery, but it had my heart at the line “dance on the edge between magic and logic.” I love the idea of magic, and I love the reality of logic. One plays a more obvious role in my life than the other, but I know that my life is better for a belief in both, even if I’m always questioning one (and sometimes the other). This deck is also one of the first two decks I bought that did not use Pamela Colman Smith’s artwork; the other was the Tattoo Tarot, which I discuss elsewhere. For whatever reason, I like to buy my decks in pairs, and I often see two decks as complementing each other when I buy them, but in this case, the Linestrider actually needs no complementary alternative.
In my broader summary of the Linestrider, part of my overview of decks available for use in a reading, I mention its soft surface and cutting edges. I got this sense of a dual nature from my initial interview with the deck, and it has only been confirmed for me in the many readings I’ve done with the deck since. At the time, I was more surprised by the dreamy quality of many of the cards that I pulled, and the harshness of the Chariot felt like an idiosyncratic experience. As I got to know the deck better, I realized that the harshness was part of its insight, and one of its strengths as it was telling me in this very first interview. As with the other interviews, I used the @matchatofu Tumblr tarot interviewing spread; the page no longer exists, but you can Google it.
INterviewing the Linestrider Tarot
Tell me about yourself. Knight of Cups.
What are your strengths? The Chariot. And your limitations? Two of Wands (reversed).
What are you here to help me learn? The High Priestess.
How can I work with you most effectively? Four of Pentacles (reversed).
Where is our partnership headed? Six of Swords.
I recognize that there’s a certain amount of confirmation bias in these interviews based on the deck’s marketing and the reader’s first impression of the deck’s imagery, but this one struck me as a pretty exciting first deck interview. Right away I was being invited to go with my gut and my intuition: the High Priestess was the most immediate sign of this, but you can see it in the intuitively driven Knight of Cups and the directness of the Chariot driver. The spread also shows a fair amount of the misty, fantastical qualities of the deck, from that same fantastical Knight to the Six of Swords rowing off to a castle in the sky. I have a lot of unexpected insights while using this deck thanks to the ambiguity of some of its images. A dark splotch could signal clouded vision, it could give an overall dreamy quality to the reading, or it might signal something unsettling like a burning building or bruised limb. There’s a lot of room to interpret the cards with such illustrations here, and in that regard the Rorschach-like deck backing is perfectly appropriate.
When I first read this interview, I saw the reversed Two of Wands as a sign that this deck couldn’t help someone make decisions all that easily, perhaps because all the visual input would be too much, and you’d end up with analysis paralysis. As a result, I saw this as a deck for personal investigations, very much in the realm of tarot therapy (or “tarotpy”): looking into one’s soul’s purpose or digging into shadow work to suss out the secrets we hide from ourselves. I’ve actually used it quite successfully for decision making, and I realize now that the reversed Two of Wands was not suggesting a lack of decision-making power so much as a guide that this deck may be more helpful for people who have already developed plans but aren’t sure how to go about realizing them or solving problems with them. I was also unsure how to interpret the reversed Four of Pentacles, thinking that it might not be helpful for readings related to business, career, or finance. Thankfully, that’s not true and I quickly put that idea aside. The reversed Four is a good message to me about letting go of old habits and interpretations, and that certainly ties into the gut punch offered by the Chariot and the sacred insight of the High Priestess.
What I gained from the Chariot was a bit of a surprise to me. I was energized by the new deck and my increased sense of community online (remember that I was only a few months into an online tarot practice after years offline), and I knew any new deck would give me a burst of energy and drive, but the Chariot’s “heart” hinted at the depths of the Linestrider in a way that was totally unexpected. At the center of the image is a bird in a splotch of warm colors. The well-written and thoughtful guide (by author/artist Siolo Thompson) explains it poignantly, but to me it was, and always has been, an image of roadkill and of a crushed heart. To me it’s a reminder of the responsibility that the fast-paced and powerful Chariot has, and we have to be careful with such focused drive. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this type of secondary detail can be found throughout the cards in this deck. The details are not all so literally central to the image, and often they’re not clearly related to the traditional meanings of the deck, but they’re there and they give great insight. It’s no wonder to me now that this card was in the Strengths position for this deck because those seemingly minor details are some of my favorite pieces of the deck.
Months later, I still think that this deck delivers a heck of a punch to my senses, activating my intuition in order to seek out the most relevant signs in the cards. It does often mean that I spend a little longer than I should in just looking at the cards and getting lost in the dreamy quality of their images, as hinted at by the Knight of Cups, but the insights I find on the other side mean that it’s worth getting lost in them.
The cards shown are from—you guessed it!—the Linestrider Tarot by Siolo Thompson © 2016 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125. All rights reserved, used by permission.