by Laurie Silver
THE TAROT OF WHY
The “Tarot of Why” is a singularly unique deck. It speaks in a variety of voices on a variety of levels, and is exceptional for introspection. The deck reflects many of creator (and Renaissance man) Ron Campbell’s vocations and avocations. Ron is an artist, writer, poet, playwright, actor, verbal and visual punster, eastern philosopher, martial artist, juggler, clown, seeker, sailor, teacher, and world traveler.
Ron’s deck is a visual delight, an excellent deck for those who often read for themselves. It’s aesthetic is actively engaging and curiously calming. It communicates through the synergy of its earthy, comforting color palette and a series of contemplative images, along with a few saucy (but tasteful) cards for fun. The deck has a decidedly Eastern flair, but retains enough consistency with traditional Rider-Waite imagery to be accessible to both old hands and those new to tarot.
The monks, martial artists and actors who populate the cards reflect a balanced, visually cohesive aesthetic that gently guide the reader towards consequential answers to penetrating questions. While the cards invite the reader to look for substantive insights, they also speak playfully, and may gently chide the querant with a clever visual or psychological pun.
The Tarot of Why is populated with jugglers, masked actors, monks and martial artists. The martial artists lack the aggression of warriors- they’re more open, posing questions the way perhaps an Aikido master might- nonviolently, subtly deflecting any inner aggression or emotional antagonism inherent in questions people often ask the cards. By nimbly evading any subtle psychological hostility that may be implicit in those questions, the cards gently encourage you to explore your interior landscape through their central message, which is, quite simply, the question “WHY?”This question appears in many of the cards either as a question mark in the design, as the psychological subtext of the visual story being told by individual cards, or both.
Masks appear recurrently, primarily in theatrical contexts, but their presence raises the question of who the querant is behind their own mask, asking the question “Why?” through the adjacent question “WHO,” a question that invariably leads us to inquire how our contrived facades contribute to our “WHY’s.”
Tarot reading at its best isn’t necessarily a vehicle through which to determine who, what, when or where, but perhaps most importantly, WHY? We may have no control over our external circumstances, but we can always control our response to those externals. By understanding our reactions to events we can gain mastery over our inner experience, and insight leading to emotional self mastery reduces suffering. While a less self-aware person is at the mercy of both external events and their unexamined reactivity to those events, those with insight into why they respond the way they do have the requisite tools to improve their inner experience to whatever may cross their path. For those of us hoping to more gracefully manage the vicissitudes of daily life, the Tarot of Why is the perfect tool for gaining greater insight into our own natural, unconscious reactivity: how to recognize it, how to work with it, and how mitigate its negative effects and maximize our effectiveness.
The Tarot of Why became an immediate favorite of mine, a warm and wonderful friend. In all honesty, when I opened it, it was love at first sight. Bravo, Ron Campbell, for your incredibly distinctive deck!