East Lansing artist starts work on original tarot deck

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In these uncertain times, wouldn’t you like to have a better picture of the future? For some, tarot cards offer a supernatural sense of knowing and control. Shuffling the tarot deck and picking cards at random is like putting all of your faith in fate, letting go and hoping for the best.

Noah Boyd, 24, who uses they/them pronouns, started producing their own tarot cards last year. Boyd bought a deck using the Hot Topic employee discount years ago as a bored kid working at the mall. It sat dormant for a long time before Boyd decided to learn the secrets that lay within it.

“It was something in my possession and I wanted to get into it. I originally approached it from a creative aspect, hoping to make my own tarot deck,” Boyd said. “Learning about the cards and what they represented then gave me an appreciation for tarot as a whole.”

Boyd honed their graphic design skills in high school computer classes and during their studies at Lansing Community College. Boyd works primarily with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, employing digital manipulation effects and bright colors to create trippy visuals inspired by neo-futurist/cyberpunk aesthetics à la “Blade Runner.”

So far, Boyd has made 10 cards out of 70 right. Like many artists, they have a large stockpile of unfinished projects lingering in the depths of their computer.

Boyd’s design process is basically nonexistent. Instead, they tend to go with the flow. “With my designs, I mostly shoot from the hip. I would look for a card that struck me and start from there,” Boyd said. Still, Boyd seemed hesitant about the quality of their artwork. Or, at least, they seemed determined to make sure that their vision is realized perfectly. Boyd has admittedly high standards.

“I have a folder of like 90 cards that I have started on and then started over from scratch. I wish I could show you, it’s so many,” laughed Boyd. “A couple have been daunting to me, like my favorites.”

Boyd’s favorites include the Five of Cups and the Fool. They said that they like the Five of Cups specifically because it looks “emo,” and it has the same aesthetic of a typical mid-’00s rock album cover. Boyd has an affinity for emo bands of the era, such as My Chemical Romance.

Their relationship to the Fool is more personal. “It’s always had an interesting effect on me. It’s resonated with me for a long time.”

Boyd also learned how to properly give tarot readings. They started learning online, then moved to books. “Books are more consistent. There’s a lot of weird information online,” they explained. “There are a couple sites I trust, like BiddyTarot. It will give you an all right idea of the symbolism of the cards.”

Boyd said that it’s entirely possible to be bad at tarot readings. To learn how to do it right takes time and dedication. Even they haven’t finished learning the symbolism behind every single card in the deck. “Some cards have art on them that are pretty easy to draw symbolism from. Sometimes the cards are more complex,” said Boyd. “A lot of it is intuition, practice, getting to know your own deck and how you can work with it.”

For beginners, Boyd recommended keeping a journal after each reading.

“To get the best reading out of tarot, you should have confidence in yourself and be in the right state of mind,” they said. “A lot of stress and anxiety can affect your tarot readings. Everyone will be kind of bad off it right off the bat, unless you have some sort of innate psychic ability.”

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