It’s in the cards

I am wont to review or write about Tarot decks. For me, choosing a Tarot is as personal an endeavor as picking a pair of underwear (boxers? briefs? jocks? thong?), choosing an intimate lover, or making a friend. I rarely, if ever, read deck reviews on other sites because they feel as if someone is pushing a deck on me, or they read as a promo for someone’s self-created deck. I’d much rather choose my Tarot because something about the cards or the art attracts me — or, better yet, have the deck choose me. This way, a connection is established between me and the cards that enhances and makes reading Tarot more immediate and accessible.

I’m temporarily suspending my stance on reviewing Tarot cards because my newest acquisition is so different from anything I’ve seen or used before. After working with St. Jinx’s Arcana, The Gay Tarot: Divine Masculine Edition for several weeks, I have to admit that I am taken by the art, images, symbols, and insightful readings I’ve been getting when using the cards.

(Click on the images to see them in slide-show mode.)

When I first got the deck, I thought I would only add it as part of my Tarot collection; I’d place the cards in an album just like I do with decks I know I am not going to use. Instead, I decided to pull out the cards, asked a few easy to verify questions, and to all but one of the questions the cards responded accurately. Later, as I began using them daily, I was impressed by the insightful and helpful messages the cards yielded. Ever since, The Divine Masculine Tarot has become my daily go to deck for consultations and reading.

I first came across St. Jinx’s Arcana while browsing art on DeviantArt. At the time, the cards were works in progress the artist updated every week or so to showcase his art. I had been searching the Web for a masculine, gay, and Raider-Waite loyal deck I could use for my readings. Given the recent renaissance in Tarot deck publishing, I thought I would find something I’d enjoy using and adding to my collection.

Sadly, most of what I found was either not to my liking or too pretty for my taste. Some of the new decks being published, while excellent in quality and gorgeous in art, did not look like anything I would enjoy working with. I tried my hand with some of the decks I actually liked, but after a few days I grew bored with the cards and returned to one of the two Tarot I’ve been using for years.

When I first saw St. Jinx’s work my interest was aroused right away. Here was a deck that not only referred to the Raider-Waite Tarot, but also had an unapologetic gay version of the cards. St. Jinx’s Arcana Gay Tarot portrayed the Majors in all their naked glory, with fully erect men, and an unapologetically queer sensitivity. There was power and inspiration behind the images he posted on his Deviant Art gallery, and as the Minors were revealed, requests for a printed deck began filling St. Jinx’s Instagram feed.

When discussing St. Jinx’s Divine Masculine Tarot, one has to make a distinction between three current versions of the deck:

ST. JINX ARCANA, THE GAY TAROT: is the original St. Jinx Tarot deck. This deck is made up of 78 cards, including versions of the cards for female Majors (High Priestess, Empress, Justice) and Queens for each suit.

ST. JINX ARCANA, THE GAY TAROT: DIVINE MASCULINE: is a follow up deck made up of the same 78 cards of the St. Jinx Arcana, but the female cards have been replaced by male versions of each. In other words, the High Priestess is now the Mystic; the Empress is The Consort; and the Queens have been replaced with Crown Princes. In addition, the deck contains 12 additional cards representing the Zodiac signs, all in male form.

(Click on the images to see them in side-show mode.)

ST. JINX ARCANA, THE GAY TAROT: DIVINE MASCULINE, XXX Edition: is exactly like the Divine Masculine deck above, but all the figures are fully or almost fully naked, with erect penises, or in sexually suggestive poses. It also contains the 12 Zodiac sign cards, with fully nude images.

(Click on the images to see them in side-show mode.)

St. Jinx has also published expansion decks of the 12 Zodiac cards for anyone who initially bought a Tarot without the Zodiac cards, or anyone who only wishes to use the Zodiac cards alone.

I will address the last two decks, as they are the ones I own and use. But any of these decks should please even the most demanding of Tarot collectors or users — if only for the detailed art and implicit symbolism.

Think of the film 300, a gay version of Game of Thrones, and a gladiator fetish come to life when first opening the Divine Masculine decks. The Majors and Suits are made up of virile, muscled, jock-strapped, tattooed men flaunting their masculinity and endowment without reservation. At first glance, it looks like a gay version of Sparta exploded all over the cards. This may be distracting at first, and certainly a conversation starter at a gay psychic fair, as I have never encountered a deck with such overtly and powerful homoerotic art. When it comes to raw sexuality the Gay Tarot, Brotherhood Tarot, or Cosmic Tribe Tarot pale in comparison. Upon reflection and study, however, one begins to discover that this is no ordinary Tarot, and that the subtlety and genius of St. Jinx’s art rivals any of the current popular decks on the market.

My preferred version of the deck is the Divine Masculine. At first, I thought a deck full of erect penises would be fun to own and read with, but after a few days of shuffling penises, I grew tired and distracted by so many dangling dicks getting in the way. I discovered I much prefer scantily clad guys who leave something to my imagination; the suggestive images became more helpful when divining and kindled more interesting readings. I think my mind gets more actively involved when there is some mystery to what I’m seeing than when something is overtly expressed. The cards, also, have their own sense of foreplay, I discovered.

Raider-Waite purists will find that all of St. Jinx Arcana decks follow what is considered the standard deck to learn and read from. One only has to look at the suit of Swords to find an almost identical representation of the now famous images drawn by Pamela Colman Smith. The Majors follow the classic progression of the Fool’s journey, albeit with a gay twist. Here you will find a Devil who actually makes you want to sin; an Emperor who fully packs his throne; a Star you’d want to make a wish upon; a Sun card in all its glory; and a World card worthy of an Athenian pantheon. Look closely at the Wheel of Fortune, and you will discover the word TARO cleverly hidden in the symbols of the card.

Chaste 03Anyone claiming this is not a serious Tarot deck, I urge to take a closer look and study the cards. Compare the 9 of Pentacles with the Raider-Waite version and tell me what’s different about the two cards except for the dress and sex of the person pictured. Look closely at the throne each of the Consorts and Kings sit upon, and you’ll find them rich with art and embellishments symbolic of each of the suits. Study the tattoos on the men’s bodies, the carefully executed backgrounds, and the images that surround each of the people in the cards and you will discover this is no ordinary Tarot deck. This is as real a deck as they come.

What I love most about St. Jinx’s Divine Divine Masculine Tarot is the positive, gay-affirming, confidence in the images. There is no shame in these cards. When men parry in the 5 of Wands, it makes me wonder what they are parrying Chaste 01.jpgabout and makes me want to join in the action. When I look at the 4 of Wands, I’d love to be one of the men holding hands, wearing…whatever they are wearing. The Lovers card makes me want to fall in love with a gladiator. I would allow the 6 of Swords to take me on a boat ride through Hades. I’d date and fuck the 9 of Pentacles any day. And the things I’d do to the Hanged Man are illegal everywhere – except in a gay leather bar.

If I made a mistake about St. Jinx’s Arcana, it was that I did not take it seriously enough at first. Being a “gay” deck, I regarded it as a curio more than a serious divination tool. That was my fault. On a whim, I put the Divine Masculine deck through its paces, used it for personal readings, asked it a number of trick questions, and in the end I found St. Jinx’s Arcana to be an accurate deck, full of insight, accuracy, and a delightful sense of humor. If I had to put a face to the deck to mark it’s personality, I’d point to The Hanged Man or the similar-looking man in the 5 of Wands card. To me, the deck is as friendly, fun, good-humored, and sexually charged as the man on those cards.

Chaste 06.jpg

I’m quite pleased with St. Jinx’s final results. Looking through the numerous comments followers leave on his Instagram feed, his is a popular deck I won’t be surprised to find in any gay man’s or serious Tarot owner collection, and rightly so. St. Jinx is a talented artist. He is the same artist who designed and drew the art for this year’s Stone & Stang poster, and the Unnamed Path Brothers are grateful and pleased with the end result. St. Jinx is also not only talented as an artist, but the kind of person you’d want to get to know and have as a friend. If I were 30 years younger…nevermind that…but I encourage everyone to follow his art on Instagram or become a sponsor of his work on Patreon. The monthly rewards are well worth the contributions.

And if you ever wanted to learn to read Tarot, but didn’t know which Tarot deck to choose, look no further than the Divine Masculine Tarot. This deck will one day be regarded as a classic. Trust me: it’s in the cards!