The Frideborg Tarot is a photographic deck, with images selected by Lisa (Frideborg) Eddy (2016 – email her if you’re interested in getting a copy, or you can download the digital version for free!) I was somewhat surprised to hear someone say that choosing a bunch of images and calling them a deck isn’t really creating a tarot. From illustrating blog posts and presentations, I know just how much time and effort goes into finding images that illustrate the point you want to express in the best possible way. The choices you make in life are creative: they create your identity, as well as the physical manifestations that others also perceive. On top of that, there’s the effort that goes into editing things up to get a consistent feel, adjusting the colour balance and so on. Suffice it to say, I consider this a proper tarot, and a very interesting one at that.
The Frideborg Tarot
There is a rich vibrancy to many of the cards in this deck, and an everyday-ness that belies the depth of their meanings. The Magician is a perfect case in point. On the one hand, the shimmering jewel tones of this emerald leaf and neon dragonfly are incredibly exotic-looking. On the other hand, it’s an insect. Yet, the connection of the dragonfly to water and air, and to dragons, have led this creature to be considered a psychopomp: a guide able to travel between dimensions. Not a traditional Magician, then, but one who can choose between different elements and states, finding the most appropriate to achieve his purpose.
The Court cards in this deck are equally mundane and yet expressive. The Page of Pentacles shows a little boy exploring the world through books. While this could be more the realm of the Page of Swords, I notice the way he balances on the too-big bench, and is bathed in the warm sunlight streaming in through a window to his side. His exploration includes a sensory immersion in the world, as well as more traditional “study”.
I drew the Ace of Cups to illustrate this aspect of the deck. And isn’t this a wonderful card? The heart is an opening in a barred, wooden door. In the same way, our body separates us from the rest of the world, yet we are not totally closed off if our heart is open. Open to others, open to the divine in the form of the light streaming across it.
The Four of Cups is a very unusual card. I have to admit I needed to hear from Lisa what this was before I could make sense of it. She said it is the base of a vase. I don’t know what her reasons for choosing it were. What that idea brings up for me is the fact that we are looking at the boring base, when a vase is designed to hold beautiful flowers higher up. As in the traditional Four of Cups, we are missing the beauty that life offers us if we focus only on the vase’s base, not seeing the gift of the blooms above.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, the images sometimes take a little thought, a little understanding. This is just one of the factors that make this deck more than just a bunch of random images. Lisa’s experience as a reader, as well as her wide-ranging knowledge of astrological correspondences, have gone into her choices. And if you don’t immediately ‘get’ a card, you can always ask Lisa, or other fans of the deck, on the Facebook page she has set up for it 🙂 All told, it’s a fascinating, insightful, playful and attractive deck, rather like its creator!