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Review of the Quantum Tarot (Version 2.0)

This article was written by Barbara Moore on November 30, -0001
posted under Quantum Tarot


The Quantum Tarot is a magical blend of traditional Tarot and modern science. Featuring images from the Hubble Space telescope, myths join quantum theory on cards of natural beauty. Highlighted with subtle gloss printing, the images invite you to delve into the secrets of the universe and the secrets of your own soul. 

In-Depth Review:

There are a great many reasons people buy Tarot decks.

One reason is to learn about something else, something not related to Tarot at all.

You see, once you are familiar the structure of a Tarot deck and know the meanings of the cards, you have a foundation of understanding upon which you can hang anything. This gives you an instant bridge between yourself and the unknown subject. The Tarot becomes a frame, a metaphor, that facilitates learning.

The Quantum Tarot is an excellent example. Someone who wants to learn more about modern science can use this deck to gain a basic understanding of the major principles of contemporary scientists. Then, if they wish, they can read articles and books without being totally lost, as they will have a basic vocabulary already in place.

Another reason someone might buy a deck is as a gift.

Contrariwise, a science geek can use this deck to learn Tarot. I think the instances of this happening is probably less, but then again, if you know a science geek who has expressed interest in Tarot, this would make a great gift.

Sometimes people buy decks because they like the art.

The art of the Quantum Tarot is created using, I assume, computer generation and photo collage. Many of the photos are from NASA, particularly the Hubble Space Telescope. You can read more about the source photos here: http://www.quantumtarot.co.uk/qtimagesource.htm

The art reminds me of the Quest Tarot, so if you have/like that, you might like this as well. However, even if that art is not your style there is still something amazing and powerful about reading images taken from a space telescope. Humans have always turned to the stars for guidance, after all.

As if that weren’t enough, the cards have spot gloss that adds to the reading experience both visually and tactilely. The spot gloss invites…no, compels…you to go slower, look deeper at each card. It is a fascinating and unique experience.

The deck makes good use of the Tarot structure. The Major Arcana cards illustrate major scientific theories. The Minor Arcana cards provide specific examples that illustrate those theories. The Court Cards are constellations and planets. Below are examples from the booklet for each of these:

The Hermit: Subatomic Particles

About 100 years ago scientists thought that atoms were the smallest constituents of matter in the universe. They visualized atoms as solid little balls, like miniscule billiard balls. But the early decades of the 20th century saw a series of discoveries that revealed the new wonders of the subatomic world. Atoms were not fundamental particles at all, but miniature solar systems made up of a nucleus of protons and neutrons, with one or more negatively-charged electrons whizzing round in orbit. Further discoveries in the nineteen-sixties revealed that protons, neutrons and electrons weren’t fundamental either, but were made up of still smaller particles knows as quarks. The Quantum Hermit represents this idea of a hidden world awaiting discovery. He shines his light into mysterious corners and leads us far away from the crowd into reflection and contemplation. He may signal a physical withdrawal from the world, or a more subtle realigning of attention away from the everyday into the deeper mysteries of the inner world.

5 of Cups: Particle Decay

Particles do not actually decay in the sense of physically falling apart. Instead they are changed into other, lighter particles through the effects of the weak [atomic] force. This process is irrevocable—the particles can never return to their original form. In the suit of Cups, the combative energy of the fives is experienced as a distressing sense of loss. In any conflict there tends to be a winner and a loser and the 5 of Cups focuses on loss. This card is about recognizing and acknowledging the finality of loss, but it also gently reminds us what we may yet gain.

Queen of Swords: Cassiopeia

Cassiopeia is an easily recognizable constellation in the northern hemisphere with its characteristic “W” shape. The mythological Cassiopeia was a bit of a troublemaker. She claimed that her beauty rivaled Poseidon’s sea nymph’s, which enraged the unpredictable sea god. As a punishment her daughter Andromeda was chained to a rock at sea as a sacrifice to the monster Cetus. When she was rescued by Perseus, Cassiopeia plotted to kill him at their wedding. The Assyrians give Cassiopeia another dress, depicting her as a beneficent grain goddess. The Queen of Swords represents wisdom gained through experience and often suffering. She has honed the sword of her mind and gained the maturity to deploy it wisely. She can hold the mental energy of Swords, knowing when to speak and when to stay silent.

The images are loosely based on RWS compositions. If you look at them and think about them, you will see the connections. And as you saw in the examples, the pairings of the card and scientific concept are very well done.

The booklet spends most of its limited space on the cards, both traditional Tarot meanings and science. There is no instruction for reading the cards, so an absolute beginner would be a bit lost if this was their first deck. There is a verbal description of two spreads, but  no layout, so one wouldn’t know how to lay them on the table. 

Deck Attributes

Name of deck: Quantum Tarot
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
ISBN: 9780738726694
Creators’ names: Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler
Brief biography of creator: Kay Stopforth has been reading the Tarot for nearly twenty years and is the author of two decks, the Quantum Tarot and the Universe Cards. Her particular obsession is the ways in which the Tarot can illuminate and feed the creative process.
Artist’s name:  Chris Butler
Brief biography of artist: Chris Butler is an internationally renowned artist, public speaker, and educational program producer whose work focuses on science, nature, and maritime subjects. His illustrations have appeared in thousands of publications worldwide, from the Times of London to Scientific American. A graduate of California State University Fullerton’s school of Television and Film Production, Chris has served as a art director and animator on both educational and entertainment programs. Among his screen credits are the National Geographic IMAX film “Forces of Nature” (2003) and Griffith Observatory’s “Centered in the Universe,” (2006).
Name of accompanying book: Quantum Tarot
Number of pages of book: 128, 55 in English
Author of book: Kay Stopforth
Available in a boxed kit?: Yes
If yes, are there extras in the kit? No
Reading Uses: General
Artistic Style: photographic, computer generated
Original Medium: photographic, digital
Theme: science, space
Tarot, Divination Deck, Other: Tarot
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: Yes
Does it have extra cards? If yes, what are they?: Yes: The Universe and The Phoenix

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