I See Brains in Your Future: Cassie-la Tests Out the Zombie Tarot from Stacey Graham

Coming June 5th from one of our favorite book publishing companies Quirk Books is a tarot card set with a fun unique take on all themed tarot card sets before it. With a detailed 96 page instruction booklet from Stacey Graham and gorgeous artwork from Paul Kepple, this 78 card tarot deck is a double threat. Triple if you take into consideration the zombie theme. The Zombie Tarot: An Oracle of the Undead is perfect for getting yourself out of a sticky undead situation.

What makes this deck so unique is how it takes the theme to a whole new level. I have a Vertigo themed deck, and while it is beautifully illustrated by Dave McKean, that’s as far as the theme goes: the illustrations on the cards. The Zombie Tarot on the other hand is both illustrated with a zombie theme and then takes that theme to another level. This set was created to guide those during the zombie apocalypse out of certain situations. Inside the fully illustrated instruction booklet is detailed how the undead started to rise- after a toxic spill- and explains how the cards should be used, to get yourself out of a sticky situation. Stuck in a location with limited supplies? Not sure where to hide or what provisions to stock up on? The Zombie Tarot can help make informed decisions for your future.

For a quick look at why you should buy the Zombie Tarot, please read my Product Spotlight on the geek-centric website CulturSHOCK. For an in-depth look at the un-boxing and specific tarot card spreads, keep reading. Or you can do both. ::puppy dog eyes::

So much attention was paid to the work on the tarot box that it would be remiss of me not to explore it. In addition to portraying the 50’s theme to a buyer, it reveals what one can expect to find inside, from the actual cards to the purpose: that this set is a weapon to use during the apocalypse. This idea is weaved through catchy phrases like, “Insight and ammunition for surviving the undead uprising” and “high caliber divination”. When you open the box the outside of the base is even decorated with ammunition shells to tie this theme of the cards as a weapon together.

Inside the box is the instruction booklet, which tells you how to perform a reading, from what the cards mean and how they function to the different spreads you can use. There are five spreads in all: the Beginner, the Broken Heart, the Gravestone, the Eyeball, and the Severed Head- I have detailed my three favorite spreads below. The booklet- in addition to explaining the cards and telling the story of the apocalypse- continues the 50’s theme, set up like something straight out of the era, complete with vintage advertisements in the back for products like Zombigone.

This first spread is recommended for beginners, with the first card representing the past, the second the present and the final the future. Pretty simple for someone just getting adjusted to a tarot reading and for the purposes of this unboxing. I’ll be using it to show the multifaceted nature of this deck.

The Queen of Wands represents someone caring, who sacrifices herself but comes with a fiery temper and maybe a missing appendage. This could represent a literal person such as a mother or a zombie you have met in your travels. The present is represented by the Eight of Hazards, which tells me I need to put my talents to different uses and think outside the box. Pretty interesting considering where I’m striving to go career career-wise on my non-traditional path. In the future, represented by the Three of Cups, it looks like I have a celebration/partnership to look forward to, a union between man and zombie through “wedding, birth, or new partnership”. All pretty eery considering I’m getting married this time next year. Whether used traditionally or not traditionally, this really is a very diverse deck, and Graham took the time to use the more conventional meanings behind the cards and give them a fun zombie twist too. It’s not just for the apocalypse.

Next up is the spread called the Gravestone, which is used to, “Identify and deal with an important issue in your life”. The cards represent varied things from questions to unforeseen forces affecting the issue, the outcome, etc. This particular layout shows a good example of the Major Arcana, specifically the Devil (a cigarette machine) and the Chariot (a giant old school station wagon). Whereas the Minor Arcana is made up of four suits: Cups, Wands, Swords, and Hazards which is then divided into Aces, Twos through Tens, Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings to represent “traits, behaviors, and tendencies”, the Major Arcana is different. The Major Arcana tells a story in 24 cards, from the Fools journey into being to the end of the World. For example, the Chariot tells of progress and forward momentum in your life and the Devil is temptation and excess.

The final spread is my favorite: the Severed Head. Not only is it set up like a human body, but it’s meant to get a more in-depth, complete look at a situation, just like severing a head frees it up from the neck for a 360 degree view of the world. It also combines elements from both the Beginner and the Gravestone, focusing on issues in your life, what effects it, and the immediate past, present, and future. This spread happens to show off some of the most beautiful cards, from the Fool gleefully bringing flowers to a gravestone with a zombie emerging from it to the Hanged Man which symbolizes a turning point or sacrifice, illustrated as a man hanging from his feet above some ravenous zombies.

Zombie lovers and tarot card enthusiasts rejoice, this is the deck for you. Whether you need help with the zombie scourge, or just a little more guidance in your life with a zombie twist, don’t forget to pre-order your own Zombie Tarot to get in on all the fun!


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