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Saturday, 24 November 2012

10,000 Words in a Cardboard Box

...or...I am the eggman, they are the eggmen. I am the walrus.
Goo goo g'joob.

Yes, this week we're going back to the psychedelic 60s, as we explore the trippy hippy truths of the Morgan's Tarot by Morgan Robbins, 1970. Actually not a tarot at all but an oracle, the deck consists of 88 black and white line drawings inspired by counterculture philosophy, New Age and certain strains of Tibetan Buddhism. Created by Morgan Robbins, illustrations by Darshan Chorpash. My deck is the 3rd edition, printed in 2009. (I'd love to have one from 1970, obviously. I'm sure it would be curled at the edges, worn soft as silk, and smelling of patchouli!)

I have no idea who Morgan Robbins was, but for some reason when I use this deck, I imagine a drifter wearing denim, on the road, doing casual work frying up eggs in a diner one day, pounding nails the next, hitching from place to place with a guitar on his back and a battered Moleskin diary in his back pocket, where he scribbles his cryptic but profound insights using a stubby pencil nicked from a waitress's apron pocket.

All of the cards in this deck have a lightness and humour belying their depths. Which is entirely appropriate, as nearly every card in the deck means exactly the opposite of what it says. Or it means exactly what it says. Or it means nothing. Or it means everything. The Little White Book is a joy to read, but be prepared to spend time thumbing through it, as the cards are not numbered and have no particular order. The Little White Book explains the cards in no particular order, either. You just have to look through the whole thing to find the card you're after. Then when you find it, the words there will likely make you laugh but may not help much in your interpretation of the card. Here's an example: The Dream.

Morgan's Tarot US Games 2009
The Little White Book says, 'The waking dream is not contained in the head of a dreamer, nor is it outside of reality, nor is it in any unknowable space' (page 22).


Well, I just can't tell you how much I love this deck. The artwork of illustrator, Darshan Chorpash, is effortless and free-form and absolutely perfect for the tone and messages of this oracle. Coloring it would be a travesty. It is perfect just as it is.

I have to share more from the LWB. Here's the intro:

'If you haven't found the switch to universal consciousness, keep looking. Examine Morgan's Tarot and you may find a whole series of switches taking you, O Traveling One, ever closer to the Main Switch. If upon turning various switches it does not seem that you have found the Main Switch, don't be discouraged. Each switch reveals a clue as to the whereabouts of the Main Switch. For those of you who are on automatic control, there is little to say' (page 4).

Are you ready to tune in and turn on? How about a little mood music---


  1. I do think this deck is hilarious, and your write-up, too :D Definitely looking forward to this week!