The Literary Tarot

Created by Brink Literacy Project

A Tarot Deck Unlocking the Secrets of Classic Literature—join us as we delve into the libraries of history, unearthing secrets of the cosmos through the wisdom of our favorite classic stories… Join an all-star team of beloved authors—including Margaret Atwood, Stephen Fry, Roxane Gay, Patrick Rothfuss, and Celeste Ng—as they pair literary works with each card in the tarot, unlocking the secrets of the arcana through the world's most powerful stories. All proceeds from this store go toward our nonprofit mission to increase literacy rates, nurture emerging and marginalized voices, and help people living on the brink to unlock the potential inside themselves! Brink Literacy Project is a 501(c)(3) & Scottish Registered Charity

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Big Book, Lovers Booster, & Arcana Deep Dive
11 months ago – Thu, Jun 17, 2021 at 03:27:17 PM

Hello lovely backers!

What a great weekend! We blew through our fifth stretch goal (woot!), swanking out all our mini guidebooks. Now this little baby is gonna sparkle:

And now we can reveal the NEXT stretch goal, something you all have been asking for since the very first day. OUR BIG GUIDEBOOK will be available as an add on the moment we unlock this bad boy...

You heard me right, we’re going to unlock a big old monstrous look at every single card in the deck (full page art, card meaning, and the pairing logic from all our celebs). When we unlock this beauty, I’ll be back to give you an in-depth look at the book, show off some pages, and give you a cool little compare-and-contrast view of the mini-guidebook verse this huge beast!

In the meantime, thank you all for your questions about the Arcana issue and F(r)iction (and for your patience as I got all these pretty graphics ready for you). Here's a look at the add-on issues of our lovely books...


For all of you at the Reader Tier (or who added a subscription onto your pledge!), you’ll be getting an issue of F(r)iction all about the mysteries of the Arcana. Here’s a look at the INCREDIBLE interior artwork going into that fine issue…

Arcana includes over 20 stories, essays, poems, comics, and memoirs all delving into magic and mystery. Get ready for stage magicians tapping into real magic. A quiz helping you figure out if your wife is a changeling (or just devilishly free thinking). There’s a heart wrenching memoir about a tarot reading that changed the author’s life forever. Poetry about the joy (and terror) of creating. There’s even an original comic by Rebecca Roanhorse, taking us on a mystical adventure into the cauldron of creation.

Every story, whether about tarot directly or brimming with a different magic, is art directed to pull tarot cards into the scene, using the power of each card's meaning to bring important themes forward. Here's a particular favorite of mine, from the very first story we locked for this issue (story by Chelsea Sutton, art by Suit of Parchment artist, Brad Clayton). Just guess what this story is about by these three spot illustrations...


For those of you snagging a subscription as an add-on, you’ll see a lot of familiar faces from the tarot contributors in our pages (if you’re curious how we knew so many amazing authors, that's how!), but our real passion is to launch new careers and elevate marginalized voices. So get ready to read work from emerging talent that you don’t know about yet…huge emphasis on the "yet."

To bring each unique theme to life, each issue is reimaged anew. For example, take a gander at the different color palettes, interior design, and aesthetic direction for our last few beauties…

Just like this tarot deck, the proceeds from the sales of all our issues go to support our nonprofit mission to use storytelling to change the world.


Over 1,200 votes have been cast, and this vote was CLOSE (well, aside from Seven and their Death campaign. But one cannot try to fight the power of Seven—or our “Fairy God Seven” as I like to refer to them on Slack).

This means the Booster pack will include new cards for Death, Lovers, the Fool, the Moon, and (by ten whole votes) the Star.

So let’s start with Lovers!

What we need to do is brainstorm a few options (out of copyright please, so we get to use all these funds for the charity and not legal fees) that capture the heart of the Lovers card! Toss all your ideas into the comments here, and I’ll collect the most popular in a Google Poll for the next update!

For anyone wanting to add this booster pack to their collection, it’s in the add-on section for five buckeroos!

Thank you all again for being a part of this crazy project. I’m so excited to (fingers crossed) unlock that big guidebook and see the art for your boosters!


Dani, Helen, and the Brinkeroos

Booster Packs, Final Postcard, and the High Priestess
11 months ago – Sat, Jun 12, 2021 at 04:54:39 AM

Hello lovely backers!

I’m stoked to announce we broke through yet another stretch goal, and now everyone who backed for a physical deck will ALSO get three swanky postcards for FREE! Woot!

So far, The Moon (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) and The World (King Arthur) have won the first two spots, but the last card is being decided RIGHT NOW. Here's what we are selecting from...

There are a few more hours left to vote, so please do help us decide here.


Inspired by our tarot advisor and all around badass, Seven, we’re taking a page from their Alleyman playbook and creating a swanky little booster pack of five favorite cards from the deck with BRAND-NEW pairings and art. You can keep in the originals. You can swap them out. You can hide them in unsuspecting bookstores. It’s up to you!

But who will decide these pairings?

After reading all your comments and messages over the last 10 days, we’ve decided to pass the gauntlet entirely over to you all! Thus, we’ll be tackling this in stages.

Stage 1: Vote for which five Major Arcana cards you all would like to feature in the booster pack via this Google Form (We do hear the concerns from some backers on social media polls on twitter, so we’re shifting over to Google Forms for this booster pack vote).

Stage 2: We’ll announce the top voted cards next week, and then open it up to possible pairing options in the comments.

Stage 3: Card by card, we’ll bring the top pairing options you all suggested to the entire backer community and have you all vote on your favorite!

Stage 4: We’ll commission out the art and then keep you posted with the thumbnail concept progress, allowing the community to weigh in at each step of the creation (so you get the exact same experience that each of our celebrity authors do! Woot!).


Just when you thought the roster couldn’t get any swankier, guess who’s taking up the mantle of the High Priestess (could there really be a more fitting author?). Pairing reveal to come…


Speaking of reveals, did you check out this other stellar author joining the team?

Alright, my friends, I’ll be back next week with which Major Arcana cards you all wanted in the Booster Pack, and we can start pairing those bad boys up! Have a great weekend, and—as always—thank you so much for being a part of this project!


Dani, Helen, and all the Brinkeroos!

Postcard Poll, Pairing Logic, & Catherynne M. Valente Reveal
11 months ago – Fri, Jun 11, 2021 at 04:48:25 PM

Hello lovely backers!

We are now officially into week two, and how amazing is it to see over 6,600 folks supporting our little deck! Woot! Thank you all so much for joining in his mad caper!

As we edge up to unlocking our next stretch goal (some very swanky postcards!), we’re setting up polls so you can vote on the cards you want. The first poll is doing on RIGHT NOW, and there are a few more hours left to cast your vote on which of these lovely cards you fancy!

Next up, as always, I have some fun press updates, including a GREAT article in Sci-Fi Wire:

“An incredible …. pairing [of] legendary stories from throughout literature with stunning art and guidebook entries from some of the best writers in comics, prose, and beyond.” — SYFY WIRE

Also, if you missed it:

  • Podcast by UNDERCOVER CAPES where Dani didn’t realize it would be video and keeps sunglasses on the whole time (bad Dani)…


Wow, you all were incredibly good at the Tarot Guessing Game last time! Spot on for The Great Gatsby (paired by Erin Morgenstern) and A Midsummer’s Night Dream (paired by Ellen Azevedo). There was not a single incorrect guess in the comments (well done!).

But fair warning: this week is gonna be harder…

Aren’t these babies lovely? For those of you who CANNOT wait until the next update to know what pairing each beautiful card brings to life, check out that Sci-Fi Wire article! It’s got all the secrets.


Of course, we have now entered the dreaded middle phase of Kickstarter, where—like Odysseus’s crew battling those sirens—we will all move carefully toward our goal, trying to escape rocky obstacles. For anyone excited enough to jump into the crow’s nest and help navigate, please keep sharing this lovely project with your lit and tarot lovers!

We’re very excited about some of our high-level stretch goals (which include so many of the things you’ve been clamoring for in the comments), and goodness, we so want to get to those magical shores!

For those inclined to help (THANK YOU), please tweet out this URL and explain why you are excited to back Literary Tarot on Twitter (it's a special link so we can track the action (woot math brain activated!)):


Don’t forget to tag @LiteraryTarot!


You’ve been wondering why Cups are Light and how Pentacles became Parchment, and we are HERE TO TELL YA! Let’s take a look at the pairing logic that took Sam and I months to work out, including hours of chatting with witchy folks and tarot readers from around the global (and one epic argument with my D&D group):

You’ll note how all of our suits need one another in order to actualize. To create beautiful stories (both literally and metaphorically) you need to nurture your intuition and imagination (light), translate it into language and logic (ink), conjure it into existence through action (quills), and then commit the damn thing to the material world (parchment).


And that’s it for us, my dear backers! Please have the loveliest of days and I hope to pop back soon to announce some unlocked stretch goals!


Dani, Helen, and all the Brinkeroos

Sparkly Boxes, Guessing Games, and Brian Michael Bendis Reveal...
12 months ago – Tue, Jun 08, 2021 at 12:48:40 AM

Hello again!

Wow, what a week, eh? We blasted through our first THREE stretch goals (woot woot!), broke 6,000 backers, and created such a little social media storm that my face hurts from smiling! And all of this is down to all of you


Honestly, you’re gonna get sick of us saying it, but the love you all have shown for this zany project is incredible. I hope you all know what a huge impact you’re having on our nonprofit work (and our hearts).

Right, enough gushing, let’s get down to the cool stuff!

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how we create the pairings and art, and I got to GUSH about the authors and artists in the following interview with COMICS BEAT. You’ll want to check this out, especially since I reveal the logic behind Celeste Ng’s Hangman pairing.


Check out these beauties, dear friends, and take a stab at their pairings. Lots of people have been asking me about the one on the left (as it’s been revealed on the KS page but not labeled) and the press got their hands on the one on the right (so if you NEED to cheat, you can find the answer in the exclusive art reveal that VOL 1. BROOKLYN snagged).


Speaking of beautiful art, if you're curious about JUST HOW LONG it took Sam (our major arcana artist) and me to figure out the colors and style for this deck, check out this video (it condenses 2 weeks of work into 58 seconds). Tells us which rejected WIP you love the, you know, validate all those hours of failure.


Last week, we upgraded our cards to be thicker and gilded with gold, AND over the weekend, we unlocked our gold book boxes! Since you all are so awesome (and crying for it in the comments), we're gonna break our one-goal-at-a-time rule, and show off the next two...

If we unlock this baby, we're gonna create a system so you all can vote on the cards you'd most like to be turned into these swanky postcards. If you wanna take part in that, please follow @LiteraryTarot on Twitter! 

And next up...


I also know that a lot of you are dying to know what some of your favorite authors are pairing. So we are going to reveal one right now...


You know how I said my face was tired from smiling? Well, here are some of the top contenders for cheek-aching joy:

I know this isn’t a pun on F(r)iction...but I’m gonna pretend it is:

How great is it to see our contributors backing the project?

Thank you all again for being so darn amazing. Your kindness and enthusiasm are infectious and we’re so moved by your support. From the entire Brink team: THANK YOU!


Dani, Helen, and the Brinkeroos!

Stretch Goals, Interviews, Card Backs, oh my!
12 months ago – Fri, Jun 04, 2021 at 01:40:16 AM

Hello our dear backers!

We weren’t planning to come back to you all until Friday, but goodness me, the momentum just has NOT slowed down. For that, we have to thank you. So many of you have been sharing the project on social, reaching out to give us your stretch goal ideas, and tagging your friends in our project posts!

Thank you SO MUCH. Honestly, it means the world to us.

Speaking of incredible support, the Eisner-Award-winning WOMEN WRITE ABOUT COMICS, interviewed Dani. Here’s a taste of the very nice things they said about us:

“If there was ever a tarot deck that was designed for avid readers, the Literary Tarot is it. This deck, which is being published by the Brink Literacy Project, aims to seamlessly marry classic and modern literature in an innovative way. Each of the traditional 78 tarot cards represents a piece of classic literature which shares themes with the meaning of the card—and in a beautiful marriage of the old and the new, each of those selections was made by a beloved modern author. And when I say beloved, we’re talking about a star-studded cast of characters here! ”— WOMEN WRITE ABOUT COMICS

Read the whole thing here.

Card Pairing Reveals

Speaking of how smart and awesome you all are, I was blown away by how many of you guessed the cards from yesterday correctly! Here are the full card descriptions:

“The Monkey Paw” as the Three of Quills

Stephen Graham Jones (The Only Good Indians) gives us a taste of ironic, bitter consequences by pairing the Three of Quills, a card all about heartbreak, grief, and loss with the classic short story, “The Monkey’s Paw.” The paw, through which wishes borne from the heart go horribly, terribly wrong for Mr. and Mrs. White, takes center stage as one of the deck’s most iconic minor arcana cards.

“The Pillow Book” as the Nine of Parchment

Sei Shōnagon’s musings on imperial Japan, written more than 1,000 years ago, arrive as a bounty in the Nine of Parchment. Damian Rogers (An Alphabet for Joanna; Dear Leader) links The Pillow Book with the minor arcana card focused on achievement and independence. Just as Sei Shōnagon benefited from the material gifts of the Heian Empire, she gifted the world an unparalleled work covering the high culture, fashion, and poetry of one of history’s great dynasties.

Now to Stretch Goals!

Because we already BLEW PAST those gilded edges (woot woot!), we are on to something that so many of you have messaged us about. That card stock, baby, it’s going UP!

Random Fun Stuff

Here’s some tweets about the campaign that especially tickled us. And not just because Margaret Atwood keeps tweeting about us, damn near making our hearts explode (like, friends, she typed my name the other day. WITH THE SAME FINGERS THAT WROTE THE HANDMAID’S TALE). So, yeah, I’m dying happy…

 Card Backs & Feedback

Also, we have absolutely LOVED getting feedback and ideas from you. Thank you all for your messages, tweets, and owl-delivered letters (okay, fine, we made that last one up!). First up: we hear you on the symmetrical backs. I’ll be sitting down with my art team next week and having a wee think about how to rejigger that middle book on the card backs. More soon!

And finally, we began building out our FAQ section on our campaign page today, and we’ll keep updating it with all the most common queries as the campaign continues.

More soon, dear backers. Thank you again for being so darn wonderful.


Dani, Helen, and all the Brinkeroos!