Review: The Housewives Tarot, by Paul Kepple & Jude Buffum

By Psyche | March 17, 2007

The Housewives tarot: A Domestic Divination Kit with Deck and Instruction Book, by Paul Kepple & Jude Buffum
Cards: Quirk Books, Quirk Books, 78 cards, 96 pp. booklet, 2004

The Housewives Tarot consists of 78 cards, 22 trumps or major arcana and 56 minor arcana. The cards come in a mock recipe box, complete with actual recipes on the tabs that separate the minor and major arcana, and instruction booklet. The cards are styled as pure fifties kitsch; charming and often irreverent with clever interpretations of traditional modern esoteric tarot symbolism.

The boarders of the major arcana are black, discretely numbered at the bottom of the cards, though the first few cards don’t follow a traditional order. The Magician depicts a smooth-haired appliance salesman, Strength depicts “Scrubbo Soap Pads” (shines aluminium fast!), Justice depicts a mother taking a wooden spoon to an unruly child over her knee, Judgement depicts a woman as a piece of meat standing atop an oversized pink scale.

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The boarders of the minor arcana vary according to suit: blue for Cups, yellow for Wands, red for Swords, and green for Pentacles. The cards tend to take direct inspiration from the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot. For example, the Five of Cups depicts three upturned martini glasses and a distraught young woman in red, two martinis remaining upright; the Ten of Wands shows a woman with an assortment of ten mops, brooks and tools struggling to contain them all; the Two of Swords portrays a blindfolded woman before a large turkey, knife and fork crossed; and the Four of Pentacles shows a woman as a china cabinet guarding the plates within.

The accompanying booklet describes the legend of the Housewives Tarot, and gives several unique spread descriptions, such as the Virgin, the Dinette, the Clothesline of Life, and the Martini. The descriptions show the main image of the card in sepia, with three keywords below, with brief, often humourous commentary.

My only criticism is that the cards are not laminated. While this may add to their old fashioned charm, it also makes them more susceptible to wear and tear. This is unfortunate as this is a deck worth revisiting.

Whether used in serious divination or as a cheeky novelty deck, it would make a lovely addition to any deck collection.

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