What is the Hillbilly Tarot?
The Hillbilly Tarot uses the symbols of Appalachian mountain culture to tell a story older than the hills - the story of what it means to be a human being.
The deck follows the traditional tarot sequence of trumps, pip and court cards. The symbols of the tarot, rightly understood, tell a "universal story". It is a story about birth, death and rebirth and of the journey from darkness into the light. It is a story passed down to us from ages past. Being universal, it can be translated into the symbols of any culture... even Appalachian mountain culture, i.e. - hillbillies.
First off, I am a hillbilly. I've lived my entire life in the hills of East Tennessee. The symbols of mountain life are so commonplace to me that they have been almost invisible. This is true of the symbols of any culture. They lose their meaning through familiarity. I wanted to actually re-recognize these powerful guiding symbols and see if I could create a tarot deck using them. Finally, the Hillbilly is one of the last stereotypes that can apparently be ridiculed with impunity and I wanted think about what this means.
Consider this story...
A friend of mine (Mike Rosenbaum) was "up north" at a conference at which a woman asked attendees around a table where they were from. When Mike's turn came and he told her that he was from Tennessee, she actually laughed in his face while others smiled and looked under the table. He didn't have to tell me that the unspoken question from the group was, "So are you wearing shoes?"
In books, TVs and movies, people from Appalachia are usually portrayed as barefooted, ignorant, lazy, backward, rude, stubborn, easily fooled, prone to drink, incestuous, etc. Having grown up among hillbillies, I can say that although every stereotype probably has a germ of truth, the reality is (of course) much more complex. The real truth is that people are just people everywhere.
How are the cards used?
When you get past the outer trappings, what is it that is common to human beings across all cultures? More importantly, what does it mean to be human? And finally, what is the purpose of human life?
The Hillbilly Tarot illuminates a path that answers these questions using down-to-earth symbolism that is easy to follow and understand. The deck can be use for personal reflection, future speculation or as a regular deck of playing cards by removing the Trump cards.
Y'all are gonna love the Hillbilly Tarot!
The Hillbilly Tarot & Playing Cards