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Crafting the Tarot Gallimaufry: A Journey Through Chaos and Harmony

Welcome to my blog post about developing the new deck, Tarot Gallimaufry! It has been an enjoyable twelve-month project that is now close to being printed and sold exclusively on Etsy.

Basic Deck Description

Within the 79 cards (Tall Tarot size 89 x 146mm), I've mixed and matched a deliberately eclectic array of seven Nature symbol suggestions (some are repeated throughout the deck in different combinations) from across the globe, ensuring each card captures the essence of its traditional meaning and dances with a spark of something new, something uniquely intriguing, odd even. It has a contemporary feel visually and on each card's headings. However, to avoid confusion, the original titles of each card are included within the 82 double-sided pages of the guidebook. The deck has a rigid box design to keep it nice and safe. 

Why this deck?

In creating the Nature-themed Tarot Gallimaufry, I aim to reflect the feel of the times we live in—a blend of digital and real life, where we are constantly bombarded with imagery and information through everyday life and social media. This overwhelming influx can be confusing: social media, conspiracy theories, news of war, the cost-of-living crisis, and the ongoing destruction of Nature, etc. It's a nonstop barrage that leaves us questioning what to trust.

Artwork proofs from Ivory Graphics (printers)

Although Natured-themed, I want a deck that mirrors this confusion, the hodgepodge of life, yet somehow brings it all together in a jarring and harmonious way. A deck that is ugly and beautiful, conflicting and balanced. The collage effect of the cards leaves room for mystery and intuitive interpretation, allowing you to focus on the imagery that stands out to you. This invites you to find your path through the chaos and discover the messages that resonate most deeply with you alongside the guidance from the guidebook. Tarot deck designs are evolving. I desired this new deck to reflect our times and fit well amongst the many available decks. People utilise tarot decks for different situations. Hopefully, Tarot Gallimaufry allows for many contexts, and you will find a unique place for it in your personal development. 

Collaborating with AI

I've ventured into uncharted territories using advanced technology to bring part of Tarot Gallimaufry to life. I felt my own deck's Nature-themed symbol suggestions did not embrace each card's full meaning (I initially had 2-4 symbols for each card). I decided to collaborate with AI to assist in the selection of seven Natured-themed symbols for each card in this deck for several reasons:

  1. Expanding Knowledge: AI opens access to information and insights beyond my knowledge and is the general direction of technological change.

  2. Diverse Influences: It can pull from vast sources within the internet's confusing and eclectic mix of information, which fits my deck design motivations.

  3. Element of Surprise: AI introduces unexpected elements that can lead to new insights for an exciting and fun design process.

  4. Balanced Meanings: It helps balance the deck's meanings within the fixed parameters I set for my tarot deck idea.

For example, when suggesting plants, animals, and other natural elements, I consider several factors to guide the AI interaction:

  • Historical & Spiritual Symbolism: Many plants and animals carry significant symbolic weight from historical, mythological, or spiritual contexts. For example, the raven symbolises transformation and mystery due to its mythological associations.

  • Ecological Roles & Natural Behaviour: Understanding plants and animals' natural behaviour or ecological roles provides deeper insight into their symbolic relevance. The dandelion, for instance, symbolises healing and determination due to its resilience and medicinal properties.

  • Cultural Significance: Different cultures have unique perspectives on plants and animals, enriching the meaning of a card with diverse stories.

  • Visual & Sensory Qualities: Certain plants and animals' visual, tactile, and even olfactory qualities can invoke specific feelings or atmospheres that align with a card's essence.

  • Variety & Uniqueness: To ensure the deck feels rich and diverse, I introduce various elements from Nature's vast tapestry, adding visual interest and providing readers with numerous symbols to engage with.

  • Aligning with Core Essence: The most crucial aspect is ensuring the suggested elements resonate with the tarot card's meaning in a contemporary way.

The Significance of Seven

Why seven symbols? Seven holds deep spiritual significance and is often associated with completeness, divine perfection, spiritual awakening, intuition, and mysticism. By incorporating seven Nature symbols into each card of the Tarot Gallimaufry, I align with these profound meanings, emphasising a connection to higher wisdom and the harmonious blending of diverse elements to create a perfect and complete spiritual journey.

Why the name Tarot Gallimaufry?

The original 'working' name was Wild Tarot Tangles, but the words 'Wild' and 'Tangles' are commonly used in the tarot space. Unintentionally, the Wild Tarot Tangles name diluted the deck's 'unique and odd' energy.

Tarot Gallimaufry?

  • Etymology: "Gallimaufry" comes from the Middle French word "galimafrée," a stew or hash made from various ingredients. The word is believed to be a combination of "galer" (to make merry) and "mafrer" (to eat heartily).

  • Meaning: Over time, the term evolved in English to refer to any hodgepodge or jumble. It now generally means a confused mixture or medley of things, perfectly capturing the idea of a collection of diverse and seemingly unrelated elements brought together harmoniously.

  • Usage: The term is often used in a whimsical or literary context to describe an eclectic mix, making it a fitting and distinctive name for my new tarot deck that combines various Nature-themed symbols in an unusual yet harmonious manner.

So, Tarot Gallimaufry is the perfect choice for the intention behind the deck.

The Design Process

Wild Ember 4 recording

My hands and heart are deeply woven into every card. Each brushstroke, digital design, and collaged layer is infused with my artistic spirit, creating spaces for reflection, inspiration, and personal exploration. AI has been my collaborator, adding a pinch of surprise and nudging my creative flow. It suggested a blend of international symbols I've shaped with my artistic vision. It has also helped craft some touches of the textural feels and layered effects, adding even more layers of mystery and a dash of the unusual to the mix.

A selection of different types of art layers

Here (above and below) are examples of how my cards are put together. They are a mixture of my handmade pen and watercolor, Procreate digital art using Apple pencil, textiles, abstract art painting from a recent art course I attended, photographs, and some AI textural and abstract elements. It is a hodgepodge of ideas collaged within Affinity Photo (similar to Photoshop). Sometimes, I distort filters over some layers to make them more attractive or cohesive. 

Wild Earth 1 recording


I hope you learn to love this deck as much as I do. This novel deck is perfect for use independently or with other decks. It could also be a collector's deck and part of an independent deck collection. The Tarot Gallimaufry is more than a set of cards; it's a journey into the depths of spirit, a tool to uncover the truths within. While the stories and insights found in these cards are revealing, they're just one path through the forest of life. This deck encourages you to take what resonates, leave what doesn't, and always approach tarot adventures with an open heart and mind.

I've included some simple spread ideas in the guidebook, but feel free to explore wild and free with the cards. Tarot is a personal expedition, and Tarot Gallimaufry (the sister deck to The Textured Tarot) is here to accompany you on a quest for deeper understanding, healing, and connection with the natural world and yourself.

So, there you have it, my tarot-loving peeps. Tarot Gallimaufry awaits. May it be a source of joy, insight, and endless adventure on your path. Let the wild rumpus start, and happy tarot reading!

Sign up for my occasional newsletter if you want to receive updates from Lisa McLoughlin Art about the deck's progress and release date. I will notify you and provide a coupon for an initial pre-order.

Onwards and Upwards!



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