The Birth of a New Tarot

You can contact Kerri about this deck at  A website is under construction at

By Kerri S. McIntire

I would like to introduce you to a new tarot deck, still in production. Its working title is the CemeTarot© because it features original photographs of cemetery headstones and statuary. I am also considering calling it the Witch Hazel Press Tarot© since it incorporates the same use of pressed botanicals as my line of WHP Oracle Boards. I would more than welcome feedback on a title choice!

About Me

I live just outside of Atlanta, GA, with my husband, two dogs and three cats. My home state is Indiana, where I was born on 10/22/1963 at 10:22 in the evening (22:22 military time). This numerical phenomena seems to have set me up for a lifelong fascination with the mystic. I have been studying the Tarot for more than twenty years, and my library is filled with books about it. Browsing the shelves also reveals titles on symbolism, mythology, folklore, and spiritism. The survival of the soul is of special interest to me. In 2001, I began crafting a line of spirit channeling devises under the name Witch Hazel Press. They were of two types, traditional "talking" boards and pendulum guides. They were made using my original photos and pressed organic matter. I sold them successfully online and out of a brick-and-mortar store in Atlanta for many years. Creating these Oracle Boards was very artistically satisfying, but I also wanted to write about spirit. It concerned me that people might be using my boards without knowing enough about the powers behind them, or about the powers within themselves.

My "real" job was as a writer. My husband and I founded InHeritage, a website design and development company for history and preservation organizations. I did the marketing and wrote scripts for online presentations. Recently, when the business came into its own, I had less of a role and was able to rededicate time to my mystic pursuits. Creating a Tarot deck struck the perfect balance between art and writing, so I began trying to think of a theme. I only had to look again at my library. There were books on the Victorian Language of Flowers, herbal lore, and plant astrology. Then there was Stories in Stone, a field guide to cemetery symbolism and iconography by Douglas Keister. My deck would combine these interests, much as my Oracle Boards do, but I would have the privilege of writing a studied essay about each card. This is important to me because I believe in the Tarot as a channeling devise as well as a learning tool. Spirit uses it to send us messages, and the more information about the symbols that make up those messages the better.  

The bonus of creating this deck so far has been getting to wander cemeteries in places all over the world - pictures for it have come from as far away as London and as close as Decatur, GA, the town four miles from my house. I also have a photograph from Scipio, IN, the place where I was born back on 10/22/1963. It has also been fun for the amateur herbalist in me to collect and press so many kinds of plants and flowers. I learn more every day about the natural world. And I'm happy to find it is as fascinating as the supernatural one!

Thank you for taking the time to read about my influences and to look over the deck as I have executed it so far. I hope it speaks to you the way it does to me.



Aleister Crowley defined this card as 'The Lord of Lust' and his version, as do most Strength cards, features a person subjugating a lion. This card is about not just passion, but getting a "handle" on that passion.  It is as much weakness to completely kill one's feelings as it is to be overrun by them. The truly strong person has learned how to channel desire into a positive, creative force. The Sun rules the Strength card. Solar fire, too, is a source of power if rightly synthesized and a source of destruction if not. The Sun also rules the plants on this card's border. Oak leaves for bravery (grappling with a lion takes courage) and witch hazel leaves. Folk tradition holds that carrying a sachet of witch hazel leaves controls the passions. Then there is baby's breath -  a kind of carnation - which stands for innocence. Often it is the one most pure of heart who is ablest to draw down the savage beast.

IMAGE: Atlanta, GA - Crypt handle. Lion symbols guard the portals of tombs.


DATES RULING: July 22 - August 22

PRESSED: Oak Leaves - "Bravery" 

                     Witch Hazel Leaves - Sachets control the passions

                     Baby's Breath - "Innocence"

                     Butterfly Wings



Change comes to us all. None are exempt to its toll. And while this card never necessarily means a physical demise, the transformative effect of time is indeed as "relentless" as the headstone laments. The appearance of the Death card is not to be dreaded, but rather accepted as a matter of course. It lets us know that though an aspect of our lives may be over and we keenly feel the loss, a new birth is eminent. A standard symbol found on this card is a white rose, which represents the purity of the fresh beginning that death allows. It is a clean slate. Use it to write down all the things that are never really lost because they are born again in a beautiful cycle of eternal renewal.

IMAGE: Bennington, VT - Old New England headstone. Head with wings shows the soul's flight to Heaven. 


DATES RULING: October 23 - November 21

PRESSED: Cypress - "Mourning; Death" 

                     White Rose - "Purity"

                     Luna moth wings



Sundials work by the interplay of shadows and light. Similarly, what makes up our existence in the world are moments of darkness and of brightness. The balance of one to the other changes over time, creating patterns by which we can chart the hours of our lives and possibly even predict the future. In a reading, the Wheel of Fortune should turn our attention to  how past action has determined our fate and how our choices can shine a light or cast a long shadow. An unexpected twist could be in the offing, and although we can't control the world, we can control our reactions to it.

IMAGE: Decatur, GA - Sundial. Sundials represent the passage of time.


DATES RULING: None Specified

PRESSED: Silver Maple - "Strength in Reserve" A plant ruled by Jupiter. 

               Dandelion - "Rustic oracle" Blowing the seeds showed fate. Also ruled by Jupiter.

               Butterfly wings



All the Aces depict hands, and this hand holds a bouquet of flowers with a rose and a lily. The Victorians used a language of flowers to express sentiment. Roses symbolize love and Easter lilies stand for virtue, hope, and life. This, then, is the promise that love triumphs over every negative experience, even death. Cups is the suit of emotion, realm of the WATER element, therefore its Ace represents the wellspring of all that is heartfelt. Drawing this card means a powerful inundation of feelings - be careful to channel them so that they cause growth to flourish and not to be flooded out. Passion is an extremely potent force. 

IMAGE: Atlanta, GA - Hand with flowers. A hand emerging from a cloud depicts the presence of God.

ASTROLOGICAL ATTRIBUTION: Water signs - Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces

DATES RULING: None Specified

PRESSED: Rose petals and briar leaf, both vibrate to the water element.



A mourning woman bows her veiled head toward an urn, symbol of the memory of a departed loved one. Because this is a WATER card, the loss is experienced most strongly on an emotional level. The Five of Cups can represent feelings about any disappointment of the heart - sometimes the end of a beloved dream can be just as devastating as an actual death. But all is not lost. There is a serenity to the woman's expression and to the card in general that promises hope. Just as the departed is going on to a place of peace, the one who remains will find there are new experiences waiting to lift a saddened heart.

IMAGE: Seymour, IN - Woman with urn. In the 19th century, urns seldom held  ashes. They were used as funerary decorative devises and stood for the soul.


DATES RULING: October 23 - November 1

PRESSED: Rose petals and briar leaf, both vibrate to the water element.



All the Aces are hands, and this hand is pointing up toward heaven, the source of creativity. Inspiration literally means the drawing in of a spirit or divine influence in order to generate an idea of revolutionary proportions. Wands is the suit of inspiration, and Aces are the conduits of their suits. The Ace of Wands channels FIRE from on high into the vessel of earthly expression. Drawing this card means powerful forces are at the fore, and stoking them to bright creations is going to be both a privilege and a challenge. These same forces can end up searing the hand that dares to invoke them. Revelations burn with an uncomfortable heat.

IMAGE: North Vernon, IN - Hand pointing up. Indicates that the soul has risen to Heaven.

ASTROLOGICAL ATTRIBUTION: Fire signs - Aries, Leo or Sagittarius

DATES RULING: None specified

PRESSED: Grape leaf and Queen Annes lace, both vibrate to the fire element.



All Knights are angels, and this angel holds a horn, symbol of the clarion call to a resurrected life. Knights are of the FIRE element, as is the suit of Wands, so this angel has double the dose of spiritual flame. This may even be Gabriel himself, archangel who is to blow his trumpet at the End of Days. Drawing the Knight of Wands brings the heat to any situation, putting us on notice to expect a surge of creative power into our lives. It may be so dramatic as to exact a complete change of circumstance. A way to ensure this is to consciously put out energy to meet the Knight's fervor. If called to rise, do so with ardent intent. It is time for the spirit to burn anew.

IMAGE: Atlanta, GA - Angel with horn, representing the call to the Resurrection.


DATES RULING: November 13 - December 12

PRESSED: Grape leaf and Queen Anne's lace with butterfly wings 



It might take a second look to see, but the cherub on this card has wires wrapped around it. Similarly, the binds of what restricts us can be virtually invisible to the eye. Swords are AIR cards, so the restraint that the Eight of Swords draws attention to is most likely mental. Although real world blockages may exist, it is the mind's response to them that determines true freedom of movement. The appearance of this card might also mean being blinded to the reasons for the barriers to personal growth. Attitude is everything, and if we approach problems with a defeatist mindset we fall into a trap of our own making. Be aware of limitations, but be especially aware of the role fear plays in creating them. 

IMAGE: Scipio, IN - Cherub wrapped with wire. Cherubs signify innocence.


DATES RULING: May 21 - May 31

PRESSED: Fern and clover, both vibrate to the air element.



The Pages in this deck are all young angels, and here the angel writes the name of the departed onto a scroll. Swords is the suit of words, thoughts and ideas, and Pages are the messengers of the Tarot. This Page, who serves the intellectual AIR element, is especially attuned to news, communication and scholarly concepts. Delivering words with swift proficiency is representative of a Mercurial, airy disposition, but the EARTH aspect inherent to all Pages adds a worldly discretion to this card. Private messages are often what is indicated. Ill dignified, it can mean communications of a sensitive nature have been badly handled. Watch what is said, and whom it is said to.

IMAGE: Atlanta, GA - Young angel with pen. The pen symbolizes the writing of the deceased's name in the Book of Life. 

ASTROLOGICAL ATTRIBUTION: Air signs - Gemini, Libra or Aquarius

DATES RULING: None specified

PRESSED: Fern and clover with cicada wings



…As in negotiating a contract or a tricky curve. Both involve balancing in the realm of the EARTH element. A skier uses physical dexterity to run a slalom course, but it takes dexterity, too, to juggle the opposing forces of any issue to find a compromise. And compromise exists on a worldly level only. Watery feelings, airy intellect, and fiery creativity are all only compromised by earthly troubles. When the Two of Disks appears, the problem might seem strictly mundane. But emotional, mental, or spiritual concerns can come into play, and "weaving" a way between the tangible and the intangible may be the solution.

IMAGE: Decatur, GA - Tombstone with "Weaver" name and balanced design.


DATES RULING: December 22 - December 30

PRESSED: Ivy and oat, both vibrate to the earth element.



It represents a stabilizing, grounding, and "anchoring" influence. Because it is an EARTH card, the influence is likely to be something worldly, such as material affluence or a position of power. And while there is an inherent warning not to become overly dependent on wealth, status, or even a comfortable rut for security, the Four of Disks directs our attention to that which sustains us. It might mean efforts should be made toward building a firm new life foundation. Or perhaps shoring up the existing one is in order. The time is ripe for just such a pursuit.

IMAGE: Atlanta, GA - Cross with Anchor. The cross represents faith. The anchor is a symbol of hope and steadfastness.


DATES RULING: January 10 - January 19

PRESSED: Ivy and oat, both vibrate to the earth element.

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