Pig Tarot by Michael Kutzer
Review by Saskia Jansen
It is no secret that I am a fan of the art of Michael Kutzer and especially of his Cudahy series. Pig Tarot is the newest addiction to this series that already includes the Elephant, Hedgehog, and Frog Tarot. Since I already spent quite some time discussing the origin and production of these decks in the previous reviews of this series, I will now refrain from this and go straight to the cards.
So what do pigs want, think, and do in their daily life? And have we forgotten how like us they really are? Do we only think of them as fat and dumb or even worse, the schnitzel on our plates? Or do we remember how smart and playful they really are? If not, this tarot is a great reminder.
Their greatest nemesis is, of course, the butcher. So it will be no surprise that he pops up on more then one card in the deck. The most obvious is the Death card (at top). And one has to admire Michael Kutzer’s excellent humor; the butcher he portrays on this card is as fat as the pigs he slaughters.
Other cards dealing with the issue of the butcher are Strength, Justice and Temperance. But where the first two are the ‘revenge’ cards, Temperance has a different take, showing how a clever pig can avoid the attention of a butcher: the pig in question moderates his intake of food so he stays skinny (and who would want a schnitzel with so little meat?).
Another side of the pig we often forget about is its wild cousin, the boar. The Pig Tarot reminds us of him by featuring the boar on both the Emperor and the Tower. The Tower is actually also a bit of a ‘revenge’ card, as the boar knocks over an outlook tower with hunter and all.
A particularly nice touch is the Moon, where we see the wild boar in the reflection of the water, reminding us that this wild side still exists, hidden, in our silly, stinky, docile pigs.
So what else is important to a pig? Do they like to be the star of the show like on the Star card? Are they indeed lucky, like on the High Priestess card? Or is a good meal, sex, and a nice mud bath (the Sun) from time to time enough to make them happy? Judging from this tarot deck, I would say this is the case.
The Minors in this deck are illustrated pip cards and, just like in the other Cudahy Tarots, the conventional suits have been replaced by something a bit more pig-like: sweet corn, bowls (with porridge?), mud spots, and rosettes.
The backs of the cards are not reversible and contain the names "Michael & Susan" and "Cudahy Tarot" over and over. And just like the other decks in this series, this is not a deck for reading, but more to be enjoyed for the art and humor. The deck is self-published in a limited edition of 32 copies only.
All in all, the Pig Tarot is another excellent deck, beautifully executed, fun and playful. I recommend this deck to tarot collectors, animal lovers, and anyone else who likes fun decks.
Note: At this time the Mice Tarot, number five in the Cudahy Tarot series, has also been published. You can see images of this deck here.
The Pig Tarot and other Cudahy Tarots can be purchased directly from the artist by contacting Susan Arenz.
Saskia Jansen is a tarot collector and reader from the Netherlands. She bought her first tarot deck in 1996 and has been hooked ever since. Her main interest is in historical Rider Waite Smith decks and clones, and is the proud possessor of a Roses and Lilies Pamela-A Tarot. Her collection currently contains more than 600 tarot decks.
Review © 2005 Saskia Jansen
Images © 2005 Michael Kutzer
Page © 2005 Diane Wilkes