The Gay Tarot by Lee Bursten and Antonella Platano
Review by Arielle Smith


What does a married older woman have to say about the Gay Tarot?  Well, if it’s the deck by Lee Bursten and Antonella Platano, she has plenty of GOOD things to say. This is an amazing deck.  It’s not at all offensive or threatening in any way, so even homophobes can relax.  Sex, in this deck, is not the main focus – life and living that life fully is the main focus.


The deck has a definite modern slant  – there are skateboards, spaceships, computers, modern dress, and every day, normal settings.  A good many of the cards have names that better reflect their place, not just in the gay world, but also in our entire planet.  For example, the High Priestess becomes the Intuitive, and the card reflects the loneliness – as well as the peace – that an intuitive can experience in our present universe. 


The Devil becomes Self-Hatred:  that horrible, stupid thing that we all do to ourselves when we feel we don’t measure up to society’s standards.  Judgment becomes Beyond Judgment – “Self-acceptance must come before liberation.”  Although the card shows a gay liberation parade, the message fits for all of us.


Court cards change as well:  Traditional pages are Youths and show young men in accepted, everyday positions – on the beach, at the computer, in the boxing ring, lifting weights.  The Knights become Man and again show those “manly” scenes – a construction worker, a policeman, a man in a lab, a fireman.  Probably the strangest cards in the deck are the Queens or Guides – powerful winged beings that represent the feminine aspect or the higher self.  And the Kings are Sages – once again, men in the wise, enlightened stages of life:  a gardener, a judge, a politician, and a referee.  These are all people giving of themselves, making important contributions to our society.


The minors of this deck are wonderfully refreshing.  For example, the Ten of Swords shows the traditional body with the ten swords, but it’s on a computer screen.  As we see the hand about to unplug that computer, we realize that we get to make the choice – we can see what we want to see or we can simply unplug ourselves from the negative attitude!   The Five of Wands shows a hockey game – what better, yet simple way to show competition, rivalry, struggle.


The backs of the cards are reversible and are quite beautiful.  The moons, the stars, the silvery head and shoulders of the man all flow together in peaceful harmony.  This is a gentle deck and a reader does not have to be gay to find merit here.  The deck does remind us that we are all One and that gays want the very same things we all want:  a home, a family, work we like, someone to love, and someone to love us back.    There’s nothing to dislike in that list or in this deck.

You can read other reviews of this deck here and here.

You can see a sample reading with this deck here.

Gay Tarot by Lee Bursten and Antonella Platano
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo

If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.


Arielle Smith, well on her way to becoming a weird eccentric, is a Certified Tarot Grand Master living in Florida with her husband and five cats. Both tree-hugger and animal lover, she is also a part-time teacher and lifetime student of the Tarot. You can visit her at her website, Mystik Moons


Images © 2004 Lo Scarabeo
Review © 2004 Arielle Smith
Page © 2004 Diane Wilkes