silicon5.jpg (17120 bytes)Silicon Valley Tarot Deck

The Silicon Valley Tarot is a theme deck that takes a tongue in cheek look at both Tarot and the Silicon Valley. It may even be stretching a bit to call it a Tarot deck. It has 22 Major Arcana, but they are all different from the traditional. The Majors are:

The Hacker (unnumbered) 8 - Double Latte 15 - Spam
1 - The Guru 9 - Encryption 16 - Firewall
2 - The Futurist 10 - The Server 17 - Stock Options
3 - The Garage 11 - The Sysadmin 18 - Venture Capitol
4 - The Mogul 12 - The Hive 19 - Next Big Thing
5 - The Consultant 13 - The Layoff 20 - Bugs
6 - IPO 14 - Flame War 21 - The Net
7 - El Camino Real

The suits are Cubicles, Disks, Hosts and Networks. Cubicles are about labor and thought, Disks are about memory and accumulation of intellectual capitol, Hosts are about hardware, technology, and things physical, and Networks are about connections, communication and collaboration. The pips are numbered One through Eight, vice One through Ten. The Court consists of Nerds, Marketeers, Salesman and CIOs. There are a total of 70 cards.

The cards measure 3" X 4 1/2". The art is fair. It consists of cartoon-like line drawings in color. There is a black border around each card. The Major Arcana have the card name in the bottom border and the card number in the top border - in base ten on the left and in base two on the right. On the Minor Arcana cards the card name and number are in the bottom border in base ten only. The Minors are designed to be evocative of the card’s meaning, but they are rather spare in imagery. They are very pip-like, with the requisite number of suit symbols dominating each scene. The Court Cards are rather monotonous as well since the same drawing is used for a given court card throughout the suits. The image varies only by the symbol shown on the card and the colors used in the background, clothing and hair. The backs are reversible.

The little booklet that comes with the deck is rather humorous. The card meanings are often funny as well. Some excerpts are provided below. You don’t have to work in the computer industry to understand and use this deck, though being up on current events and having some computer knowledge would definitely be helpful. There is plenty of computer jargon here, but most people who work with computers will be able to follow along fairly easily. Cards like Spam, and The Flame War will be recognizable to most people who use the Internet. The meanings are not related to traditional tarot and do have the range of traditional meanings. The booklet provides information on how use the deck for readings, upright and reversed card meanings, and two spreads. The deck also has two extra cards that contain the instructions for playing a game with this deck. The game is called Ram and is designed for two to six players.

I recommend this deck for collectors and for people in the computer industry. There is little to no correlation to a traditional Tarot deck so those who are familiar with the Waite, Thoth or other common decks will not be able to read with this deck right out of the box. It is more a novelty than a reading deck, but it is kind of cute.


The Layoff (13)

The hand of management casts the terminated into a parking lot under darkening skies. Some are dejected and resigned, but one turns back, head held high, and pronounces a curse. Or is it gratitude? Depends on the severance package.

Rejection, failure, incompetence, inability to recognize shortcomings.

Reversed: New beginnings, risk, promise.

Nerd of Hosts

It's the new guy's first day - as raw meat for the corporate maw. What? He's got a CS degree? Grade-A Choice. They're already plotting the doomed projects they'll chain to him. Soon he'll be infected with New Hire's Disease. The primary symptom? He'll take corporate retreats seriously.

Naive dedication to unproven ideas.

Reversed: False loyalty.

Seven of Disks

There comes a time in every programmer's life, when after months of design, development, and debugging, he discovers an architectural oversight, flaw in basic reasoning, or mistaken key assumption. In a rush it dawns on him that the whole project must be scrapped and rethought. Desolation reigns.

Despair, disaster, calamity, setbacks.

Reversed: Time to question sacred assumptions.

See more images from the Silicon Valley Tarot Deck

Silicon Valley Tarot Deck
Publisher: Steve Jackson Games
ISBN: 1-55634-362-0
You can order this deck here

Images Copyright 1998 Thomas Scoville


This page is Copyright 1999 by Michele Jackson