More Than Old Books: Tarot Cards in Special Collections

Hello all! My name is Gabriela Azeem-Angel and I’m a student employee here at Special Collections and Archives. I’ve been working at SCA since September of 2021 and during my time here I’ve discovered that the archive is so much more than ancient, leather-bound books. So I’ve come to share one of the things I love most about SCA: we have a tarot deck.

I’ve been a card-based divination enthusiast for a number of years, and I love how each deck always reflects the nature and passions of its creators. You can learn a lot about a person depending on the tarot or oracle decks they purchase or design, and Bea Nettles is no exception. When I first started working here, I became familiar with Bea Nettles through her numerous Artists Books that we house here at SCA. I’ve seen her name pop up many times while re-shelving, but I didn’t pay it much mind until her name came up again in a wildly unexpected place: a catalogue for a printing company in the UK, from which I had just ordered a new oracle deck.

An interview with Bea Nettles from
Liminal 11’s 2021-2022 catalogue

The Mountain Dream Tarot is the only tarot deck we have in our collection – though we have both the first and second editions. The cards are beautifully photographed and depict the emotion and feeling of the cards without strict guidelines on their interpretations. Her informational pamphlet included in the first edition explains the history of her own deck, and encourages readers to have fun and draw their own interpretations from her cards.

As someone who is equally as fascinated with tarot as Bea, looking through the deck was inspirational and mystifying. It reminded me of why I love reading tarot cards and collecting decks – each one is a unique work of art sitting in the palm of my hand. Here are some of my favorite cards from The Mountain Dream Tarot:

This amazing deck is available for you to examine in Florida State University’s Special Collections, and I invite you come see it in person! I also want to encourage readers to come in and ask about anything else they are passionate about. If you love it, we probably have something special to show you here in Special Collections.

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