In honor of October, I thought I'd profile a Halloween-themed deck. This deck is a limited edition deck by Robyn Tisch-Hollister, also known as Chronata. She created the All Hallows Tarot as a Majors-only deck (22 cards), and she packaged it in a "character face" bag. (See image nearby - it's a black Bill-The-Cat bag!)
The cards themselves came with no booklet, so the reader has to do her own interpretations. I exchanged some email with Dan at TarotGarden.com about how one does a reading with a majors-only deck:
In Europe, Majors only readings used to be 'the norm'. With the spread of Waite and Crowley fans, 78 card decks and the Celtic Cross spread have taken over the world of divination.
Majors only readings do indeed use smaller spreads, I myself prefer two three or five cards spreads when using Majors only.
Advantages? There are fewer cards to handle. And once you become used to using Majors only, readings are quite candid.
Disadvantages? There are fewer cards, and sometimes the readings may be too candid. Some folks like the 'shading' that the minors provide.
But yeah – some questions are very difficult ("How can I _____ ?) with 78 cards...but with only two cards...
Allow me to share my own spread, published in Timeless Spirit and Aeclectic Tarot forum:
The 2-Card reading. Windows and Doors
The Window represents "what’s out there," what we want, desire, think we need, it's what we see or think we see. It is a goal that we're separated from. It's the now (Not the Now that’s leftover from the past like a half-eaten pizza in the refrigerator, sure it is here now – but it is a reminder, a remainder of the past – leftovers). The window is present now. However it's not just about us – sometimes it is what the universe is trying to give us. It is something now that we are separate from.
The Door. If you want to let in, or get to, whatever is outside, the least you must do is get up and unlock the door. Sometimes opening it is not even necessary. But you have to at least make the effort – unlock the door! Use the archetype here to give you an idea of “how to act to make it possible."
I liked his Windows and Doors layout, so I gave a reading for a friend using it. The cards that were drawn are scanned nearby.
The Sun card came up as the Window card. The Sun is all about energy, growth, nourishment, brilliance, vitality. But remember, this is what you are separated from. You're aware that what nourishes you is out there, but there's a barrier in the way.
Perhaps that's a good thing, for too much sun can scorch you, or exhaust you. (Think about a day at the beach, and how that relentless sun can be draining.) Perhaps you are grateful to have the sun at a distance? Perhaps you are needing the peaceful dark and hibernation?
But to many, Sun is also associated with optimism, happiness and joy. If that is what Sun is to you, it's time to examine what keeps you from feeling the joy of the Sun. What is contributing to any feelings of defeat or discouragement? Are there any changes you can make to open the window to the Sun and that which brings energy to you?
Temperance is the Door card. Temperance is about moderation, self-control, and compromise. Something is out of balance, in your body or health, or in your immediate surroundings. Are there things you could be doing to improve your health? Are there tensions in your environment? Quarrels? Impatience? The Temperance card seeks balance by taking opposite forces and finding ways to bring them into harmony. If over-indulgence in anything (too little sleep or exercise or fun? too much food or work or fighting?) is throwing you out of balance, look for ways to adjust your life to take better care of yourself. A class at the gym, or an earlier bedtime, or better food choices, might make a big difference in your life. If impatience or quarreling is what is taxing you, take a time-out before action, and see if you can find a better path to what you want or need.
Don't try to make too many changes at once. You don't want to go too far in the other direction, and lose your balance again. Remember, you don't have to fling the door open. You can just unlock it, and make gradual changes. You're looking for a way you can live every day, not the equivalent of a crash diet where you do everything well for a week, and then slip back into old habits.