Hoi Polloi Tarot

Hoi Polloi Tarot, boxed.
Yes, my grandmother did give me this deck when I was 11, in 1972. She was a Scorpio, but that's about as occult as she got. I believe it was purchased via her Book-of-the-Month Club subscription. She was a voracious reader of Regency Romances (Barbara Cartland, Georgette Heyer) and Westerns (Zane Grey, Louis L'Amour).

I didn't know what to make of the Tarot when I first got it: I was curious about the imagery, but didn't understand its language. You have to start somewhere!

Instruction booklet.
Follow instructions or wing it? This thin vellum-like booklet offers pretty basic meanings for the cards, but this is the Hoi Polloi (People's) Tarot, so why waste space with esoterica? It also offers the rules for various Tarot card games, like Tarok.

Key Cards.
I love the vibrant colors that saturate this deck. There are about 50 million different Tarots available these days, and I use two besides this one (Tarot of the Holy Light and The Prairie Tarot), but Hoi Polloi, the one I first shuffled, still gives the clearest answers to my questions.

Eight and Eleven.
The images are based on the Rider-Waite cards drawn by Pamela Colman Smith, but the sequence of the Major Arcana follows the traditional Continental order. Justice is Key 8, not 11; Strength is Key 11, not 8.

I don't know why the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, those sex-crazed "mystics" who commissioned the Rider-Waite deck in 1909, decided to reverse the numerical order of these two ladies — which had been in place since the 1500s — but Hoi Polloi was having none of that revisionary stuff.

Page of Swords.
As a tween I liked this card best in the whole deck. This Page clearly knows Kung-Fu, and could be one reason I always carried pocket knives in my jeans. My pocket knives, though sharp, were more symbolic than practical: I never whittled sticks, gutted rabbits, or stabbed enemies with them. Although I did sometimes break their blades prying Gremlin logos off cars!

Back of the box, 1972 edition.
Key to your future? Tomorrow never comes, so why not unlock your mind with these rich traditional symbols, right here and now?

You've got The Key in your hand: turn it, and push open the door to your Inner Vault.