Card Decks Portfolio

Tarot of the Elves

Mark McElroy
Written by Mark McElroy

A thought experiment, re-creating the tarot from a fictional culture’s perspective

Project Info
Contribution: Author, Scriptwriter
Year: 2007
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo

When Italian publisher Lo Scarabeo asked me to create an “elf-themed tarot deck,” I wasn’t originally very enthusiastic. What did I know about elves?

But after some thought, I proposed something a little different: instead of an “elf-themed tarot,” why not create a Tarot deck the elves themselves might use? When my editor expressed enthusiasm, I set about imagining the themes, symbols, and myths that an elven tarot would incorporate.

The resulting kit contained both The Tarot of the Elves┬ádeck and — in an industry first — a 50,000-word novel detailing the adventures of an Elven girl who gets caught up in the mythology and lore of her people. Reading the story both teaches the art of tarot reading and illuminates the mythology of another culture, expanding the meaning of each card.

With this project, I wanted to push the boundaries of what a commercially-published tarot deck could be, creating something richer, deeper, and more immersive. In the process, I wrote my first novel-length fiction and learned a lot about novel outlining, story structure, and character development.

About the author

Mark McElroy

Mark McElroy

Leave a Comment