Mona Lisa Tarot

Written by Mark McElroy

Oh, the story behind this deck!

After Riccardo Minetti invited me to create a Mona Lisa-themed Tarot (encouraging me to “push the envelope” of the theme), I wrote an elaborate script fusing modern and classical elements. In it, I explored what the Mona Lisa was, historically, but also how it has been reinterpreted in art, cinema, and literature in modern times. The editors wisely decided the result was “all over the place,” and I started over from scratch.

The new script drew, once again, from historical sources, but instead of branching to the future, it imagined an alternative universe where the patriarchy was being overturned by a mysterious young woman. Rather than overlay that story sequentially across the deck, I “shuffled” it, shattering the narrative as a way of occluding (or “occulting,” or concealing) the storyline.

The result is a remarkable work of art: a fully-functional Tarot deck, true to the structure and thematic content of the Tarot … and a shocking, surprisingly fresh vision rooted in a coherent story that waits for the user to reassemble and discover it.

To my knowledge, no one ever solved the puzzle (though this early reviewer comes very close). Now, alas, the deck is out of print and very hard to find. That’s a shame, because, of all the decks I scripted in the early 2000’s, this was my absolute favorite — and it remains one of the smartest, most evocative decks out there.

About the author

Mark McElroy

I'm a writer and professional facilitator. I'm the author of a dozen or so non-fiction books and hundreds of corporate video scripts. As a professional facilitator, I coach individuals, committees, and teams to change how they meet, make decisions, and plan, so they can get out of their own way and do work that really matters. I use this site to write about writing, adaptive strategy, travel, and spirituality ... and to "learn out loud" by sharing works (and what doesn't).