Shorthand Tarot – What makes a Tarot card?

When doing Tarot readings, I consistently look at all my deck and then carefully select….the RWS. Or at least an RWS based deck. I love to work with the Marseille deck privately, but seldom use it with a client. I like Thoth and Deviant Moon to explore, but seldom use them with a client. When I am finished with a reading, I take a photograph (or screenshot in online readings) to “write down the reading” for reference and to give it to the client.

A while ago I thought it would be a good idea to have a way of noting down readings by hand. To be able to do something wihtout a smartphone, internet access and all that comes with it. Of course one can simply write the names of the cards, but that was not what I looked for. I wanted something quick and unique. I am familiar with a lot of systems to write down information quickly, such as shorthand notation, Juan Tamariz’ system of symbols to write out magic performance instructions and others. But they all suffered from a serious drawback: For me and the client they do not capture the essence of the reading. The client has to recall what the card looked like in order to recall the reading, which is difficult from abstract symbol. My abilities as a graphic artist are seriously limited so drawing each card was no option.

I tried to work out what exactly I wanted to have and came to the conclusion that I wanted a sort of Icon which would convey the Gestalt of the card, its general look and its numerical, elemental and astrological symbolism without words. These are the things I most often refer to in readings, so they needed writing down. Do these things constitute what a Tarot card is? I think not, there is more, obviously and less as well. To some a Tarot card is an artwork, nothing more. To others it is a projection of a full esoteric system on a symbolic representation, nothing less. Still, I tried to have this information as my minimalistic tarot shorthand.

Each card should be drawable as just line art with a single thickness pen, and in less than a minute. Plus my sore head needs to remember 78 silly pictures, so too much detail could not be included. Thus I developed what I now call the Shorthand Tarot, by no means the only version of a simplistic handdrawn cards, but to me, useful ones. I now use them for notation and also for other activities, subject of future discussion.

I would love to see what you think and what you make of the two cards below.

Shorthand Tarot (c) 2013 Markus Pfeil

Shorthand Tarot (c) 2013 Markus Pfeil

Shorthand Tarot (c) 2013 Markus Pfeil

Shorthand Tarot (c) 2013 Markus Pfeil

I am a Germany based Tarot enthusiast available via http://www.Tarosophy.De

JbR’s Lenormand Journal: Combinations (House +1)

HOUSE card. Deck: Zingdoodle Lenormand © Rootweaver 2013 Available at

HOUSE card. Deck: Zingdoodle Lenormand © Rootweaver 2013
Available at

We know that House means: Home, Family, Security, Possessions, Comfort, Property, Real estate, Small building. What happens when we combine it with each of the other 35 cards in the deck?

Combinations: House + 1

House + Rider = Newspaper delivery
House + Clover = Poker game at home
House + Ship = Mobile home / Transfer of property deed
House + Tree = Family home / Health clinic
House +  Clouds = Ex’s house / Cabin fever
House +  Snake = Plumbing or electrical wiring problems
House +  Coffin = Foreclosure / Death in the family
House +  Bouquet = Beautiful home
House +  Scythe = Hostile neighbours / Abuse in the home / ‘House of horrors’
House +  Whip = Domestic arguments / Brothel
House +  Birds = Gossiping housemates
House +  Child = First home / New house
House +  Fox = Self employement / Home based business
House +  Bear = Stay-at-home mum / Property manager
House +  Stars = Home ADSL modem
House +  Stork = Home birth / Relocation
House +  Dog = Family pet / Family friend
House +  Tower = House rules / Separate houses (living apart)
House +  Garden = Commune / Boarding house / Public housing
House +  Mountain =Eviction / Declined Mortgage application
House +  Crossroad = Double storey house / Duplex
House +  Mice = Home invasion / Theft at home
House +  Heart =’Home is where the heart is’ / Loving family
House +  Ring = Mortgage contract / Tenancy contract
House +  Book = Homeowner’s manual / Property portfolio
House +  Letter = Property deed / Tenancy agreement
House +  Man = Male tenant
House +  Woman = Housewife
House +  Lily = Retirement home
House +  Sun = Sun room / Holiday home
House +  Moon = Dream house
House +  Key = Home security / Approved Mortgage application
House +  Fish = Investment property
House +  Anchor = Beach house
House +  Cross =  Religious family / Moving out of home
Previous card: Ship
Next card: Tree
These are suggested combinations. Try to come up with your own, then share them in the comments section. Each one teach one. 👍

JbR’s Lenormand Journal: Combinations (Ship + 1)

SHIP card. Deck: Zingdoodle Lenormand © Rootweaver 2013 Available on

SHIP card. Deck: Zingdoodle Lenormand © Rootweaver 2013
Available on

The Ship card often refers to travel (amongst other things.) In this list of combinations I had fun listing various travel scenarios to add to my directory of card combinations.

Combinations: Ship + 1

Ship + Rider = Mail from abroad
Ship + Clover = Small vehicle
Ship + House = Comfortable travel
Ship + Tree = (to keep a) Healthy distance
Ship + Clouds = Mechanical problems
Ship + Snake = Dangerously unreliable vehicle
Ship + Coffin = Airplane/flight (box) travel. Dying
Ship + Bouquet = Surprise holiday (vacation) trip
Ship + Scythe = Hostile takeover / Hijack
Ship + Whip = Frequent flyer
Ship + Birds = Nervous traveller / Noisy flight
Ship + Child = First flight
Ship + Fox = Wrong flight / Business trip
Ship + Bear = Flight captain
Ship + Stars = Flight navigational system
Ship + Stork = Flight arrival
Ship + Dog = Friendly flight assistant
Ship + Tower = Airline
Ship + Garden = Public transport
Ship + Mountain = Delayed flight
Ship + Crossroad = Connecting flight
Ship + Mice = Stressful flight
Ship + Heart = The love of travel / Honeymoon
Ship + Ring = Boarding pass
Ship + Book = Passport
Ship + Letter = Visa
Ship + Man = Male passenger
Ship + Woman = Female passenger
Ship + Lily = Seasoned traveller
Ship + Sun = Trouble-free travel
Ship + Moon = Flight confirmation (recognised flight)
Ship + Key = 1st Class / Flight has landed
Ship + Fish = Business class
Ship + Anchor = Ocean liner
Ship + Cross = Cancelled flight

I’d welcome your suggested combinations in the comments section! 😃