The Intimacy Tarot grew out of a conversation with some tarot friends. We were comparing our reactions to several published "erotic" tarot decks and discovered that we shared some common perspectives. Although none of us is prudish, or offended by graphic sexuality per se, we were bothered by decks whose artwork seemed to recycle cliches from the world of pornography. Also, being tarot devotees, we bemoaned the lack of serious tarot content in many of these decks, which seemed to be marketed to collectors rather than readers.
What emerged from the conversation was an optimism that sex and tarot could be combined in a positive way. We agreed that "context is everything" -- a card using sexual imagery should have a clear purpose as a tarot card, not just a picture of people having sex. Furthermore, sexuality itself is something we wanted to see placed in the context of life and relationships. What emerged out of this crystallizing consensus was the prospect of an "Intimacy Tarot" -- a deck devoted to the closest forms of connection between people, one of which is sexual love.
Although my friends have continued to offer encouragement and inspiration for this project, it is basically a personal endeavor. The structure of the deck, the images, and the words that accompany all reflect my own personal view of intimate relationships, how they grow, and the challenges they encounter. It has taken on an unexpected meaningfulness to me as I worked on it. What began as an attempt to demonstrate that sex could be used intelligently and sensitively in a tarot deck has now become an exploration of some of the most profound issues of the human condition. It seems that even with the plethora of relationship-oriented self-help books and workshops competing for attention, we are still reluctant to probe the issues of what it takes to foster and maintain intimacy as a long-term reality, with all its challenges and uncertainties. Looking at the issues of interpersonal intimacy through the lens of the tarot has been a rich experience for me.
I hope it will be for you too.
Tom Little, 2002.