Housewives Tarot – Paul Kepple and Jude Buffum
“According to gossip, The Housewives Tarot was introduced by housewife extraordinaire Marlene Louise in the early 1950’s. She was a happy homemaker who seemed to have it all—a devoted husband and obedient children, a sparkling home that was the talk of the town, a fashion sense to die for, and far more than her fair share of women’s intuition.” – From the instruction book

The Housewives Tarot is a hilarious domestic divination kit that comes in an attractive “recipe” box. The recipe dividers separate the Major Arcana, Minor Arcana, and the instruction book. If that’s not amusing enough, there are actual recipes on the back of these dividers, including Divinated Eggs and Ice Box Fortune Cake.

I’m not a fan of 50’s décor and I assumed this deck was a mere novelty.

Boy was I wrong!

While some of the montages are laugh-out-loud hilarious in presentation, there is a kernel of truth in each depiction. For example, The Magician sports slicked-back hair (I can practically smell the Bryl-cream!), toothy grin, and smarmy wide-eyes—while his hand gesture proclaims “tada!”…referring to a sparkling new (or is it?) washing machine. 

A huckster salesman. Now if that isn’t a darn good rendering of The Magician…! And how many of you considered that The Magician could embody the sycophant archetype? It never occurred to me until I got my hands on this deck!

The Housewives Tarot provided several other “epiphanies”, which surprised and delighted me—in large part to the brief, clever interpretations for domestic metaphors. In addition, the 96-paged instruction booklet provides 3 keywords for each card, a brief interpretation (upright only), and five spreads (including “The Dinette”).

Some of my favorite cards in this deck are:

Death – Depicted by rancid mayonnaise crawling with flies, an “expired” timer, and rotten half of tomato. The label? “Real Salmonella. Everything Expires” (complete with skull, cross bones, and roses!).

Justice – A perfectly coiffed mother—looking like a young Elizabeth Taylor—has her son turned over her knee, ready to spank him with a wooden spoon. She wears a mischievous grin, the boy looks like his mouthing the words “help!”, and his lollipop goes flying out if his hand. An interesting take on “what goes around comes around”!

The Hermit – A woman soaks luxuriously in a large tub, several bars of soap surrounding her. Need I say more?

The Devil – A long-legged chocolate cake holds a cigarette in one hand and martini in the other. She’s surrounded by a can of “Spork”, instant coffee, a pack of cigarettes, Redi-Cheez, TV dinner, and a bottle of Valium.

Knight of Pentacles – A smiling, tuxedoed young man holding on to the handle of a shiny red lawnmower.

My husband, who’s not a Tarot reader (yet!), thinks The Housewives Tarot is utterly hysterical. His personal favorite is the 2 of Swords: a blindfolded woman about to carve a turkey. Interestingly, we both put this deck through its paces—doing readings for each other. He was able to “read” these cards easily and gave me some accurate, interesting insight. Likewise, I was able to do the same for his particular question.

The cards of the Major Arcana are trimmed in a black/red motif, while the borders of the Minors are depicted thusly:

Pentacles – Pea green
Swords – Red
Wands – Tan
Cups – Aquamarine

The backs are fully reversible, featuring a red and cream tartan design and have a matte finish.

While some of the interpretations in the instruction book—often peppered with name-brand items like Calgon, General Foods International Coffee and TV Guide—may seem cheesy on first glance, the meanings given are surprisingly ingenious.

While I loved this deck as soon as I opened it, I had no idea that I’d actually be able to read with it! And to show that you don’t have to be Tarot-adept to read with The Housewives Tarot, my husband can read with it, too!

Fans of the June Cleaver era will absolutely love The Housewives Tarot. However, as I said, you don’t need to have an interest in this era to enjoy this deck and use it skillfully. Those looking for a fun, non-threatening deck to use with clients will find a jewel here—without sacrificing accuracy or incisiveness.

(Note: I discovered that there were two 10 of Wands card in my deck, and that I was missing the 8 of Wands card. The kind folks at Quirk Books are sending me a replacement 8 of Wands, but be sure to check your cards when you get them!)

Below are 10 images from The Housewives Tarot. To see more images and to get a free 3-card reading using this deck, visit the Housewives Tarot website.

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