Author is Melanie Bacon, email: melaniek@mnic.net.

1. My cards are always negative, which is a real bummer. What does this mean?
2. You say you based this on Rider-Waite; where did these Princesses come from? And where are the Pages and Knights?
3. Are you a Witch?
4. Why are you so mean to Christopher Reeve?
5. Do you really believe in this stuff?
6. I don't understand my reading. Will you explain it to me?
7. I have a much better picture/text of one of your celebrities. Are you interested? What will you pay me?
8. I have a good link to one of your actors. Are you interested?
9. I have a much better suggestion for a card than the celebrity you chose. Are you ever going to change your cards?
10. I can't tell when you're being serious and when you're being facetious.
11. How come I can't buy these cards?
12. How come the cards include so much Star Wars, Star Trek and X-Files?
13. Do you really have absolutely no connection with any Hollywood celebrity?
14. How come my favorite actor isn't in the Hollywood Tarot deck?
15. What is this Graffiti suit, anyway?
16. How are these archetypes related to astrological signs?
17. How come some of the entertainers have a long list of links, and others only three or four?
18. Lady Esmene and Madame Esmeralda's cards sure look darned suspicious. Do they make up the layouts to fit what they want to say?


1. My cards are always negative, which is a real bummer. What does this mean?

You should try interpreting the cards with a reverse slant. For example, it seems like I almost always get the 9 of Swords somewhere in my readings. I would prefer to read that as having an overabundance of Niceness in my life, rather than excessive Cruelty. (By the way, if all of you get the 9 of Swords all the time in your readings too, let me know. Either we all have too much niceness/cruelty, or the random program needs a little tweaking).

2. You say you based this on Rider-Waite; where did these Princesses come from? And where are the Pages and Knights?

The Hollywood universe is already heavily weighted on the side of male roles. I used my author's discretion to replace the pages with princesses and refer to the knights as princes, as used on other decks including decks much older than Rider-Waite.

3. Are you a Witch?

No. Although I have to admit to a great fondness for the Princess of Pentacles card.

4. Why are you so mean to Christopher Reeve?

I'm not mean to Christopher Reeve--I hold him in high esteem, which I think is clear on his page.

What's really going on is, people are uncomfortable with the "D" word on that card. I didn't write the Tarot--it's a very old tradition, and the Death card is an important member of the Major Arcana. It's been suggested to me that I keep Mr. Reeve on a different card--perhaps called "Transformation"--and use an actual dead person on the card called "Death". If I were to do this I would probably use Rudoph Valentino on such a card, since the response to his death was probably more archetypal than any other celebrity's death in this country (look him up on the Internet if you don't know what I mean; the American response to his death was sort of like our country's version of the Argentinian response to Evita's death).

But actual physical death is only one version of what the Death card can represent--actual physical death certainly being one way to have a major transformative life change. But for most of us, the number of times we will experience actual physical death is limited, whereas we will experience frequent major transformative life changes in our own lives and the lives of people around us.

That's the main reason I don't use a dead person on the Death card--it would limit the meaning of that card to just a fraction of what the card can mean. Plus: Hollywood Tarot was created for entertainment purposes. If you were to draw a card about actual physical death, wouldn't you find that somewhat unnerving?

5. Do you really believe in this stuff?

Mostly no, kinda yes. The Tarot is a very superficial method to attempt to identify and connect with larger forces that most human beings can only vaguely recognize and comprehend. And Hollywood Tarot is even more superficial than most Tarot, it being Hollywood and all. Please remember, this web site is FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.

6. I don't understand my reading. Will you explain it to me?

No. See the first paragraph on the first page. Lady Esmene and Madame Esmeralda will occasionally offer their insights on readings related to vital Hollywood issues (like Will Bruce And Demi Ever Get Back Together?); however they are not available to answer your questions about whether your kid's going to get promoted or help you find your missing dog. Contact a "real" Tarot reader for that; the web is full of them; some of our links can help you get started on your search.

7. I have a much better picture/text of one of your celebrities. Are you interested? What will you pay me?

I'm always open to considering better graphics, and will certainly give credit where it's due if I choose to use your image; however, I DO NOT pay for any submission.

It is extremely unlikely that I would ever use anyone else's text, my writing skills being my main source of ego satisfaction.

8. I have a good link to one of your actors. Are you interested?

Absolutely. E-mail that sucker over to me. Also, if one of my links is no longer active, please let me know that too-with close to 500 links to the fluid web universe it's hard for me to always keep up with which sites are still around.

9. I have a much better suggestion for a card than the celebrity you chose. Are you ever going to change your cards?

I'm planning a second series of Hollywood Tarot cards (and maybe more series down the road; who knows?). My plan is to add them to the deck, so that instead of having a deck of 78, we'll have a deck of 156, including two of every archetype, but with different examples. So if you have a suggestion for a celebrity, e-mail it over to me.

10. I can't tell when you're being serious and when you're being facetious.

You think you have it tough--you should try being one of my kids. My recommendation is: if what you're reading offends you, assume it's a joke and try to forget about it.

11. How come I can't buy these cards?

The Internet is an interesting world, copyright-wise. The world of Hollywood Tarot probably could not exist in a book, or a set of cards you could purchase at your local game store, because too many people own the rights to too many of the names and faces. It's important to me to be both responsible and ethical, while still offering an entertaining web site that supports my thesis about why celebrities are so important to us. It is Melanie the scholar who created this site, not Melanie the entrepreneur.

12. How come the cards include so much Star Wars, Star Trek and X-Files?

Two reasons.

(1) I watch a lot of science fiction, so my intellectual celebrity database is weighted in that direction. In this way my own tastes certainly give an unfair slant to the cards--for example, I have no doubt that there are characters on "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Melrose Place" and "WWF Wrestling" who would be excellent examples of some of the archetypes--but since I have never watched a single episode of any of those shows I simply cannot access that information. I consider this to be the primary weakness of the Hollywood Tarot deck.

(2) Good science fiction characters are quintessentially archetypal--that's one of the hallmarks of the genre. An irrelevant story: I attended a popular culture conference in the early '80s where a professor gave a very amusing talk comparing Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty to the four primary Jungian archetypes. She said it was so clear that these archetypes were precisely who these characters were supposed to be that she wrote to Gene Roddenberry to ask him directly if that's what he based them on. He said no, but that it was interesting to learn that that's what he had done subconsciously (which Jung would have loved, of course). I wish I could give you a citation to reach the professor or her paper, but I no longer remember. If any of you know it, please e-mail me.

Hollywood Tarot is not the only Tarot deck I would like to develop. I would also like to develop Western History Tarot (Napoleon as the Charioteer, Hitler as the Devil, etc.); that's sort of a long-term project. But the deck I would REALLY like to create is Star Trek Tarot--easy enough to do; with all of the shows, movies and crews in the Star Trek universe, all 78 of the cards could certainly be delineated. The wonderful Paramount site even has pictures of everybody. However, I wouldn't dare make such a deck without the full and complete blessing of Paramount (probably even their financial assistance, since it would take a lot of time and research), and such a thing is unlikely in the extreme as they are darned protective of their archetypal assets (as they should be). But if any of you know any of the big wigs over there, please ask them for me.

13. Do you really have absolutely no connection with any Hollywood celebrity?

This is no longer precisely true. The son of one of my best friends recently won an Emmy for his work as a sound guy on Ally McBeal (congratulations, Kurt!). And his wife Shelley has a long resume as a successful TV writer. But that's it.

14. How come my favorite actor Jim Carrey isn't in the Hollywood Tarot deck?

Many of my favorite actors aren't on the cards either. In developing these cards, I focused on a card first, then tried to think of (a) a Level 1 example--an actor who's consistently type-cast as this archetype, then (b) a character an actor portrayed in one or more TV shows/films which fit this archetype although it did not type-cast the actor, then (c) a Level 2 actor or entertainer--someone who's "real life" National Enquirer persona fit this archetype.

I could probably have eliminated using Level 2 personas if I forced myself--for example, I could have used Edmund Gwenn who played Kris Kringle in the 1947 "A Miracle On 34th Street" instead of Paul Newman for the Charity card--but I think Paul Newman's Level 2 persona is more profound than Gwenn's Santa character (even though that archetypal role probably type-cast that actor).

This is not an exact science.

There was only one instance in which I used one of my favorite actors instead of an obvious other choice: I chose Dolph Lundgren for the Prince of Swords instead of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Segal or Mario Van Peebles. Blatant favoritism, no question about it.

Regarding Jim Carrey specifically: this is a Magician-in-the-making. I fully expect him to make the transition from Fool to Magician, like Robin Williams, Tom Hanks and a few others. But he isn't there yet.

Two of my own many favorite actors who didn't make the cut of the cards--
(1) I prefer Hercules to Xena. I'm a huge Kevin Sorbo fan, and not just because he's a Minnesota native; I almost never watch Xena. But, let's face it--archetypically, they're the same character. Hercules is a male version of the Princess of Swords card--a card of strong, benevolent protection. I decided to use gender-specific examples of the court cards, not because I'm sexist but rather because it was less confusing and truer to Rider-Waite. As I state in the Introductory Crap, Rider-Waite is sexist, but so is the Hollywood universe. Take it as a given: men can embody the queen and princess archetypes (and this is not a gay joke), and women can embody the prince and king archetypes, just as men can be the Moon and women can be Judgment. And so on. But anyway, Kevin Sorbo doesn't have a card because Lucy Lawless got it instead.

(2) My favorite actor of all time is Ricardo Cortez. He made about 100 movies, mostly in the '20s and early '30s. I can almost guarantee you never heard of him. He is virtually invisible today, even on the Internet. And that includes the Hollywood Tarot deck. Here is a really bad picture of him; it's the only one I could find on the net (I think I found this picture at Silent Movies). The only biographical information I was able to find on him was on the Internet Movie Database. If anyone wants to make a Ricardo Cortez web site (or better still-a Ricardo Cortez web ring!), be sure that I'll feature it. But he doesn't get a card--invisibility is not an archetype (although maybe on the Graffiti suit I'm developing...)

15. What is this Graffiti suit, anyway?

The Tarot is made up of the Major Arcana (cards 0-21) and the four suits of the Minor Arcana (Swords, Pentacles, Cups and Wands). I have been developing a fifth suit, in recognition of Modern Times Meets Hollywood, which I call Graffiti. These are some of the cards that will be included in this suit:
Smarty-Pants Guy--this would be such folks as Eddie Murphy.
Chameleon--people like Tracy Ullman and Lily Tomlin.
Superficial Upper-class Person--Dina Merrill
Obsession--Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction"

Here are drafts of two of the Graffiti cards, link-accessible only through this FAQ page (sort of a reward for your tenacity in reading through all this stuff).
The Californian
The New Yorker

16. How are these archetypes related to astrological signs?

Sorry. I know even less about astrology than I do about the Tarot.

17. How come some of the entertainers have a long list of links, and others have only three or four?

For each person, I kept surfing the web until I found the graphic that fit my image of what I wanted on the card. In some cases, I found the image after just a couple of sites; in other cases, I had to go through a lot of web sites to find what I wanted. The length of the links list in no way indicates dominant positioning within the deck, or my opinion of the person.

18. Lady Esmene and Madame Esmeralda's cards sure look darned suspicious. Do they make up the layouts to fit what they want to say?

I agree they look suspicious; for example, the layout for the Bruce and Demi question turned up the Bruce Willis card, and the layout for the Madonna question turned up the Madonna card. Odds are 1 in 7.8 that any individual card will appear in a 10-card reading (78 cards in the deck).

But this is the process the ladies go through in getting the layouts for their readings: they delineate the question, and then they press the button. Just like everyone else. And they only press the button once - they're not allowed to reload if they don't like the cards they get. Then yours truly creates a graphic to show readers what cards turned up where.

Lady Esmene and Madame Esmeralda may be simplistic, and amateurish, and biased, but they don't cheat. If you're skeptical about the mysticism of Hollywood Tarot, just brush their layouts off as random synchronicities in chaos.

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