The Deck

The cards in this deck are a blend of experience, research, creativity and study of the human condition. This work is imperfect in many ways, just as our lives are always a bit incomplete, our dreams a touch unfinished. The images depict moments that all of us pass through on our particular journeys toward whatever we are seeking.

What can be found here can at times be pivotal for anyone who cares enough to risk knowing more about themselves and the continuing mysteries of life.

The cards are double-ended to illustrate the potential contingencies which each pair speaks to on a single card. The deck can shape the questions we encounter, but the answers are yours alone to ponder.

The cards are color-coded. The components of the deck, Crossroads (The Majors), Milestones (the Minors) are linked to the elements Fire (green), Water (purple), Earth (red), and Air (blue). The fifth dimension is Life (orange).

These cards were designed to be re-arrangeable pages from the book of life and death and everything in-between. It took almost two decades to arrive at this the 9th and final form of Kirwan Cards, some of which are shown here, all of which are listed here. Creating this deck was a unique experience and an education in so many ways – but its real value will be determined by how you choose to use these cards.

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Matrix: the diagram

Crossroads Cards

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Milestones Cards

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Reviews of the Deck

Rachel Pollack wrote about an earlier version of the Kirwan Cards in her 1990 book, The New Tarot, Modern Variations of Ancient Image

“The San Francisco artist Kirwan sees the traditional Tarot as the ‘Royal Road traveled by initiates of the Gnostic path.’ In his own deck, he seeks to build a new road toward understanding the human experience. In other words, he hopes to broaden the Tarot to apply to ordinary people who do not know or care about esoteric religion. Instead of luring us into abstract or else mythological worlds, the Kirwan Cards attempt to trigger conversations with ourselves through showing us characters and scenes from our own lives.”

“This does not mean abandoning Tarot or its concepts. Gary Ross writes that Kirwan has taken ‘great pains’ to ‘preserve the higher wisdom of the Tarot.’ To bring the two levels together – higher wisdom and daily life – Kirwan has ‘reunited’ the Tarot with conventional playing cards.”


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All images are © kirwan, all rights are reserved (unless otherwise noted).